JW Marriott Hanoi: a little out of the way but really excellent

The recently opened JW Marriott Hanoi offers a really high standard of service, and the fact that it’s a little out of the way should in no way obscure the fact that it’s one of the city’s best hotels.

Staying loyal to Marriott, I didn’t have much choice when it came to choosing a hotel in Hanoi. During a previous stay I had stayed at the catastrophic Sheraton Hanoi and there was no question of returning there, even if I had to go to the competition to do so. Fortunately, a JW has opened in the meantime, and given our level of satisfaction with the JW Marriott hotels so far, I didn’t hesitate for a second.

You’ll find at the bottom of the page a summary of the articles about this vacation in Vietnam.

Booking

Several months before my stay I booked 3 nights in a standard room for 130 euros a night.

3 weeks before my arrival I received an email from the hotel informing me that the hotel would be full during my stay and asking me to confirm my stay. I will also be advised to book restaurants in advance if I wish to dine at the hotel.

Olivier will check it out, and indeed, he’ll tell me that the last standard rooms are priced at over 3,000 euros!

I might as well tell you that at this stage I have no illusions about a potential upgrade.

Location of the hotel

The hotel is located on the outskirts of the city center, on the shores of a lake.

Relative to the airport, it’s at the opposite end of town. It takes 40 minutes by cab or Grab (the local Uber) to reach it from the airport, and around 20 minutes to go downtown.

Don’t worry, these trips won’t break the bank: they cost 5 euros!

The hotel also has a shuttle service to the city’s main attractions.

I don’t usually like having to rely on transport to get out of my hotel, but it’s well worth it, as you’ll soon realize that given the facilities on offer, it was impossible to build a hotel like this in the city.

Arrival and check-in

3 days before my arrival I noticed in the application an upgrade to a junior suite. An excellent surprise given the hotel’s announced occupancy rate.

I take my Grab from the airport and 40 minutes later, despite Hanoi’s teeming traffic, I arrive at the hotel. It really is a huge complex. It has 450 rooms.

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It may not be obvious when you look at it, but the protuberance you see on the top floor of the hotel is supposed to give it the appearance of a dragon.

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I’d been complaining about the old-fashioned nature of most of the hotels I’d been to in Vietnam, and finally I stumbled across a modern hotel, the first since the excellent Meridien Saigon.

I was immediately picked up as I got out of the car and taken to reception.

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After checking my passport, I’m informed that, given my status, I’m invited to check in at the executive lounge, where I’ll be accompanied. My luggage will follow and be delivered to my room.

I’m greeted at reception in the executive lounge, a few floors up. I’m invited to take a seat and brought a welcome drink. The slightly junior agent who had greeted me gave way to the one who seems to be her superior.

She gives me a detailed introduction to the hotel and its services, and informs me that I’ve been upgraded to a corner suite. Well… it’s changed again since the other day.

All I have to do now is get to my room, two floors up, on the top floor of the hotel.

The JW Hanoi executive suite

My room is at the very end of the building and the building is big. A good 150 meters of corridors to get there! Proof in video!

After this little exercise session, it’s time to discover my suite.

The door opens onto a vestibule leading to the living room.

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To the side is a toilet, then a cabinet with minibar and tea and coffee-making machines.

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Then the living room itself. It’s spacious, warm and tastefully furnished.

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A very pleasant lounge area.

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A large TV.

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A nice, big desk that I miss so much in too many hotels.

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I turn back and go into the bedroom.

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Once again, plenty of space and warmth.

The bed is very large and very, very comfortable.

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Opposite, a second large TV.

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Next to it is a comfortable armchair and a large cupboard for storing my belongings.

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I’m surprised to see a door in the corner of the room…it opens onto a second bedroom, presumably intended for children.

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Pretty but not really useful for me.

Back to the bedroom to discover the bathroom.

It opens directly onto the bedroom. Bright and luminous, all in marble.

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Superb !

It features a beautiful bathtub…

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A toilet…

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And a huge shower.

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A truly immense and very pretty suite: sometimes the size is right, but the taste can be questionable, especially in some countries.

It may come as a surprise that I got such a room in a hotel that’s supposed to be full, and I think I have an explanation: they upgraded high-status guests as they could in the most expensive suites that normal guests wouldn’t have paid for to free up standard rooms that guests were willing to pay for. Hence this unexpected upgrade and the fact that I even got a two bedroom corner suite for a single person.

All in all, very pretty and comfortable. A room overlooking the lake and not the inside of the complex would have been even better, but I’m not going to be more royalist than the king.

And here’s the video tour to conclude.

Bars and restaurants

The JW Hotel Hanoi boasts numerous restaurants and bars, as well as an executive lounge. I’ll be going to the lounge, a bar and just one of the restaurants.

The executive lounge at the JW Hotel Hanoi

It’s large and beautifully decorated.

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The buffet is very large.

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The food on offer is rich, varied and of the highest quality. There are hot and cold dishes, Asian and Western. Hot dishes will change every evening.

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The beverage offer is in the same vein.

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Really superb and excellent quality. This is one of those lounges that discourages you from going to a restaurant afterwards, and I think a lot of customers have been happy with it and given up on dining afterwards.

Kumihimo Restaurant

This is the only restaurant in the hotel that I will try. The site was originally occupied by a restaurant owned by chef Akira Back, and was still mentioned on the site when I visited. In fact, it had just been replaced by Kumihimo.

Never mind, I’ll try anyway.

Knowing that the hotel was well booked, I contacted the hotel concierge 48 hours before my arrival to make a reservation, which is when I learned that Akira Back had closed. I have no problem getting a table.

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I’m greeted on arrival, pass through the restaurant’s pretty bar and seated at my table. Just in front of the open kitchen.

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The room is pretty, but a little dark and the music is still a little loud. Two things I don’t really like in a restaurant, but I’m going to have to get used to the fact that this is obviously the norm for a property that claims to be chic and hip.

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The tables are widely spaced, which is pleasant.

The menu is brought to me on an iPad.

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It’s very long and varied, but the format makes it hard to browse. And it’s not easy to imagine how many dishes I’ll need to get my fill.

I’m advised by the waiter, I spend ages browsing (it’s really less convenient than a paper menu) and when I’ve made my choice, it’s a mad scramble to find the right pages and tell the waiter what I’ve chosen.

Finally, I’m thinking that, compared to my recent trip to Chicago, they’ve found the right noise level so as not to disturb customers. What’s also different is that the guests don’t shout all meal long. In the end, music won’t be as much of a problem as I thought. A question of culture and education.

I finally place my order. I hesitated between one of the menus to be lazy and à la carte to eat fast and light. In the end, I aimed for something between the two, just to enjoy myself without emptying my bank account.

I’ll start with gyoza.

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Neither too soft nor overcooked, quite fine, very good.

Then a scallop tiradito that I forgot to take a photo of. Not bad, but I expected it to be fresher and spicier.

A spicy miso soup follows.

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Good and spicy as I like it.

At last, a Donburi wagyu. It’s a lot more copious than expected.

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The dish is prepared at my table in front of me. It smells great and once I start tasting it, it’s the same. Delicious.

I won’t have dessert.

All in all, a good restaurant, a type of atmosphere that’s not usually my cup of tea but which, here, was still quite pleasant, and very good service.

Perhaps I should have opted for one of the hotel’s other restaurants, but in the end it was positive and I had already booked elsewhere in town for the other evenings.

Cool cats bar

This is the hotel’s signature bar, open only in the evening.

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The theme is that of a jazz bar from the 20s and 30s.

The place is big and the design very nice.

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It also has a large cigar lounge.

There are concerts every night.

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Truly one of the most beautiful hotel bars I’ve seen in recent years.

Very pleasant atmosphere, I’ll let you judge for yourself.

What’s more, the staff are as friendly as they are competent, and the menu is very interesting. I had a lot of fun ending my evenings there and chatting with them about cocktails.

Truly an excellent hotel bar and yet we are generally very critical on the subject.

Facilities

The hotel features a swimming pool, gym and spa. I’ll try all three.

The swimming pool at the JW Marriott Hanoi

As you’ve seen, it’s located on the top floor of the hotel, in a protuberance that juts out into the void.

From the moment you arrive, it’s impressive.

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A very large pool, lots of space around it and it’s very bright.

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You can also take a rest in a secluded spot.

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An opportunity to admire the hotel’s architecture through the large bay windows.

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It’s all worth a video visit.

The gym at the JW Marriott Hanoi

Situated a stone’s throw from the swimming pool, it is large, bright and very well equipped.

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It also features a large studio for floor exercises.

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My only complaint is that its brightness comes at a price. Large bay windows on which the sun beats down, and at some point the air conditioning just isn’t enough: it’s a bit too hot and you start sweating very quickly.

The spa at the JW Marriott Hanoi.

Of course, such a hotel must have a spa. I booked a treatment but before enjoying it I tried out the jacuzzi, sauna and hammam.

It’s a shame these facilities are located outside the spa and next to the pool. It’s only a matter of a few meters, but you’ll have to change clothes twice.

Sauna and hammam are big, beautiful and brand-new.

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The jacuzzi is very large…and very hot.

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Treatment is of the highest quality, with excellent staff.

Staff and service at the JW Marriott Hanoi

Excellent service, very friendly staff. Special thanks to the lounge and bar staff.

Check-out

I’ll check out on the mobile app and go straight to take my Grab to the airport. Simple and frictionless.

Bottom line

I was expecting a very good service, as is often the case at JW Marriott, and in any case it couldn’t have been worse than at the Sheraton Hanoi. I was a little worried about the hotel’s location, but I took the gamble and I don’t regret it.

The JW Hanoi is practically a resort in the city, with all that this implies in terms of service. Services are of a high standard, and the hotel can’t be said to be stingy when it comes to loyalty program benefits.

A place I’ll gladly return to….spend more time at the hotel.

The articles about this vacation in Vietnam

#TypePost
1Travel diaryPreparing for vacations in Vietnam
2FlightParis-Stockholm – SAS – SAS Plus (A320Neo)
3LoungeSAS Gold lounge – Stockholm
4FlightStockholm-Oslo – SAS – SAS Plus (A320Neo)
5HotelRadisson Blu Airport Hotel – Oslo Gardermoen
6LoungeSAS Gold lounge international zone – Oslo
7FlightOslo-Istanbul – Turkish Airlines – Business Class (A321Neo)
8LoungeTurkish Airlines Miles&Smile Lounge international zone – Istanbul
9FlightIstanbul-Saigon – Turkish Airlines – Business Class (A350)
10HotelRenaissance Riverside Hotel – Saigon
11RestaurantAnan – Saigon
12RestaurantHoa Tuc – Saigon
13Travel diarySaigon city tour
14LoungeVietnam Airlines Lotus lounge (domestic) – Saigon
15LoungeLe Saigonnais lounge (domestic) – Saigon
16FlightSaigon-Hanoi- Vietnam Airlines – Business Class (A350)
17HotelJW Marriott Hotel – Hanoi
18RestaurantGia – Hanoi
19RestaurantTung Dining – Hanoi
20Travel diaryCity tour of Hanoi
21LoungeVietnam Airlines Lotus Lounge (domestic) – Hanoi
22LoungeSong Hong Lounge (domestic) – Hanoi
23FlightHanoi-Phu Quoc – Vietnam Airlines – Business Class (A320Neo)
24HotelSheraton Long Beach Resort – Phu Quoc
25Hotel JW Marriott Emerald Bay – Phu Quoc
26LoungeHoa Sim Business lounge – Phu Quoc
27FlightPhu Quoc-Saigon – Vietnam Airlines – Business Class (A320)
28LoungeLe Saigonnais lounge (international zone) – Saigon
28FlightSaigon-Istanbul – Turkish Airlines – Business Class (A350)
30LoungeIGA Lounge (zone internationale) – Istanbul
31LoungeTurkish Airlines business lounge – Istanbul
31FlightIstanbul-Oslo – Turkish Airlines – Business Class (A321Neo)
32HotelRadisson Blu Plaza Hotel – Oslo
33RestaurantKatla – Oslo
34Travel diaryCity tour of Oslo
35FlightOslo-Copenhagen – SAS – SAS Plus (A320)
36FlightCopenhagen-Paris – SAS – SAS Plus (A320Neo)
37Travel diaryDebriefing of my vacation in Vietnam
Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.
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