Sheraton Hanoi – Clueless in Vietnam
I recently stayed at the Sheraton Hanoi in November 2014 on my trip to the Maldives (and Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore). Although there were some problems, I would stay there again, but only if I was staying with Starwood Points. For just 2-3,000 SPG points, its a great value, and I get elite credit towards renewing my SPG Platinum membership. If I didn't have SPG points, I would have rather stayed in the Old Quarter. The cash rate would have been about $100/night while many 3-4 star hotels cost around $40-70 and other 5 star hotels around $100.
TheRewardBoss Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
The Sheraton Hanoi is located in a quiet part of the city, a bit north of the Old Quarter. This is a small downtown area nearby but we didn't go there at all. It is about 45 minutes to 1 hour walk to the Hoàn Kiếm Lake (“Lake of the Returned Sword” which is near the center of the Old Quarter, many great food spots, and where many people will be walking. It's a nice walk and you'll see some interesting spots that you might otherwise miss… for example, the oldest Pagoda in the city, a 1,400 year old Buddhist Temple called Trấn Quốc Pagoda, and the bats that swarm the bridge as you approach. The Mrs refused to cross the small bridge because of the bats. I went check out the temple by myself at first but then returned and convinced her to make a run for it while I shielded her from the threats above. It's worth checking out for a few minutes (in my opinion anyway).
If you are going to walk, I suggest you walk back to the hotel and take the free shuttle there. The hotel offers a free one-way shuttle to 3 drop off spots in the Old Quarter. You probably won't want to walk back more than once so taking a taxi is cheap – a couple bucks.
The travel desk was very helpful at taking care of my tourist visa – thank you! They also offer many tours which are extremely expensive so I did not book anything with them. Their rates are at least double what you could get by contacting any local agency. For example, read about the awesome food tour I took in Hanoi.
Getting up and down to the rooms was very slow due to the maintenance on the elevators. I knew this ahead of time as they listed it on their website. If you have somewhere to be, keep this in mind.
PRESSING BURNING SERVICE
The hotel offers a complimentary pressing service for 3 garments per day. I didn't really need to have anything pressed but thought I would use the service on one of the days. Big mistake. One of my shirts was burned. I notified the staff about the damage. When a manager called me, they said the shirt was already “stained” when it was received. The shirt was practically new and those were not stains. Later, the executive housekeeper responded by email with an apology and said that they inspected their machines – no problems were found. They offered me 1,000 SPG points and then increased the offer to 2,000 SPG points. Lesson learned. Don't trust this hotel with any valuable garments.
During breakfast, we used all the hot water in the small teapot to make tea so we asked for more hot water. The waiter returned with a tall clear glass of hot water. When the Mrs. tried to pour the water into the teapot, she couldn't because it was too hot. The waiter was watching and asked what we would like to do with the water. There is clearly a language barrier but I'm not sure what this waiter was thinking. What do people usually do with hot water during breakfast?
BREAKFAST – With a side of phlegm please.
If you have platinum status, you have complimentary breakfast either in the club lounge (smaller selection, less people) or in the lobby restaurant (much larger selection, lots of people). TIP: Go early! Maybe it's a cultural thing I'm not aware of but very often I saw people coughing and sneezing without covering their mouths. I noticed people just open mouth coughing directly into other people. One woman was particularly disgusting. She was near the Asian food section coughing, taking some food, moving to the next section, coughing some more… contaminating the entire Asian food section (see pic below)!
The breakfast looks impressive and offers many choices.
My favorite was the french toast. The french toast and pancakes will be cold (under a heat lamp that does nothing), so make sure you put them in the toaster. Add some jam (fresh made?) on the other side of the table and you've got an addictive combination!
They even had Cronuts or more likely Fauxnuts. I've never had one before but these were tasty. Not so amazing that I would sleep on the ground for, however.
These jams (on the left) were quite good — especially the passion fruit jam. They might be freshly made in the hotel.
I loved the passion fruits (top left) and so did everyone else. It was usually the first fruit to disappear.
Here is the delicious (if toasted) french toast. The waffles and pancakes were not good (toasting the waffles did improve them, however).
The jams up close:
This is part of my breakfast selection. Very healthy! A fauxnut, waffle, steamed pork bun, and small cake.
THE CLUB LOUNGE (AND BREAKFAST)
The lounge offered a mini version of the full breakfast offered by the restaurant.
Complimentary newspapers and drinks:
A conference room is available if you need one. I'm not sure if that is complimentary.
The business center offers several computers and printers view great views overlooking the lake and city.
AROUND THE HOTEL
These photos were taken using my Canon S110 Digital Camera which has been replaced by the S120. I love it – it's tiny, fits in my pocket, and takes amazing pictures.
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Growing up, my mom was on a strict sodium free diet so my mom would always order a hot cup of water and she would dilute the food in the hot water before eating it whenever we ate out, especially at Asian restaurants. I’ve also seen my family and other Asian relatives ask for hot cups of water at Asian restaurants and they would use that to rinse the utensils before using it. It’s sort of like the hot bowl of water/tea that some Asian restaurants give you on the table to wash your hands. This is very popular in restaurants in HK/China. Not sure about Vietnam.
Interesting! We did specifically ask for more water for tea but that might explain it. I can’t imagine having to wash the sodium off before eating — that must have been tough!
I like this review btw, especially the pictures you took. Helpful in planning my own trip this spring!