Hanoi is the cradle of Vietnamese civilization, the capital of a nation that has overcome the tribulations of war and is looking optimistically toward the future. Vietnam's economic upsurge over the past decade has been accompanied by a steady rise in tourism to Hanoi and other cities and destinations across the nation. Much of this increase is due to vast improvements in infrastructure, from the construction and upgrading of hotels and restaurants to the expansion of international airline service.
There is no more historic hotel in
Nowadays, Sofitel Metropole is often frequented by diplomats and journalists, and was a main gathering place during the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) attended by President Bush and leaders of Western and Asian nations.
The hotel is divided into two sections, the original
109-room Metropole Wing and the more contemporary 126-room Opera Wing. Major
renovations of the entire property were completed within the past two years;
all rooms and suites in the Metropole Wing were redesigned and upgraded by the
end of 2005 with the addition of elegant new furnishings, woodwork, ceiling
fans, ceramic lamps and photos of
Bathrooms also were completely updated with a transparent bathtub, imported marble tile flooring and separate rain shower stall as well as decorative light fixtures. All rooms in both wings also feature the latest amenities such as Sofitel's "MyBed," broadband Internet access, 32-inch flat-screen TV and DVD player.
Suites in the Metropole Wing are named after famous people who have stayed here. The most requested are the Graham Greene Suite, Charlie Chaplin Suite and Somerset Maugham Suite, all of which have Jacuzzis and come with butler service. Suites are bookable via phone and e-mail but not through the GDS. Contact General Manager Gilles Cretallaz (84 4 826 6919, ext. 8000; firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dining is first rate at the Metropole's restaurants, which
are also open to non-guests. The moderately priced
There are also other special food-related events and
activities at the hotel, including
There are also half-day cooking classes available during
which guests go shopping for ingredients at local markets and later prepare and
enjoy a meal together at the
Quality restaurants located nearby include Bobby Chinn (
Chief concierge Pham Cong Thinh (84 4 826 6919 ext 8110; email@example.com) organizes city tours in the hotel's vintage 1953 Citroen. Among the highlights of a tour are visits to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Temple of Literature (Vietnam's first university, dating from the 11th century), One Pillar Pagoda, Stilt House, Vietnam History Museum and the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, which has samples of works from classical to contemporary.
There are also shopping tours that stop at
Clients thinking about tying the knot here should know that
weddings can be arranged for up to 300 people and offsite catering is provided
on request; contact Nguyen Xuan Dinh, events manager (84 4 826 6919, ext. 8221).