The day we visited the Vietnam Museum of National History was balmy. The skies were grey, about to rain. We walked fast, past the Hanoi Opera House, past the boutiques of international luxury brands, to the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel. I am about to spend money on probably my most luxurious purchase in our whole Vietnam trip, and I was quite excited.
The Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi’s French Quarter is not just historic, it is also storied. The hotel, designed by two French architects, first opened its doors in 1901. It has never stopped operating since then despite the turbulent times the city of Hanoi has experienced in the past 118 years. The hotel boasts of hosting many legendary personalities, including the actor Charlie Chaplin and the novelists Graham Greene and Somerset Maugham. The external architecture is typical French colonial with white paint and green shutters, and the interior design opulent French-Oriental. I loved it, I love it!
We were there supposedly for afternoon high tea. But upon walking to their Club Bar, I chanced upon their display of little chocolates and macaroons. I’m not really a chocolate addict but I do love some good quality chocolates occasionally and that occasion was that moment. Haha. Of course, if there is good quality right in front of you, and you are at a historic hotel, why not eat it there? The chocolates were not part of their afternoon high tea but was part of what the hotel calls the “chocolate library.” So, we just decided to have the chocolate library, which was a buffet, because they were so tempting.
I found it expensive at 600,000VND (US$26, Php1,395) + tax but I thought the chocolates, the cakes, the pastries, the macarons were really good. Don’t bother with the small sandwiches though because the bread was already dry but I did not know why I even bothered with the sandwiches because it says chocolate library and I should prioritize the chocolate creations. The high tea and the chocolate library is open from 3:00 to 5:30 in the afternoon so you can spend 2.5 hours having small talk and eating everything chocolate they offered in the buffet. To me, it was an splurge, and a splurge I never repeated in our whole trip, but a well worth it splurge.