by Santorini Dave • Updated: October 30, 2018
HCMC Hotels – Tips and Advice
- The best place to stay in Saigon is the neighborhood of District 1, stretching a little into District 3. Any further out and sights may not be within walking distance, and nearby shops and cafés are not likely to have English-speaking staff.
- District 1 is extensive, with three main hotel areas: Around the Cathedral and Opera House (the classiest area, with expensive hotels and many sights within a short stroll), Dong Khoi Area (facing the Saigon River, which is vibrant – but fairly ugly – with riverside cafés and cruise offices nearby), and Pham Ngu Lao (the epicenter for budget travelers; one square kilometer bursting with hotels, cafés, shops, travel agencies and nightclubs).
- An interesting alternative is to stay at the beach resort town of Vung Tau, which is 75 minutes away by hydrofoil from the Saigon River in downtown. This is far more appealing during the week, as it bursts with day-trippers and overnighting city-dwellers on weekends.
- Taxis are very common, very cheap, and all use meters. If time is short, you can quickly dart around the crowded streets of District 1 on a xe om motorbike taxi (with a passenger on the back) – fares are negotiable and rarely cheaper than a taxi, but it’s certainly quicker.
- The airport is only 7km away, but can be 20-45 minutes by taxi depending on traffic. The only real way there and back is by taxi, which can also be booked through your hotel or a travel agency.
- A long overdue public transport system of light rail and subway trains is currently under construction in 2018.
- Tickets for comfortable tourist buses and minibuses heading all over Vietnam are available at travel agencies in Pham Ngu Lao. The best services are offered by Hanh Café and Sinh Tourist, both of which conveniently leave/depart from their offices in Pham Ngu Lao.
- The train station is reasonably convenient, servicing rail lines as far as Hanoi.
- Well-stocked minimarts are everywhere. There are numerous classy boutiques around District 1, while malls are located a little further out in the suburbs.
The 15 Best Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City
Historic, central, and classy, with ideal city views. Facing the exquisite Opera House within a fashionable district of bistros and boutiques in the city center, the Caravelle has two distinctively different buildings: the Heritage Wing built in the 1950s, and the taller and newer wing that offers outstanding views from all rooms of the city and, from a distance, the Saigon River. All rooms are bright and airy, featuring a pleasing blend of light colors. The sparkling pool on the 7th floor has a thatched-roof bar and plenty of potted palms, but no views; these are best enjoyed at the legendary Saigon Saigon Rooftop Bar, frequented by journalists and generals during the War. Considerable renovations planned during 2018 will modernize the rooms while, hopefully, maintaining the rare historical ambience.
Hotel phone: +84 28 3823 4999
Notes on Caravelle Saigon
- Historically significant; at the time of Vietnam War it was the tallest hotel and the only one with air-con, so it was frequented by military types and diplomats; also has served as Australian & New Zealand embassies.
- Two distinct blocks: the Heritage Wing (built before the War) and the Opera Wing (taller and built more recently).
- The Opera Wing is so tall that all rooms offer fabulous views of the city and the river, albeit from a distance.
- About 300 rooms will undergo renovation in the middle of 2108, with the hotel closing its rooms (but opening the bar/cafes etc) for several months, to be completed by the end of 2018.
- It has an ideal location in the classy part of District 1, opposite and facing the exquisite Opera House, surrounded by classy bistros and boutiques, just a few minutes stroll to all major sights in the area.
- Saigon Saigon Rooftop Bar is legendary from the war, but has since been completely renovated and is now unrecognizable as the same establishment.
- Plenty of fine dining options, and some boutiques on the ground floor.
- Good-sized outdoor pool on the 7th floor, bright and sparkling blue, with thatched-roof pool bar and plenty of potted palms, but there are no views here to get excited about.
- Deluxe Room – Bright and airy with lovely light colors; some slightly outdated furniture, but will be renovated completely in 2018. The plan is to modernize the rooms, not affect the heritage of the building.
- A good but not great family option; some rooms have connecting doors, the pool is large, and the location is excellent, but there are no kid-specific amenities.
- Bottom Line: Historical significance and a prime location in the best part of the city; a great combination of old and new; views are excellent from all rooms.
Petite, convenient, and likably old-fashioned. Still a low-rise among a cluster of 20-story office blocks, the Continental was built in the 1880s as the first tourist hotel in Vietnam. It maintains a pleasing French colonial charm, with whitewashed walls, a lavish lobby, and courtyard café with wrought-iron tables. Corridors of high wood-paneled ceilings and plush carpets lead to a variety of spacious rooms filled (often, overly so) with ornate and antique furniture. Windows may face the exquisite Opera House, but balconies are disappointingly undersized. On a quietish corner within elegant District 1, and an easy stroll to major attractions and the Saigon River.
Hotel phone: +84 28 3829 9201
Notes on Continental Saigon
- Built in 1880s, the first hotel in Vietnam for tourists – its ornate lobby is reminiscent of French colonial times from the late 19th century.
- Only 4 stories in an area full of 20-level plus hotels and offices; white-washed, stylish, and likable.
- Streetside cafe, featuring wrought iron chairs and tables.
- Corner location in a quiet part of District 1, opposite the renowned and exquisite opera house. Surrounded by classy bistros and boutiques, and walkable to all major sights, shopping malls, and the river.
- Elegant old-style high-ceilinged corridors, with wood-paneled ceilings and plush carpeting.
- French restaurants, cozy lobby, and a gorgeous courtyard cafe that’s worth a visit for anyone.
- Premium suite – Lots of elegant wood furniture (maybe too much); unusual balcony is small and faces a busy-ish street; lounge/desk area is separated by a small step and railings, and has ornate wooden chairs and plush curtains.
- Besides its great location, there’s not much here that would appeal to families.
- Bottom Line: Old fashioned and in need of some updating, top marks for location, ambience, and genuine French Colonial history.
Historic and understated charm, in a fantastic location. One of the very best pre-War hotels, the Grand’s design is representative of Vietnam’s transition: the 27 room Ancient Wing (built in 1930) sits alongside a 20-story Luxury Wing that was added in 2011. With a marble bathrooms and ornate decor, the historic Deluxe Rooms feel like they haven’t altered much since the 1930s, not that there’s any need. Rooms in the Luxury Wing are larger, more modern, and offer better city views; suites are welcoming and spacious, and boast vistas of the Saigon River. There’s a casino, obligatory rooftop bar, a pool set in a delightful ivy-covered courtyard of pebbles and palms. The Grand is located between the River Precinct and classy District 1.
Hotel phone: +84 28 3915 5555
Notes on Grand Hotel Saigon
- Along with the Rex, this is probably best of the pre-War hotels.
- Two distinct wings: Ancient Wing (27 rooms, built in 1930) and Luxury Wing (20-stories, 203 rooms, added in 2011).
- Terrific location on the border between the cafes and cruises of the intriguing River Precinct and District 1’s classy bistros and boutiques.
- Obligatory Rooftop Grand Cafe on 20th floor.
- Onsite casino.
- 1st floor pool has no views, but is in a adorable Colonial-style courtyard setting; pebbles, palms, ivy, shady umbrellas – one of best pool settings in HCMC.
- 8 types of rooms and suites, with most housed in the newer Luxury Wing; those in the Ancient Wing maintain the 1930s theme of decor.
- Deluxe Rooms – overlook courtyard pool or have city views; ornate and elegant furnishings, large bed, marble bathroom; all windows are small, as this was designed before tourists demanded full length views; old-fashioned without feeling outdated.
- Premium Deluxe Rooms – City views; and a little bigger, with room enough for two double beds. Same ornate design and marble bathrooms; lovely wooden floors and Vietnamese paintings.
- Suites – Not overly large or impersonal, with a welcoming style and furnishings. Separate lounge/TV area, with a desk in the bedroom. Windows are still small, with some lovely views of river bend. 2nd TV in bedroom.
- Ample space to accommodate families: the Grand Suite and Royal Suite have 2 bedrooms, Senior Deluxe rooms can add an extra single bed for an additional cost.
- Bottom Line: Understated elegance; historic; old fashioned without being outdated; combines modern needs with old world charm very well; gorgeous pool setting; top corner location.
Uniquely swanky and arty – not another charmless high-rise. A bland exterior belies a graceful Indochine-style lobby of ornamental chandeliers and traditionally-dressed staff. This delightfully chic and colonial decor continues throughout, with plentiful arts and artifacts personally curated by the owner. Rooms are elegantly old-fashioned yet functionally modern, with polished wood panelling, floor-to-ceiling windows, and picture-framed televisions. Spacious and stylish suites just ooze charm and class. The infinity pool has glass walls and magnificent city views, and high tea is served in a decadent art-filled piano lounge that’s straight out of a 1930’s film set. Located on a quiet, tree-lined street that’s dotted with banks and embassies but close to District 1’s museums and bistros.
Hotel phone: +84 28 3989 8888
Notes on Hôtel des Artes
- The bland multi-story exterior (looks like yet another office block) belies a chic, elegant, timeless colonial-style lobby with plush seating, bright flowers, ornamental chandeliers, and traditionally-dressed staff.
- Gorgeous French/Indochine design and decor throughout, with arts, crafts, and paintings hand-picked and collected by the owner.
- A boutique hotel with smaller number of rooms than others, so staff seem so much more personable.
- Located on a tree-lined street that’s quieter than most in the area; amid banks, offices, and embassies – but walkable to all tourist sights and plenty of nearby cafes and shops.
- Taking high tea in the magnificent lobby lounge is a must for guest any visitors, as you enjoy the pianist and admire the art along the walls.
- They claim to have the best rooftop bar in the city, and I can’t argue. The lounge and bar overlook the smallish infinity pool, with glass walls to maximize the lovely 360 degree views.
- Rooms are gorgeous and very well-appointed.
- Deluxe Rooms – On the smallish but so likable; elegantly old fashioned but still functionally modern. Small desk, polished wood panelling, full window with decent views; sink and vanity in bedroom with separate toilet and shower cubicles; TV almost hidden among ornate picture frame; some rooms have bathtubs.
- Suites – More spacious, with an entrance area and floor-to-ceiling windows. Huge bathrooms have free-standing tubs, double showers. Adorable corner sofa, massive bed; oozes class and elegance.
- For families? Perhaps, but the ambience and decor might be wasted on the young.
- Bottom Line: Instantly lovable and so charming; unique artsy decor; unlike anything else in HCMC; old world charm, personable staff, stunning design; probably the nicest and most interesting hotel in the whole city.
Riverside and historic, but aging gracefully. Built in 1925, the Majestic retains a French colonial elegance despite recent renovations. The exquisite old-world charm of the lobby, with black-and-gold rugs, embroidered cushions, and traditionally-dressed staff, continues throughout. All rooms feature a lovely marble bathroom, and differ only in size and views. Those facing the vibrant but unattractive Saigon River also overlook the main road – and its traffic noise (mostly buffered by double-glazing). Standard Deluxe Rooms facing the internal courtyard and pool are quieter, and suites are packed with ornately carved furniture and prints of pre-War Saigon. The courtyard pool suffers some from road noise, while the refined foyer lounge is worth visiting for High Tea. Located among a number of high-rises facing the river, with the sights and shops of District 1 within an easy stroll.
Hotel phone: +84 28 3829 5517
Notes on Hotel Majestic
- One of the oldest in the city, built in 1925. Underwent a recent (almost total) renovation, but retains the French elegance of the Colonial era.
- Lobby is so elegant, with gold and black rugs and embroidered cushions, staff with old-style uniforms; chandeliers and stained glass; so old world and charming, with French colonial columns, vases, rugs, etc.
- Elegance continues throughout the hotel, with thick carpeted corridors lined with old photos and Vietnamese prints.
- Great location facing the river’s cruises and cafes, just on the edge of the tourist attractions and classy bistros and boutiques in District 1.
- Superb views along and down both ends of the river, which is not attractive but vibrant and bustling.
- Outdoor pool on 1st floor; suffers from traffic noise, and is small but serviceable. Attached gym.
- There’s a 7th floor restaurant with great views, and an open-air rooftop bar one level higher. Worthwhile stopping for colonial-style afternoon tea in the elegant foyer lounge.
- 175 rooms and suites, ranging mostly on size and sort of view.
- Deluxe Rooms (no views of the city or river) are quieter, as they face the hotel’s interior and overlook the courtyard pool – not the incessant traffic.
- All rooms have a charming Colonial style marble bathroom;
- River view suite – entrance foyer with storage; old-world and ornately-carved furnishings; 2 long desks, chairs, stylish prints of Vietnam; lots of cupboards; polished floorboards; old-style rugs; gold-plated marble bathroom.
- Despite double-thick windows and doors, noise from traffic and construction is audible from below; tiny balcony – only for quick photos and to marvel at at the organized chaos outside.
- Family Amenities: Cots are available, and some rooms are large enough to squeeze in another single bed; baby-sitting can be arranged. The location is probably a drawback for families, though, as the outside traffic is so noisy – and potentially dangerous for toddlers.
- Bottom Line: Truly majestic in layout and design; utterly charming and adorable, historic; aged gracefully and renovated superbly; magnificent.
Spacious and functional – better suited for business than pleasure. One of a cluster of unattractive multi-story hotels within elegant District 1, the InterContinental sits only 200 meters down a bookshop-lined laneway from the cathedral, and is surrounded by trendy cafés and fast-food outlets. Inside, plushly-carpeted corridors lead to a variety of accommodation. Suites are particularly roomy, though a little charmless. They feature plenty of seating, a dining table, and full-length windows offering unobstructed city views (the best vistas are from the bathtub). Standard Deluxe Rooms are more appealing, furnished with a stylish desk and decorated with interesting photos. The 3rd floor outdoor swimming pool is a decent size, and has aquarium-like glass walls, but no views.
Hotel phone: +84 28 3520 9999
Notes on InterContinental Saigon
- Multi-story, bland exterior, unremarkable from outside, one of many huge modern hotels.
- 305 rooms over 20 floors.
- Located in a great spot, only 200m down a lane lined with cafes and bookshops from the cathedral; surrounded by trendy western cafes and bars.
- Library, business centre etc, as expected; huge gym.
- Outdoor pool on 3rd level is unusual with two sides of glass walls, like an aquarium, but no great views; decent enough, and functional.
- Plush-carpet corridors lined with stunning photos of Vietnamese life.
- Suites – Modern, very spacious, plenty of sofas and chairs, but a bit charmless; huge table more for conferences than meals; most suites are situated in corners and enjoy views from two full walls of windows; bedrooms are surprisingly undersized compared to lounge and dining area; bathroom has free-standing tub, twin sinks and TV; stylish.
- Deluxe Room – More appealing than suites, with stunning elongated photo of Vietnamese life above the bed, stylish desk and lounge chair, modern and compact but feels spacious, latest TV and audio offered; concertina windows separate bathroom and bedroom.
- Many rooms have lovely views, often overlooking the cathedral and charming District 1.
- Caters to couples, diplomats, and business people – kids may enjoy the pool, but not much else.
- Bottom Line: Stylish and spacious, but generally unremarkable, like many others in the same area; functional without being exceptional, ideal for business people, and in a great location for tourists.
Riverside location, unique design, and personality plus. The angular glass exterior of this boutique hotel, with foliage spilling over the balconies, is striking among typically bland high-rises nearby. This intriguing Viet-chic design continues inside, with brightly-colored corridors, arched ceilings, and asymmetrical room design. Rooms vary considerably but all are comfortable, featuring funky furniture, potted plants, and lovely Vietnamese paintings. The rooftop pool has glass walls, infinity edges, cabanas, and views – but these, like those from all rooms facing the Saigon River – will be severely limited when the monolithic Hilton in front is completed by the end of 2018. The location remains ideal, however: sitting within meters of the river, and an easy amble to the attractions and facilities of District 1. Connecting rooms and personable service make this a decent option for families.
Hotel phone: +84 28 3520 3040
Notes on The Myst Dong Khoi
- Unique design among the square, tall, glass offices and hotels; not another bland mega-hotel of an international chain; only 12 floors, soon to be dwarfed by the Hilton next door.
- Small boutique hotel, so service is personable.
- Angular, likable design with plentiful foliage spilling out from balconies.
- Design continues inside and in rooms and corridors with angular walls, wooden frames, pastel colors and arched ceilings – a modern and intriguing Vietnamese design.
- Most rooms face the river, but views will be severely affected by a Hilton Hotel, currently under construction in 2017 and 2018. Construction is noisy for guests, and once built will block views of the river.
- Located in the interesting river precinct of cruises and riverside cafes, but walkable to District 1’s lovely bars and cafes.
- Free afternoon high tea in their gorgeous cafe.
- Rooftop pool is lined with wooden decking, has infinity-edges, glass walls lined with bougainvillea, and superb views (that will be affected by the Hilton). Breezy, with plenty of lounge chairs; bar and cabanas in the shallow end of the pool.
- The gym is set even higher and offers probably the best gym views in the city.
- Suites – More affordable than most; angular walls, pastel colors, dark wooden carved furniture, plenty of plants; lovely Vietnamese paintings on the wall; the outdoor Jacuzzi suffers from construction noise at the moment and the view will soon suffer from the Hilton; funky and likeable.
- A good option for families, with 5 connecting rooms and a good location. The funky style and decor would impress and interest teenagers, perhaps.
- Bottom Line: This places oozes personality with European design and modern Vietnamese decor, and is so welcoming compared to many mega-hotels; is being and will be affected greatly by Hilton Hotel to be constructed next door.
Central, and likably old-fashioned, but screaming for renovations. Established long before the city became a tourist destination, this hotel was built during the communist heyday, and has an overall Viet-style design, which is not unappealing. Other than the opulent lobby with its domed ceiling and spiral staircase, little has been spent on modernization, with the same bland decor throughout all corridors and rooms. Standard rooms are spacious, but plain and outdated, while suites contain a huge bed, two walls of windows (with decent views), and an updated bathroom. The hotel boasts a tennis court and a terrace garden, but the S-shaped pool lacks shade and is overlooked by office buildings. Facing a rare pocket of parkland, it’s located a short scramble across intolerable traffic to Pham Ngu Lao, the backpacker area with a surplus of tourist facilities, and the sprawling Ban Thanh Market.
Hotel phone: +84 28 3822 8888
Notes on New World Saigon Hotel
- Has been around a long time, since well before Vietnam became a tourist destination.
- Impressive lobby with domed ceiling and spiral staircase is sort of lost among the ordinary.
- Some Vietnamese influence and decor, but almost limited to the inside of the elevators.
- Bland light brown wooden decor in the corridors is replicated in the rooms, and somewhat reminiscent of the communist era.
- In a superb location, between – and walking distance to – District 1’s classy shops and bistros and the compact backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lao.
- Faces a park, with trees, local activities, and some respite from the traffic.
- Premiere Rooms – Standard rooms, with fairly unremarkable decor; sofa, huge bed, spacious, but needs an update from the 1980s; nothing modern or Vietnamese; functional but unexciting; old style bathtub needs updating.
- Suites – Same bland decor; spacious lounge/TV/dining area with separate bedroom (huge bed). 2 sides of windows and views, single couch seat; nicely renovated bathroom but bath tub is 1980s.
- Rooms have either park views of (trees and skyline) or less appealing city views.
- 2nd floor terrace with garden are, pool, and tennis court is overlooked by several other hotels and office blocks, but this cannot be helped in HCMC. All affected by traffic noise.
- S-shaped pool is OK, but needs some shade and modern touches.
- Families will appreciate the connecting doors in standard rooms, as well as the pool. No other special amenities for kids.
- Bottom Line: A bit old fashioned, screaming for an update, with bland decor throughout the hotel and rooms. But rooms are spacious and it’s in a top location for District 1 and Pham Ngu Lao.
Sleek and chic, if inconvenient – ideal for business. The lobby of this modern and minimalist hotel is all glass, marble, and metal, and muted earth tones dominate the decor throughout the building. Comfy Deluxe Rooms favor style over practicality, but the unobstructed city views from the floor-to-ceiling window are superb. Suites have an undersized round desk, while apartments with one, two or three bedrooms are fully equipped. The Nikko Garden, a welcome patch of greenery at ground level, and the sparkling 5th floor pool are lovely, though they suffer somewhat from traffic noise. Located at a typically chaotic roundabout along an elegant tree-lined avenue, there are no nearby cafés or shops catering to westerners, but its only a short taxi trip to the attractions, bistros and boutiques of District 1.
Hotel phone: +84 28 3925 7777
Notes on Hotel Nikko Saigon
- Lobby is all marble, and metal, in different shades of brown and grey; ultra-modern and sleek, if somewhat unwelcoming. Overall decor color scheme is earth tones.
- Very good option for business people, who won’t care about locale or being close to tourist attractions.
- 23 floors.
- Minimalist design could read as boring, or thoughtless, to some.
- Located on the corner of an elegant tree-lined avenue of businesses/cinemas and a typically chaotic Viet city roundabout.
- Just on the edge of District 1, but certainly not in the classy area near the opera house or alongside the river; a short taxi to D1 tourist attractions.
- Caters to business people, with executive lounges on rooftop.
- Nikko Garden is a rare, welcome, and tranquil bit of grass and flowers near the ground level lobby.
- Small pool on 5th floor, with sparkling water and some views; adjacent to the gym; some traffic noise; tiny add-on pool for kids.
- Deluxe Rooms – Standard rooms are chic and trendy but impractical (eg long bench along one wall too low for a desk, remarkably small desk); sofa; one wall of windows with superb city views, no other buildings of the same height nearby; nothing Vietnamese about decor, which is all earth tones.
- Suites – Some are corner situated, creating odd angles in the room; separate lounge with TV; best views are from the bathtub; small desk.
- All rooms have at least one wall of windows with extraordinary views; all have electric washlet toilets.
- There area also a range of 1, 2, & 3 bedroom apartments, with kitchen and dining rooms.
- Families will appreciate the apartment option and the small kids pool, but the surrounding area is of little interest.
- Bottom Line: Sleek and functional, could be anywhere; seems to be almost entirely for business people; poor location for tourists; odd layout in places, sometimes too trendy and not practical; inadequate desk space for a business hotel.
Graceful, old-world charm and superb location. With a vibrant front garden and likable Colonial-style design, this distinctive low-rise hotel sits opposite the Opera House in the heart of fashionable District 1. The elegance continues throughout, where recent renovations ensure that everything is stylish, not garish, and old-fashioned without being outdated. Rooms have an understated Colonial charisma, with marble bathrooms and rain showers, and all the latest gadgets. Bright and airy suites feature welcoming lounge areas, pleasant old-style bedrooms, and separate fully-equipped kitchen and dining rooms. The 3rd floor has a delightful garden courtyard with a pool flanked by shaded cabanas and waterfalls to buffer the traffic noise below.
Hotel phone: +84 28 3824 1234
Notes on Park Hyatt Saigon
- Distinctive and agreeable old-fashioned 8-floor design, with landscaping in front, which is rare for the area.
- Elegance continues inside to lobby and adjacent lounge.
- Situated on a corner, opposite the Opera House, amid the elegant streets of District 1, walkable to the river’s cruises and cafes.
- The large garden lounge and pool area is wonderful, lushly dripping with lilies and ferns, with meandering paths lead to pockets of secluded tables and chairs.
- The pool suffers no traffic noise because of the waterfalls, and there are plenty of lounge chairs and cabanas; quiet, wonderful calming setting – no views, but who cares?
- Suites – Have a separate kitchen/dining area, with fridge, stove, and dining room table; walk-in closet; 2nd toilet; adorable lounge area with plentiful seating, TV; bedroom is particularly appealing – old-style, white wooden shutters with small window still allowing plenty of light, 2nd TV, overhead fan, inspiring writer’s desk; massive bathroom; airy.
- Most rooms overlook the extensive garden courtyard and pool area, while others have city views.
- Families will appreciate the location and pool/garden area, but there are no special family amenities.
- Bottom Line: Stylish without being garish; old style without being outdated or old fashioned; perfectly blend modern needs with old world charm and elegance.
Chic, family option near Pham Ngu Lao. Similar in design to a multitude of neighboring office high-rises, the Pullman is vast enough for two street entrances. Rooms are fashionable, if not always functional (the bedside tables are carved from unstable wooden blocks). Each Deluxe Room features multi-colored modern art, as well as the latest mod-cons, but, inexcusably for a business-oriented hotel, there is no desk. City views from the wall of windows in all rooms are incredible. The pool is larger than expected, with a toddlers’ splash area attached, and the tiny kids’ club makes the Pullman more family-friendly than most. A little distant from fashionable District 1, it’s only a short stroll to the backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lao, with seemingly endless tourist facilities.
Hotel phone: +84 28 3838 8686
Notes on Pullman Saigon Centre
- Exterior looks exactly one of several office blocks, nothing like a hotel.
- 6 room/suite types over 30 floors, mostly for business people, with executive lounge etc.
- Within a 5 minute walk of Pham Ngu Lao with all its bars, shops and cafes, while just a short taxi ride to tourist attractions in District 1; squeezed between two main streets, with two entrances.
- While it’s in District 1, it’s certainly not in the classy area near the opera house or the river.
- 6th floor pool is long, a better size than most other 5-star hotels.
- Deluxe Rooms – Chic, multicolored art/decor; latest mod cons, eg coffee machine; remarkably for a business hotel there is no desk, just a round glass table; at least one wall of windows with good city views. Strange layout with angled divide between bathroom (with free-standing tub) and bedroom, with remote-controlled curtain for some privacy; separate shower and toilet cubicles.
- Suites – Colorful and stylish decor; again no proper desk, only a round glass table; good views along one wall; separate bathroom.
- Residential Suite – A usable desk(!), lots of windows on all sides; 6-seat meeting table; lots of grey furnishings, eg sofa, 3 TVs, 2 toilets, one bedroom.
- Probably the best option in HCMC for families; suites are spacious and many rooms have connecting doors. There’s a small but decent kids pool attached to main pool, and a tiny indoor poolside play area for toddlers (unsupervised). Children’s Club is separated for 0-3 and 4-6 year olds.
- Bottom Line: Mostly for business people, but a decent option for tourists; close to some affordable cafes but not walkable to tourist attractions; functional and sleek, but sometimes impractical.
Lavish and garish, in prime location. The Reverie does not hold back when it comes to decor. The lobby contains a gold-plated clock over two meters high, and elevators are lined with polished agate. Jam-packed with handcrafted Italian furniture, no expense has been spared with the rooms, either. Opulent but ostentatious, they feature cushioned walls, electric curtains, and a state-of-the-art coffee machines; suites have mosaic tiled walls and bathroom floor. The lower levels are occupied by offices, apartments, and shops, so all views from the full-length windows in the rooms and suites are excellent; not so from the pool/jacuzzi area, however. Somehow almost hidden along a broad boulevard between City Hall and Saigon River, it’s walkable to many attractions and fashionable cafés.
Hotel phone: +84 28 3823 6688
Notes on The Reverie Saigon
- Inconspicuous, almost hidden, side entrance leads to 39 floor hotel with 286 rooms.
- Opulent lobby is more garish than stylish, setting the tone with marble, huge chandeliers, massive sofas that sit 6-7 people, and a gold-plated Italian clock on legs over 2 meters high. Imported Italian furnishings seem out of place.
- Carpeted marble corridors; lounges of ornate furniture, grand piano; lifts lined with colored agate.
- In a huge building that looks like another boring office block, facing the broad boulevard running between river and City Hall.
- Located in a nice, quieter spot about half-way between the river and city hall, walkable to other sights in District 1.
- Pool is on 7th floor, surrounded by chic grey Italian furniture; 2 outdoor Jacuzzis; views not great.
- Deluxe Rooms – Opulent and ostentatious, no expense spared. Bathroom has twin sinks and marble fittings; walk-in closet; bedroom is cozy, with cushioned walls, state of the art coffee machine, chic sofa, electric curtains offering excellent river views from floor-to-ceiling windows from most rooms; glass desk facing the window; chic but still rather homey.
- Suites – Various types, each a different design. All feature chic Italian furnishings, wood paneled floors, walk-in closet. Some have 3 TVs, view bathtubs, mosaic tiles, or four poster beds. Separate lounge/TV/dining area.
- Not designed with families in mind, but the suites are large, and the pool and location are great. A bit garish and chic for younger ones.
- Bottom Line: Opulent bordering on garish, ornate but not always comfy furnishings, over-the-top decor; top location in interesting river precinct.
13. Rex Hotel
Fabulous location, style, and history. The 90-year-old Rex was renowned during the War as a haunt for the media and military, who frequented the infamous Rooftop Garden bar (which still has remarkable views and ambience). The superbly maintained lobby features a graceful spiral staircase, a charming piano lounge, and corridors lined historical photos. All types of rooms boast unparalleled old-world charm, with polished floorboards, plush curtains, and sparkling bathrooms. Standard Deluxe Rooms are a bit compact, and face an interior courtyard. There are two smallish pools on the 6th floor, and a rooftop tennis court. Opposite a rare patch of greenery dominated by a statue of Uncle Ho, the Rex sits in the middle of fashionable District 1, amid avenues of chic bistros and boutiques.
Hotel phone: +84 28 3829 2185
Notes on Rex Hotel
- 286 rooms and suites.
- Important history, well known as a haunt of journalists and diplomats during Vietnam War; built in 1927.
- Every inch of corridor is lined with photos of pre-War Saigon, and of the hotel’s history.
- Gorgeous lobby has a spiral staircase, piano bar, and boutiques of Chanel, etc.
- Fabulous location in the classy part of District 1, facing a park featuring Uncle Ho and the Peoples Committee Hall. Within a short stroll of many boutiques and bistros, the river, and most tourist attractions.
- Several onsite restaurants; none more spectacular, ambient, and historic than the Rooftop Garden Bar, where breakfast is served.
- There’s a water puppet show in the garden courtyard, which could be noisy for some rooms.
- 2 small pools, close-set but on slightly different tiers on 6th floor; adjoining gym; views of the skyline, but overlooked by windows of other hotels (common in Saigon).
- 9 types of rooms, from Presidential Suite to Deluxe/standard.
- Deluxe Rooms – Windows face the interior courtyard – all within distance of the water puppet show, noise might be a factor.
- All rooms are elegant, with polished floorboards, plush curtains, sparkling bathrooms, and photos of old Saigon. Some are a bit cramped.
- The 4 Family Governor Suites, top location, and pools will appeal to families.
- Bottom Line: Historic ambience and Colonial charm in a prime, classy location; worth a splurge for better rooms; worth wandering around for a touch of history if not a guest.
Trendy and convenient, riverside, but noisy. The lobby is ultra-chic, but guest rooms are far more welcoming; with matching carpet, luggage rack, and cushioned headboards, they are comfortable without being remarkable. Those above the 10th floor offer the finest possible views of the city and/or river, but no rooms have a balcony. Any river views also overlook the chaotic main road, although the traffic noise is mostly blocked by effective double-glazing. The pool is undersized, but located way up on the 21st floor, with panoramic views from three sides – bettered only by the rooftop bar one level above. Located on a corner facing a tiny park and the Saigon River, it’s surrounded by cafés and shops, and within an easy stroll to the various attractions around District 1.
Hotel phone: +84 28 3822 0033
Notes on Renaissance Riverside Hotel
- Lobby is ultra-chic; all angles, fluorescent lights, and shades of grey. If modern isn’t your thing, this could feel unwelcoming.
- 21 floors – To avoid traffic noise from the chaotic street below, get a room on the 10th floor or above, which also have better river views.
- Lobby decor continues through the elevators, but nowhere else in the entire hotel, with the design and decor throughout the hotel and in the rooms far more homey/comforting than the lobby.
- Located on a corner facing a tiny park and the river; a short stroll to District 1 with all its classy bistros and boutiques and tourist attractions.
- Faces a very noisy road, which is death-defying to cross on foot.
- Pool is on the 21st floor, which means only one other building overlooks it, so it feels more private than most in Saigon; pool is small, but has good river and skyline views on 3 sides.
- Rooftop bar is one level above the pool and has arguably the best views in Saigon.
- Club lounges for special guests and members only.
- Guest rooms have city views (facing the less noisy main road and not the river) or river views (facing the chaotic main road’s incessant 6-lane traffic).
- Guest room decor is stylish and still contemporary, but more homey and welcoming than the lobby; nothing Vietnamese about decor or furnishings except one photo of Saigon on the wall; river views are extensive but not attractive; no balcony.
- For families? Eh. Some rooms have connecting doors, but there’s nothing else set up for families. The pool is small, and the road in front is harrowing.
- Traffic noise from outside is unpleasant; if this will bother, seek quieter options elsewhere.
- Bottom Line: Ultra chic and modern, in a very noisy area with insane traffic out front. Top location for tourist attractions and District 1. River view rooms are very noisy lower than the 10th floor; superb views upper floors; go to rooftop bar anyway.
Sleek, compact, and a little isolated. Another high-rise along a tree-lined street of embassies and banks, the Sofitel is near the delightful riverside zoo but a little further on foot from the shops and attractions of fashionable District 1. Deluxe Rooms feature a rather somber decor which may not appeal to all. But they are stylish, comfortable, and functional, with a spacious luggage area, lovely marble bathroom and full-length windows providing views across the city. The sizable 18th floor pool has a relaxing lounge bar with broad panoramas of the city in all directions.
Hotel phone: +84 28 3824 1555
Notes on Sofitel Saigon Plaza
- Modern, marble lobby
- Sits along a tree-lined street more stylish and a little quieter than most; in classy area of the city, close to the zoo and walkable to all major sights in District 1; area has more banks, offices and embassies than bistros and boutiques, but is walkable to malls and cafes.
- 18th floor pool with attached lounge has ideal views in most directions, bar.
- Deluxe Rooms – Purple and black decor may not appeal; room is a little cramped, but functional enough; most have decent enough city views; spacious enough luggage area; lovely marble bathroom; one full wall of windows for maximum views; functional without being spectacular; narrow desk area.
- There’s a decent pool and nice location, but small rooms make this not ideal for families.
- Bottom Line: Decent enough hotel in not quite as good a downtown location as others, but handy to the zoo and still walkable to tourist sights; functional but not ostentatious or overly luxurious.
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