This a true Hilton establishment in the heart of Hanoi that will please lovers of antique decor, gilded interiors and classical music. The old-world luxurious setting lacks, however, a touch of modernity, which can be found in the restaurants but does not extend to the rest of the hotel. A bit of renovation would add that little extra to the hotel and make it one of Hanoi's top establishments.
The Hilton Hanoi Opera hotel is located in the centre of Hanoi, in front of the opera and a short walk away from Hoan Kiem lake (the lake of the restored sword) and the historical district. The drive from the airport to the hotel takes about three quarters of an hour.
The Hilton was built in the same style as the opera so as to not stand out in the neighbourhood.
Most of the guests are businessmen and women (as there are many businesses in the surrounding area).
The Hilton occupies an impressive white building and guests are welcomed into a massive entrance hall with a magnificent chandelier worthy of any castle. The marble entrance hall is lined with boutiques, a bakery, travel agencies, and, of course, a bar. These add some life to the place, which would otherwise be quite charmless. It's also unfortunate that the upholstery on the armchairs and sofas is worn-out and shabby. All the animation is found on the first floor, where there is a bar for football enthusiasts. It also has a pool table and beer drinkers should go there for the 'happy hour' from 5:00pm till 7:00pm. However, if you prefer classical music and fine wines, you will enjoy the wine tasting evenings where a 'String Quartet' provides the perfect musical accompaniment to a selection of 19 different wines. These are organised every evening from 5:30pm till 10:30pm and cost around ?20. The concert starts at 5:30pm and lasts about an hour. As far as facilities are concerned, there is a fitness centre and a weight-lifting room, as well as a jacuzzi (that lacks a little privacy) and a sauna. A pleasant outdoor swimming-pool surrounded by a terrace offers a a place to relax, but the noise from the street can prove to be rather disturbing.
There are 269 rooms, 14 of which are suites, spread over the seven floors of the establishment. The wall-to-wall carpet is a different colour on every floor, which is handy to find your way! The rooms are spacious and decorated in a very classical style, with an Asian touch. They have tapestries on the walls, armchairs covered with red or green cloth, dark wooden furniture, and in addition they have all the equipment worthy of a five-star hotel: air-conditioning, a satellite television, an alarm clock, two phones, a minibar, a safe, a dressing-gown, slippers and Internet access. Ladies will particularly appreciate the big mirror! As for the marble bathrooms, they are not spacious enough, but they are equipped with a bathtub, a shower, a hair-dryer, and a phone. Some of the rooms have a balcony and half of them afford a nice view of the opera.
There are two hotel restaurants for lovers of local and international cuisine. The first is a Vietnamese restaurant where guests are welcomed into an original setting with seats with 5.6 ft backs, parquet and grass-covered flooring and a little rice plant shoot on every table. Part of the dining room is under a glass structure that provides much-appreciated lighting. For business or family meals, there is a more private dining room which enables you to benefit from more intimacy. The terrace is very pleasant if it is not too noisy and if the weather is not too hot. The cuisine is the main attraction of this establishment. Very fine Asian and Vietnamese specialities will give you another version of the local cuisine than the little food stalls you find around Hanoi. It is original, very refined, with a touch of... Just taste it, you'll love it!
However, if you want something more traditional, but just as good, Chez Manon serves international cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The red and mirrored interior adds a little modernity to the place that doesn't do the hotel any harm, and you'll love the view of the opera. A brunch is served on Sundays to the sound of live jazz music, and if you are here with your family, you can leave your children at the Kids club where they can play with new-found friends and receive all sorts of gifts.
If you feel like a nice cup of coffee and a pastry, just hop over to the Café Opera where all sorts of delicacies are on offer at every hour of the day. It also has 'happy hours', but this only concerns baguettes, which are half price from 5:30pm.
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