Often cited as one of Asia’s most beautiful cities, there’s much to experience in Hanoi. But if you fancy staying somewhere that combines the decadent glamour of the Parisian Belle Epoque with the mystique of Asia, then let Hanoi’s Hotel de l’Opera set the scene for you. Set in the city’s heart just a stroll from its iconic Opera House, it’s glamorous and theatrical from the lobby’s jewel-tone accents through to operatic flourishes in the 100 + guest rooms and suites plus a touch of sparkle in bathrooms. This hotel is a bit of a diva and ready to perform, no understudy required!
Through the hotel’s contemporary yet theatrical architecture, you get a sense of travelling through different eras and cultures. Dramatic touches in rooms include extravagant wallpaper effects on ceilings, richly timbered floors, exotic furnishings and a ruby red chaise ready to recline on and receive stage-door suitors! Sinking into an over-sized bed dressed in lavish linens, surrounded by espresso-dark furniture, there’s an unmistakeable feeling of sumptuousness. Iridescent bathroom tiles add a touch of show-biz glitz to ablutions while backstage high-wattage lighting around the mirror has you ready for your close-up in no time.
The hotel atrium continues the theatrical thread and on the night we’re there is showing black and white silent movies on a large screen. Cabanas run down one side for private drinks but as Charlie Chaplin is starring in the classic film The Kid, we decide on dinner and show in the airy space. From the hotel’s signature restaurant Cafe Lautrec’s imaginative menu, we make light, delicious pan-Asian selections but it’s the drinks list that holds our attention. Playing on Lautrec’s Belle Epoque, it features the decadent La Fee Verte – the green fairy or Absinthe. A classic Green Fairy mixes Absinthe with squeezed lemon juice, chilled water, Angostura bitters and egg white while Hemingway’s favourite ‘Death in the Afternoon’ mixes Absinthe with sparkling wine. Faced with a big itinerary the following day, we opt for a pinot noir from Central Otago rather than potentially hallucinating in Hanoi’s heat!
“Once you’ve seen the original, there’s something deeply fascinating about viewing this building at the other end of the world”. We’re speaking to hotel general manager Bodo Klingenberg about the similarities between Palais Garnier in Paris and Hanoi’s opera house on which it’s based. Built originally for French colonialists and Vietnamese aristocracy in 1911, we were fortunate to have an opportunity to go inside. There are no formal tours, it was just a lucky visit, and in one corner of a splendid salon, a sculpture entitled Mask by Australian Joel Elenberg, donated by Carillo Gantner in 1998 marked the friendship between Australian and Vietnamese artists. The phantom of the opera comes in many forms….
Fancy a night at the Opera? then go to www.hoteldelopera.com
Hotel de l’Opera is a member of Accor’s MGallery Collection. 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Diem District, Hanoi
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