Visiting Hanoi for the first time? Not sure what to do or where to go in the capital of Vietnam? Let the folks at Wyndham Garden Hanoi help you out with their experience packages to help you explore the food, culture and sights of the city.
The first Wyndham Garden Hotel opened in March 2019. It is also the first Wyndham Garden hotel in Vietnam and the country’s second Wyndham property after Wyndham Legend Halong.
Enjoy upper-midscale hotel facilities at this Wyndham Garden which embraces natural materials and pops of green to help guests feel relaxed just like in nature. Wyndham Garden hotels around the world offer a carefree convenience and peace of mind to both business and leisure travellers escaping the hustle and bustle. Many of these hotels offer flexible meeting spaces, inviting lobbies, welcoming lounges and complimentary high-speed internet access.
The Wyndham Garden Hanoi hotel features 112 rooms including 45 x 28sqm Deluxe Rooms, 56 x 28 sqm Premier Room with Balcony, 5 x 72sqm Deluxe Suites, 5 x 60sqm Junior Suites, 1 x 450 sqm Presidential Suite.
The hotel is not located in the city centre but in a somewhat less crowded street with lots of food & beverage options across the road. Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, the Hanoi Museum and Temple of Literature are close by while the Vạn Phúc Silk Village is walking distance. If you are in Hanoi for a conference or trade fare at Vietnam National Convention Centre, this hotel makes an excellent choice. Noi Bai International Airport is just 40 minutes drive while it takes 20 minutes to downtown.
We understand that a lot of tour groups from South Korea stay overnight at this hotel before heading out early the next morning to Danang.
Staying in a Junior Suite at Wyndham Garden Hanoi
In July 2019, I checked into the Junior Suite (Room 1508) with excellent floor-to-ceiling views. The five 60sqm Junior suites come with a private balcony, flat-screen television and free internet. The separate living room is also fitted with satellite television, a sofa and a lot of space.
The marble bathroom which is accessible from the living room or the bedroom is spacious with separate shower room where you can enjoy high pressured Hans Grohe rain showers and a bathtub for you to soak your tensed muscles from the travelling and exploring. Elle Voyage toiletries and other essentials such as toothbrush & toothpaste, mouth wash, cotton wool and buds are provided.
There are two washbasins in the bathroom making it convenient for couples to freshen up. The WC is equipped with a bidet hose.
A Good Night’s Rest
Enjoy a good night’s rest on the firm bed. Who doesn’t like new bedding and pillows? Turn down service is available. Bottled water is placed on the bedside table, curtains are drawn and the room is prepared for you to rest well.
It is a peculiar habit of mine whenever I travel. I’ll always have a cup of hot tea to calm my tummy because I would usually have fabulous dinners or drinks. And that’s always my nightcap.
The mini bar is well equipped with Dilmah teas and a coffee machine with coffee capsules.
Dining At Wyndham Garden Hanoi
Silk Garden on level three is the main all-day dining outlet here. Buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as ala carte options, are available here. The wide selection of the buffet spread means you don’t have to leave the hotel in search of food.
Noodle station at breakfast is what I look out for. A nice hot bowl of soup noodles when you just wake up. Pick your ingredients and type of noodles and a chef in the open kitchen will cook them for you.
The Seafood dinner buffet, available from Friday to Saturday, features fresh seafood on ice, hot dishes, salads, soup and more for a tummy-filled meal.
Chill Out at Twilight Bar
Located at level 20 is the rooftop bar with an alfresco area where you can enjoy a glorious sunset. This explains why the bar is called Twilight Bar. On windy evenings, this is the perfect spot to chill over some beers and enjoy the 360-degree views of the city skyline.
Local & international beers, cocktails, wines and other drinks are available at the bar.
Sit by the bar and chat with the bar manager, or relax by the soft sofas in the bar. Or pick a seat in the terrace.
Wellness and Keeping Fit
Stay fit and relaxed even when you are on vacation. You will need it especially after overindulging in the local cuisine or enjoying lots of local beer. The hotel offers a very well-equipped fitness centre, indoor swimming pool, a yoga room and jacuzzi. They are conveniently located on level six. The fitness centre is a member’s gym where locals can pay an annual fee for access.
The spa offers different treatments including their signature Dreams Body Treatment that would cost you VND 899,000 for 75 minutes of pure bliss. Other treatments include facials, body scrub and waxing.
Farmers-Style Afternoon Tea and Snacks
Who would have expected to see Paddy Fields in a gentrified area? This turns out to be one of the views from the Wyndham Garden Hanoi. The Farmers-style Afternoon Tea and Snacks activity (VND350,000 per guest with a minimum of four guests). You could probably walk from the hotel to the site. A hotel van will send you there instead.
The newly planted paddy field is set in the middle of modern buildings. Take a tour of the farm area and enjoy views of peach blossoms, fruit trees and other produce. Bring along a fan and a hat or brolly if you are afraid of the sun and spray some mosquito repellent in advance.
After the tour, enjoy an afternoon tea of locally grown ingredients as well as the rice from the paddy fields prepared by the hotel chefs. Vietnamese spring rolls, sushi, fruits and desserts fill up bento boxes.
Chef Cooking Class and Demonstration
One of the activities I enjoyed most was the Chef Cooking Class and Demonstration. That’s priced at VND600,000 per guests with a minimum of four guests.
This activity starts early in the morning. Visit the local markets and find out how the chef picks the freshest ingredients and produce. A visit to the local markets in any city is always interesting. Be warned. It may be somewhat wet and messy. It is still interesting to see what the locals eat. Expect to see livestock in cages and baskets.
If the weather is good, the cooking class will be held at the rooftop terrace of Twilight Bar. The produce that was bought in the morning has been cut and beautifully displayed for the cooking class. Before we got down to preparing our own hot pot, chefs prepared some local bites. Went well with cocktails.
Executive Chef Derek Watanabe taught us how to prepare our very own pot of soup with ingredients we picked. The soup was boiled over charcoal and most importantly, it was a fun experience. Guests have the option of suggesting what meals they would like to prepare.
Silk Village Through The Ages
Hanoi’s famous silk village is worth the visit if you are looking for something to bring home. Wyndham Garden Hanoi’s Silk Village Through The Ages bring you on a guided tour with a local villager who has been in the silk weaving business for generations. You will be shown the age-old weaving techniques that are still used today and hear personal accounts of residents that are still making a living from silk weaving. This activity is priced at VND 200,000 per guest with a minimum of 4 guests.
Visit Vạn Phúc Silk Village and check out merchandise made with silk and bring home some souvenirs. Don’t forget to snap a photo under the display of colourful umbrellas. It looks pretty during the day or at night.
Cyclos & Local Street Food Favourites
Ngoc Son Temple is built in the 18th century on Jade Island in the centre of Hoan Kiem lake. This lake is also known as the Lake of the Returned Sword. Visitors access the temple by crossing the iconic Huc Bridge also known as the Rising Sun Bridge. This red wooden bridge is quite easy to spot.
Legend has it that an emperor was once given a magical sword to help him defeat the Chinese Ming Dynasty. The Golden Turtle God returned to the lake and today a ‘Turtle Tower’ stands close to the lake.
Visit one of the traditional houses in the Old Quarter. Ma May Street was on the bank of the Red River, a commercial harbour. The Traditional house was built at the end of the 19th century where shopkeepers’ families live there. In 1945, a family bought it to sell Chinese medicine. The government requisitioned the house in 1954 and five families settled in it till 1999.
The traditional tube-house architecture has a narrow façade and a succession of buildings and courtyards. The shop is located in the first building overlooking the street. The living-room and ancestors’ altar are located on the second level. The second building houses the living area while the kitchen and bathroom are located at the far end of the house. The two courtyards offer good ventilation and natural light into the house.
This Traditional House was restored and was inaugurated on 27 October 1999 and is recognised as Vietnamese National Heritage in 2004.
Wine & Dine in Hanoi
Bun Cha Fit for A President
President Obama and the late Anthony Bourdain ate here in 2016 and Bun Chà Huöng Liên has been popular and overflowing with diners ever since. Bún chả is Vietnamese grilled fatty pork and white rice noodles and herbs eaten with dipping sauce. This dish a speciality of Hanoi.
Bún chả can be served with ground pork or thin slices of grilled pork in a broth of fish sauce, vinegar and sugar. Also, order the fried spring rolls here.
Vietnamese Egg Coffee
Cafe Đinh, just 2 minutes walk from the Temple of the Jae Mountain, offers a deliciously creamy egg coffee known by the locals as cà phê trúng. Patrons sit on low stools with your friends in a rustic room on the second level. Expect it to be cosy when it is packed, often filled with many other fellow travellers.
Eat some Bánh Mi, a Vietnamese baguette stuffed with grilled meats. It is another one of those must eat dishes.
Bánh Mỳ P is a small narrow store that sells Banh Mi. This popular store has been listed in many recommendations by media all around the world as well as in TripAdvisor.
The baguette is stuffed with fillings and the toasted over charcoal fire giving a crispy crunch on the outside while keeping the inside soft. There are different options of grilled chicken, beef, simmered pork, meatballs or pate with Jambon for the filling.
Hanoi Phở Beef Noodles
My all-time favourite Vietnamese dish has to be Phở. This dish of vermicelli noodles cooked in a sweet broth is served with beef or chicken and vegetable and herb condiments.
Hanoi’s Phở is different from Ho Chi Minh. The broth in Hanoi is traditionally cooked with mostly bone and the noodles tend to be thinner than its counterpart in Ho Chi Minh. The condiments used in Hanoi’s Pho tend to be less with only green onion and parsley.
There are many Phở stores in Hanoi. Search for one on google, and there are many recommendation listings to choose from.
Chả Cá Lã Vọng – Turmeric Catfish and Vermicelli Noodles with Fermented Shrimp Paste Sauce
Chả Cá Lã Vọng is one of the signature dishes found in the city of Hanoi. Thick chunks of firm catfish meat are marinated with turmeric, flour and galangal and cooked in a generous pan of oil. I hear that some other restaurants offer a less oily version.
After the fish is cooked, aromatic green scallion and fresh dill are added to cook with the fish. This dish is commonly eaten with a Vietnamese fermented shrimp sauce called Mam Tom that is made with fermented shrimp paste, fresh crushed garlic, water and lemon juice. This shrimp paste may be too pungent for the uninitiated. You can replace this with Vietnamese fish sauce instead.
Add these ingredients into a bowl of Vermicelli and garnish with peanuts for extra flavours and texture. Add cut red chilli to increase the level of spiciness.
The robust flavours from all the ingredients make this a must-try dish for all visitors to Hanoi. We had this at Chả Cá Lã Vọng at the Old Quarter. Their business card where mentions “Depuis 1871” which is French for since 1871. Search for this dish in Hanoi online, and you get a listing of different places to visit and this one gets mixed reviews of people who enjoy the food there and others who don’t.
Uu Dam Vegan
In a country where fish sauce is used a lot for its cuisine, I was surprised to have dinner in a vegan restaurant in Hanoi. The popular Ưu Đàm Chay serves a selection of nutritious and healthy meatless dishes that are absolutely tasty and filling. I am pretty sure that meat lovers wouldn’t even mind having a meal here.
The decor here has Buddhist elements and has many elements of wood throughout the restaurant. Beautiful ambience. The fried lotus root chips are extremely addictive. The menu is pretty extensive.
We stumbled upon The Atlas Beer Collector by accident one night. With a few branches in Hanoi, The menu here features a very extensive collection of beers from all over the world. Beers are served on tap or in bottles.
Beer lovers will enjoy this space and enjoy beers at reasonable prices.
Getting to Hanoi from Singapore
Many airlines fly from Singapore to Hanoi. Scoot, The 3 1/2 hour direct flights are operated by VietJet Air, Singapore Airlines and Vietnam Airlines.
I had a great four days in Hanoi but my shoes didn’t quite make it after that.
This experience was hosted by Wyndham Garden Hanoi.