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Essence Palace Hotel 3.5

Hanoi, Vietnam

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Review Summary

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  • Old Quarter location near cafes, shopping, and galleries
  • A five-minute walk to Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Stylish rooms with wood floors, coffeemakers, minibars, and flat-screen TVs 
  • All rooms come with air-conditioning and laptops
  • Intimate interiors with Vietnamese arts and crafts
  • Vietnamese restaurant with Western dishes and breakfast buffet
  • On-site tailoring service plus boutique clothing and fabric shop
  • Nearby full-service spa at sister hotel
  • Free welcome drink and fruit platter
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout


  • Some rooms are small, and lack windows and bathtubs
  • Spa is at a sister hotel
  • Fee for breakfast (unless booked directly with hotel)

Bottom Line

Essence Palace Hotel is a mid-range boutique property in the Old Quarter, a short walk from cafes, galleries, and shopping. This is one of the more atmospheric parts of Hanoi, and it's hard to beat the five-minute walk to Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. The hotel has an intimate atmosphere with stylish interiors, and a well-regarded Vietnamese restaurant that serves a breakfast buffet. The 25 contemporary rooms feature a wide range of amenities, including free welcome fruit baskets, in-room laptops, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs with a range of channels. Travelers might want to compare rates with the nearby Hanoi La Siesta, which has an on-site spa, fitness center, and movie-screening room, though rates there will be predictably higher.

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Boutique hotel in bustling Old Quarter with contemporary Vietnamese interiors

Formerly the Dayton Hotel, the Essence Palace opened in 2014 as a boutique property. Located in the vibrant Old Quarter, the eight-story white building has colorful lanterns and a skylight at the entrance. There's a lot more style here than at many of the more dated mid-range hotels in this part of town, helping to make this a solid value for travelers. Guests are welcomed with a free fruit smoothie, cold towel, and a tourist map. Vietnamese arts and crafts, a mirrored ceiling, marble floors, and lime-green sofas give the the lobby a stylish feel. The restaurant has a low-lit, intimate atmosphere, with dark woods and red tablecloths. Given its Old Quarter location near cafes, shopping, and sights, the hotel draws mainly tourists, especially couples.


Old Quarter location a five-minute walk from Hoan Kiem Lake

Essence Palace Hotel is in the vibrant Old Quarter, the historic section of Hanoi that's packed with French colonial architecture and preserved shop houses. Bustling with activity, the area has a surplus of restaurants, bakeries, cafes, bars, art galleries, and shopping stalls selling handicrafts, silks, and herbs. Several bus stops are a short walk from the hotel, and the Long Bien Railway Station is a five-minute drive or 12-minute walk. It's a three-minute stroll to the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater and northern end of Hoan Kiem Lake (Turtle Lake). Ngoc Son Temple, which sits on an island in the lake, is also a five-minute walk from the hotel, and it will take 10 minutes to reach the the Dong Xuan fashion and souvenir market on foot. The area including the Hanoi Opera House and National Museum of Vietnamese History is a 15-minute walk. The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is a 10-minute drive or 25 minutes away by bus. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a 15-minute drive or a 30-minute bus ride. Expect a 45 minute drive to Noi Bai International Airport.


Colorful boutique rooms with laptops, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs

The 25 rooms at the Essence Palace Hotel include stylish Single and Superior Singles and Doubles, Family Connecting Rooms for up to four people, and a range of Suites with wood floors, dark-wood furnishings, and a mix of Vietnamese and French-inspired decor. Colors range from chocolate brown and white walls to white bedding with green-gray-and blue decorative throws. Rooms range from 172 square feet to more than 517 square feet (16 to 48 square meters), so some are a bit small. Despite its location in the bustling Old Quarter, rooms are quiet, though some lack windows.

The 25 air-conditioned rooms all come with slippers, two free daily bottles of water, welcome fruit baskets or daily fruit platters, desks, electronic safes, coffee/tea makers, and minibars (free items replenished daily in suites). The amenities package also includes in-room laptops, free Wi-Fi, and 32-inch flat-screen TVs with a wide range of satellite and English channels including CNN, BBC, HBO, Disney, and Discovery. Turn-down service is offered. Some rooms have balconies with street views, and some suites have living rooms with sofa beds. Bathrooms are clean and well lighted, but can be small. Not all bathrooms have bathtubs, and some have Japanese heated toilets. Rooms are all nonsmoking. 


Spa at sister hotel, Vietnamese breakfast, and a breakfast buffet

As a small 25-room hotel, the Essence Palace lacks a pool, sauna, steam room, and fitness center, but the Essence Palace's nearby (a three-minute walk) sister hotel Essence d'Orient Hotel & Spa has a full-service spa with a wide array of Vietnamese and international-style massages, scrubs, wraps, and facials. On-site, the hotel serves a breakfast buffet (for a fee unless room booked directly with the hotel) with cooked-to-order eggs, French toast, and pancakes, plus Vietnamese fare like pho and a continental spread of cereal, breads, pastries, and fruit. The restaurant serves authentic Vietnamese and Western fare for lunch and dinner. Menu items include Pork Ribs with Lemongrass and Curry Chicken in Baby Coconut. The restaurant also serves fresh fruit smoothies, coffees, and wine. The Essence has 24-hour room service and a bar with happy hour. A boutique shop sells clothing including silks, souvenirs, and handicrafts. The hotel also has tailoring service, a business center, concierge service, baggage assistance, a 24-hour front desk, airport and train station transfers (for a fee), guided tours (for a fee), and limited parking (for a fee). Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.

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No. 27-29 Gia Ngu Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi 10000, Vietnam

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