Elegant 5 on Nam Ngu Street is a wonderful, small, family-run hotel on a very quiet street. Do not be confused by reviews for the Elegance Hotel Chain. The Elegance hotels are also very nice, but they are in a totally different location and of a very different style. The Elegance hotels are traditional hotel rooms. Elegant 5, on the other hand, is unique in Hanoi in that all the rooms are studios with kitchenettes and small dining areas. There are a number of one-room studios. They are spacious, with very high ceilings; those facing the street also have balconies. On the top floor there is a very large two-room apartment (one bedroom, one living room area, two large balconies) that runs the entire length of the building. The hotel is run by a very nice family, who live on the bottom floor. The staff are kind and helpful.
There is no breakfast offered here, but you can store food in your kitchenette or head down Nam Ngu for Pho or baked goods. The street is one of the quietest I've seen in Hanoi, and the area is very nice. The hotel is a 15 minute walk from the lake along broad streets with sidewalks and crosswalks (not common in Hanoi). This is a very pleasant part of Hanoi. You are further from the hustle and bustle of the Old Quarter, as this is located on the southwest edge of the quarter, but it is a very nice area with lots of embassies and UNICEF buildings, etcetera. For longer-term stays and for anyone traveling with a family (particularly young children) this is a real gem. We stayed for 3 weeks with our 20-month old and had lots of room to spread out, cook some of our own meals, and walk without fear of motorbikes. The stroll to and from the lake in the evening via Ly Throng Kiet is lovely. And there is the added bonus of having Quan an Ngon -- a very popular and wonderful restaurant -- just down the street. City Mart (western style grocery store) is just down the street, where you can find diapers and the like.
The rooms with balconies may not be as suitable for young children (you can lock the balcony door, but the rail on the balcony has a large space that a toddler could slip through). For that reason, we stayed in a studio off the back side of the hotel and were very happy with it. Almost no street noise here. There is daily maid service and the option to have your laundry washed daily for a reasonable price. Also there is a great, free wifi connection here. We've been able to skype with grandparents in the U.S. with no lag-time.
We highly recommend these flats for families and are thankful to Miss Ly and her staff for a great stay.