San Grand Hotel Review : 4* Hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter

Created by Colleen Sims * 10 April 2024

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If like us, you’re visiting Hanoi for the first time and wondering where to stay then this review is for you.

We booked the San Grand Hotel; a 4* hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter.  We’ll share what we loved, the pros and cons of this hotel and what you should expect.  You can then decide if the San Grand Hotel is right for you and your pocket.

Hotel San Grand Hanoi : Our Honest Review

Finding the right place anywhere can absolutely make or break a trip.  But in a large city you also have to consider the hotel location and Hanoi was one such place. We’d made a few poor choices along the way during our 5 month journey through India and Vietnam and decided to do a bit of last minute switching in Hanoi.

We’d been travelling through Vietnam for almost 2 months before landing in Hanoi.  Our hotel in Tam Coc had been underwhelming and we really wanted a nice hotel and a comfortable bed.

We found the San Grand Hotel bang in the centre of the Old Quarter.  It had great reviews and we got a great price so we booked.  Keep reading and we’ll share our thoughts after six gloriously comfortable nights sleep here.

Top Tip : Before we dive in I would like to stress that we booked and paid for our stay at the San Grand Hotel and these thoughts are ours alone.

colleen on a green leather sofa in the lobby of the San Grand Hotel Hanoi

4 Star Hotel in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

We had already decided the Old Quarter was for us.  The San Grand Hotel was formally called the Lucien Hanoi Hotel & Spa.  It’s a 4* Hotel and it could not be in a better location for exploring all that this part of Hanoi had to offer.

As a first time visitor to the city we had no idea what to expect.  We’d read about the narrow streets, small buildings, old plumbing, poor sound proofing, hotels with typically hard Vietnamese beds and over-inflated reviews. So we did some research and then we just booked anyway.

We arrived hoping for some comfort; we’d been travelling for almost 5 months at this point.  We do have a budget to stick to when we travel, so whilst we’re happy to push the boat out once in a while, we also like a good deal.   

We’d left a really disappointing homestay in Tam Coc and we needed a good night’s sleep.  After reading the reviews for the San Grand Hotel and finding a good price in-line with our budget we booked.  It was a good choice.

Narrow streets of the old quarter in Hanoi outside the San Grand Hotel

The Short Review : Would We Stay Here Again?

I guess the true test of how good a hotel really is would be to ask yourself honestly “would you stay again?”  And yep! We would stay again.

Walking into the San Grand Hotel,  we knew instantly that we’d made a good choice.  This was a huge comfort upgrade from our last hotel and we instantly felt at ease.  The area around the hotel is right in the thick of things but walk through the door and you wander into a little quiet space of loveliness.

We Loved the San Grand Hotel and Think You Will Too
Click Here To Book Your Stay!

The Long Review : San Grand Hotel Facilities

We don’t often use the facilities in hotels.  The San Grand Hotel has a Spa which we never took advantage of.  It has a highly rated restaurant that we never used.  But! We do feel that when a hotel offers a lot of additional services that you can expect a certain standard; and this was true for the San Grand.  They offer a wide range of services including :

  • 24-hour front desk
  • Highly rated on-site restaurant with both Vietnamese and Western dishes
  • Roof top bar with Happy Hour and fabulous city views
  • In-room meal service
  • All guest rooms equipped with a kettle and tea and coffee supplies topped up daily
  • Two bottled waters per day
  • Fridge
  • Snacks and drinks which are available for purchase in room
  • All rooms are ensuite, some have baths although ours only had a shower
  • Good quality toiletries and towels
  • Some rooms offer a larger space or balcony and a lake view
  • All rooms have air conditioning and heating
  • Desk and chair; great to have somewhere to work
  • On-site Spa
  • Airport transfer can be arranged
  • Baby cots and baby sitting services (but arrange in advance)
  • Breakfast box offered for early departures
  • Late check-out can be arranged
  • Safety deposit box
  • Laundry Service
  • Live music weekly
  • Wi-Fi throughout the hotel

We Loved the San Grand Hotel and Think You Will Too
Click Here To Book Your Stay!

Lobby of the San Grand Hotel in Hanoi; a 4* hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter

San Grand Hanoi : What We Loved

For us the most important thing in any hotel is cleanliness, a comfortable bed and a decent shower.  I cannot stress enough how wonderful the bed was in this hotel. For us it was super comfortable.  And very large.  We slept well here.

Also, you know how some hotels have a constant buzz of air-conditioning units, especially at night?  Not in the San Grand; it was very peaceful.

We liked the hotel a lot and we particularly loved :

  • The bed and bedlinen
  • Very quiet
  • Good aircon and heating
  • Excellent shower with constant supply of hot water (not always the case in Vietnam)
  • Excellent housekeeping; not fixed to a time but whenever we went out
  • Great location in the heart of the oId quarter
  • Friendly and helpful staff
  • Rooftop bar
  • A kettle with tea and coffee
  • A mini bar with diet coke (a rare thing indeed!)
  • A work space and desk which is another rare thing
  • Great hairdryer and equally great hair conditioner
rooftop bar neon sign at the San Grand Hotel in Hanoi

San Grand Hotel : Good Things Which Could Have Been Great Things

No hotel is perfect and we understand that some things won’t be as we would prefer; no matter the hotel this is going to be the case. But, there was a little room for improvement in a few areas.

Afternoon Tea

If you were in the area of the hotel in the afternoon, all guests were welcome to pop along to the restaurant for a spot of afternoon tea.  And it was free. 

Of course it wasn’t like the afternoon we enjoyed at The Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya but we did pay for that one.  However, there are copious amounts of tea and coffee, little cakes, little sandwiches and fruit.  You’re welcome to serve yourself and it’s a perfect pick-me up in the afternoon. And it’s free.

We loved this option but it would have been even better with some gluten free choices.

Breakfast

Breakfast was included with our room rate.  It was self-service although you could order extra cooked eggs.  There was a good selection but we felt breakfast could have been better with just a few tweaks. 

For example, the bacon was always undercooked and so rather than being crisp it was a little fatty and soggy.  Also hot food was never really that hot; perhaps hot plates or food warming trays would be useful.

Food was also not labelled.  One day I had vegetables in mayonnaise thinking that it was fruit in yoghurt!

Finally there were no gluten free options; I cannot tell you how fed up I am with eggs as every hotel offers me gluten free eggs!  But gluten aside, there was a decent selection and Gerry was certainly able to fill up every day.

Only One bedside table

This is really nit-picking because the bed was huge and we wouldn’t wish to change that.  So we decided we’re happy to forego the night stand but two would have been amazing!

Room Size

This is Hanoi.  Expect rooms in the old quarter to be small.  We could have paid extra for a bigger room but we decided to save the pennies.  Just be aware that the rooms are snug.  Keep your expectations in check or upgrade for the bigger rooms

TV With International Channels

This was great but we felt that it would have been even better to have access to our Netflix login.

afternoon tea and breakfast fairy cakes available for guests at the San Grand Hotel

Things We That Didn’t love At The San Grand

With a 4* hotel there are some things that we would expect. We loved our stay but there were two areas that we felt should be improved and were a disappointment.

Lack of Gluten Free options

This was my biggest complaint for a hotel of this standard.  When we booked we mentioned that I have celiac disease and the reply was no problem, we’ll inform the kitchen.  When we arrived and checked in we mentioned this again and it was noted on our ‘card’ and again I was assured this was not a problem.

At breakfast on the first morning the waiter didn’t speak English well and didn’t understand celiac or gluten free and there were no choices.  I thought that this was an oversight but it wasn’t.  Not once during our stay was a gluten free choice made available. 

So whilst breakfast was good and the afternoon tea a nice touch, I could not enjoy either.  This was a big oversight on the part of the San Grand and a big thumbs down from me. I think back to the Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka and how well they catered for Gluten Free and can’t help but be disappointed.

This is one area that really should improved; labelling and identifying food at breakfast would be a good place to start.

Roof Top Bar

We visited the rooftop bar on a couple of occasions and whilst it is fabulous, we were nonetheless disappointed.  I know that we were the only folks present on one evening and the weather wasn’t great but even so, it felt a little like we’d interrupted the staff’s evening. 

I ordered a Singapore Sling on different occasions and each one tasted noticeably different? That really shouldn’t happen. 

And lastly, an area of the rooftop was a mess.  The tables and chairs were haphazardly stacked and the area sort of roped off.  It wouldn’t have taken much to straighten three tables with their chairs to make the area more appealing. 

The rooftop bar is a really great space and a wonderful additional to the hotel but it wasn’t shown at its best.

Spiderman lives in the rooftop bar t the Hotel San Grand in Hanoi

San Grand Hotel Staff And Service

We were generally very happy with the service we received at the San Grand Hotel.  Every time we walked into the lobby someone would greet us.  The front desk was always manned and staff seemed genuinely happy to see us.  

The hotel staff would call taxis, book spa treatments and offer advice on where to visit or eat and which tours to take. 

English was limited amongst some staff but hey; we’re in Vietnam.  The front desk all spoke English and we did have contact with an English speaking liaison via Whatsapp if we needed anything (which was a great touch!)

Overall we were very happy with the staff and the service.

Housekeeping And Hotel Cleanliness

We never saw housekeeping staff.  What we loved was that we could use an electronic house-keeping notice on our room door.  No matter what time we left the room, we clicked the ‘clean the room’ option and they’d come and refresh the room and leave clean towels in our absence.

We loved this system.  All hotels should do this!

We felt that all the areas in the hotel had a good standard of care and were clean and comfortable.  We had no complaints on the general cleanliness.

Guest Bathrooms

The bathroom was a good size and whilst some rooms had a bath we had a large corner walk in shower.   The sink was in a vanity unit with just enough space for toiletries.  It was a huge bathroom but not small either.

Alongside the shower gel, shampoo and conditioner there was also a razor and toothbrush and a few other complimentary items and a good hairdryer.  The bathroom was clean, wall to wall marble and great water pressure, with hot water on demand.

All towels and bed linen felt and smelled wonderfully fresh, crisp and laundered.  They felt good quality and there were bathrobes for use too; perfect for when you step out of the shower.

The Bed, Bedlinen and Sleep Quality

I am a fussy sleeper.  I really do not like rooms that are too hot and I like a little fresh air and I like a quiet room

The bed was glorious. It was soft without being too soft.  The comforter was comfortable without adding heat.  The pillow was like a dream and I was tempted to take mine home.  And the bed linen felt wonderful. 

There was excellent room air-conditioning which was also quiet.

A lot of thought had been put into the quality of sleep.  I could not have been happier.

Gerry looking out at the neighbour hood view from our room in the San Grand Hotel in Hanoi

The San Grand Hanoi Location And Surrounding Area

We loved staying in the Old Quarter.  We became familiar with the streets. We got to know the way to our favourite coffee bars and restaurants and late night ice cream stand and the San Grand Hotel is right in the heart of that. 

We could not have wished for a better location.  But if you are craving something a little more gentile then the area at the bottom of the lake is a little more residential and quieter at night.  And we found a couple of stunning hotels in that location as alternatives.

Looking for a very special hotel in a more quiet corner of Hanoi? You need to book either the Stunning 5* Peridot Grand Luxury Boutique or the fabulous 4* Solaria Hanoi Hotel

Which Area Should You Choose to Stay In Hanoi?

Hanoi is a big city and different areas have a very different feel.  We had already decided that we wanted to be in the heart of the city. We wanted to be within walking distance of the main sights and sounds of Hanoi but we did have some concerns about staying the Old Quarter. 

It’s true that space is at a premium in this part of Hanoi.  Hotel rooms are definitely smaller but for a short stay we still felt that the Old Quarter was a great fit for us.  And the San Grand Hotel is in the heart of that area.

If you’d prefer to be a little out of the busy busy centre, an area that we loved to visit was around St Joseph’s Cathedral.  This was quieter and had a more residential feel to it but was still an easy walk to the crazy streets of the Old Quarter.

We found a couple of amazing hotels that would be perfect for a very upmarket stay.

Looking for a very special hotel in a more quiet corner of Hanoi? You need to book either the Stunning 5* Peridot Grand Luxury Boutique or the fabulous 4* Solaria Hanoi Hotel

Residential park near St Josephs Cathedral in Hanoi

Don’t Book A Hanoi Airport Hotel

Don’t be like us and book an airport hotel!  For our last night in Vietnam we stayed in a hotel close to the airport.  It was a big mistake.  The hotel was very nice but soulless and there were very few services around the hotels. It was quite a joyless evening.

Stay at the San Grand Hotel and let them book you an early morning taxi to the airport.  We deeply regret that last night and it was totally unnecessary. 

Top Tip : Don’t be like us.  Spend your last night in comfort and enjoy the craziness of Hanoi!

Our Final Thoughts : San Grand Hotel and Spa Hanoi

The San Grand Hotel is a wonderful hotel, in a great location and at a very good price.  Was it perfect? No.  Did it offer us really excellent value for money?  Yes.  Did we enjoy our stay?  Yes, we very much enjoyed our stay and were sad to leave. 

We did return to the city for one night after our Ha Giang Loop tour and tried to rebook but sadly the hotel was full.  Our second choice was not a patch on the San Grand Hotel.

The San Grand Hotel is perfect for travellers looking for comfort in the heart of the chaos and joy of Hanoi old quarter.  We felt very safe during our stay and the hotel offers some great touches which makes the property shine.

We would definitely stay again when we return to Hanoi (which we definitely will do) and I would be even happier if they offered me some gluten free choices next time!

★★★★★

WE LOVED SAN GRAND HOTEL

  • One of the best night’s sleep in 5 months of travelling
  • Excellent location within easy reach of all the sights of Hanoi’s Old Quarter
  • We loved the rooftop bar and free afternoon tea
  • Check expectations; rooms in Vietnam are smaller

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Whenever you travel overseas it’s imperative to travel with a good travel and medical insurance policy.  None of us expect anything bad to happen, but in the event of an incident, you want to be sure that your insurance will be there for you.

I’ve had the mis-fortune to end up in hospital in Peru, Indonesia, Portugal, Japan and Ireland; every time my insurance took care of everything. I would never leave home without full and comprehensive insurance.

Globelink : We have used and recommended Globelink for years and we’ve not heard of any issues. They are a great choice for European and UK Residents.

TrueTraveller : We have this policy now for an extended global trip and we are very happy with the cover, especially considering our ages and pre-existing conditions

Safety Wing : Many of my travelling buddies from the USA have recommended this company to me, although we’ve not used them personally.

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