Photo by Julie Vola

I often find myself wishing I could live in a hotel, but I suppose if five-star service and soft pillows became your day-to-day, it wouldn’t be as special. So I settle for those rare staycations, when you just need a break from it all and someone to take care of everything for you, even down to the q-tips and the hand towels. I check into a nice hotel on a Saturday night, bask in the rain shower, order wine to the room, and prance around in a big white robe. It’s more relaxing than a vacation, really, because you don’t even have to travel.

 

The Novotel Suites are perfect for this night of bliss; even their bathtubs have a view. We stayed on the 16th floor in one of their two bedroom suites — complete with a kitchenette, a full-sized refrigerator, a terrace, three flat-screen TVs with international channels, and massive windows next to all the beds for stunning first-thing-in-the-morning views. Combined with a bed that I suspect is literally made of clouds, it was almost impossible to get up for breakfast.

Photo by Julie Vola 

Photo by Julie Vola

Indulgence

 

Luckily, the food here is delicious enough to leave bed for. On the second floor, the hotel’s Food Exchange restaurant serves three different buffet meals a day. For dinner, there was chicken stuffed with spinach in a creamy mushroom sauce, snapper bouillabaisse, fresh sushi, a massive international-style salad bar, so we barely made it to dessert. Breakfast and lunch were equally packed full of delicious choices (though I tried not to make any, and ate entirely too much).

 

To balance out this gluttony, there’s a full gym facility, with a sauna and a steam room. I did not feel like ruining my food high with exercise, though, so opted for a leisurely float in the sparkling new pool instead. Tucked away behind the hotel, the pool is quiet and relaxing, with jazzy covers of classic songs drifting softly through the speakers.

Photo by Julie Vola

Photo by Julie Vola 

Photo by Julie Vola

Reality Check

 

The downside to a staycation is that it’s no excuse to stop working, but if you have to work anywhere, the Novotel’s sunny lobby and bar is a better place than most. It’s a wide, open space, with big windows for people-watching on Duy Tan street, and retro lounge chairs in a 1950s Danish style. The second floor also has a lovely VIP room, with an impressive oak table for business meetings, and larger conference rooms that can accommodate up to 215 people.

 

But I wasn’t here for all of that, and I was content to send my emails from the comfort of my fluffy bed, awash in contemporary elegance, dark wood, and the twinkling lights of the city below. I checked out refreshed and ready to tackle the day. My only complaint is that I couldn’t keep that big white robe.

 

The Novotel Suites Hanoi are located at 5 Duy Tan, Cau Giay, Hanoi. For further information call (04) 3576 6666 or go to novotel.com

Photo by Julie Vola

Photo by Julie Vola

Photo by Julie Vola

Jesse Meadows

Like many expats before her, staff writer Jesse Meadows stopped in Hanoi on a backpacking trip in early 2015 and just hasn’t managed to leave yet. A compulsive documentarian with a case of incessant curiosity, she loves buying one-way tickets, photographing dance parties and writing stories on the bus. 

Website: www.messyjeadows.tumblr.com

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