Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature a new travel blogger. Some weeks it will be a really fun interview about packing, fashion, and fitness so you can snoop inside their bags & lives a little bit and other weeks it’ll be a detailed luxury guide to a city the featured blogger/expat knows very well. E-mail me if you’d like to be featured.
You DO need a visa to visit Vietnam. Get one easily here.
A Luxury Guide to Hanoi
Tell us a little about yourself and tell us why you’re an expert on luxury travel in Hanoi.
I have lived and worked as a fashion lecture in Hanoi for last 2 years before quitting my job and starting my blog Haute Culture in August. Trust me when I say I have spent a lot of time seeking out the most unique and stylish places to wile away a weekend.
What makes Hanoi a perfect destination for travelers seeking a glamorous trip?
Hanoi is the most culturally unique and charming city of Vietnam because it still retains much of it’s international and traditional character. Although it can be extremely busy at times there are many hidden oasis’s to be discovered.
What 5 star hotel is the best in Hanoi?
The most luxurious and renowned hotel is the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi. This colonial landmark is the the pinnacle of French grandeur and timeless elegance. Only 5 minutes walk from Hoan Kiem lake, it is most recognisable by the countless bride’s and groom’s having their portraits shot in front of the Rolls Royce and inhouse boutiques such as Hermes and Cartier.
What about boutique hotels in Hanoi, of them all, which would you send your friends or family to stay at?
Cinnamon Hotel is a really lovely converted Vietnamese traditional house that has retained much of it’s original features and overlooks the charming St Joseph’s Cathedral square.
Are there any fun activities for the adventurous traveler?
Hanoi Vespa Tours are really cool, you can hire a retro style automatic Vespa motorbike and guides will get you of the regular tourist traps. It’s a really fun and unique way to see the city. If you don’t fancy hitting the road, Sophie’s Art Tour is a delightful way to spend a cultured morning in the company of English speaking art critics. The tour will take you to different museums and galleries around the city explaining the history of Vietnam’s fight for independance told through the hands and hearts of it’s artists.
Where are the best hang outs during the day in Hanoi?
Hanoi has a huge cafe scene, you can’t go far wrong with Cong Caphe for their famous coconut cream coffees whilst surrounded by vintage Vietnamese decor. D’alice is a gorgeous Alice in Wonderland style bakery that is new in Hanoi, enticing a fashionable crowd of locals and tourists for their selection of boutique cupcakes, macaroons and speciality teas.
If you have a big date night, what are the most delicious restaurants in Hanoi and what are their best dishes?
The best place to try authentic Vietnamese street style food is Quan An Ngon at 34 Phan Đình Phùng street, 100 times over. Here you can select from a fantastic variety of different dishes made right before your eyes, whilst being surrounded by pretty lanterns in a pagoda style setting. If you don’t fancy Vietnamese food, there is a new (hugely talked about) Japanese pizza restaurant has just opened called Pizza 4P’s on 24 Ly Quoc Su Street reservation is required. Afterwards be sure to take a romantic stroll around Hoan Kiem lake.
Tell us all the hot shopping spots; who’s carrying the trendy local designers in Hanoi?
The best place for luxury shopping is Trang Tien Street, here you will find a combination of European and established Vietnamese fashion designers. Valenciani, Mestiko, Chula and Thuy’s Design house are my favourites for contemporary collections with cultural details.
Time for a great sunset view in Hanoi… where would you go?
Head to the Sofitel Summit Lounge on the 20th floor by West Lake for the most spectacular sunset skyline in the city.
Now that the sun’s gone down, fill us on the best places to go for some evening drinks or a great pre-gaming spot.
The Press Club is the most stylish venue you for city slickers staying in the luxury hotels near by. Head there for the long cocktail list, a la carte menu and international dj’s. Tadioto’s is a small yet sophisticated wine and whisky bar attracting local artists and intellectuals for good conversation in oriental atmospheric surroundings.
If you end the night at a fancy club, which one do you head towards?
There are no luxury clubs in the city that officially stay open after 11pm.
Donna Wanderlust is a devoted style seeker from the UK with an insatiable passion for exploring cultures, countries and clothes. Her blog Haute Culture focused on fashion, costume, shopping, art and design in every destination she visits, alongside her funny and awe inspiring encounters along the way. Readers can get the full Haute Culture Guide to Hanoi for FREE from January 2016. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
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