IT'S LYNNY KANSAS
DON'T LET THE RUBY SLIPPERS,
OR THE DOROTHY INSPIRED NICKNAME
FOOL YOU., THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME,
BUT TRAVELING IS FUN.
Today, owned by the Sofitel chain of Hotels, it is still very chic but with a graceful understated historical charm. The history is evident throughout the Hotel, as there is a "history walk", with boards adorning the walls, together with a list of it's famous guests throughout the years. The Hotel is justly proud of it's historic past, and conducts "history tours" with a Vietnamese Historian every day. Upon Vietnamese independence, the Hotel was renamed the Thong Nhat Hotel, or Reunification Hotel. In the late 1960's, a bomb shelter/bunker was built to safeguard the guests during the ongoing air raids of Hanoi by the American's during what the Vietnamese term as "The American War". In December 1972, American folk singer Joan Baez, was visiting the Hotel with a delegation when she was caught in the bombings, known as "The Christmas Bombings". Although the bombs never came closer than half a mile from the Hotel, guests were ushered to the bomb shelter for safety. While at the Hotel, Joan recorded her famous song "Where Are You Now My Son", using some actual recordings made at the Hotel during the bombings.
During the addition of the Bamboo Bar at the Hotel in 2011, the bomb shelter was re-discovered and is now open to guests during the "history tour". In 2013, Joan Baez was invited back to the Hotel to re-visit the shelter. On this visit, she brought with her a signed copy of the original vinyl recording of "Where Are You Now My Son", together with some shrapnel that she had picked up on the tarmac at the airport as she left war torn Vietnam in 1972. These are proudly displayed in a glass case in the foyer of the Hotel, along with other artifacts. During her 2013 visit, she painted a sad faced young monk, which she gave to the Hotel and this is also on display.
Of course the Hotel has seen many notable guests over the years. Charlie Chaplin and his wife Paulette Goddard stayed here, and in fact the Hotel is known to be the first venue in Indo China to show motion pictures. Graham Green is another notable, writing "The Quiet American", during his 1951 stay.
In addition to the Historical Wing of the Hotel, the newer Opera Wing is an option for guests. Our room was in the Opera Wing on level 6. The room was spacious and very comfortable and felt very in keeping with the tradition and history. We chose to upgrade to the use of the Executive Club which gave us breakfast, afternoon tea, evening cocktails and munchies, together with 24 hour butler service. The breakfast's were fantastic buffet affairs which could not be faulted. My favorite item believe it or not was the Pho, which was super tasty. The only down side from doing the Executive Club, was that we did not then need to eat out at night, which limited us venturing to local restaurants like we would normally have done. Since we were mainly there to just chill and relax, it was OK. In addition, as we had been doing a lot of walking around during the hot and very humid days, it was so very nice to come back to the Hotel to relax for the evening. It was also nice to be able to just spend some time chilling by their lovely pool.
By far the best experience of the Hotel, was to be able to sit on the wonderful terrace of the Hotel's Le Beaulieu restaurant. This spot is an amazing vantage point to watch the World go by, and yes, it seems, also the Brides and Grooms!!
On our first morning, whilst having a lovely leisurely coffee on the terrasse, we started to notice a lot of Brides, with their Grooms and a photographer in tow. At first, we thought maybe it was some kind of fashion shoot for a magazine, but the Brides kept on coming, sometimes four or five at a time, all jockyeing for positions outside the Hotel. We asked one of the Hotel staff what was going on. Apparently, September and October are prime wedding months in Hanoi. The happy couples like to get photos taken about a month before the wedding date, so that they can be displayed for family and friends on the actual day. The Metropole is one of the favorite backdrops. We found this quite bizarre, what was even more bizarre were the colors of the dresses. Lot's of different colors, not always white or off white. Some looking more like ball gowns than wedding dresses, it was fascinating. By the end of our four day stay we must have seen upwards of forty couples posing for photos. I loved it!!
We thoroughly enjoyed out time staying at this beautiful Hotel, which is in a great location. An easy walk to the lake and with the Opera House and History Museum a few streets away. The staff and service were simply fantastic too! So thankful to be able to say I have stayed in a part of History like this. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Please enjoy this slide show of photos taken throughout the Hotel.
Itslynnykansas was not compensated in any way for this review. All content, photos and opinions are expressly the writers own, unless otherwise stated. All content is provided "as is" and is for informational purposes only. The writer of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The writer will not be liable for any losses, damages or injuries from the use of this information.
You may also like: