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Ho Chi Minh City, more popularly (but unofficially) known as Saigon, is Vietnam’s most populous city, and one of the world’s most fascinating and diverse. Modern skyscrapers loom over ornate traditional temples. Bustling night markets are found just down the street from luxury shopping malls. International business magnates, backpackers seeing the world, and locals from all walks of life intermingle in this fascinating place, and unsurprisingly, the local tourism sector has done a fantastic job of providing lodging options for all of the above. Whatever sort of hotel suits your fancy, HCMC has just the place for you.
Best Overall: Villa Song Saigon
Each of this riverfront boutique hotel’s 23 unique rooms is appointed in light, airy colors with a minimalist aesthetic that blends French colonial furniture with ultra-contemporary art pieces, making the place feel like a microcosm of modern Ho Chi Minh City. Ensuite bathrooms are large and comfortable and stocked with a range of amenities, including extras like razors and loofahs.
The hotel is home to a large saltwater swimming pool surrounded by a chic terrace and lots of greenery. A small fitness center is available, as well. An on-site restaurant, Bistro Song Vie, serves Vietnamese and contemporary pan-Asian fare on the river’s edge. The Villa Song is a bit outside of the main hub of the city, which makes it feel like an oasis from the buzz of downtown, but the hotel offers complimentary speedboat rides to the Cau Mong Pier, at the heart of it all.
Best Budget: Sanouva Saigon
This stylish and tidy little hotel is in a fantastic location just a block from the lively Ben Tranh market, a great place to shop for souvenirs (from fine textiles to tourist trinkets) and food, and simply to immerse yourself in the buzz of the city. Rooms are comfortable and relatively spacious for the location (and the price) and decorated with pale fabrics, dark wood, and lively pops of orange and red pillows and artwork. Bathrooms have modern fixtures and include walk-in showers with rain-style showerheads, but do not have bathtubs. Amenities include a small but well-appointed gym, meeting rooms, a small onsite restaurant and airport shuttle service.
Best Boutique: Cinnamon Hotel Saigon
Sleek black and white decor, wooden floors, ultra-modern bathrooms and chic public spaces make this hotel a great choice for lovers of design, and with just ten guestrooms (two to a floor, five floors), a personalized experience is part of the deal. Note that the hotel does not have an elevator, but staff will bring suitcases up the stairs for you. Breakfast is included and features both Continental and traditional Vietnamese options, as well as fresh fruits and juices. Staff at the Cinnamon are Ho Chi Minh City experts and will guide you to the best food, attractions and shopping in the city, all of which are impressively close (the Ben Tranh Market and Independence Palace are both just blocks away).
Best for Families: Somerset Ho Chi Minh City
Families with kids will love making their home base in the furnished and serviced apartments at the Somerset Ho Chi Minh City, which includes separate bedrooms for kids and grownups and full kitchens, as well as a washer and dryer. Rooms are simple and minimally but comfortably-appointed, but the convenience of these apartments far outweighs their slightly bland style.
The amenities aren’t too shabby either: a huge swimming pool with a children’s wading area, a well-equipped gym and aerobics/yoga studio, tennis courts, a playground, and a breakfast restaurant. The location is also excellent for families with kids. The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens are just across the street, and shops, restaurants, and smaller attractions galore are within walking distance.
Best Romance: Park Hyatt Saigon
This elegant French colonial-style hotel oozes romance from the moment you enter the lobby, softened by the scent from massive bouquets of white lilies and filled with the sound of a live pianist. The guest rooms themselves are no exception, with elegant antique-style carved wooden furniture, luxe bedding, deep soaking tubs, and delicate décor. Though it’s quite a large hotel, it does not feel generic, and the staff goes out of their way to make sure guests are pleased.
Should you and your sweetie want to leave the room (no judgment), the Park Hyatt offers a full-service spa, a fitness center, two on-site restaurants, a pastry boutique, and a martini bar, the latter of which features semi-private nooks for two. There’s also a large courtyard pool on site, surrounded by carefully-landscaped gardens which give it a feeling of lush solitude in the center of the city. The hotel is across the street from the world-renowned Saigon Opera House, and near to all of central Ho Chi Minh City’s major attractions.
Best Luxury: The Reverie
Expect fantastic, over-the-top luxury at this opulent hotel located in the high-rise Times Square Building in a tony shopping and business area in downtown Saigon. Massive chandeliers, playful blown-glass sculptures, oversized pieces of furniture — it’s a bit Vegas, a bit rococo, and wholly unique. The guestrooms are also carefully and uniquely designed, with a toned-down version of the modern Italian-meets-Louis XVI style in each. Amenities are top of the line: Frette bed and bath linens, marble bathrooms with soaking tubs and separate rain-style showers, flat-screen televisions in both the bedrooms and bathrooms, a complimentary minibar, Chopard bath amenities, a Nespresso machine and more. High-rise views are spectacular in every direction.
A benefit of being located in a mixed-use skyscraper is that there are several restaurants on the premises, including a simple deli for sandwiches and coffee, a fine dining Chinese restaurant, as well as the cozy Café Cardinal, which overlooks the Reverie’s exquisitely designed pool deck and serves modern food all day. A full-service spa on the premises offers body treatments and salon services, and a health center allows guests to keep fit while they’re in town.
Best Nightlife: Duc Vuong Hotel
Younger travelers will adore the well-priced beers and cocktails and fun party scene at the hip rooftop bar at the Duc Vuong Hotel, as well as the location in a nightlife-dense stretch of downtown. They’ll also like the prices on the simple but stylish rooms, with their dark wood floors and minimalist, clean-lined furniture and small but well-appointed bathrooms. Folded towel animals and fresh juice will greet you upon arrival, and a delicious and filling hot breakfast is complimentary each morning.
Best Business: Liberty Central Saigon Citypoint
Business travelers should consider booking an executive-level room at this downtown business-ready property, thereby gaining access to the excellent executive lounge facility, complete with complimentary use of a boardroom as well as free shoe shines, a private cocktail hour, newspapers, and more. Larger meeting and event rooms are available, as well.
Rooms themselves are simple and modern, with a feel that’s more Scandinavian than South Asian. Executive rooms include a work desk complete with all necessary technology hookups and free Wi-Fi. A buffet restaurant and on-site bistro keep you fed, though the immediate neighborhood is a hotbed for both fine restaurants and fabulous market and street vendors. An on-site pool, full-service spa, fitness center, and three-screen cinema round out the amenities.
Best Hostel: Long Hostel
Ho Chi Minh City is a popular stop for backpackers, and there are lots of excellent hostels to choose from, most of which are in the same general area. The Long Hostel is a particularly great one, though, not just because the facilities are comfortable, but because staff actively encourages guests to interact with each other and to make friends, largely through a fun evening happy hour, where guests get two free beers each between 7 and 9 p.m. Breakfast is also included, complete with made-to-order banana pancakes and fresh fruit. Private rooms with ensuite bathrooms are available, though the dorms, with shared bathrooms, are quite comfortable as well.