Hanoi Picks Up Two Prestigious Awards
Hanoi’s continued development as a major travel destination has just received a double boost in the form of two awards by the top travel site, TripAdvisor. Forever seemingly behind its Southern counterpart, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s capital was named as the fourth best in the world in their traveller’s choice list of the 20 top places to visit. Things are really looking up for the travel industry. The number of people who travel to Vietnam continues to climb; 7,943,651 came in 2015. More and more are taking in Hanoi.
The second award was an individual one but still a source of pride for the city. Hanoi La Siesta Hotel & Spa was also placed in 4th position, in the travellers’ choice of Top 25 Hotels in the World. The hotel is the latest addition to the Elegance Hospitality Group and has been picking up 5 star reviews on the travel site with consummate ease.
Hanoi is a place of many contrasts and no doubt that has helped its climb into the top echelon of travel destinations. The city is more Vietnamese than the much bigger Southern city of Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon. As it continues its drive to modernity with rapidly increasing speed, Hanoi has developed at a slower pace and maintains much of its old world charm. The Old Quarter, where the Hanoi La Siesta Hotel & Spa is to be found, is a myriad of small streets and alleyways that house many of the city’s best places to eat and drink, plus superb shopping venues.
Hanoi is known as the City of Lakes and its two largest and most well known, The West Lake and the Hoan Kiem draw huge numbers of visitors. Young lovers stroll arm in arm, whilst middle-aged and older Vietnamese come out to exercise, either at informal dance classes or by practicing Tai Chi. Among the many tourist attractions and things to see, TripAdvisor also mentioned the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Hoa Lo Prison. The Mausoleum houses the body of the late father of Vietnam in a glass sarcophagus. The Hoa Lo Prison was the infamous Hanoi Hilton during the war.
Hanoi is not really a city with a great nightlife, that is not the appeal. It has superb restaurants and plenty of other things to do, though. The pace of life in the city is a kind of organised chaos, but it is more laid back than one would think at first glance. The city’s pagodas are culturally fascinating and lend much to an architecture that is totally diverse. These ancient temples rub shoulders with classic French colonial design and modern glass towers, and it all works beautifully.
For the Hanoi La Siesta Hotel & Spa to have made 4th place on a world’s best list is a tremendous achievement. Only open since 15th November 2014, the hotel has become one of the most talked about in the city. It has 50 bedrooms, which are both spacious and elegantly decorated; these include Suites and Duplexes. The Suites are modern and employ comfortable facilities with pleasant seating areas. Ideal for families and groups of friends, the duplex rooms are a big attraction. Other facilities include a spa, gym and movie theatre.
Hanoi is, of course, in the north of the country and as such has a climate that sees quite cold winters. It can feel even colder because of dampness and windchill. The summers are swelteringly hot. Most of the visitors arrive here through Noi Bai International Airport. This was improved significantly with the building of a new international terminal in 2015. A new bridge and section of Highway has cut the travel time to the downtown area substantially. The 35 km journey now normally takes about 45 minutes, including traffic.
Hanoi is of course the base from which two of Vietnam’s finest destinations are reached. The wonderful mountain town and trekking centre, Sapa is an overnight train ride away. In the opposite direction many tour buses take travellers to the wonderful UNESCO site of Halong Bay every day. These two attractions are certainly a large part of the reasons that people come to Hanoi in the first place. What the city has done, through continued development such as La Siesta is create good reasons for them to stay longer.
This has been a success story and one that looks set to continue.