The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi has been a shining light of hospitality at the heart of Hanoi ever since French entrepreneurs Gustave-Emile Dumoutier and Andrew Ducamp established it in 1901. The Metropole has always been considered amongst the most prestigious properties, or Grand Dames, of South East Asia, alongside luminaries such as The Oriental in Bangkok, Raffles in Singapore, and The Imperial in Tokyo.
This iconic property in Hanoi has a long tradition as a luxury venue for prestigious events and as a popular rendezvous for business and leisure travelers such as playwrights, ambassadors, and heads of state. The “who’s who” list of those who have graced the Metropole includes Presidents Clinton, Bush, Hollande, Chirac, and Putin, as well as thespians such as Jane Fonda, Catherine Devenue, Charlie Chaplin, and Roger Moore.
The Metropole was also the most appropriate destination for the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong-un from 27th to 28th February 2019.
The hotel is now managed by Accor, a world-leading hospitality group managing over 5,200 properties, which bestow the status of “Legend” to a select group of their most illustrious heritage properties.
Following thoughtful and measured expansion projects in the 1990s and again in the mid-noughties, the hotel now has a capacity of 364 rooms and boasts several of the finest restaurants and bars in Vietnam within its boundaries, including:
- Le Beaulieu has the best French food in IndoChina
- La Terrasse bringing Parisian-style and joie de vivre to the sidewalks of Hanoi
- Spices Garden offers the ultimate in Vietnamese cuisine
- Angelina is Hanoi’s bespoke bar-lounge-restaurant
- Le Club Bar treats guests to its famous chocolate buffet and cool jazz performances
- Bamboo Bar brings poolside lounging to the next level.
Operating in its current space since 1901, Le Beaulieu (which translates to The Beautiful Venue in English) is believed to be the oldest continually operating restaurant in Vietnam.
This restaurant is steeped in colonial history, is rumored to have introduced the celebrated French dish Canard L’Orange to Vietnam, and boasts a roll call of famous Executive Chefs who have graced its kitchens over the years, including culinary legends like Didier Corlou, Raphael Kinimo, Edigio Latorraca, and Olivier Piganiol.
So given this mystical and magical reputation, readers of Vietcetera can imagine our delight when the current Metropole Hanoi General Manager, Dutchman William Haandrikman, recently invited us to the Grand Re-Opening Ceremony of their French Restaurant and outside Terrace following an extensive seven-month refurbishment.
William Haandrikman said, “Le Beaulieu has long been one of, if not the preeminent French fine dining experiences in all of Southeast Asia, and we are delighted to welcome diners back to experience these aesthetic and culinary enhancements, which we are confident will win the approval of the most devoted French culinary enthusiasts.”
The new menu at Le Beaulieu continues to spotlight modern French fine dining with nods to classical flavors and an emphasis on seasonality and superior ingredients. Director of Culinary, Clinton Cooper from New Zealand, drives the restaurant’s inventive approach to cuisine and service.
While there are some traditional French touches, the presentation is stylish, with well-balanced portions and fresh produce, mainly from France and Vietnam, that exudes charm, sophistication, and authenticity.
Clinton said, “Our focus with Le Beaulieu is to continue to elevate French Cuisine with an emphasis on high-quality products. We’ll continue to honor the classic dishes on the menu since the restaurant's inception, and we’ll reinvent new favorites. It is the perfect juxtaposition of old and new.”
Louis Cancel, Metropole Hanoi’s Director of Food & Beverage, has curated one of the most extensive wine collections in Hanoi, encompassing 1,600 bottles, over 100 of which are listed as Grand Cru Classé.
According to Louis, the goal of this revamp was “to offer a taste for everyone from discovering a rising winemaker to recognizing that historical winery or famous label. All bottles have been handpicked to ensure we stock the best winemakers, appellations, and vintages as nothing was left to chance.”
Louis and his team have extensively trained service staff at Le Beaulieu to be able to share their wine knowledge and recommend perfect pairing recommendations with the cuisine.
Inspired by picture postcards of Parisian sidewalk cafes, La Terrasse also promises a brand new ambiance. An extension of Le Beaulieu and home to refined dining on the hotel’s picturesque outdoor patio, La Terrasse offers a similar menu to that at Le Beaulieu but with additional snacking and sharing options, such as salads, tartines, and artisanal sandwiches.
The final word goes to Metropole Hanoi’s Director of Sales & Marketing, Anthony Slewka, who played such a prominent role in the inception and delivery of this project. Anthony promises that guests can look forward to a “true legendary experience with modern touches that blends the historical Grande Dame and the contemporary into a one of a kind restaurant in Vietnam with epic potential and amazing food.”