Despite the fancy name, Maison D’Orient lacks pretension. Reception is a low-key affair, lined with black and white mosaic tiles and furnished simply with a couple of computers for guest use, a pair of low solid wooden chairs and a small outside terrace. And while staff are polite they’re more girl- or guy-next-door than suited and booted professionals.
Rooms in the hotel too are understated, though the decor successfully combines propaganda posters, bright cushions and local art with painted metal, bamboo, heavy wood and light laminate furnishings. Spread over three floors — accessible only by stairs — each has been given the name of a spice as well as a number: Cinnamon, Lemongrass, Star Anise, Ginger and Pepper.
We checked out a Ginger room on the fourth floor and fell in love. As well as being spacious, Ginger rooms come with a small kitchenette area equipped with a fridge, halogen stove, microwave, cooker and sink, plus big wooden doors leading out onto a balcony.
The smaller Lemongrass room we viewed was similarly decorated but lacked the kitchenette and balcony. Disappointingly it also smelt slightly damp, but that’s tricky to avoid at this time of year. Pepper rooms are the largest and suitable for families, while Cinnamon rooms are tight on space and Star Anise are somewhere in the middle.
All rooms come equipped with quality bedding, flat screen TVs and minibar, and bathrooms have either a shower over bath or a shower cubicle. Breakfast is included in a light and airy room that’s also a lovely spot for reading a book or updating your diary.
The address of Maison D’Orient is Ngo Huyen Street, Hanoi — a particularly touristy street — so before our visit we found it hard to believe that its location would be peaceful. But it’s actually tucked away at the end of an alley that runs off Ngo Huyen — look out for the alley marked 36 — so while it might not exactly be cabin in the woods type of peaceful, it doesn’t get the same through traffic as Ngo Huyen proper.
Maison D’Orient won’t appeal to all but will likely suit a mid-range single traveller or couple who are looking for a relaxing spot with a quirky style. Families may like the larger rooms with space for young children, although the stairs might be a challenge if your children come with lots of paraphernalia. Ginger rooms, with kitchenette, would suit those on a longer visit.