Vietnam

Top-Rated Unique Hotels in Hanoi

Top-Rated Unique Hotels in Hanoi | Where to Stay in Hanoi

Hanoi is definitely a city that you’d want to go back to repeatedly. The people are warm, the weather is almost always cool, and it seems like the city doesn’t run out of things to offer.

Although not a guarantee, staying at one of the following unique hotels in Hanoi will definitely add to a memorable trip in the city.

Church Boutique Hotel 95 Hang Gai

A beautiful boutique hotel, Church Boutique Hotel 95 Hang Gai sticks to a mesmerizing blue-and-white color scheme that reminds us of Mykonos in Greece. Even the carpets that adorn the hallways follow this combination.

Rated “excellent” by previous guests, this hotel is within Hanoi’s Old Quarter and very near two popular landmarks. About 400 meters away are St. Joseph’s Cathedral and Hoan Kiem Lake. Enjoy a walking tour!

Image: Agoda

Hanoi La Siesta Premium Hang Be

You’ll love the unique pieces of furniture that are scattered at the lobby of the Hanoi La Siesta Premium Hang Be. Can you spot a few of them in the image below?

Image: Agoda

Dahlia Hotel Hanoi

Dahlia Hotel Hanoi is one cozy hotel, thanks to its interiors. Its brown-and-white color combination instantly brings out some delicious, “chocolatey” vibe.

Image: Agoda

Viola Royal Hotel

Upon entering Viola Royal Hotel, you’ll instantly feel the difference. Check out the furniture pieces. If a lot of them look familiar, you’re right. They look like the pieces in Beauty and the Beast.

Image: Agoda

Zebra Loft

Zebra Loft is described as a “Scandinavian home” with a garden located at Hoan Kiem District. As mentioned in our post on the best place to stay in Hanoi, Hoan Kiem is sprawling with French colonial architecture, so Zebra Loft offers a unique and refreshing vibe. Its mostly black-and-white interior is fresh and modern. It’s very much Instagram-worthy. The balcony has a garden from which you can enjoy some views of the city.

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Image: Agoda

Nexy Hostel

Don’t be fooled by the building’s facade. Upon entry into your Nexy Hostel room, you’d be impressed with the unique artwork on the wall. The room may not be as spacious as the other hotels, but it gives you a nostalgic dorm-like feeling that you don’t want to leave.

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Image: Agoda

Best Place to Stay in Hanoi

Best Place to Stay in Hanoi | Where to Stay in Hanoi

What’s the best place to stay in Hanoi? Where should you stay?

To answer these questions, you need to first be clear of your purpose as to why you’re visiting the city. Many people go to Hanoi for sightseeing, but other than that, it has several other things to offer.

For instance, it’s also a good place to learn how to cook Vietnamese food. There are also night markets for cheap shopping. It also makes a good base for outside-the-city trips such as a Halong Bay tour. Let’s not forget that if you want to climb Mt. Fansipan, Sapa is just 6 hours away by bus.

Just like Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi is divided into urban districts. Below is a list of the areas that would most likely satisfy your traveling needs.

Old Quarter (Hoan Kiem District)

Located in the Hoan Kiem District, the Old Quarter is perhaps the most popular neighborhood in Hanoi. It’s a backpacker area even your friends would want you to stay here, and for good reason.

In itself, the Old Quarter is an attraction. It’s littered with French Indochina architecture. It has history written all over it, all you have to is take a walk.

According to Wikipedia, the Old Quarter used to be “the residential, manufacturing and commercial center of the city.” It has a total of 36 streets where each street is “dedicated to one specific trade or guild.”

Today, Hanoi’s Old Quarter is the place to go for three main reasons: shopping, dining, and a convenient base for sightseeing.

Dong Xuan Market, the largest indoor market in Hanoi, is located in this district. So is the setup for Hanoi’s Weekend Night Market.

If you’re into sightseeing, a self-guided walking tour is very much possible, but if you want to learn more about the local culture, it’s best to sign up with one of the organizations offering free guided tours.

Top attractions in the Old Quarter include Hoan Kiem Lake, Maison Centrale Hanoi (Hoa Lo Prison), Bach Ma Temple, and Saint Joseph Cathedral of Hanoi.

When it comes to accommodation, there are plenty to choose from. Here are three top-reviewed hotels in Old Quarter.

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Ba Dinh District

What can you do at Hanoi’s Ba Dinh District?

It’s mostly for sightseeing and for learning the history and culture of Vietnam.

For a day or two, you can plan a walking tour to drop by the following top attractions: Cua Bac Church, Hanoi Flag Tower, Fine Arts Museum, Quan Thanh Temple, Vietnam Military History Museum, Presidential Palace Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, and Temple of Literature.

Choose a hotel in Ba Dinh District if you want a less crowded alternative to Old Quarter. Here are 3 top-rated hotels to consider.

Cau Giay District

Cau Giay has been described as having a “laid-back dining scene,” making it the ideal area for foodies who want to sample Hanoian cuisine. However, this district is far from the city’s top attractions, so it’s not for sightseeing.

Here are three top-rated hotels in Cau Giay to consider.

  • Victor Hanoi Hotel doesn’t have impressive interiors, but its “exceptional” rating comes from cleanliness and its excellent customer service.
  • iStay Hotel Apartment 6 is a new hotel. Book a room with a terrace to get a garden or a city view.
  • Granda Quan Hoa Apartment is ideal for group travelers. Choose from one- or two-bedroom apartments.

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Jollibee in Hanoi, Vietnam

Chilli Chicken at a Jollibee in Hanoi, Vietnam

Counter at a Jollibee in HanoiWe all know how this fast-food giant started. Elders who know the story very well would always use it as an example to inspire. “Look at Jollibee. It started as an ice cream parlor in 1975. Now, the Philippines is the only country in the world where McDonald’s is number 2.”

Just like Manny Pacquaio, Jollibee is one of the Philippines’ pride and joy, so everytime we see a store outside the country, we can’t help but feel proud and happy.

“Jollibee, o!”

Of course, we had to try one of the branches in Hanoi after our Mt. Fansipan climb and one-day rice fields trekking in Sapa. The store was within walking distance from our hotel at the Old Quarter.

The moment we stepped into the store, we immediately felt the familiar-yet-slightly-different ambiance. It was Jollibee, but it was to a certain degree a localized version of it.

We did not order Chickenjoy.

That’s because we had one in Hong Kong and it was the same as in the Philippines, so we immediately assumed that Hanoi’s Chickenjoy also had that distinct taste and crispiness. We can be wrong, of course.

We still went for a chicken meal, though, but we opted for the cheaper version – Chilli Chicken with a vegetable side dish. We don’t think there’s one like it in the Philippines, and we’re glad that Vietnam added this one to their menu.

The verdict?

It wasn’t as spicy as we expected, and we thought the chicken was a little dry. But we loved the vegetable side dish. At least it was two notches higher than the coleslaw offered at KFC branches in the Philippines.

According to a recent report, Jollibee is “expanding its footprint in Vietnam,” and the target is 20 to 30 stores per year.

So there… It looks like the future of Jollibee in Vietnam is bright.

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Jollibee Hanoi Vietnam Menu

What to Expect: Mekong Delta Tour with Sinhcafe Travel

Sinhcafe Travel’s Mekong Delta tour caught our attention because of its low rate. We booked online two weeks before our trip and paid 29 USD each via Onepay.

How was the experience?

The tour itself was nothing special, but for the price, we can’t complain especially because we felt we were treated like VIPs.

We were supposed to join other tourists in a group tour of approximately 22 people but got upgraded to a private tour. Aside from that, we were also picked up at our hostel located within a popular urban district in Saigon. If not for the upgrade, the meetup point should be at Sinhcafe’s office.

Here’s what to expect during the Mekong Delta tour with the agency. This tour preceded our self-guided walking trip in Saigon.

10:30 AM: Vinh Trang Temple

After a 2-hour bus ride, we made our first stop at Vinh Trang Temple, a wat near My Tho. If you check the itinerary on the tour’s webpage, this should be the last attraction.

Vinh Trang Temple

At this beautiful temple, we witnessed a rare gathering of monks. According to our guide, a leader passed away and the monks have lunch everyday to contemplate on who the successor should be.

SCAM ALERT!

Be careful when buying from one of the stalls outside the temple. Always count your change, and as much as possible, pay only in smaller bills. One of our friends got shortchanged. Thanks to our guide, she was able to get back most of her money after a heated argument.

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Rare Gathering of Monks Mekong Delta Tour Vinh Trang Temple

11:40 AM: Lunch

From the temple, we were led to a dock where a private boat took us to lunch at a not-so-touristy restaurant along the Mekong river. Lunch was served at around 12:10.

Lunch Mekong Delta

Along the way, we saw some floating houses and some structures that we assume were fish farms.

Floating Houses in Mekong

1:00 PM: Coconut Candy Factory

After lunch, the boat took us to a coconut candy factory, which was also along the Mekong. The guide showed us the process of creating the candies, starting from dehusking a coconut up to the finished product.

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Coconut Candy Factory Mekong

1:10 PM: Vietnamese Musical Performance

A few steps from the coconut candy factory, there’s an open resto where we were treated to a song number while eating some tropical fruits: pineapple, guava, dragon fruit, and jackfruit.

Vietnamese Musical Performance

Tropical Fruits

1:30 PM: Rach Xep Canal

This is one of the most popular attractions in Ho Chi Minh, so this is what we were looking forward to the most. Unfortunately, it was so touristy. Hanoi’s creek (at least the one we signed up for in 2012) was better and much wider.

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Rach Xep Canal

2:40 PM: Bee Farm

It’s not really a bee farm. Just like the coconut candy factory, this spot is just an excuse to sell a product. Here, you can take a picture while holding a trap swarmed with bees. There are also free samples of honey products that you can try.

Bee Farm Mekong

3:00 PM: Snake

Put a boa constrictor around your neck, and ask one of your friends to take a picture.

Snake Mekong

3:50 PM: Riding a Bicycle

We were led back to where we had lunch, from which we had to ride a bicycle towards a pick-up point back to the city. The bicycle ride was only 10 minutes.

Riding a Bicycle Mekong Tour