Am I really standing on the corner of Ngo Quyen Street, across from the famed Hotel Metropole in Hanoi? Built in 1901 in the heart of the city near Hoan Kiem Lake and the magnificent Opera House, it truly is a legendary hotel having earned the right to be called so for many reasons not the least of which is its long colorful history, at times gray and foreboding, but mostly vibrant and illustrious, and always romantic! In 1936, Charlie Chaplin spent his honeymoon here and no doubt, countless others have as well. Artists, writers, impassioned travellers and adventurers have all sat, as I do now, in this fairy-
It has witnessed the opulence of French Colonial rule as evidenced in its elegant architecture, and it has survived the horrors of war. Memories of these times are balanced like yin and yang, leaving one appreciative of the privilege of having been a guest at the Metropole. Nothing is more poignant than their Path of History tour, which ends with a moment of reflection in the underground bunkers built to protect guests from the bombs of the Vietnam War. Joan Baez visited the city with an American delegation in December 1972 and during this time while caught in the Christmas bombings, she recorded her song, "Where Are You Now, My Son?” Outside, the sidewalk around the hotel is flanked by trees planted in what were once manholes during those turbulent years.
The outdoor pool is heated making a December swim possible, and poolside one lounges amid twinkling white holiday lights and the tallest Christmas tree in Hanoi. Choose to be active in the fitness center or to relax with a spa treatment. Choose Continental or Asian cuisine in Le Beaulieu Restaurant or opt for an exquisitely prepared Vietnamese dinner in the Spices Garden, which is what we experience on our first evening in Hanoi.
Seated at our table, we have a view of the garden and courtyard with their twinkling lights, seeming to cascade everywhere like fairy dust. So too the candlelit interior of the restaurant just sparkles with elegant table settings. For the first-
At the Metropole, romance is felt everywhere. The Metropole’s classical white façade with green shutters and original wrought iron details makes for a most romantic backdrop for wedding photos. It is such a popular custom, that we witness at least two dozen couples posing for their portraits in a two-
All images and reviews copyright 2015 by Ginda Simpson
Hotel Metropole Hanoi Legend
15 Ngô Quyen, Hoàn Kiem, Hànoi, Vietnam
Hotel Metropole Hanoi Legend ~ Original watercolor painting by Ginda Simpson
This hotel is featured in my travel story: Holiday in Hanoi
Vietnamese Cuisine: Spices Garden – A Restaurant and Cuisine that Dazzles…