Hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi: French colonial luxury in Vietnam

Sofitel Metropole Hanoi

In all of my travels around Southeast Asia, I must say that the Hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is the BEST hotel in this region. The original Metropole, built in the early 1900s, has been recently restored to its old glory with just the right touches of modern design to make the hotel feel contemporary, but without disturbing the historical look and ambiance of the building. The Metropole Hanoi are 364 rooms and suites, three restaurants (French cuisine at Le Beaulieu, Vietnamese specialties at Spices Garden and Italian flavours at Angelina), three bars including the recently refurbished Bamboo Bar, seven function rooms including Le Balcon rooftop garden, a heated swimming pool, health club and the luxurious Le Spa du Metropole.

room in hotel sofitel legend metropole hanoi

Room in the Metropole Hanoi

Spa in the Hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Spa in the Sofitel Metropole Hanoi

Pool at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Poolside at the Sofitel Legend Metropole in Hanoi

I spent three days at the Metropole and loved every minute of my stay there. My suite was large, comfortable, quiet, and luxurious. There’s free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV with dozens of local and foreign channels. The bathroom had separate sections for the shower, toilet and bath (which happened to be an old-fashioned French bathtub), and bath products from Hermes.

The staff deliver a level of service that is difficult to find in Asia (perhaps with the exception of Thailand): efficient but still warm, friendly and pampering. Moreover, in keeping with the French character of the hotel, they greet you with “Bonjour Madame” or Bonjour Monsieur”. I congratulate the management of the Metropole for ensuring a standard of service that is so rare in this world. All of the staff – restaurant, concierge, spa, bar, gym – were wonderful. Not just that, everything in the hotel worked. I did not see a single blown-out lightbulb or a dirty, unswept corner. And believe me, there were a lot of recessed light bulbs in the hotel and lots of nooks and crannies.

I visited Le Spa du Metropole for a facial one day and a massage treatment the next. The Spa is the most beautiful I’ve very seen. It’s like being in a colonial house from the early 1900s: dark hardwood floors, woven tapestries, orchids, lightly scented rooms and ceiling fans. The treatments are reasonably priced. If you are going to be at the Metropole more than a day, get as many spa treatments as you can fit in.

I also had lunch at Le Beaulieu which has the best French bread (baguettes) I’ve eaten in southeast Asia. They serve French classics but not the old-fashioned heavy versions. The dishes are lighter (which takes into account our more health-conscious lifestyle)  but still extremely delicious. The wine selection is extensive and the prices for a glass of wine are much more reasonable than in other Asian cities. Le Beaulieu feels like Indochine in the 1920s or 1930s because the dining room has been restored to its old glory. All that’s missing is W. Somerset Maugham smoking a pipe in the corner, scribbling away in his notebook.

If you feel you’ve been eating too much French food, the gym will get you back in shape. It is a large, air-conditioned space, also quite tastefully decorated, with the latest workout machines. They supply you will towels and water, as you might expect in a hotel of this calibre.

Although I ate dinner twice outside the hotel, I did have a chance to dine at Spices Garden, the hotel’s Vietnamese restaurant, and it’s very good. The food is a more refined take on Vietnamese cuisine, but it does not compromise on spiciness and flavor. If you are too tired to venture out into Hanoi, Spices Garden is a perfectly fine alternative to restaurants outside the hotel.

All in all, I would say the best thing about Hanoi is the Metropole. The city itself is a mishmash of charming old colonial buildings, some of which have been restored, others left to rot, and new hideous high-rises that look cheaply built and won’t last more than 10 years. The traffic in Hanoi is chaotic and unbearable due to the large number of motorbikes zipping around without any regard to traffic lights or rules. The air pollution is terrible (although Saigon’s is worse).

There’s nothing like coming back to the Metropole after a day of sightseeing.

Hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole
15 Ngo Quyen Street Hoan Kiem District
10000 Hanoi
+84 4 38266919

About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.