Located in the financial & commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) – District 1, Le Meridien Saigon is a 5-star hotel under the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Group. This stylish hotel only welcomed its first guests in September 2015, making it one of the newest hotels in HCMC, if not the newest. While I didn’t play a part in deciding where to stay in HCMC, it was a truly enjoyable stay at Le Meridien Saigon. Read below for my detailed review on the various aspects. 🙂
I like the warm & inviting ambience at the airy lobby upon arrival at the hotel. Since it was the year-end Christmas season, there was a tall glittery X’mas tree standing in the middle of the reception. Large posh sofa seats occupy the right hand side of the lobby. The Marketing personnel I met told me that at Le Meridien Saigon, the lobby is known as the hub, a gathering place for like-minded travellers to come together. She also highlighted to me about the colourful wall behind the reception counter. It is actually a map of Vietnam with the Saigon River flowing through. Reception staff were all friendly & helpful, speaking good English. This was the only place where we enjoyed barrier-free communication in the city. LOL
To the left of the entrance, beside the elevators to guest rooms & other facilities in the hotel, there is Latitude 10, a relaxed coffeehouse by day and stylish cocktail lounge by night. This was also the place where I claimed my cup of complimentary freshly brewed coffee every morning. We didn’t check the lounge out at night, only passed by on our way back to the room. It looked like a cool bar to chill out at with soothing jazz music playing in the background.
Originally, my friend booked the Premier Classic room with city view (lowest tier guest room) under corporate account. However, we were given a complimentary upgrade to a river view room (2nd lowest tier guest room), thanks to the hotel Marketing Manager. The only difference between the 2nd & 1st lowest tier guest room is in the view we get from the large window.
As you can see from collage above, the guest room is roomy (38 square metres) and tastefully furnished. This is quite a luxurious size considering it is the cheapest room available in this 5-star hotel. Even with 2 large beds, the cheery red chair by the window & airy bathroom, there is still plenty of space to move about in the room. The bed is also very comfortable with 4 plush pillows for a wonderful night’s rest. To block out loud traffic noise from the street, draw down the blackout curtains using the master remote control by the bed. I only discovered this on the last night accidentally & enjoyed a peaceful sleep throughout the night.
If I had to nitpick, it’d be the housekeeping. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they don’t clean or tidy our room well, but I was surprised to enter an uncleaned room on my 1st day at 1+pm. My friend had checked in the day before so when I entered the room, I still saw her used towels lying in the bathroom, an “untidy” bed & a cup with the teabag still soaked in it. 😦 (You can see some evidence in pic above haha) Usually hotels will do their housekeeping in the late morning, when guests check out & before the arrival of new guests. So it’s a little surprising that in such a high-class hotel, they only clean the rooms so late.
After some freshening up in my room, I met up with the Marketing personnel for a hotel inspection. Take a look at the collage of the spacious Grande Deluxe Suite of a whopping 55 square metres above. Fresh fruits & the famous artisan Marou chocolate are served daily in the suite’s living room. It can sleep up to 3 pax (inform hotel in advance) very comfortably. No worries of fighting over TV channels since there are 2 42″ smart LED TV too. I wonder when would I be able to stay in such luxurious suite without feeling a pinch in the wallet? 😛
Besides Latitude 10 on the ground floor, Art Cacao next to the lounge offers dessert & pastry lovers decadent bites made with local seasonal ingredients. Other dining options include: Latest Recipe restaurant on the Mezzanine floor, as well as Bamboo Chic & Explore Bistro on the 9th floor.
Bamboo Chic is open for lunch & dinner, serving a creative fusion of Cantonese & Japanese cuisine in contemporary setting. I didn’t try the food here, only visited the hip restaurant in between meal times for photo-taking.
Guests can choose to book a stay with breakfast at the Latest Recipe restaurant that looks like a cool cafe. The restaurant is brightly lit with simple white-washed walls for a cosy & casual atmosphere. I opted to pay for a breakfast (495,000 VND, S$31.30) on my last day here as I had read online that it serves a wide variety of delicious Asian & European cuisine. Indeed, those reviews were true, there was really quite a lot of food to take my pick from. Favourites include the waffles (so crispy & fluffy!), juices, smoothies & ice cream! Well, actually most of the offerings were yummy hehe. I had such a hearty breakfast that morning, that I didn’t even feel like taking lunch later on.
Last but not least, there is also the Explore Bistro in between the spa and indoor pool. Come here to detoxify with healthy food & beverages, especially if you are feeling guilty after all the irresistible feasting. We had our light meal here before the free spa treatment. But more on that in another post. 😉
Health & wellness facilities
On the 9th floor are the fitness centre, indoor saltwater pool and Explore Spa.
The Explore Spa at Le Meridien Saigon is definitely worth special mention for its excellent ambience & service. I’m not saying this just because we got an indulging 150-minute spa treatment courtesy of the Marketing Manager. But look at the entrance, the wavy platform to the reception makes you feel like you have entered a whole new world. Read my detailed review of this experience in this post. 🙂
Next to the spa is a large fitness centre equipped with an extensive selection of machines to cater to different fitness needs. I was a little amazed by the number of equipment in the gym, because hotel gyms are usually quite pathetic in size. It’s also good to know that you can choose to look out of the large windows into the tranquil Saigon River if you don’t wish to watch any programs on the individual TVs fixed on the machines. Too bad my stay wasn’t long enough, else I would have come here to do some workout!
There is also an indoor saltwater pool overlooking the river adjacent to the fitness centre. Rain or shine, you can enjoy your swim. Even if you don’t swim, you can enjoy the breeze & chill on the swanky poolside chairs.
Last but not least, location is of course an important factor when deciding where to stay. The hotel is just a 30-minute drive from Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Major tourist sights like Ben Thanh Market, Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica and Reunification Palace are a quick 10-minute drive away too. There are also convenience stores, local eateries & restaurants, spa etc nearby the hotel. We also found a lovely art street as we exit the hotel & turned right, with a few indie cafes & beautiful murals.
While some may think it is better to be located within walking distance to popular sights, imagine the crowd & noise you may be subjected to. Personally, I find the hotel’s location perfect for a relaxing holiday, because it is away from the hustle and bustle of the congested city, yet still within convenient reach to major sights. Its idyllic location along the Saigon River also allows guests to check out the river view without the need to pay for entrance to the observatory deck of Bitexco Financial Tower, the city’s tallest building. 😛
This was the 1st time I wasn’t involved in the selection of my accommodation for a leisure holiday at all. But it’s alright, this hotel booking recommended by friend’s local colleague was wonderful! I really enjoyed the comfort & great service here. If you are thinking of pampering yourself for your next HCMC trip, book a stay at the 15-month old Le Meridien Saigon. Trust me, you can hardly go wrong with new hotels! 😉