While in Hanoi, I stayed at the four-star Sunway Hotel (19 Pham Dinh Ho, Hai Ba Trung). It is centrally located near most of the tourist sites I list in my Hanoi – City Highlights. Nothing is too far by foot or by taxi/bus.
It is located on a pretty narrow street, and feels like you are right in the heart of every-day life in Hanoi. The view from my room looked out onto homes with laundry drying, and there are small shops right across the street. In Hanoi, most shops are long and narrow, and build up to higher floors where extended families live. It’s also very hot and humid there, so it is quite normal for people to spend a great deal of time outdoors (eating meals, exercising, chatting). Every day, I stepped out of the comfortable, air-conditioned and western-feeling hotel to see local people sitting and chatting around pots full of boiling Pho soup or deep fried spring rolls. I really enjoyed seeing that.
The hotel itself had some very nice features. I stayed in a normal deluxe room (one comfortable double bed), with a cost of about $200 CDN/night. The room came with a welcome fruit basket, free wi-fi (which worked exceptionally well every time I connected), and complimentary water (quite normal in all hotels in Vietnam – as tourists are advised not to drink tap water). The staff are friendly and accommodating, and my room was always impeccably cleaned and prepared. The mini bar is well stocked for pretty low prices (like everything in Vietnam). The tiger beer was my favourite.
The highlight for me was the fantastic complimentary buffet breakfast. One of the best and most diverse selections of any buffet breakfast on any of my travels – omelettes, fruit, cold cereal, bread and sweets, cheeses, bacon and sausages, noodles, and a “make your own” Pho soup area. I had soup for breakfast for the first time. I figured that I had to try the Pho soup that I see people eating outside every day. I enjoyed it to start my day a LOT more than I thought I would.