Sounds dramatic, but we're serious. One sight of the vintage cars out front and you'll begin to wonder if you're in the wrong place, if there was perhaps some error in the booking engine that somehow gave you the rate for a different hotel.
The Metropole is composed of two buildings with a pool and courtyard in between. The historic wing (built in 1901) features dark-wood accents and has that nostalgic creak to it, while the modern "Opera" wing (built in 1996) is brighter with white floors and touches of sleek gray. The most drastic difference is felt in the hallways of the two wings, with the historic being much darker than the white-walled Opera wing.
Premium (standard) room in the new Opera wing
The hotel is located in Hanoi's French Quarter and a short walk from the Old Quarter and Hoam Kiem Lake, but its purpose is not to service as a launching pad. The Metropole markets itself as a respite from the beehive-type buzz you get on the streets of Hanoi, a place to hide from the car horns and swarms of motor bikes (this is one of those cities where you want to ask for an interior room to avoid the sounds of traffic). There are three restaurants on-site, and breakfast is included in the rate along with free Wifi.
This goal of seclusion is accomplished through the property's design. The pool and Bamboo Bar are placed perfectly in an interior courtyard, surrounded by the colonial facade of the hotel.
The spa is about as five-star as it gets. A 90 minute massage will run you 2,000,000 Dong, or $93.
The Metropole has a strong historical story, too, ironically enough surrounding what was only discovered a few years ago: A bomb shelter underneath the Bamboo Bar used during the Vietnam War. Each day, the hotel offers free 45-minute historical tours of the property, which includes a walk through the bomb shelter. Be sure to ask your guide about the slew of political celebrities that have stayed at the hotel, such as Bill Clinton and Angela Merkel.
For a property that would easily run rates of over $500 in New York City, the starting rate of $180 at the Metropole is an absolute steal. That's enough reason for a good night sleep in itself, but we trust you will find several other reasons as you experience the Metropole. Disclosure: Will stayed at the Metropole as a guest of the hotel.
[Photos via Sofitel Metropole/Facebook]