Whether you love it, hate it, or have never even heard of it, chances are that if you live in Hanoi then you’ll at least know someone that thinks Nola is the best thing ever.

For some readers Nola won’t be a hideaway at all but rather a tarnished gem; overly accessible and brought to the attention of undiscerning and undeserved backpackers by TripAdvisor. For others, it was, and might always be, their most cherished find in Hanoi. Nola splits opinion but it should’t be difficult to at least see why it has drawn such a loyal following over the years.

Traverse down the alleyway and away from the irritating chaos (or ‘hustle and bustle’, if you agree with the hotel brochures) of Ma May Street and you reach an Old Quarter haven. Climb the narrow stairway and you’ll be rewarded with a selection of different rooms, each with a slightly different atmosphere. Nola is definitely a place for a wander before choosing where to settle- remember to include the rooftop terrace and the tiny front-facing loft in your journey of discovery.

Nobody seems to be really sure how much of the French mansion is original, but according to classy manager Ms. Yen, ‘a part of it’ definitely is. The music ranges from annoying pop to stressful classical to suitable jazz, but it is never played loud enough to be intrusive. The seating, for the most part, is extremely comfortable and it is easy to spend an entire evening here either by yourself with book or with some friends for some quiet conversation. Drinks are good, too.

Address: 89 Ma May, Hoan Kiem

024 023 022 021 020 019 018 017 016 015 014 013 012 011 010 009 008 007 006 005 004 003 002 001

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