Tried & Tested

Hotel review: Pan Pacific Hanoi

17 Aug 2019 by Michael Allen
Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

Background

Pan Pacific Hanoi officially opened on September 19, 1998. The hotel was first managed by Meritus Westlake Hotel then rebranded to Sofitel Plaza Hanoi. In October 2016, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi was rebranded to Pan Pacific Hanoi, which is owned by Pan Pacific Group.

Pan Pacific Hotels Group is a wholly-owned hotel subsidiary of Singapore-listed UOL Group.

Based in Singapore, Pan Pacific Hotels Group owns and/or manages more than 40 hotels, resorts and serviced suites including those under development in 24 cities across Asia, Oceania, North America and Europe.

Various parts of the hotel have undergone refurbishment in recent years. Most recently was the fitness centre in 2018; before that the lobby, Pacifica Restaurant, Song Hong Bar and meeting rooms (except the Ball Room and Hoi An Room) in 2016; and before that the executive lounge in 2012.

What's it like?

This is an impressive property with an enviable location, and exactly what you would expect from the Pan Pacific brand. The hotel has a grand entrance and large lobby.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The lobby was never crowded.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

Where is it?

On the edge of the gorgeous West Lake, the largest lake in Hanoi and a popular spot for recreation. The Sheraton Hanoi and the Intercontinental Hanoi West Lake are less than a 20 minute walk away.

Pan Pacific Hanoi is also a half an hour walk or ten minute drive from the Old Quarter.

The room

In total, Pan Pacific Hanoi has 270 rooms and suites, including 181 Deluxe Rooms, 44 Pacific Club rooms, 24 Premier Lakeview Rooms, 16 Studio Suites, 54 Serviced Suites, three Executive Suites, one Premier Suite and one Presidential Suite.

I was in a Pacific Club Room on the 16th floor with access to the 17th floor Pacific Club lounge. The real stand-out feature of this room is the beautiful view of the West Lake and much smaller Truc Bach Lake. The latter has the interesting distinction of being the place where the late US presidential hopeful John McCain was shot down during the Vietnam War.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The room has some unique decorative features. When you first enter, you encounter this piece of historical ceramic which looks like it should be in a museum. The inscription below, which is probably too small to read in the photograph, says it was recovered from the Cham Island wreck (also known as the Hoi An Hoard) in Quang Nam Province, Central Vietnam.

“These wares and the likes of it would have been used to contain medicine, spices, cosmetics or essential oils,” the inscription reads.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

There is also a photograph depicting The One Pillar Pagoda – a historic Buddhist temple in Hanoi.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

As for the room’s furnishings, the bed is very soft and comfortable and comes with normal-sized pillows and some smaller purple ones.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

To the left side of the bed is a lounger chair, also with a purple cushion.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

Next to the bed is a device that functions as an alarm clock, as well as letting you control the room lighting and air conditioning, and letting you indicate if you want you room made up or not.

Certainly, the device is a little dated and one of the hotel staff who showed me around the room seemed a little embarrassed by its age, but actually I found this device extremely user friendly and better than some devices that have a more modern touch-screen interface. The master switch worked perfectly and there was no need to faff around while walking around the room and trying to work out which switch turns off which light, which happens to me in some hotels.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

Opposite the bed is a writing desk which, with its view over the two lakes, is a truly beautiful place to work. The only problem is that the view is so nice that it makes you want to get off your laptop and go downstairs and walk around the lake instead of working.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

Inside the wardrobe, there is a safe for your belongings, as well as all the usual amenities you would expect, such as coat hangers and a hairdryer.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

There are also tea and coffee making facilities, and a mini-bar.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The bathroom is of a good size with a larger than usual bathtub.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

There is only one sink, rather than two as in some hotel rooms. There is also a set of bathroom scales. Two complimentary bottles of mineral water are provided, though you can telephone downstairs for more if you run out. Toiletries are by Embrace.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The shower has both a rainfall shower and normal showerhead.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The toilet comes equipped with an electronic bidet.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

Executive lounge

My last experience in a Pan Pacific group executive lounge at the Parkroyal on Pickering in Singapore was wonderful, so I had very high hopes for the executive lounge in Pan Pacific Hanoi. I was not disappointed. The 340-sqm Pacific Club lounge on the 17th floor is a great place to eat, drink, read, relax or get some work done.

I was stranded in Hanoi due to the strikes in Hong Kong and my flight home on the Monday was cancelled. Therefore I needed a comfortable place to work remotely until my flight on Wednesday evening, and this executive lounge certainly proved its worth.

The staff were extremely courteous and helpful. They remembered what kind of coffee I preferred and always made sure I had everything I needed.

Guests at this lounge are entitled to the following “Pacific Club Privileges”:

  • Welcome drink upon arrival
  • Non-alcoholic beverages provided throughout the day
  • Breakfast between 6.30am and 10.30am
  • Afternoon tea from 3.30pm to 5pm
  • Complimentary use of the lounge’s printer and work station
  • Complimentary use of the Pacific Club Boardroom for one hour per day and 50% savings for any additional hours
  • Complimentary pressing of one suit and one shirt upon arrival
  • Complimentary laundry service for up to two pieces of clothing daily (non-cumulative)
Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The lounge is large at 340-sqm and attractively designed, with a range of seating options. As with the rooms, the lounge also offers stunning views of Hanoi from various angles.

The furnishings are all high quality and I was surprised that the lounge was last refurbished in 2012. The lounge is set to undergo another refurbishment in 2020.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The lounge is decorated with 23 paintings. The property as a whole has an impressive 140 paintings and 300 photographs on display.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The lounge has a good selection of reading material, including English-language newspapers The New York Times and The Straits Times. There is also the English-language Vietnam News (though it’s not pictured below).

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

For breakfast, there is a buffet, which changes regularly. On one day, the theme was Korean and on another it was Singaporean.

According to the hotel, the breakfast buffet themes rotate daily thus:

Monday: Japan

Tuesday: Singapore

Wednesday: Korea

Thursday: Thailand

Friday: Vietnam

Saturday: China

Sunday: Malaysia

There is also an extensive a la carte menu from which you can choose. I really felt spoilt for choice.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

On the first morning of my stay, I ordered the omelette with bacon, hash browns, tomatoes and baked beans. Please note that the omelette wasn’t broken like this when it was served; I was simply so keen to chow down on it that I started cutting into it before remembering to take a photograph!

Needless to say, it was delicious.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

On the second morning, I thought I’d try the eggs Benedict, which were also very nice.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The only minor criticism I could come up with about the food and beverage offering in this lounge is that when I ordered a martini, it was served in the wrong type of glass. I did tell the staff about this and they said they would take the feedback on board.

Food and beverage

Ming on the second floor is a Cantonese restaurant. I dined here for lunch on the first day of my stay. As someone who lives in Hong Kong, I found it to be pretty authentic. It’s obviously not quite as good as some of the Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong itself, but considering we were in Hanoi I was impressed by this restaurant.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

Ming is open from 11am to 2pm for lunch and 5.30pm to 10pm for dinner.

Here is some of the dim sum I had…

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

Pacifica on the first floor offers Asian and international buffet featuring “the best flavours of the Pacific as well as delectable a la carte selections meticulously prepared by skilful chefs”. I didn’t have a chance to have a meal in this restaurant during my stay, but here is a photo of the restaurant provided by the hotel.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

Pacifica’s opening hours are:

Breakfast Buffet
Monday to Friday – 6.00am to 10.00am
Saturday and Sunday – 6.00am to 10.30am

Lunch Buffet
11.30am to 2.00pm

Dinner Buffet
6.00pm to 10.00pm

À la carte
Available all day from 6.00am to 11.30pm

The Pastry Corner (pictured below), which is open from 8am to 9pm every day and is also on the first floor, offers a selection of pastries, homemade cakes, chocolates and macarons. This gourmet bakery also serves up hot and cold beverage.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The 20th floor Summit Bar opens from 4pm to midnight every day. The hotel says it offers some of the best views in Hanoi, and I couldn’t disagree. While I didn’t actually have a drink up here, I did go for a look in the middle of the afternoon, and the views were stunning.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

There is both a rooftop section with a variety of seating…

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

…and an air conditioned indoor section, which is nice as Hanoi summers can get rather hot.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The bar offers a wine of the month, though oddly this changes every two months rather than monthly. While I was there, they had a selection of wine from Portia on offer.

“In August and September 2019, we offer the highlight combo featuring Wagyu Steak paired with a glass of Portia Verdejo 2018,” a hotel spokesperson said.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

Leisure facilities

The 24-hour fourth floor gym is large and actually split between two different rooms: one focused on weights…

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

…and another focused on equipment like treadmills and exercise bikes. The hotel’s nearness to the surrounding residential area means you get some interesting sights while running on the treadmill: one morning I watched a young boy on the rooftop of his house playing with some kittens.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

In the same area, there is also a very nice swimming pool, which is open from 6am to 10pm.

Pan Pacific Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

There is also a Wellness Spa on the fourth floor, but I didn’t get a chance to try this.

Verdict

I really had a wonderful stay at Pan Pacific Hanoi. The hotel’s location on and views of the beautiful West Lake are complemented by excellent in-room amenities, as well as great food and beverage outlets and leisure facilities. If you can, try to get a room with access to the Pacific Club lounge, as this is a great place to have breakfast in relative privacy, enjoy cocktails and a good spread of food in the evening, or simply as a comfortable and quiet place to get some work done.

Quick facts

  • Best for… beautiful location with luxurious facilities and excellent service
  • Don’t miss… admiring the view with a cocktail at the 20th floor Summit Bar
  • Price A one night stay in a Pacific Club room in mid-September starts at US$190
  • Contact  1 Thanh Nien Road Ba Dinh District 10000 Hanoi Vietnam / +84 24 3823 8888 / enquiry.pphan@panpacific.com
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