To say that Vietnam is developing rapidly would be an understatement. The land of pho (pronounced ‘fuh’) and French colonial landmarks is now also the fastest growing of the world’s economies. Consequently, its commerce capital of Ho Chi Minh City has come to claim an ever-changing skyline, the latest addition to which is The Reverie Saigon. Built from the ground-up as part of the landmark Times Square Building in District 1, The Reverie Saigon takes up a total of 39 storeys, with a 2-storey spa, fitness center, 4 dining venues, and 224 guestrooms and 62 suites. Every square inch of the hotel is shiny.
Weiging in at 1,000 kgs, a mammoth Baldi clock in emerald green malachite, crystal and 24 karat gold greets you in the lobby; the also mammoth purple ostrich leather sofa from Colombostile’s Eclettico Collection keeps you company through check-in. The owners must be serious Italian design aficionados because it is everywhere you look, and even where you don’t.
The newest luxury hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, and one built with the simple mission to be as ostentatious as possible and be unapologetic about it.
What starts out as an assault to the senses, grows on you after a while. In the company’s own words, the hotel is inspired by a desire to ignite and excite the imagination of travelers with spaces never seen or experienced before. With an abundance of larger-than-life objets d’art, it certainly achieves that. By the time you’re being whisked up to your room with able assistance, assistance that won’t leave your side through the remainder of your stay, your time in the lodgings being the only exception, you begin to appreciate the eclecticism of the hotel, and of its people.
The hotel’s clever design, especially the placement of rooms, lends itself to striking views. Sat on the 35th floor, ours was a Panorama Deluxe Room. Which may be self-explanatory but, like the subject of this review, we’re feeling a wee bit excessive and will gush a little; consider it an homage.
Touch-of- a-button Living
Floor to ceiling windows offer some of, or should we say, the best views in the city. With the touch of a button, electronic curtains unfurl slowly to reveal magnificent views – on one side idles the Saigon River, silent and solemn, while on the other throbs ‘downtown’, unyielding and vibrant. The room itself spreads across 547 square feet – a heady mix of velvet, leather, and mirrors, fortified by a low-hanging crystal chandelier. The mosaic-tiled bathroom is no less potent and houses a heated Toto toilet, Frette bathrobes, Chopard toiletries, His and Hers sinks, and a massive soaking tub facing a TV or picturesque view of river depending on preference. Same goes for the bed – king sized and with 400 count Frette bed linen, it is perfect for a sleep, and just so that you get that great view from it, the LED TV across from the bed retracts itself into a cabinet at the press of a button.
Want a glimpse of the view? Press a button and the TV will disappear.
Our breakfast the morning after comprised western and Asian staples at Café Cardinal, the hotel’s all-day-dining and also the chief restaurant. It, along with The Royal Pavilion (Chinese), trattoria-style The Long @ Time’s Square and R&J (acronym for Romeo & Juliet), makes up the sum of dining venues at the hotel. That night, we dined at R&J and found it ideal for a romantic dinner date. The restaurant serves Italian fare with a slight twist, and from its somewhat limited vegetarian selection, we sampled zucca or pumpkin, porcini mushroom and truffle soup, penne prepared in a light tomato sauce, and fresh buratta cheese served with sliced tomato and Sicilian organic oregano. There is also a club lounge on the top two floors of the hotel; it serves limited refreshments throughout the day and cocktails during the evening, although the highlight there is the ‘ca phe da’ or Vietnamese iced coffee.
The hotel houses a two-storey spa that appears tamer than the rest of the hotel. That said, it isn’t entirely devoid of aforementioned Italian flourishes; a stairway with floral mosaic by Sicis of Italy curves up from the more classical 6th floor of the spa to the more contemporary 7th storey. Together with the fitness center, it takes up 1,200 square meters. There are also an open-air swimming pool and a Jacuzzi, both of which offer remarkable views over the city. Don’t be surprised to hear music underwater while you take a swim; The Reverie Saigon, as we’ve discovered, likes taking things to the next level.
Luxurious would be an underestimation for The Reverie Saigon, which is more like the Burj Al Arab of the Far East.
The hotel is well staffed, with a high staff-guest ratio, and you are never too far away from assistance. What we appreciated most is the genuine effort hotel staff puts in addressing guests’ queries, even with English communication being a concern as it does across the city. The hotel’s location is another thing to write home about, or in this case, write about. In fact, it is our top among the 7 reasons you should stay at The Reverie Saigon. Positioned a walking distance from iconic landmarks – French colonial Opera House, the neo-classical Central Post Office, the historic Reunification Palace and Ho Chi Minh City Museum – as well as a host of impressive boutiques and cafés, it does indeed enjoy an enviable spot. For times when you simply must get wheels, the hotel offers Rolls Royce and Maybach transfers. And in your time there, should you get inspired to recreate some of the bits of the hotel back home, there are boutiques on the first three floors of the hotel selling art, furniture, and decorative pieces.
Where: The Reverie Saigon (A member of the Leading Hotels of the World)
22-36 Nguyen Hue Boulevard, Bến Nghé, Quận 1,
Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Note– The critic was invited by the Reverie Saigon. But all the opinions expressed herewith are his own.