We had arrived in Hanoi suddenly, after discovering in Ha Long Bay that our Vietnamese visas had expired unexpectedly. Using our Booking.com app, we had pre-booked a place who promised they had room for our bikes. When it turned out that “room for our bikes” meant they’d be sitting on the sidewalk out front of the hotel every day, we looked for something else.
Pushing our bikes around Hanoi, with its choked streets and complete lack of sidewalk space, had been a test on our nerves, especially after our 85 km day. We just needed to be warm, and dry, and somewhere safe.
After seeing five other hotels, some of which were full, some of which had no room for our bikes, and one of which was way overpriced and a little creepy, we decide to check out the Elegance.
I had stayed at another hotel in the Elegance chain five years earlier when I was in Hanoi with my family. Remembering their amazing customer service, we knew that even if they didn’t have room for us, they might be able to help us in some way.
Arriving at the steps to the Elegance Emerald, I remember thinking it was way out of our price range.
As I was waiting outside with our bikes, Stephen went in to find out. He came back with the good news and the bad. They could store our bikes, but the rooms were the equivalent of $60 per night. Yikes. We were really hoping to spend more like $30.
Though the Elegance asked almost double what we wanted to pay in Hanoi, we’re so glad we made the decision to splurge (after negotiating them down to $45/night).
What’s So Great About It?
As soon as we rolled up at the Elegance Emerald, in our muddy cycling clothes, we were treated like the most important guests they’d ever had. The absolute lack of snobbery is one mark of a truly elegant hotel; they make everyone feel as though they belong. The staff also bent over backwards to accommodate our bikes, making room in their staff dining room for them (about which we still feel a little guilty).
When they insisted on carrying our bags up to our rooms for us, we knew we were not in our usual milieu.
The stellar customer service is just the cherry on the cake here.
The rooms are immaculate, spacious, and comfortable. Soft mattresses adorn the beds (a rarity in Vietnam) and some kind of magical glass on the windows keeps out all the street noise, which can be overpowering in a city like Hanoi.
Oh, and did I mention the breakfasts? They have an all-you-eat breakfast, but it’s not some dicey buffet where the eggs and sausages are left out to congeal all morning. Nope.
Guests order off the menu, and when you finish your first dish, the staff encourage you to order again (and again). Not ideal if you’re trying to diet, but perfect for hungry cycle tourists!
The Hanoi Elegance Emerald was our favourite hotel in all of Asia. You shouldn’t consider staying anywhere else in Hanoi and you should probably book ahead.
How To Get There
You’ll probably just take a taxi, but if you happen to be walking, from the north end of Hoan Kiem Lake (near KFC), walk around the lake that leads towards the bridge onto the island in the middle of the lake. Before you get to the bridge, take your life into your own hands by crossing Dinh Tien Haong (the ring road around the lake). Walk along Lo Su for 2.5 blocks. The Elegance Emerald will be up a small set of stairs on your left.