Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi: A tour of the historic Hanoi hotel where Trump and Kim are meeting

Karla Cripps, CNNUpdated 28th February 2019
(CNN) — The capital of Vietnam Is abuzz as the second summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un kicks off in the city, with the pair meeting February 27-28.
Once again, as was the case with last year's summit in Singapore, neither leader is staying at the venue of the actual meetings -- in this case, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.
But they are getting to experience some of its cuisine.
Trump and Kim enjoyed a dinner at the Metropole hotel on the 27th, which included a mix of Western and Korean dishes prepared by Sofitel Legend Metropole's own chefs, alongside a few outside Korean chefs.
According to sources close to the summit planning, the menu featured: Shrimp cocktail with romaine leaves, avocado and herbs; tender grilled sirloin with pear kimchi; and chocolate lava cake for dessert.
The two will also enjoy a lunch at the hotel on the 28th.

Past guests include Charlie Chaplin, Graham Greene

Located on the second floor of the historical Metropole wing, the Graham Greene Suite is decorated in a classical French style.
Located on the second floor of the historical Metropole wing, the Graham Greene Suite is decorated in a classical French style.
Offering 364 rooms, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is packed with French colonial charm and might just be the most luxurious hotel in the city. At the very least, it's certainly the luxury hotel with the most fascinating back story.
Formerly the residence of the French Governor of Tonkin (the historic name of northern Vietnam), it's centrally located right around the corner from the Hanoi Opera house and the neo-Gothic St. Joseph's Cathedral.
The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi opened in 1901. Back then, visiting dignitaries and celebrities hung out at the hotel's streetside restaurant, often staying for the entire afternoon to take in the scenes on Hanoi's busy streets.
A plaque in the hotel lists all the illustrious figures that have visited.
Charlie Chaplin has honeymooned there and it was in this opulent hotel that Graham Greene reportedly worked on his classic novel "The Quiet American."
In more recent times, other patrons of the five-star hotel have included Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and former US President Bill Clinton.
The hotel's glitzy aura faded during the Vietnam War -- or American War, as it's referred to there -- when the property fell into disuse and subsequent disrepair. In the decades following the war, Pullman Hotels and Resorts revived the property, bringing it back to its former glory.
Later, international hospitality brand AccorHotels took over management of the prestigious hotel, where travelers are once again spoiled with gorgeous antique furniture, spacious rooms and appealing dining spaces.
When it comes to rooms, we'd recommend the historical Metropole Wing, which showcases preserved furniture, silk tapestries, green shutters and original wrought-iron details.
In terms of dining/drinking options, guests will find a few high-end restaurants, including the French Le Beaulieu and the romantic Bamboo Bar in the lush courtyard, by the pool.

An underground bunker

But perhaps coolest of all, the hotel has an underground bunker, which guests can experience as part of the hotel's Path of History tour.
According to the hotel's historians, Metropole's bomb shelter protected guests from air raids during the war, including celebrity visitors such as Joan Baez and Jane Fonda
After the war, it was closed and sealed, forgotten for decades. Then, by chance, the hotel engineering department rediscovered it during the renovation of the Bamboo Bar in 2011.
The bunker was reopened in May 2012 "to honor the extraordinary efforts of employees during shared hardships of wartime" and serves "as a memorial to their courage and perseverance and to remember what should never be forgotten," says the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi website of its "Path of History" tour.
Guests of the hotel can join one of the daily tours, conducted by historians, at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
(See our 2012 coverage of the bunker discovery here.)
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel Hanoi, 15 Ngo Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam; +84 24 3826 6919