Review: Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel

Filed Under: Hilton, Hotel Reviews
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Hotel Reviews Art

After a quick breakfast at our Airbnb in Hoi An we left for the Da Nang airport, arriving about an hour before our 10:30 AM flight. The airport was clean and efficient, our flight was on-time, and our pre-arranged driver met us at arrivals when we landed in Hanoi just before noon.

Easy travel day, and not much to say there.

The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is highly regarded, but prices started at $350+ for the night we were there. Given that we knew we wouldn’t be in the hotel much, that wasn’t of interest, especially when the nearby Hilton Opera (which based on the reviews is somewhat opposite of “highly-regarded”) was $84 all-in.

I have Hilton Diamond status through the Hilton Honors Aspire Card, while Heather has Hilton Gold because of the Amex Platinum, so we knew we’d at least have breakfast included, and would hopefully be able to avoid the worst rooms in the hotel. We were able to contact the hotel ahead of time and confirm a 4 PM late checkout, which was perfect with our evening flight to Laos, and gave us more time to enjoy Hanoi.

It took us about 20 minutes to drive to the Hilton, which is adjacent to the Hanoi Opera House, near the central business district. The biggest draw for us is that the Hilton is walking distance to the Old Quarter, and pretty much everything we wanted to see in Hanoi.

The lobby was large, in that generically-grand kind of way, with abundant natural light.

And while the Tet arrangements in the south of Vietnam had been bright yellow, Hanoi was blanketed with pink blossoms.

The Hilton is a large hotel, with several restaurants flanking the lobby atrium, along with a coffee shop/lounge on the main level.

Check-in was extremely efficient — keys had been pre-made for both rooms, so it took only a few minutes to share our passports, sign the rate cards, and be on our way.

We were also given a flyer with the Executive level benefits:

Hilton Hanoi King Executive Room

We’d each booked the base (or “deluxe” room), though as a Hilton Honors Gold Heather was upgraded to a king room on the Executive floor. The room was on the 7th floor, just a few doors down from the lounge.

The room…well, it looked like a standard cookie-cutter Hilton of a particular era. I’m sure you’ve stayed somewhere similar before.

In fact, the room was so familiar-feeling that Heather, who spent a decade as the kind of road warrior who essentially lives in bland hotels exclaimed, “Oh, I am going to sleep so well in this hotel!”

So there is an occasional benefit to very standard hotel rooms. 😉

In addition to the king bed, the room had a desk with an office chair, along with an arm chair and side table.

On the plus side, their room did have a lovely view of the Opera House.

The bathroom was as you’d expect — functional, if not particularly stylish, with a separate tub and shower.

Crabtree & Evelyn bath amenities were provided, along with two bottles of water.

The room had a tea-making setup as well, which was also very generic, but worked.

So while the room wasn’t that visually exciting, the HVAC worked well, the bed was comfortable, and the room was quiet. Sometimes that’s all you really need!

Hilton Hanoi King Executive Suite

I was assigned a suite on the 6th floor, at the far end of the building.

The room opened to a large seating area, with a sofa, two chairs, and then a desk and office chair in the corner.

While it was nice having the desk, all the outlets were back behind the trash can, which was slightly awkward to access.

When we returned from dinner later, a plate of fruit and chocolates had been delivered, which was a nice touch.

The suite also had a powder room off the living room, with a sink and separate toilet.

The bedroom was quite large, with a plush king bed, generously-sized dresser, and a built-in closet/entertainment console.

 

I especially appreciated the outlets at the front of the nightstand, which were much more convenient than the living room outlets.

The suite bathroom was large as well, though styled similarly to the other room.

The shower had a wooden door though, which seems like an odd choice from a wear and tear perspective.

And this room had views of the city, rather than the Opera House.

The hallway on the 6th floor was odd, in a way that I think y’all will enjoy seeing.

Most of the hallways in the hotel were rather grim, with dark floors, somewhat dingy-hued lighting, and chipped wood.

Then, randomly, there was this very bright, clearly updated, section on the right.

White-painted inlays, LED lighting, marble trim, and polished silver fixtures.

This modern section of hallway only existed for about 20 feet, and then it went abruptly back to the dark wood-trimmed style.

I imagine this is a proof-of-concept for investors or hotel owners, or a similar scenario where someone would benefit from seeing a sample of proposed work.

Or maybe the renovation is extremely piecemeal, and is being done throughout random portions of the hotel. Who knows.

Hilton Hanoi Executive Lounge

The executive lounge was on the 7th floor, in a large series of rooms with tall windows overlooking the Opera House.

The little shared library was a nice touch, I thought.

We arrived between service times for the lounge, but there were still a few snacks and drinks available:

Hilton Hanoi Executive Lounge Breakfast

We weren’t really hungry for breakfast the next morning, given the massive variety of local foods we’d sampled the night before, and knew we wanted to try some other Hanoi cafes during the day, so mainly went to the lounge for pre-coffee coffee.

You’ve been there, I’m sure.

The breakfast spread was decent though, with an assortment of breads and pastries:

Along with salad fixings, yogurt, cheeses, and muesli:

And several varieties of fresh fruit:

There were two juices on offer, along with espresso, and both western and Vietnamese coffee.

There were a few hot dishes as well, including steamed carrots, which I’ve never seen in a club lounge breakfast before.

And there were a few varieties of dim sum as well.

The staff was very attentive, checking to make sure we had enough coffee, offering to bring fresh eggs, and generally being proactive about the breakfast service, even though we were seated far from the buffet.

Hilton Hanoi Executive Lounge Afternoon tea

While we didn’t partake, the lounge does offer an afternoon tea, so I stopped in on the way to checkout to take a few photos.

There were quite a few different pastries and sandwiches, though Hanoi has such a lovely cafe culture (and several within a block of the hotel) that I would probably only eat in the lounge as a pinch on a busy work day.

Hilton Hanoi amenities

The Hilton Hanoi is very much a business/conference hotel, and the amenities somewhat reflect that. There are several restaurant outlets (none of which we tried), though the other amenities were more basic.

The gym was small, but functional enough:

And the pool was also rather small, but on a deck with fun views of the Opera House:

Overall thoughts

There are absolutely more modern, luxurious, or authentic places to stay in Hanoi, without question. But for a short one-night stay, the Hilton met our needs perfectly. The rooms were clean, the staff was friendly and refreshingly competent, and the location was great for us.

It does seem that the hotel hasn’t fully completed a renovation recently, and I don’t think we’d have enjoyed our stay quite as much had we been put in one of the most dated rooms. So I’d be cognizant of that, but Honors Gold and Diamond elites can probably plan on at least an upgrade to the Executive floor, which has at least been somewhat refreshed.

Has anyone else stayed at the Hilton Hanoi? What was your experience?

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Comments
  1. I stayed at the JW Marriott in Hanoi (randomly, President Obama was staying on the property during his visit to Vietnam, so security was insane while we were there). I have to say, it’s one of the nicest Marriott properties I’ve ever stayed at. Based on this review and pictures, I would definitely choose it over this Hilton.

  2. @ Aaron — Oh, definitely looks nicer! But a 20+ minute drive to the stuff we wanted to do, at a room rate of nearly triple the price, just didn’t make sense for a 30-hour trip.

  3. Sometimes getting the basics right is much more important than extra bling here and there.
    Thanks for a great review!

  4. The corridor situation is very intriguing!

    I stayed at both the Hilton and the Hilton Garden Inn. The latter was so much nicer.

  5. @ Tiffany – You are on the right track of the renovated hallway. I’d bet that they are gearing up for a renovation and this is the concept they are going for. And the rooms in that area are also renovated. I once worked at a hotel that had 3 different designs of hallways on 3 different floors while the owners/designers decided on what to go with.
    And my current hotel is in the middle of the design/concept stage so we have a section of hallway in the new design with 3 guest rooms.
    You work out the bugs and potential construction issues this way.

  6. I think we literally stayed in the same 7th floor room as your friends with the same view last summer. We didn’t get an upgrade as a Diamond, but it was only 2 nights so no big deal. They had made to order pho (waiter asked if we wanted it) and vietnamese coffees in the lounge. We ate in the restaurant for breakfast the second morning and it was better with made to order eggs and a larger variety. Can’t beat the location or price (well you can beat the price but then you’re at the mercy of an Airbnb/local hotel.)

    Enjoying your trip report. Looks like you had a nice time.

  7. Do they no longer offer free juice/coffee for elites in the lobby in the afternoon? They did when I was there in May 2017. A fresh glass of passion fruit juice was amazing after an afternoon in 100-degree heat.

  8. @ tda — If they did, it wasn’t broadcast, but we weren’t in the hotel all that much and (sing along if you know the words), it was Tet, so everywhere was rather short-staffed.

  9. While the Metropole is certainly out of reach for many people, it’s a terrific place to sit outside, have a bite and/or a drink and watch the world go by.

  10. @Cliff: Good to know. I’m staying at the Hilton Garden Inn later this fall. At 10,000 points per night, it seems like a good deal.

  11. I stayed partially here and partially at the HGI.

    I thought the staff excecuted quite well here and was friendly and thoughtful, especially in the club lounge.

    The HGI was much more modern and had nicer rooms, breakfast was good there as well.

    I was there during the rainy season and at the Hilton I had to run a dehumidifier in the room constantly while the newer HGi had much more modern HVAC. This was nice because the dehumidifier was loud

  12. Off-topic: Why does every single link posted by Tiffany redirect through Androezrs.net?!

    That said, Tiffany is giving us a real immersive experience into Vietnam that Lucky simply cannot. Every word is to be relished. (Only James could have pulled this off. It’s a crying shame he left OMAAT.)

  13. That looks like one heckuva hotel you don’t wanna leave when you get there. Makes you wanna spend all your $ gUaP $ in 1 day. I’m sure the Hilton rooms there are close to 00 a night.

  14. Thank you Tiffany for the good trip report. I enjoyed reading it because I live in Hanoi and have taken my family there for 1 or 2 night get-aways to enjoy the old quarter & just have some quality time together. I am glad to hear that they are upgrading the lighting in the hallways and hopefully some of the rooms. You’re absolutely right, they are functional rooms but I dislike the drab color and older style furniture. I was also a diamond for a couple of years so we were always upgraded to a suite and were able to kick back in the executive lounge, which was very nice when paying sub-$100 rates. Based on some of the other comments, I would also recommend the HGI smaller hotel nearby. It’s literally three or four large blocks away. It is more modern in the sense of design, but of course far less in the way of resort-like amenities, ie. no swimming pool, no grand lobby area. But for a really short trip to Hanoi the HGI would be my preferred stop, Also really reasonable at 10,000 points at the HGI compared to many more points at the Hilton.

  15. Stayed at the Hanoi Opera Hilton a few years back for about a week. Loved every minute of the stay. Was supposed to spend a night or two at the Garden in but was “walked” (even as a Diamond) unwillingly for two nights to the Hilton. The Garden Inn had some tour group and wanted our suite so they walked us instead of the tour. Not at all impressed.

    Would stay at the Hilton as opposed to the Garden Inn any day but probably because of the Executive Floor.

  16. I understand that this is blog is about points and miles and is focused on the big global hotel chains, so I’m not criticizing you for being something you’re not.

    That said, this place looks just so bland, generic, anonymous. Meanwhile Hanoi is full of very nice independent local hotels that are in the $30 – $50 per night range including taxes and breakfast. Example: Golden Sun Palace Hotel, right in the middle middle of the Old Quarter, 5 star average with 1400+ reviews on Trip Advisor, $31 tomorrow night including breakfast. I’ve stayed there and it’s just delightful. There are lots of other similar places in Hanoi.

  17. @Keith

    Quite right. There is certainly a place for the points/miles experience, but the could be Hanoi, could be Peoria Hilton sameness means missing out on some wonderful local possibilities. We stayed in an upscale boutique hotel in Old Hanoi a few years ago with a very charming and luxurious room, all the mod cons, airport transfer, welcome drink, nightly fruit plate, and daily breakfast (can still almost taste the pho) and wouldn’t trade that experience for a suite upgrade Executive floor maybe it was Cincinnati feel.

  18. Great report. The inside looks exactly like my stays at the Hilton in Brisbane, especially the exec lounge. Love that 90s feel 🙂

  19. We stayed there two years ago in December. We had the very same kind of room as you (I’m a Diamond as well). We actually really liked our stay there. Every morning we’d start our day walking to the lake and then go around once. Then we’d end the day doing the same. It was interesting to see all the goings ons early in the morning and in the evenings. The staff were extremely competent and warm. The breakfast was awesome! Did you not get the breakfast?

  20. I stayed in the Hilton Hanoi Opera in 2004, I haven’t been back just because I haven’t been to Hanoi. It was fine at the time but it doesn’t look to have changed at all.

  21. I believe there was another ‘Hanoi Hilton’ during the Vietnam war, not as posh, mostly US servicemen as ‘guests’. . Glad that’s all over.

    Have really enjoyed this series. Vietnam and Cambodia are on my bucket list. Friends who’ve been really enjoyed both countries.

  22. Tiffany, I respectfully think this hotel is horrible. I am a HH Diamond member and booked a 4 night stay a little over a year ago. I was traveling on vacation with my wife and we arrived at the hotel late at night.
    Of course we were upgraded but the Suite was so bad, ugly, smelly that we left the the next morning for another hotel. I spoke to the manager who was indeed very kind and he told me they were constantly having problems with customers and they had already informed Hilton they needed an urgent renovation.
    Until they do a complete renovation I suggest everyone who wishes to have a nice stay in Hanoi to stay at another hotel, even if you are a HH diamond or gold. The benefits of membership are not useful at this old smelly hotel.

  23. JW Marriott is the nicest JW i ever saw.
    Obama stayed there.
    Trump did too.

    I had no status at marriott at the time, and was Dia with Hilton, but was so glad i went for the JW.
    I can’t get the compromises people make for some points and miles.
    I

  24. stayed on the executive floor as well last summer. I was going to swim in the morning (they have like an exec desk in front of the two elevators) and staffs offered me fresh squeezed juice or coffee in the morning. Little things but staffs were very attentive. Can’t beat the price, location, and service in Hanoi for sure compared to Sofitel and Marriott.

  25. To be honest, it looks fantastic to me! There’s something to be said (at least in my book) for a bubble of familiarity around you when travelling, especially to somewhere a bit more outside the comfort zone like Vietnam 🙂

  26. I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn (HGI), in a junior suite, and left after 4 days to stay one night at the Hilton Opera. While I loved the location of the Hilton Opera more, it felt dingy to me. As a diamond, I appreciated having access to the Executive Lounge, but it was not as nice as other Hilton hotels in Asia. I kept comparing it to the glamour of Bangkok and their food spread. I also missed the new and airy feeling of the HGI, even though it was slightly farther out. With Uber moto everywhere in Hanoi, it was easy and quick to travel around, so in some ways, I was as happy or happier with the HGI.

  27. I stayed there on my positioning flight from BKK-HAN, in order to take part in the mistake fare from CX,, flying HAN-HKG-JFK-HKG back to back.

    I only slept for a few hours, and had a quick sliders-meal in the lobby bar, that was served from the room service department.

    I paid cash, as the redemption rate vs. cash rate was hilarious. Fantastic service, however the property is pretty worn out, but again well taken care of.

    As I arrived from BKK pretty late, and had an early departure, I did not leave the hotel at all.

  28. I completely get Heather’s comments. I too have stayed at many hiltons and marriotts that look just like that room and had the god awful dark and dingy corridors. I remember in the early 90’s Hilton took pains to get rid of the worst of them, but they’ve crept back in. The HGIs were a great choice for a while when they were all new but now… some of them are worse than the old hiltons. Thankfully I travel less on business now and have more fewer “opportunities” to travel to cities where a bog standard marriott or hilton is the best game in town. That said, last weekend was the Marquis in Times Square for a wedding (it’s where the family was staying) and they apologized that my room had not been renovated yet. It was… much like the Hilton Hanoi Opera. sigh…

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