CHECK IT OUT HANOI LA SIESTA CEN­TRAL HO­TEL & SPA

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

A bou­tique ho­tel with just 27 gue­strooms across five floors has opened on Cau Go Street in the heart of the Viet­namese cap­i­tal’s his­toric Old Quar­ter. The dress-cir­cle lo­cale means guests of Hanoi La Siesta Cen­tral Ho­tel & Spa have views over the rooftops of the her­itage town on one side of the build­ing and across Hoan Kiem Lake on the other.

The prop­erty is owned and oper­ated by Viet­namese com­pany Ele­gance Hos­pi­tal­ity Group and chair­man and founder Do Van Dan has taken a spe­cial in­ter­est in the con­ver­sion of this his­toric home into a very smart, well-priced ho­tel. In­side he’s gone for a clas­sic and un­der­stated ele­gance, with dark wood pan­elling, black and white tiles and cream up­hol­stery. Nine­teen of the gue­strooms come with lake views; the Ju­nior Suite Lake View and Premium La Siesta Suite Bal­cony claim the best out­looks. All fea­ture king-size beds, large flat-screen TVs and su­per-smart bath­rooms with rain show­ers.

The mez­za­nine-level day spa is the head­line act and fol­lows the clas­sic black and white theme across seven treat­ment rooms; the menu is in­spired by tra­di­tional Viet­namese heal­ing prac­tices.

EHG has emerged as one of Viet­nam’s lead­ing bou­tique chains. Do Van Dan learned the ropes work­ing as a ho­tel re­cep­tion­ist be­fore open­ing a 10-room prop­erty with just four staff in 2006. The Cen­tral is the group’s sixth ho­tel in Hanoi.

DON’T MISS: The ho­tel of­fers a range of op­tions from a Hanoi street-food tour to day trips to des­ti­na­tions in­clud­ing the Bat Trang Ce­ramic Vil­lage or Tay Phuong Pa­gado and Van Phuc silk vil­lage.

DIN­ING IN: There are great lake views from the rooftop Red Bean res­tau­rant and Twi­light Sky Bar (try the ex­tra spicy Wel­come to the Sky tip­ple with vodka, fresh man­darin juice and home­made hot spice puree). In the res­tau­rant, ex­ec­u­tive chef Dinh Van Manh over­sees a great Viet­namese menu along with re­gional and Western dishes such as Thang Long grilled fish or crab­meat and green as­para­gus soup, Asian-style, along­side grilled Aus­tralian striploin.

DIN­ING OUT: Try Banh Mi 25 for Viet­namese-style baguettes or nab a ta­ble on the pave­ment at the Parisian-style La Ter­rasse at the his­toric Sof­i­tel Leg­end Metropole Hanoi.

ASK THE CONCIERGE: Take a stroll to Giang Cafe, which spe­cialises in ca phe trung, or egg cof­fee, a Hanoi spe­cialty in which a creamy soft, meringue­like egg-white foam is perched atop dense Viet­namese cof­fee.

CHECK­ING IN: From $US85 ($107); premium suite from $US169. More: hanoilasi­es­ta­cen­tral­ho­tel.com.

ALSO TRY: La Siesta Hoi An Re­sort & Spa, Viet­nam; Avani River­side Bangkok Ho­tel; Seven Ter­races, Ge­orge Town, Pe­nang.

CHRIS­TINE Mc­CABE

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