ACCOMMODATIONS - Cathedral District


West of Hoan Kiem Lake, this area is close enough to Old Quarter to walk too, but is a bit quieter. In all, this is my favorite area for good deals and proximity. Hotels below are listed in two budget groups ($25 to $50 & Under $25) by order of preference.

$25 to $50

Automatic sliding doors open into one of Vietnam’s best mid-range deals. The 20 compact, comfy rooms have dark wood floors, thick comforters and satellite TV – a place you actually don’t mind being in when it’s too sticky outside. It’s on the evocative boutique street of Nha Tho, near the cathedral – the only one on the street so far. Free WiFi in rooms, and lobby computer to use. It fills, so call ahead.
Tel 04-928-8118;, [email protected]; 9 Nha Tho St; rooms including breakfast US$40-70

A great, nearly ‘boutique’ choice on the bar/café strip right off Hoan Kiem Lake, the Sun is a fast-filler for its 14 pleasant rooms. Actual golden sunlight does hit some room’s windows, particularly higher-up ones with teensy looks onto the lake. All have ornate wood headboards, TV and refrigerator. Free breakfast’s served on the rooftop café. Lobby internet, WiFi access.
Tel 04-828-6316;, [email protected]; 23 Hang Hanh St; rooms including breakfast US$25-35

This friendly mid-ranger (part of the Hong Ngoc group) is bigger than most mini-block budget hotels, with a big lobby bar that hosts traditional-music concerts Tuesday and Friday nights. Up the lifts are 41 rooms, with pearl-inlay wood furnishings and some balconies. It’s just north of busy Hang Gai St.
Tel 04-828-5053;; 30-34 Hang Manh St; rooms from US$51

Under $25

Yes, Vietnam has a HI hostel! (Just one.) And it’s a dandy. This conversion of an former diplomat’s alley home is near the cathedral and conducive to mixing-and-mingling, with loads of traveler’s information and activities in the open ground-floor lobby or rooftop bar (happy hour is 5-6pm; barbecues held Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings). Dorms are immaculate, roomy and rather stylish – each has eight bunks with private storage lockers, a bed life and bed shelf (neat). There’s a kitchen to use and free WiFi in the lobby. They were adding private rooms when I dropped by.
Tel 04-828-5372;; 48 Ngo Huyen St; dorms/rooms US$7/25, with HI card US$5.70/22.50

Slightly smarter-looking from outside than in, this budget hotel has clean rooms reached by stairs on a relatively quiet alley.
Tel 04-928-7989;, [email protected]; 11 Ngo Huyen St; rooms without/with balcony including breakfast US$20/22

A break from Hanoi hassle – staff don’t know how to book tours, much less push them on you – the old-school Rose is a great alley spot for its front rooms (US$12), with balconies, work desk and satellite TV in yester-year, all-floral and fluorescent design. Sometimes staff have to call the maid to answer questions in English. Lobby computer to use, no breakfast. I stayed a week here and enjoyed it.
Tel 04-826-0470; 56 Ngo Huyen St; rooms US$8-12

On a quiet alley corner, near the cathedral, this 10-room link in the mini Especen chain is roomy with new paint-jobs in the rooms, Internet in the lobby. Stairs only.
Tel 04-824-4401;, [email protected]; 28 Tho Xuong St; rooms US$11-15

On a crooked alley north of Hang Gai St, this long-time frequented guesthouse recently re-did its nine small but comfortable rooms. There are plenty of computers to check email in the lobby. Be warned: staff are nice but a bit persistent at pushing Halong Bay or Sapa tours; you can feel more relaxed at other places listed here. No breakfast.
Tel 04-826-7201; [email protected]; 2 Tam Thuong St; rooms US$12-16