The Metropole Hanoi is a classic, colonial-style grand hotel – large, imposing, elegant and a city landmark since it first opened in 1901. For maximum historic ambience, stay in the Old Wing, whose high ceilings, wood panelling and teak shutters have changed little since the Chaplins honeymooned here, and Graham Greene used to hang out in the bar. The restaurants are superb (don’t miss the legendary afternoon chocolate buffet) and the location, with Hoan Kiem Lake on the doorstep, is perfect for explorations of old Hanoi. An early morning walk around the parks and streets close to the hotel reveals a calm and peaceful side of the city’s French quarter, with its citizens engaging in Tai Chi, badminton and yoga. Rejuvenation facilities on site include a luxury spa complex, serene outdoor pool and gym.