Hanoi, the capital of the economic dynamo that is Vietnam, is a city that is rapidly expanding outwards. If you drop a Street View pin on Google Maps on a street on the outskirts of the city, you may find an outdated photo showing a dusty construction site or the bare bones of a skyscraper. In reality, there is probably now a brand new building there.
Most of Hanoi’s hotels are still concentrated within the central areas of the city. The expat-friendly West Lake area is home to some beautiful luxury properties such as the Pan Pacific Hanoi and Intercontinental Hanoi West Lake. South of Hoan Kiem Lake, a much smaller lake than West Lake but one equally beloved by Hanoi denizens, you’ll find the storied Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, where US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held a summit meeting in February.
There is a good reason why the hotels are here and many people choose to stay in these areas: they are undoubtedly the most beautiful, vibrant and (at least for now) interesting parts of the Vietnamese capital.
So when I learnt that a new hotel by Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Wyndham Garden Hanoi, had opened about 13 kilometres west of Hanoi’s centre this March, I was intrigued to find out more about this property.
It’s true that Wyndham Garden Hanoi is not the only hotel located on the outskirts of the city. The JW Marriott is abut 10 kilometres from the centre, though it is within walking distance of the Hanoi Museum and the Vietnam National Convention Center.
Wyndham Garden Hanoi has been developed by PPC An Thinh Investment and Infrastructure Development Joint Stock Company (PPCAT) and is being operated under a management agreement with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. One of the youngest brands in the Wyndham portfolio, Wyndham Garden “embraces natural materials, daylight and pops of green to make guests feel like they’re relaxing in nature”, according to a press release.
It is Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ second property in Vietnam, following Wyndham Legend Halong which overlooks the iconic seascape of Halong Bay.
What's it like?
One good indication that a hotel is brand new is that your taxi driver can’t find it, even when given the address in Vietnamese; he had to call the hotel to ask for directions. Finally pulling up at the hotel lobby, I was greeted by a friendly member of staff, who used an umbrella to shield me from the fury of Typhoon Wipha – which had followed me all the way from Hong Kong to Hanoi and turned most of the road leading to the hotel into a river – and led me to the reception desk.
Here’s a photo from my journey to the hotel.
I could tell straight away that this was a new property. All the furnishings and decor seem brand spanking new. The lobby is large and well-lit from the large windows.
The check-in counter is straight ahead from the entrance.
To the right of the check-in counter is a seating area. To the left (and pictured below), there is a lobby bar. While I didn’t use this during my stay, whenever the staff member manning the bar saw me waiting in the lobby (usually for a taxi), they would offer me a complimentary refreshing glass of cold, slightly sweetened tea to drink while I waited.
There is also some comfortable sofa seating to the left of the lobby.
The lobby is also decorated with this rather nice chandelier.
Where is it?
As mentioned above, the location is somewhat far from the city centre, though it is about a 10-minute drive to the Vietnam National Convention Centre.
From the central areas, though, you’ll need to take a taxi for about 30 to 40 minutes. There also may be a short wait time for a taxi given the hotel’s location, though the lobby is certainly a nice place to wait and the staff do take care of you by offering complimentary refreshments.
Accommodation at Wyndham Garden Hanoi includes Deluxe King and Twin Rooms as well as Junior Suites and Deluxe Suites, all of which feature floor-to-ceiling windows and free wi-fi.
I was in a Junior Suite, which is split between a living room, bedroom and bathroom, all three of which are large. The living room has a long sofa with cushions, as well as a lounge chair. It is also tastefully decorated with a modern painting above the sofa.
Furthermore, there is a table, upon which sits a potted plant, and three chairs.
The living room also has a large television with both Vietnamese and English language channels. There is also a working desk, where I was able to work comfortably on my laptop for a couple of hours.
Tea and coffee making facilities are provided.
The bathroom is in the shape of a long rectangle, with the bathtub on the left, sink on the right and shower at the far end on the left, with the toilet just to the right of the shower.
The shower has both a rainfall shower and a shower head. Shampoo, conditioner and body wash are provided.
The toilet comes equipped with a bidet shower.
The bathtub is a good size, though unlike in some hotels there is no window next to the bathtub so you can’t enjoy a view while you bathe.
In the bedroom, the bed is large and comfortable.
You’ll also find a second television here, as well as a hanger for your jacket or shirt.
One of the bedroom’s standout features is its large wrap-around balcony, which affords impressive views of the surrounding neighbourhood.
It’s worth noting that the hotel has both rooms facing the city and rooms facing a green area. Heed my advice and insist on the latter. I was in a city view room, but since the hotel faces a busy main road I could still hear motorbikes, cars and lorries honking their horns past midnight. The room is not soundproofed enough and I was close to calling reception to see if they could offer earplugs, though I didn’t. It’s a shame, since there is nothing wrong with any of the amenities or features of the room and there is little the hotel can do about Vietnamese drivers’ propensity to sit on their horns at all hours of the day and night.
Food and beverage
The hotel’s restaurant, Silk Garden, is located on the third floor. I had dinner here one night of my stay and breakfast here two mornings in a row. The restaurant was almost entirely empty during both dinner and breakfast.
For dinner I enjoyed a cheese topped lobster, as well as various dishes from the buffet. For breakfast, there was also nice selection, though I wondered what the hotel was going to do with all the excess food, as there was scarcely anyone there to eat it.
During breakfast on the weekend I was the only guest eating, which created the odd situation of having all the staff members attending to me and me alone. The staff were all friendly, though, and I didn’t really feel uncomfortable by the situation.
A hotel executive did tell me that the tour groups staying at the hotel tend to take their breakfast very early at 6.30am or 7am, so probably I missed the crowd as I breakfasted late. But 9am isn’t extraordinarily late to breakfast on a Sunday, and in many other hotels there would usually be other guests eating at this time.
I also visited the hotel’s 20th floor Twilight Bar around 6pm one evening – and, again, I was the only guest. It was a very rainy day as Typhoon Wipha was still passing nearby Hanoi, so perhaps non-hotel residents were dissuaded from coming to the bar.
I asked the barman what drink he recommended and he said a mojito, which he whipped up for me after having to go away to fetch the ingredients as they didn’t have them to hand.
It tasted good and I had a pleasant enough chat with the two staff members, who could speak reasonable English, but I didn’t really care to sit in an empty bar for much longer so I went down for dinner.
The hotel is still new, and it’s not exactly in an area known for its nightlife, so perhaps in time more in-house guests will gravitate towards this bar. Certainly, there aren’t many other drinking spots nearby the hotel, so if you do want a quiet drink and don’t fancy cabbing it somewhere downtown then at least the seating in this bar is comfortable. You could even use this as a place to get some work done, since the hotel does not have an executive lounge.
Hanoi’s nightlife has a lot to offer though, so if you do have the energy to cab it downtown I would highly recommend it.
Have you stayed in hotels where the gym is too small and you just want to squeeze in a half hour on the treadmill but can’t because the other guests woke up ten minutes earlier than you and nabbed the equipment?
Then you’ll love the Wyndham Garden Hanoi’s fitness centre, which was deserted both times I used it. When I got to the sixth floor, I approached the glass door hesitantly, unsure if the gym was actually open as there were no other guests or staff in there. I sidled up to the treadmill and tapped the start button. It whirred to life and I began my run. About half way through, a staff member walked through and greeted me.
It’s the same story with the swimming pool, with no one else to admire the charms of its colourful ceiling. I regretted not having brought my swimming trunks and being able to go for a private swim.
I also found a Yoga Center, but it didn’t seem to be open.
The hotel also has a spa on the sixth floor, but I didn’t use it during my stay.
This new hotel is very well put together and shows great promise. At the moment, it seems to have a low occupancy rate, probably due to its rather distant location. The developers may be betting on the fact that this part of Hanoi will soon see more development, which is quite easy to believe when you see the rapid development going on all over the peripheries of the city.
The facilities here are all great, with the gym and pool being particularly impressive. The rooms are lovely and equipped with everything you need, though do make sure you ask for a non-city view room, as the traffic noise from the city view rooms is unacceptable, especially if you need to sleep early and wake up early. I hope the hotel can do something about this, whether by better soundproofing the rooms or providing earplugs in the room (the former would be preferable to the latter).
A big shout out must go to the hotel staff, who were kind, courteous and accommodating during my whole stay. They always made me feel welcome and made sure I had everything I needed. One night, coming home in a taxi, a disreputable taxi driver tried to scam me out of VND 600,000 (US$29) for a fare that ought to have cost less than VND 200,000 (US$8), but the hotel staff intervened and saved me from having to pay the extortionate fare.
For first time visitors to Hanoi, unless you are with a tour group I would recommend staying in a more central location. The best way to get to know the city is by walking its bustling streets, taking in the sights, sounds and smells. Staying on the periphery doesn’t really give you the full Hanoi experience.
However, if you’ve been to Hanoi before and are happy to stay a little bit outside of the city centre, then you can’t really go wrong with Wyndham Garden Hanoi. And if you’re visiting the Vietnam National Convention Center, this hotel would be an excellent choice.
- Best for… great in-house facilities and friendly and helpful staff
- Don’t miss… working out in the spacious fitness centre
- Price A one night mid-week stay in a Junior Suite starts at VND 3,950,000 (US$172)
- Contact HH01 To Huu Street Van Phuc Ward Ha Noi, Vietnam 100000; wyndhamhotels.com