The Ambassador’s Desk

My phone rang. It was Madame Van. “Are you busy?” she asked. I was working on a spreadsheet, and I was very busy, but when the executive housekeeper at the Metropole calls, I always try to make myself available. One can never underestimate the importance of an Executive Housekeeper. And so I left my office at once, happy to give that spreadsheet a rest, and walked outside into the hotel’s … Read More


An Encounter With Ghosts in Hanoi

It was a late winter afternoon, and I had little more than an hour to spare before my next meeting. As the general manager of a luxury hotel, there is very little demarcation between when you’re working and when you’re not; you catch your leisure when you can, and I needed a walk. The drizzle, or the crachin as it’s known to the French in Hanoi, was upon us as … Read More


Tracking Change at the Metropole Since the 1970s

When I came to work at the Metropole in 1978, the war we’d fought to reunify the north and south of Vietnam had been over for three years. Unfortunately, the country’s border war with its northern neighbor was just about to begin. I was 17 years old back then, and tourism was just starting up in Vietnam. We were so excited. But all of a sudden the army was drilling … Read More


Falling in Love at the Metropole Hanoi

It was a quiet night in early March, and I was halfway through my set in the Club Bar when a middle-aged man parted company from a woman at one of the cocktail tables. He came up close as I finished a number by Edith Piaf and he waved for me to listen to a secret. “I can’t help falling in love with you,” he said. My eyes jumped to … Read More

Falling in Love at the Metropole Hanoi

Slowing Down While Turning Up the Heat in Hanoi

Two weeks after he took over as Executive Chef at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Nicholas Shadbolt can’t believe his good fortune. It’s not that he didn’t enjoy his most recent post in China, but in Hanoi, among the Vietnamese, he has encountered a people with a character and constitution so bent on friendliness, he feels as if he’s landed in just the right spot after decades of wandering. Originally … Read More

Executive Chef - Nicholas Schadbolt