72 Hours in Culture-Rich Hanoi, Staying at the Illustrious Capella Hanoi


The city of Hanoi is bursting with treasures, and Capella Hanoi can show you the best of them. We partnered with Capella Hotels to give you an inside look at this magnificent city.


Walking into Capella Hanoi, you’d be forgiven for thinking you stepped back to the opulent, glamorous 1920s, when the nearby Hanoi Opera House served as the epicenter of Vietnam's vibrant cultural confluence. The grand, timeless vision of architect Bill Bensley is evident in every detail of Capella Hanoi, from the museum-caliber art curation down to the floor-to-ceiling art-deco design. It's a combination gallery and time capsule brought to vivid life: a magnificent swirl of Parisian and New York Broadway charms and Vietnamese heritage where new wonders reveal themselves around every corner and every guest can feel the warmth of the spotlight.

The luxury hotel exists at the intersection of Hanoi’s glitzy past and its exhilarating present, and with its central location in the heart of Hanoi’s vibrant Old Quarter, it’s the perfect entry point to a deep exploration of the city’s unique charms and an eye-popping destination unto itself. Here’s how to make the most of 72 hours at Capella Hanoi.

day 1 photo

Day 1

Your immersion into the timeless petite auberge aesthetic happens immediately upon entry. The colorfully chic Living Room is stocked with board games and Comedia illustre magazines from the turn of the century and a sprawling interior courtyard is alive with art and artifacts. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the hand-painted murals, dreamy lighting, and period-specific art later. For now, it’s time to explore your room.

photo of bedroom

At Capella Hanoi, no two suites are alike. Each of the 47 quarters takes on its own unique theme inspired by operatic masterworks and the artists who brought them to life. You'll find rooms inspired by Josephine Baker and Sergei Diaghilev, Coco Chanel and Pablo Picasso. Each room is stocked with one-of-a-kind art, antiques, costumes, portraits by artist Kate Spencer, and other relics. And each has its own French balcony: That means whether you opt for a cozier courtyard-facing room or go all-in with the marble washroom and full bar of the Madama Butterfly-inspired Grand Opera Suite, you’ll get to step out and enjoy some fresh air.

After you’ve settled in, descend the lift and take advantage of a signature Capella Moments event. Depending on the day, you’ll be treated to a cooking demonstration; rattan and bamboo weaving; a tasting of locally distilled gin and rum; Vietnamese conical hat-making master class; and more.

photo of barstools

Once you're done, make haste for Diva’s Lounge, the art deco cocktail palace where Capella's glamorous side truly shines. At 6pm, the hotel’s resident Diva steps out of the elevator amid a bluster of paparazzi and takes up her mantle behind the bar. It's just one of the many flourishes heightening a night of immaculately crafted cocktails (each one a tribute to the influential divas, from Anna Held to Coco Chanel, you can find commemorated throughout the hotel), live music, and expertly prepared Vietnamese-style tapas. One sip of the signature Opera Punch and your voyage to Hanoi Opera's glory days is complete, and with Parisian vibes from the adjoining terrace, it's an experience that will be seared into your memories forever.

photo of day 2

Day 2

Your morning will likely begin with the sounds of songbirds near Hoàn Kiếm Lake, but the true music begins at 8am, when Capella Hanoi's resident opera starlets begin dancing in front of the hotel. Each day, guests are treated to a traditional fan dance to imperial court music—as the resident barista brews up traditional drip coffee that’s perfect for sipping while discovering art strategically placed throughout the Living Room.

ceramic pottery

Once your senses are sufficiently stimulated, it's time to embrace adventure. Doing so is easy thanks to Capella Curates, a series of off-property expeditions designed to plunge you into the life and culture of Vietnam. For the artistically inclined, experiences include "Lacquer Your Life," an immersion into the intricate, fine art of Vietnamese lacquer painting that includes a visit to a master artist's workshop. There's also a trip to rural Bac Ninh village for a deep-dive into the ancient art of Dó papermaking and a half-day trip to Bat Trang village to create one-of-a-kind ceramics. For the more libation-minded, there's also a jaunt across the Red River to Sông Cái Distillery, where participants can watch the process of making Vietnam’s first and only gin using botanicals foraged from Vietnam’s highlands—from the time it's fired in a still to bottling—while sampling the wares and making their own infusions.

backstage restaurant

Cap off a long day at Capella's exemplary Backstage restaurant, whose innovative cuisine uses time-tested, globe-spanning techniques to bring meticulously sourced, occasionally rare Vietnamese produces to vibrant life. A dinner in four acts, the cuisine here pays homage to Northern Vietnam's heritage street foods and cooking techniques in a delight of culinary display made in partnership with local farmers and artisans. Fresh seafood and prime meat courses sizzle on Josper grills, vegan dishes bring bold flavors and freshness, and every guest feels like an opera star treating themselves to a well-deserved post-performance feast in an ultra-mod setting. Backstage also has a Champagne a la carte gourmet breakfast service, featuring Vietnamese coffee art, delicious bánh mì, rolled duck omelets, and a Viennoiserie and bread trolley—so keep your morning options open.

Day 3

After an action-packed trip, it's time to rejuvenate. And that starts at sunrise; Capella's resident tai chi master leads a group session as the sun rises on Hoàn Kiếm Lake—Lake of the Returned Sword—followed by a stroll around the district as its ancient bridges and temples awaken.

transporting food

Now that you're in the historical center of Hanoi, it's time to venture into the rest of the city. But before you set off on your voyage of discovery, check in with Capella Hanoi's on-site Culturist, who will help you see this wholly unique city through a lens perfectly calibrated to your interests. Here in the heart of the Old District, you can send your senses into overdrive, whether that means feasting on Hanoi's distinctive street food—a collision of French and South Asian flavors—or visiting the famous Ngoc Son Temple, an ornate 19th-century landmark whose calming presence stands in contrast to the city's modern bustle.

photo of pool

After you've properly explored Hanoi, it's time to decompress at Capella Hanoi's rejuvenating Auriga Spa, where holistic techniques calibrated to the Vietnamese lunar cycle set your body at ease amid a calming ambience. Follow that with a dip in La Grotta, the serene indoor pool and another bastion of relaxation tucked into this architectural wonder. Once you're dry, head to the basement, where the sprawling, high-end, 160-seat Teppanyaki Private Counter—opening in the latter half of 2021—awaits. The grilled cuisine here comes with extra flair, paired up with the finest Japanese whisky, sake and inventive cocktails.

It's been an eventful visit, so grab a signature bottled cocktail on your way back to your suite. Put your favorite song on your in-room Marshall speaker and put your feet up one last time on your private balcony, surveying the sights below. You’ve had an unforgettable stay. Time to plan the encore.

Ready to take the first step? Book your stay at Capella Hanoi here. Or, with their Dream Now Travel later package, you can pay for a vacation today and get 30% off their Best Available Rates on your future trip.

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