Culture

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This Grande Dame Channels the Glamour of the Roaring Twenties in Hanoi

Guests at the brand-new Capella Hanoi can tap into the glitz of a bygone era.

Feb 25, 2021

AT THE HEIGHT OF THE ROARING TWENTIES, HANOI was the capital of French Indochina and a premier cultural epicenter of Asia. The cosmopolitan metropolis was a meeting point of East and West, a place with late nights of dancing, jazz and a certain je ne sais quoi seldom seen these days. Acclaimed luxury resort designer Bill Bensley turned to this decadent age when creating the stunning Capella Hanoi.

His inspiration is evident as soon as you step into the stately Art Nouveau edifice, a property wholly unique in Hanoi and a reason to visit the capital in its own right. In his signature more-is-more style, Bensley – the charismatic starchitect behind the reigning World’s Best Hotel 2020 as voted by T+L readers, Capella Ubud, Bali – has filled his newest masterpiece with portraits, memorabilia, set displays and vintage photographs paying tribute to the great artists of the era. The bespoke furnishing throughout the hotel and in each of the 47 individually designed rooms and suites channel the distinctive aesthetic of modernism in vogue in the 1920s.

The theme continues at Backstage, the signature restaurant featuring regional northern Vietnamese cuisine in a suitably theatrical setting complete with murals and costumes from the opera’s great sopranos. While many of the dishes on the menu are rooted in ancient traditions and recipes, they’re handled with a contemporary sensibility. Seasonal produce elevates everything on the plate.

After dinner, adjourn to Diva’s Lounge, a sleek watering hole specializing in Prohibition Era cocktails, for a late-night tipple. Each of the carefully crafted libations pays homage to the divas of thebygone age (think Coco Chanel and Anna Held), while the menu of Vietnamese-inspired small plates provides an ideal accompaniment. Step out onto the adjacent terrace for your star turn – it’s shaping up to be a beautiful night.

It’s hard not to feel like you own the city of Hanoi when staying in a pied a terre right in its heart, on a tree-lined boulevard mere steps from national treasures the Opera House and Hoan Kiem Lake. And Capella Curates takes you even deeper with Hoan Kiem Awakens, a morning tai chi lesson on its serene shores. Their raft of exclusive experiences designed to showcase the unique culture and heritage of Hanoi also includes a visit to Bat Trang Village for a lesson in the art of porcelain and ceramic making with a local craftsman, and a hands-on session in creating exquisitely painted works of lacquer art with a master.

If you (perhaps like us) prefer a slightly boozier sort of souvenir, a visit to Sông Cái Dry Gin, the city’s only artisanal gin distillery, is sure to leave an impression. The distillery’s founder, Daniel Nguyen, will help you suss out the flavors of different indigenous botanicals, while caramelizing a batch of hooch in a hand-hammered fired copper alembic pot over an open fire. At the end of it all, you’ll be able to infuse your own batch of gin, and keep it, of course, for home bar bragging rights.

Back in the hotel, more journeys of discovery await. Pick among the bounty of engaging (and complimentary!) craft masterclasses and workshops offered through Capella Moments and Daily Rituals. And in a country with such a strong wellness culture, a visit to Auriga Spa, where the treatments follow the rhythm of the moon and are inspired by local healing, is not to be missed. This is grounding at its most holistic.

For a limited time, you can take advantage of Capella Calling, a special staycation package for two featuring a complimentary in-room bottle of champagne, welcome amenities including a Signature Opera Cake and accompanying Opera Cocktail, a US$100 dining voucher at Backstage, a signature cocktail at Diva’s Lounge, a one-way complimentary luxury airport or city transfer, and a complimentary a la carte breakfast at Backstage. The offer is valid for bookings from now until March 31 for stays through June 30.

Or, treat your future self with the Dream Now Travel Later offer. Purchase a voucher now to experience a stay at Capella Hanoi at 30 percent off the best available rate. All daily inclusions apply – just book by March 30 for stays through December 20, 2021. Please see here for details.

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