Tried & Tested

Serviced apartment review: Somerset Grand Hanoi

10 Aug 2019 by Michael Allen
Somerset Grand Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

Background

Somerset Grand Hanoi, which was last renovated in 2012, is one of four Somerset serviced apartments in the Vietnamese capital. The other three are Somerset Hoa Binh, Somerset West Lake and Somerset West Point.

Somerset is a subsidiary of The Ascott, which itself is a subsidiary of Singapore-based real estate company Capitaland.

What's it like?

Somerset Grand Hanoi has 185 serviced apartment units, from one to three-bedroom layouts. The property is housed in a skyscraper in the Hoan Kiem district, meaning that many of the rooms, especially those in the higher floors, have great views of the city.

The ground floor 24-hour reception is manned by a doorman and staff who are ready to assist you with your bags upon arrival. They can help you with your luggage and to take a taxi.

To the left of the check-in desk is a seating area that, when I arrived on a Thursday night, was in the process of being recarpeted.

Somerset Grand Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The management also uses this area to display useful notices for guests. On Friday evening, I returned home to find a notice warning about the typhoon that was approaching Hanoi that day.

The residences are located on floors five to 25, while all the major facilities are located on the fourth floor. The second floor is home to the Ascott Management Office, car park and clinic, while the third floor is also the car park and management office.

The property is connected to a shopping arcade, where you can find a selection of restaurants, as well as a supermarket.

Somerset Grand Hanoi is close to a number of the city’s key attractions, such as Old Quarter, The One Pillar Pagoda and Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. It’s also conveniently located if you are working in any central area of the city.

Where is it?

10 minutes walk from Hanoi Railway Station and 45 minutes drive from Noi Bai International Airport. The property is within walking distance of the Old Quarter, as well as Hoan Kiem Lake.

The location is great as it is very centrally located. You can reach most of the main areas either on foot, with a short taxi ride, or (if you’re brave) a motorcycle taxi.

The room

I was staying in an 840-sqft 1-Bedroom Executive apartment.

In total, there are eight other room types: 1-Bedroom Deluxe, 2-Bedroom Deluxe, 2-Bedroom Executive, 2-Bedroom Premier, 3-Bedroom Deluxe, 3-Bedroom Executive, Penthouse Executive, and Penthouse Premier.

My room was perfect for either a single person occupancy, or a couple. The room door opens onto a large living area with a circular table, upon which a wide selection of welcome food was placed in a basket. Some thoughtful touches included Corn Flakes with two small cartons of UHT milk, which was convenient in case you have checked in late after the supermarket has closed. There were also Lay’s potato chips, chocolate, some dried fruits, and some instant pho noodles. There was also a plate of fresh fruits, including banana, apple, longan and milk fruit.

Opening the fridge, I also found a fresh coconut, which was a pleasant surprise.

Somerset Grand Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The fridge was also stocked with two bottles of mineral water, coca cola and beer. I was pretty thirsty after my flight, so polished off the two bottles of water in no time. When I telephoned downstairs to ask for more, I was told that only two bottles are complimentary and I had to pay for any extra (you also cannot drink from the tap in Vietnam). The staff member advised me to go to the downstairs supermarket, where the water would be cheaper than buying it from the hotel. With only 10 minutes till closing time, I had to interrupt my work and rush downstairs to buy the water, which was a tad inconvenient.

To the right of the entrance, the apartment has a large kitchen that is well-stocked with appliances and utensils, which I didn’t actually use since I was only staying for two nights.

Somerset Grand Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

Hanoi is a food paradise and good quality food is cheap and plentiful, but longer-stay guests would surely be able to make use of these kitchen facilities.

There is also a washing machine and dryer for doing laundry.

Somerset Grand Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The living area has a large and comfortable sofa, a television with satellite and cable channels, and a home entertainment system. The view out of the living room window is spectacular. There is a balcony in the kitchen, but it was locked during my stay so I couldn’t use it, though it looked rather small so I didn’t particularly yearn to go out there.

Somerset Grand Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

To the left of the living area is a corridor that leads to the bathroom at the end and the bedroom on the right. In the bedroom, the bed is soft and comfortable. The thick curtains block out most of the light and the room is well sound-proofed, ensuring I got a great night’s sleep both nights that I stayed here. Hanoi drivers are notorious for beeping and honking at all hours of the day and night, though I couldn’t really hear anything from the street below.

There is also a pillow menu were you can choose from four types of pillow: buckwheat pillow, body pillow, cotton pillow and firm pillow. Though I found the pillows that were already provided to be just fine for me.

The bedroom is also equipped with the excepted amenities, such as a wardrobe, iron and ironing board, safe, power outlets, television, etc.

Somerset Grand Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The bathroom is of a decent size, though the shower and bath are not separated, making it less convenient to shower before bathing. The usual toiletries you would expect from a hotel are provided, including a disposable toothbrush, razor, etc.

Somerset Grand Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The shower gel, shampoo and conditioner are from Spa Pure.

Somerset Grand Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

A colourful painting also helps jazz up the decor of the bathroom. You can see that the building is showing its age a little by the cracks in the walls, though this didn’t really bother me.

Somerset Grand Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

Food and beverage

The residence’s food and beverage outlet is Jaspas Restaurant & Bar on the fourth floor. I had breakfast there two mornings in a row.

Be aware that the bar area is a smoking area. I made the mistake of sitting here to eat the first day because it was quiet, but then another guest sparked up nearby and I had to move to the non-smoking area, which was full of families and quite noisy.

Somerset Grand Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

The breakfast was a decent spread. There is a hot station where the chef can whip up some eggs for you. You’ll also find self-serve tea and coffee, though one of the waitresses did offer to refill my coffee at my table when she saw I had finished my cup.

There were some unexpected items included at the buffet, including kimchi. It’s worth remember that since this is a serviced apartment, not a hotel, longer stay guests may be more likely to have breakfast in their apartments than down here. Indeed, most of the people in the breakfast area appeared to be families here for leisure.

Somerset Grand Hanoi / photo by Michael Allen

In terms of service, most of the staff members were friendly and polite, but the woman showing me into the buffet on the first day was a bit curt.

“So I just sit anywhere?” I asked, when she didn’t show me to a seat after checking my name off a list.

“Yes.”

Then I was left to my own devices to find a place to sit. Usually it’s good practice to at least lead guests to their table, so I was a bit taken aback by this.

Leisure facilities

Also on the fourth floor is the hotel pool and jacuzzi, which I didn’t use but which seemed to be popular with families.

The gym, also on this floor, is of a good size with a nice range of equipment. I ran on the treadmill one afternoon and there were only a few other guests using the gym, so it didn’t feel crowded.

There is also a Residents’ Lounge where guests can relax in a more sociable area than in their rooms.

Guests also have access to tennis courts on this floor, and there is also a children’s playground.

Verdict

A well-located serviced apartment with good-sized residences and excellent facilities. The location would make this an excellent choice for anyone new to Hanoi as it places you right in the heart of the city and within walking or short driving distance to many key points in the city.

Minor gripes would be the ungenerous policy on providing complimentary bottled water, and the curt staff member at the breakfast buffet, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at this property and left feeling well-rested and satisfied. I could quite happily have resided here for a month or more as a long-stay guest, though it also serves well as a short stay property given its great facilities.

Quick facts

  • Best for… great location with large, well-soundproofed rooms and great in-house facilities
  • Don’t miss… drinking some refreshing fresh coconut replenished daily in your fridge
  • Price A one night mid-week stay in mid-September in a 1-Bedroom Executive room starts at VND 2,640,000 (US$114)
  • Contact 49 Hai Ba Trung, Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi; enquiry.hanoi@the-ascott.com; +84 24 3934 2342
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