The Sofitel Plaza Hanoi has unveiled its most significant renovations to date, offering guests a chance to experience Hanoi like never before. By Chris Mueller.

Ho Chi Minh City may seem like a more happening city than Hanoi, but I’ve always found the capital to be much more fascinating. With a 1,000-year-old history that has left monuments, museums, ancient streets and buildings to explore, Hanoi is the epitome of Vietnamese culture. The city comes even more alive if you are lucky enough to be able to afford a stay in one of its luxury hotels.

Probably one the most inspiring of these hotels is the Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, a 317-room property overlooking West Lake, Truc Bach Lake and the meandering Red River. The hotel has recently had a complete overhaul that fuses Hanoi’s Vietnamese tradition with French elegance, offering visitors to the ancient capital a luxurious blend of two of the city’s cultures.

Sofitel-Plaza-Hanoi-2The most impressive part of the hotel’s makeover is the Summit Lounge on the 20th floor, which arguably has the best views in the city. Architect Victor Loh of DP Design Singapore, who was responsible for the hotel’s new concept, designed the lounge so each part offers guests a different experience.

“The Summit Lounge … is transformed into a chic watering hole that is a pavilion in the sky with spectacular views of Hanoi,” says Loh.

The small elevator that brings guests to the lounge opens up to  a large, airy space decorated with dark furniture and soft lighting. Along the edges of the room, guests can sit in plush furniture next to floor-to-ceiling windows offering sweeping views of the streets and lakes below.

The centre of the bar is “disappeared” using mirrors to reflect the surrounding cityscape, says Loh.

The real star of the lounge, however, is the outside patio area; a large outdoor wooden deck surrounded by a glass railing with wicker chairs, sofas and tables scattered around. Although each area of the lounge is different, it is all well connected with the perfect amount of dark oak accents. The view from the deck is spectacular. Both West Lake and Truc Bach lake can be viewed from the deck, as well as the growing Hanoi skyline and the wide boulevards below. The deck is strategically placed for a perfect view of the sun setting over the city.

On the second floor of the hotel Ming, a high-quality Chinese restaurant, has also undergone a full redesign. The restaurant blends traditional Asian design with a more modern chic concept. Ming leaves behind the cliché Chinese designs of red dragons and gold banners and opts for a more modern interpretation of Oriental design, with potted bonsai trees, paper lanterns and jade accents.

An elegant tea lounge and three VIP rooms overlooking a leafy boulevard were also added. The VIP rooms can seat 20 at a round table and feature birdcages hanging in the corners of the room. The addition of two interactive show kitchens offers guests the chance to watch noted Chinese chef Peter Li Qun Xu prepare Ming’s already celebrated dim sum selection.

Some of the hotel’s more luxury accommodation has also undergone a renewal. The popular Luxury Club Rooms were remodeled to give guests a more open area to relax. The transparent bathroom doors, wooden lattice divider and floor-to-ceiling windows all contribute to the more spacious rooms. All of the rooms have clear views over either the lakes or the Red River and are painted with a palette of earth tones and vibrant purple accents with polished marble bathrooms giving an earthy, modern feel.

Overall, these renovations have brought about a new energy within the hotel, says general manager Antoine Lhuguenot. He adds, “This renovation is about fulfilling the potential of this magnificent lakeside property, in a way that we always knew was possible.”  

The Sofitel Plaza Hanoi
1 Thanh Nien Road
Ba Dinh District