The lobby of the Opera wing at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.
The lobby of the Opera wing at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi. Photographer: DAVID DINH

You won't regret checking into this legend

The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is a colonial-style hotel of legendary reputation in Vietnam. We discovered this within minutes of our arrival when we posted a Facebook photo of the welcoming doorman in his vibrant yellow floor-length coat and white gloves.

The Facebook comments came immediately: "I have many fond memories of the Metropole", "I spent many a happy hour in this lovely hotel" and "my favourite hotel in the world".

It seemed everyone we knew had already visited The Metropole and wished fervently to return. And there we were, checking into this icon, sipping a lemongrass drink in the elegant lobby with its colourful floral displays and female staff in beautiful cream silk costumes.

Who knows how many marriage proposals have been made in this hotel, how many crucial decisions by heads of state have come out of its conference rooms, how many famous names have enjoyed the grand colonial style with its softly swishing ceiling fans, green shutters and polished hardwood?

Charlie Chaplin enjoyed his honeymoon with Paulette Goddard there, Joan Baez composed Where Are You Now, My Son? there during the Vietnam war. And that's just a sprinkling of the famous names who have enjoyed The Metropole since it opened in 1901.


The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.
The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.

Three-hundred and sixty-four rooms are spread over two wings: the historical Metropole wing with its original colonial grandeur, and the newer Opera Wing with stylish neo-classical elegance. Hardwood floors, mahogany furnishings, Vietnamese silk, rice-paper walls and ceramic lamps all add to the comfort of the various rooms whether it is a premium, grand luxury or luxury room. If a suite is more to your liking and budget, there are the Charlie Chaplin, Graham Greene or Somerset Maugham suites.

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, with its leafy boulevards, pretty pagodas and Hoan Kiem Lake, reveals its French and Chinese occupation history as you leave the luxury of The Metropole and brave its bustling streets. If the tidal wave of motor-scooters makes you nervous about walking (and walking really is best), the hotel will organise a cyclo tour, so you can sit back and let the throng of the streets whirl haphazardly around you.


Entrance to the Temple Of Literature (Van Mieu) in Hanoi.
Entrance to the Temple Of Literature (Van Mieu) in Hanoi. iStock

Returning to The Metropole after any excursion - whether it is a visit to the Temple of Literature, the infamous Hoa Lo Prison (The "Hanoi Hilton" where the late John McCain spent five years during the Vietnam War) or Ba Dinh Square where Ho Chi Minh is buried - is like ascending to heaven, especially if your first stop is the hotel's perfumed spa.

Le Spa du Metropole overlooks the garden courtyard and pool where holistic rituals from the East merge with modern therapies from the West, and exquisite products soothe, restore and ready you for dinner at one of the hotel's famed dining outlets.


Poolside at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.
Poolside at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.

Spices Garden is where you indulge in traditional Vietnamese cuisine fused with French flair.

Angelina Restaurant, which opened in September, is fast becoming the city's most sought-after venue. Angelina covers two storeys: upstairs an intimate dining area with a view to the eight-metre floor-to-ceiling bar below. Classic dishes at Angelina enjoy a contemporary twist - we are still dreaming of the roast Welsh lamb pie which we chose over the lobster rolls with caviar.

At 5pm every day, the hotel runs a complimentary Path of History Tour, which finishes in an excavated war-time air raid shelter within the hotel where Joan Baez recorded her famous song.

Breakfast is presented at Le Beaulieu where the colonial charm matches the abundance of East and West offerings and is made more enjoyable knowing the venue has been operating since 1901.

The Metropole is one of Asia's most renowned hotels, and although opulent beyond most luxury-hotel dreams - from the impeccable service to the luxurious surrounds - it is affordable with the savings made by flying to Vietnam with Jetstar.


Book directly with The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi for best rates and special offers:

Jetstar flies from Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City three times a week from $239 one way.

Multiple flights run daily from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi from approximately $50 one way.

More information at

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