As Good As Vietnam Gets
A Tale of Two Capitals: Hanoi and Hue
HANOI & HUE, Vietnam — The leading hotels in each of Vietnam’s most culturally profound destinations have come up with ‘A Capital Idea,’ a five-day, four-night exploration of cities that each reigned for a spell as the country’s capital.
Hanoi was capital of Vietnam from 1010 to 1802, and has been since 1945. Hue was capital during the last imperial dynasty in Vietnam from 1802 to 1945.
The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi and MGallery La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa, each part of the Accorhotel group and each one of the most luxurious hotels in their respective destinations, serve as bases for multi-day excursions that compare and contrast how the cities are very similar but also very different.
On trips led by knowledgeable guides, ‘A Capital Idea’ keys on several remarkable similarities between the cities:
- Citadels. Each city thrived during its heydey within the compounds of massive citadels, and each Citadel figures prominently in the cities’ respective designations as UNESCO World Heritage Sites today. Mere fragments of Hanoi’s remain. Hue’s Citadel is largely intact and the most stunning example of the form in Southeast Asia.
- Temples of Literature. Hanoi’s temple dates to 1070 and celebrates the Vietnamese esteem for education and literature. Hue’s take on such a compound is but a modest echo of its astonishing counterpart in Hanoi, but compelling nevertheless.
- Leaders’ Tombs. In Hue, the funereal cities of Vietnam’s Nguyen kings are vast landscaped parks reminiscent of Asian wonderlands depicted on old ink paintings. In Hanoi devotees of Ho Chi Minh wind their way through a refrigerated viewing chamber where the first leader of modern Vietnam still lies in state.
Guests who book stays in April and May can take in the remarkable night photos of Hanoi and Hue by French photographer Sebastien Laval, on exhibit in Hanoi at the Metropole from April 14 to April 24 and in Hue at La Residence from April 29 to May 4.
‘A Capital Idea’ also includes Vietnamese dinners at the Metropole’s Spices Garden, and Le Parfum in La Residence. The cost for the five-day experience is 25 million VND or $1,125, and is available on bookings through Sept. 30.