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100   Recommended

Room 1115
August 27, 2016 by
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Room 1115

Liked:
Location
Service
Food
Amenities
Room

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I’m currently cashing out on my points doing mattress runs in select Cat 1 or 2 properties throughout South East Asia. I decided it wouldn’t be wise to invest any more money (much less for purposes of requalification) into Starwood while the future of SPG is still unknown, but would very much like to retain status through 2017 because loads of exciting new properties are scheduled to open in the region. This is how I found myself at Sheraton Hanoi one night. I didn't go into the stay thinking I'd review the place (hence the lack of photos) because properties in the lower categories tend to be generic Four Points type experiences, but I had to share my thoughts on this unique property in this very unique city.

Location

Hanoi’s spanking new international airport is a stark contrast to the rest of the city. A tell tale sign of the rapid modernization of Vietnam sits just 30 minutes away from Hanoi’s Old Quarter. The overly enthusiastic Uber driver who picked me up, frantically making grunts and pointing to Google Translate trying to strike a conversation while casually cruising down the barely cooled down tar on the new highway into town had only one word to say upon seeing my intended destination: “Grand”. His reaction and expression was comical to me, but he had the last laugh as I ended up making the same face he did as we approached the property. Situated on a hill on its own mini-peninsular overlooking a wide lake, the Sheraton Hanoi towers over the other buildings in the vicinity like a castle with its own moat. The stately main building presents itself in all its grandeur while rolling up the private driveway.

1_IMG_0667.JPGSheraton Hanoi Entrance Courtyard

While the property isn’t exactly within walking distance to the main Hoan Kiem Lake area, it is located very walkable neighborhood that seems to attract expat-friendly (read: western-style table service) restaurants. Pasteur Street Brewing Company, often mentioned in guide books for the “discerning traveller”, sits right across the street. Getting to Hanoi’s Old Quarter was an easy 15-20mins in traffic by car. For the more adventurous, a ‘moto’, an option that can be easily requested via Uber will get you there in half the time, if even that. Zipping through Hanoi’s frantic traffic on the back of a motorcycle is an experience in itself. I would advice that one walk out 50m and request from the street though. The men in sharp suits guarding the hotel’s courtyard vestibule might not welcome the sight of a smiling man on a ‘moto’ beckoning to guests with a helmet in hand.

Check In

A last minute “Special Deals” fare on Vietnam Airlines to Hanoi prompted a reservation the morning of. By the time I strolled to the front desk it was nearly 11pm. The particular associate who checked me in was young but handled the process like an old pro. He managed to get me excited about a non-upgrade, noting the ‘special room the hotel has prepared in advance just for me’ (probably not true) with a great view of the lake. He was right though, the view was nice.

Room

IMG_0666.JPGSheraton Hanoi Walkway

This property is old. Like old, old. Way past its prime, sorely in need for a refurb by Starwood standards kind of old. Yet strangely enough I found myself wishing they would leave it alone. The property is very well maintained- preserved, would be more apt- and that extends to the rooms too. Although the furnishings and decor is very dated it was like being transported back in time like the hotel was operating back in its heyday.

Dining

I did not have the opportunity to dine on-site, but the pho I had from the late night room service menu was delicious. The on-site restaurants shutter by 10pm with the exception of the lobby lounge which operates until 11:30pm. The breakfast buffet selection at the lounge felt paltry, but they did have an eggs station which also does noodles.

Amenities

IMG_0668.JPGSheraton Hanoi Garden

The common areas of the hotel was interesting to explore. In addition to standard gym facilities and a swimming pool, the hotel also has tennis courts and an outdoor (I want to say Japanese?) inspired garden.

Overall

I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the ‘old school’ experience. It felt like nothing has changed since its opening back in the day, existing in its own bubble. The lounge wasn’t impressive, but the attentiveness of the staff made up for it. Checkout was a breeze. At $68 or 4,000 starpoints a night, I thought there was value to be had.

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