A Christmas day Hotel in Hanoi

Despite Christmas not being traditionally celebrated in Vietnam, the Christmas spirit has certainly arrived this year, with decorations proudly lacing many an office and apartment building. I celebrated early on Saturday, as I’ll be in the UK over Christmas this year: Santa hats and decorations were purchased on Hang Bo, Secret Santa (anonymous) gifts were selected and wrapped and a group of us headed to Southgate for what turned out to be a very merry Christmas indeed.
Christmas (and lanterns) on Hang Ma

Christmas (and lanterns) on Hang Ma.

But let’s move forward to the day itself, December 25. If I were staying in Hotel Hanoi, what would I do?

Well, Christmas has to start with a lazy morning in bed. I’d pick up some strawberries the day before — they are available to buy on the street at the moment, though they’re expensive at about 90,000 VND per kilo — and some sparkling wine. I’d try not to get juice on the sheets.

To prepare myself for brunch — after all, it’s not going to be an ordinary Hanoi one— I’d jump in a taxi to get to Hoan Kiem lake and go for a gentle walk, with a stop for a drink en route if I have time.

Then: I’d indulge in a Christmas feast. For the best spread in town I’d go to the Hotel in Hanoi Newvision (one of the longest hotel names around). Their Christmas brunch buffet comes in at $95++ but, after all, it’s Christmas. Alternatives would be any of the other big hotels, like the Intercontinental or Movenpick, or maybe Southgate, where there’s a three-course brunch for 750,000 VND.

East meets West

East meets West.

After a good few hours of over-indulgence, and no doubt a little bit tipsy, I’d want to keep the party going: last year we went to karaoke late on Christmas Day, thereby introducing a touch of Vietnamese to our otherwise Western day. Try Quan Tom Otherwise maybe I’d just head into Old Quarter — it’s likely to be busy and there will be Christmas activities going on, although it’s too early for me to tell you what. Of course, I could always just text it easy for a few hours here.

Even the biggest feast wears off, so after karaoke I’d be looking for somewhere to wind down the day over a bite to eat. Puku, Le Pub or Ete would hit the right buttons among Hanoi's many offerings; then home to bed and the anticipation of a Boxing Day spent doing absolutely nothing.

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