Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
Published March 14th 2014
6-star luxury, 4-star prices - does it get any better?
JW Marriot Hotel, Hanoi
Welcome to the 'new' Hanoi. Blink and you might think you are in the architecturally wonderful Bilbao, or about to climb aboard the Starship Enterprise as designed by Frank Lloyd Wright! In fact, you are smack in the middle of 'new Hanoi' (Tu Liem District) just 20 minutes from the old quarter, and an easy 40 minutes from the airport. The JW Marriot Hotel has just opened for business and it's hard to miss, being extravagantly sprawled over an enormous site on the edge of a pretty man-made lake in the new commercial area. Designed by an American architect, the impressive cantilevered top floor is home to the sleek 25m swimming pool and gymnasium with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the surrounding town, island temple and vast walking paths around the lake and nearby Hanoi Museum and National Exhibition Centre.
View to the cantilevered pool, JW Marriot Hotel, Hanoi
The rooms are totally indulgent - magnificent free-standing baths and automatic window shades on the full length windows. They have all the usual tech-specs and then more - you can plug your computer directly into the TV monitor. Beds are comfortable and crowded with feather pillows. Go for the lakeview rooms to wake up to a calming view of water and greenery each day. Rooms start from a surprisingly low USD$130 a day, and offer real value for money.
Breakfast or lunch in the JW Cafe beside the lake is a light-filled and airy affair, with food from all round the world - Vietnamese (the pho is delicious!), Japanese, German, Chinese, Italian - the fresh wood-fired parmesan bread from the pizza oven is a particular highlight as is the seafood grill. But make sure you save some time for a reflexology foot massage on the 8th floor, facing out with views across the sparkling city below - follow it up with a chaser of a swim in the 29C pool and wallow in the cavernous saunas and spas afterwards. Life was never so good! Check out their website for regular deals and special offers.