Friday, 23 May 2014

Gondola Hotel, Hanoi

While my family and I were in Hanoi, we stayed in the Gondola Hotel, a three-star establishment right smack in the heart of the Old Quarters, within five minutes walking distance of the Hồ Hoàn Kiếm (Hoàn Kiếm Lake), shopping and sights, and great local Vietnamese food!

Despite the hotel's close proximity to some of the busiest streets in Hanoi, the rooms were unbelievably quiet. The Ngõ Hàng Hành (Hàng Hành Street), on which it was located, was quaint and laid back, and a throw-back to the old colonial times.

All the staff was friendly, and the doorman was always ready to help with the guests' luggage.

The front desk staff especially was very helpful. As they spoke excellent English, conversing with them wasn't a problem at all. In fact, I kept having a feeling that they wanted to talk more and used us to practice on their English. Well, that, I wouldn't mind at all.

Like almost all buildings in Vietnam, the Gondola Hotel was long and narrow, and towards the back of the hotel, the building extended out at a right angle. I would estimate that the width of the hotel was not more than 17 feet.

There were altogether eight storeys and we stayed on the fourth floor for the first two nights and the sixth floor for the last two nights after returning from an overnight trip to Halong Bay.

Rooms were very clean and spacious, and I would kind of rate them as four-star or even five-star equivalent. Only the absence of a swimming pool may have denied them a higher star rating. And did I mention that the rooms come equipped with a very fast WiFi speed? Yes, they do.

In my opinion, the breakfast buffet did not offer a very luscious spread but it was still a good, ample mix of western and local Vietnamese food. A cook was ever present to prepare eggs in whichever manner was requested of her, and a highlight of every meal was the preparation of the Phở (rice noodle soup).

My verdict of the Gondola Hotel: highly recommended.

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