7 luxury reasons to visit Hanoi

Having visited Vietnam many times previously it’s been some time since we passed through Hanoi, people kept telling us we should return for multiple reasons, including some ‘must visit’ hotels, delectable vegan food and the nearby stunning location of Ninh Binh.

We heeded their advice and loved it, we will return again in the near future for sure, in the meantime here are our 7 luxury reasons to visit Hanoi.

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Situated in Hanoi’s French Quarter, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel not only occupies a prime location it is often considered the premier luxury address in town; the legendary property has a rich and compelling history that adds to the attraction of this Grand Dame of South East Asian hotels.

Guests can expect to step back in time and experience opulence and elegence in equal measures, whilst at the same time enjoying first rate service and a choice of rooms and suites, including the ultimate in historic grandeur and luxury when residing in either the Charlie Chaplin or Graham Greene Suites with 24 hour butler service.

Le Beaulieu

We dined at Le Beaulieu and were treated to a vegan fine dining experience that was packed full of fresh and healthy ingredients resulting in a truly memorable meal; visiting guest Chef Fabrizio Aceti who has worked at some of the finest hotels, resorts and restaurants in the world over the last 25 years ensured that our meal was one of the best we’ve had for some time.

We enjoyed a selection of dishes that were each an adaptation from the exisiting vegetarian menu but with a few subtle changes making them 100% plant based; each course was finished at the table with a drizzle of olive oil, a twist of black pepper or a flavourful sauce, but most importantly Chef Fabrizio personally talked us through the ingredients and description of each dish as it was served.

Emeralda Resort Ninh Binh

Many tourists who visit Hanoi head North to Sapa as part of their itinerary for an escape from the city and the chance to enjoy natural beauty and wilderness. However, our suggestion is that you take the short trip South (less than 2 hours in a taxi) and visit Ninh Binh where not only will you be surrounded by supreme vistas but you can choose to stay at Emeralda Resort Ninh Binh which is by far the best option in the region.

Guests can expect traditional Vietnamese design and furnishings throughout the resort which is set amongst natural gardens. Choose from a selection of spacious rooms each offering garden and mountain views, dine at either Organics or Sen restaurants, book a relaxing spa treatment at La Cochinchine and spend your days exploring the wonderful Van Long Nature Reserve, a primeval tropical forest which is adjacent to the resort.

Van Long Nature Reserve

Words cannot describe the beauty of Van Long Nature Reserve, pictures show the natural allure to some extent but we believe that visiting is the only way to fully appreciate the full extent of the beauty; during our two days staying at Emeralda Resort Ninh Binh we visited the nature reserve 4 times, enjoying both the early morning tranquility and the serene and surreal vistas during sunset.

There are a number of options in the region for hiring a boat and winding your way along the inland waterways surrounded by humbling limestone carsts, but the more popular locations are VERY busy, with coach loads of tourists arriving all day long; therefore, if you want peace, solitude and the chance to experience the incredible scenery with very few people around then head to Van Long Nature Reserve.

JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi

The combination of impressive, stylish and modern architecture, polished and professional service alongside a choice of 450 contemporary and graciously appointed rooms and suites make JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi a very good option when visiting Hanoi.

It is well regarded as the perfect choice for events and conferences, but also offers leisure travellers the chance to relax whilst enjoying the multiple F&B options, luxurious Spa by JW and the tranquil pool with impressive 360 degree views accross Hanoi.

Crystal Jade Palace

You can expect modern and crisp design at Crystal Jade Palace where signature Cantonese cuisine is on offer including vegetarian dishes that can easily be adapted for vegan guests; we enjoyed the friendly and attentive service from a staff team who were ever present and happy to explain each of our courses.

So many flavour and textures were combined within each dish ensuring we enjoyed a memorable Cantonese vegan fine dining experience at Crystal Jade Palace; our favourites including the simple yet delicious ‘Broccoli Sauteed With Minced Garlic’ and also the favour packed ‘Braised Homemade Beancurd With Assorted Vegetables’.

InterContinental Hanoi Westlake

The InterContinental Hanoi Westlake enjoys an enviable location on the largest lake in the city with many of the rooms and suites boasting views accross the water that deliver a unique ‘resort feel’ in a city hotel; situated just a few minutes from the busy city center and Hanoi Old Quarter, guests who choose this hotel can really experience the best of both worlds.

After a busy day exploring the wonders of Hanoi head back to the hotel and choose from a selection of F&B outlets including ‘Milan Restaurant’ and ‘Saigon Restaurant’ which both offer multiple vegetarian dishes on their menus; before dinner don’t forget to choose your favourite cocktail at ‘Sunset Bar’ which as the name would suggest allows you to experience beautiful sunset vistas accross West Lake.

We hope you enjoyed our 7 luxury reasons to visit Hanoi including a selection of the finest hotels in town, a couple of our favourite vegan fine dining options and a memorable ‘side trip’ to the beautiful and memorable Ninh Binh province.

Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest.

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