Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel and/or flight review.
A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed a great holiday in Vietnam, where some resorts far exceeded my sky-high expectations (and rank among the best hotels I have ever stayed at). You can read my trip reports here:
Today (July 5, 2017): Review of The Reverie Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam).
- Location: Google Maps
- Address: 22-36 Nguyen Hue Boulevard, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Hotel website: The Reverie Saigon
- Tip: get free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso
In 2015, The Reverie Saigon debuted as the most spectacularly extravagant hotel in Vietnam and as the one and only member property of The Leading Hotels of the World in all of Ho Chi Minh City. Taking pride of place on the topmost floors of the landmark Times Square Building in prestigious District 1, the much-lauded hotel presents world-class hospitality with its impeccable service and its unique celebration of haute Italian design and inimitable luxury. The sky-high Reverie Saigon offers an incomparable perspective on the city with its spectacular views from all of its 286 marble-clad rooms & suites, which are the largest of any in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Reverie Saigon features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Vietnam.
In this review (more info below my Youtube clipe and slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Situated at the center of District 1 – the cultural and commercial heart of the city – The Reverie Saigon enjoys the best location in all of Ho Chi Minh City. The city’s most popular landmarks – including the French colonial Opera House, the neo-classical Central Post Office, the historic Reunification Palace and Ho Chi Minh City Museum – are just a short stroll away. The hotel sits along the picturesque, tree-lined, pedestrian boulevard Nguyen Hue (very alive at night), and is surrounded by chic boutiques, artisanal coffee houses and contemporary art galleries.
- The hotel commands the upper and lower floors of the contemporary, 39-storey, mixed use Times Square tower, with features an all-glass exterior facade. The height to the top of the modern skyscraper is 164 m (538 ft), making it the 3rd tallest building in Ho Chi Minh City and the 5th tallest building in Vietnam. Like its namesake in New York City, Saigon’s Times Square tower projects each night a dazzling, fanciful light show extravaganzas, albeit the displays are not noticeable from within the building.
- With its extravagant splendour, bold design and decorative opulence, the hotel presents a design experience like no other, a place of phantasy where Versace meets Liberace. To say it’s over the top is an understatement. Shining and sparkling mirrors, marble, and mosaics cover nearly every ceiling, wall and floor. When you first enter you may well ponder if there is any marble left in Italy. An unprecedented collaboration of Italian designers created The Reverie Saigon’s interiors, including Luca Baldi of Baldi Home Jewels, Alfredo Colombo of Colombostile, Roberta Giorgetti of Giorgetti S.p.A, and Dario Rinero, CEO of Poltrona Frau Group. In certain areas, the property feels more like a palace than a hotel.
- The hotel has two ultra-chic lobbies. Guests are greeted by the hotel staff in the ground-floor lobby, and then escorted to the hotel’s main lobby on the 7th floor, where check-in is done. Four elevators shuttle guests in a record time between the two lobbies, so you never have to wait too long to enter or leave the hotel. A separate set of elevators take guests to the guest room floors. Both lobby spaces are a testimony to the hotel’s signature opulent style, with highlights including:
- A colourful ceiling installation of individual pieces of hand-blown Murano glass reminiscent of the geographic silhouette of Vietnam on the ground floor lobby (so don’t forget to look up as you enter the hotel).
- A custom-made, emerald-green Baldi Monumental clock that weighs nearly 1,000 kilos (2,200 pounds) and stands three metres (9.8 feet) tall, taking pride of place in the main lobby and reflecting impeccably precise atomic time.
- A grandiose, 5-metre (16 ft) long sofa from Colombostile’s Baroque-meets-Rococo ‘Esmeralda’ line, custom-made with purple ostrich leather and a gilded trim and bejeweled by a singular, precious amethyst stone.
- The hotel’s 12 categories of accommodation are amongst the most spacious in the city, with its 224 rooms ranging from 43-53 square metres (462-570 square feet) and its 62 suites starting at 63 square metres (678 square feet) and topping out at a palatial 313 square metres (3,369 square feet). Each room exhibits its own decor, from the classical and sophisticated, to the whimsically romantic, fanciful and sassy, all of them being decorated by Italy’s leading design houses (e.g. Colombostile, Giorgetti, Visionnaire, Poltrona Frau and Cassina). During my 2-night holiday, I stayed in a spacious Panorama Deluxe Room on the 27th floor, which offered amazing vistas over the urban jungle of Ho Chi Minh City through the covetable, wrap-around, floor-to-ceiling windows. The bed room was fitted with a king-sized bed wrapped in Frette linens and featured a seating area furnished with a stylish chaise longue and separate writing desk akas dining table. The bathroom was tiled with mosaics, stocked with Chopard products, and contained two sinks, a window-side bathtub, a shower, and a Japanese-style toilet.
- All rooms come with a complimentary minibar (refreshed daily) and Wi-Fi connectivity, and are equipped with Nespresso machines for quick and easy brewing of your first cup of java. Every rooms also features all of the technology you’d expect – from Cisco voIP telephones to 46- to 55-inch flat-screens – to some that you wouldn’t, such as televisions that sink into consoles so as not to block the view.
- The hotel’s 6th floor features a spacious open-air, rooftop deck, featuring two jacuzzis and a 25-m (80 ft) long free-form swimming pool. The pool is designed with exquisite mosaic tile artistry by Sicis of Italy, and deploys an ozone-generated system to give the freshness and buoyancy of a freshwater pool. An underwater sound system streams a custom playlist, and beginning at 6 pm each evening, swimmers and poolside visitors can enjoy an underwater light show.
- The sixth floor is also home to Saigon’s most technologically advanced fitness facility. Accessible to hotel guests 24 hours a day, the 120-square-metre (1,291-square-foot), pool-side space is equipped with TechnoGym’s latest line of ARTIS cardio equipment with Wi-Fi-enabled consoles.
- The same fierce attention to detail that defines the rooms and public areas is evident in each of the hotel’s 4 superb dining venues. Three of the restaurants celebrate the culinary arts of France, China and Italy and a fourth is an East Asian interpretation of the timeless sidewalk cafés of Europe. Food is superb, albeit expensive (although there are many cheap eateries nearby).
- Café Cardinal is the hotel’s main dining venue, delivering stunning views of Saigon from its airy, sixth floor perch; in the morning it is the scene of an amazing breakfast buffet (complemented by an à la carte menu) while it focuses on French cuisine with an Asian twist at noon and in the evening.
- Two stories below, jade, vermilion and gold set the stage for Vietnam’s most sophisticated Cantonese dining experiences at The Royal Pavilion, which offers open seating in a decidedly East Asian setting and more secluded quarters in a warren of nine private rooms.
- The subterranean restaurant R&J serves traditional Italian dishes in a glamorous setting defined by walls of vibrant Italian mosaics and ornate candelabras.
- Upstairs at street level, The Long@Times Square is a sidewalk café par excellence. Its wood-fired pizza oven, like the pizza chef himself, comes from Napoli.
- The hotel’s excellent spa features 10 private treatment rooms, separate men’s and women’s steam & sauna facilities, 4 individual rooms for private hair and nail treatments, and three semi-enclosed manicure/pedicure areas. The 6th floor reception area courts a gorgeous elegance in mixed media, with white marble, golden mosaic tiles, rose carpeting and plush leather competing for attention. But it’s the curvaceous stairway, decorated in a floral mosaic pattern designed by Sicis of Italy, that will catch your attention as you enter the spa.
- The Reverie Saigon lends itself very well for business and corporate meetings. La Scala Ballroom is the largest, pillar-less space in the city. Chandeliers of Swarovski crystals drop from 7,3 m (24 ft) ceilings, and onyx graces the walls of this palatial expanse. La Scala Ballroom also features a 19th century Bechstein piano, painstakingly refinished by Baldi with malachite stone and gilded bronze. Elsewhere in the hotel, on the fourth, fifth and eighth floors, 14 additional event spaces round out the hotel’s meetings opportunities. On the 8th floor is a fully staffed modern business centre equipped with the latest technology.
- For those desiring the added privilege and convenience of having stays inclusive of daily breakfast, afternoon tea service and cocktails and canapés each evening, The Reverie Lounge defies the conventional club lounge concept. Occupying a total of 542 square metres (5,834 square feet) on the 38thand 39th floors, the dazzling duplex space is outfitted by Visionnaire and accented with works by budding Vietnamese artists. Its winding, gold leaf-encased, marble staircase strikes a spectacular pose against the backdrop of Saigon.
- Over 30 world-renowned European furnishings design brands are represented at the showrooms at Times Square, occupying the first three floors of the skyscraper (below the hotel). From the classic looks of Medea to the contemporary stylings of Poltrona Frau and the ‘glamour design’ of Visionnaire, the array of brands featured introduce an impressive collection of spectacular products and design under one roof (that is, if you like a bombastic decoration style).
- The Reverie maintains a fleet of 12 luxury automobiles, including Mercedes-Benz S Class, Bentley, and Rolls Royce Phantoms. The transfer that I booked to/from the airport is among the best I’ve ever experienced. As soon as I identified myself to the hotel representative outside the baggage collection area, I was whisked to a stunning colt blue Mercedes. No expense was spared on the interior of the cars, with new car leather smell permeating the air. Naturally, chilled water and cooling towels were offered en route. Wi-Fi in the car is excellent. The traffic in Ho Chi Minh City can be grueling but you won’t mind a bit!
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
With its bold design, ultramodern facilities, rooftop pool deck, spacious rooms, excellent restaurants and impeccable service, La Reverie is by far the best hotel in Ho Chi Minh and ranks among the best city hotels in the world. It’s hard to fault the property, as everything is perfectly executed, but you may want to know the following nonetheless:
- There’s no denying that the hotel’s opulent, over-the-top, even outrageous decor will thrill some and repel others. Although I prefer a minimalist design a la Aman, the decoration surely impressed me, albeit not always in a positive way. However the service and facilities at the hotel are so exceptional that they made me quickly overlook the opulent design.
- Despite the terrific (albeit expensive) food served at The Reverie Saigon’s 4 world-class restaurants, authentic Vietnamese cuisine is remarkably absent among the hotel’s food offerings.
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 7/10 (sorry … this is a matter of personal taste)
- Pool: 8/10
- Rooms: 10/10
- Food: 10/10
- Breakfast: 10/10
- Spa: 10/10
- Service: 10/10
- Value for money: 10/10
- Overall experience: exceptional: 9/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read my tips for getting best deal at a luxury hotel like The Reverie Saigon. Book a room at the cheapest price and/or receive many free perks!
- Save money: get free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade on arrival, daily full breakfast for 2, $100 USD resort credit, complimentary WiFi, early check-in, and late check-out)
- Elite members of Leaders Club – the loyalty program of The Leading Hotels of the World – are well treated, with – amongst other benefits – complimentary room upgrade (when available), early check-in or late check-out (when available), and free breakfast. Click here to read my review of Leaders Club (with pros & cons).
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Like most of Southeast Asia, Vietnam varies from warm to very hot throughout the whole year. There are four annual seasons: cool and dry between November and February; (very) hot and dry between March and May; hot and wet between June and August; and cool and wet between September and early November. The best time to visit is the cool season, when the weather usually benefits from a pleasant dry heat and the surrounding countryside is still green from the rains.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Reverie Saigon is located only 40 minutes’ drive from Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport, which is served by quite a number of international airlines. Check the Wikipedia page of Tan Son Nhat International Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to the airport.
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