With its whimsical mix of contemporary influences, traditional Vietnamese heritage, French colonial pizazz and a mish-mash of cultural collisions that have shaped the previously easily glossed over metropolis, Ho Chi Minh is redefining urban cool through its emergence as the capital of daring and unique.
Leading the pack are the ultra cool accommodations that range in architectural styles and interior design approaches. From uber-exclusive enclaves to see-and-be-seen hot spots, these hotels are boldly here to announce – Ho Chi Minh is the next urban destination for the discerning design purveyor.
At the centre of the newly blossoming nexus for Saigon’s expats, the emerging lifestyle destination in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 2, Villa Song Saigon is the epitome of old colonial glamour with a whiff of artistic flair. Stepping behind the palatial exterior feels like entering a home of a distinguished blue-blood aristocrat – a grand spiral staircase asserts its presence from the moment of entering the villa, while the lavishly appointed reception room presents an expansive collection of stately artworks and compelling views out to Saigon River.
Designed by David Grace Designs International as a timeless sanctuary and a home away from home, the villa’s hospitable exterior charm is well matched by its simply but elegantly appointed rooms’ interiors, with no two rooms styled to be exactly the same. The villa’s laid-back charm of its waterfront location translates well into the overall tranquillity of the destination. At sunset, time seems to slow down as the skies turn yellow and auburn and cocktails are poured in abundance at the outdoor patio overlooking the river.
While ‘jaw-dropping’ may come as one of the first adjectives to describe The Reverie Saigon, the opulent hotel – featured on Conde Nast Traveler’s Hot List in 2016 – is a true destination for any design lover, incorporating a truly impressive roster of finest finishes and leading Italian furniture brands. Sumptuous environs and vivid colours unravel the hotel as a delectable feast for the eyes, from its marble and floral mural-clad lobby to marble on marble works in the hotel’s exquisite suites overlooking the soaring city.
A passion project of Hong Kong tycoon Eric Chu, the hotel’s public and private quarters feature furnishings from different Italian design houses: from Humberto and Fernando Campana, to Poltrona Frau, to Giorgetti, the list of furnishing brands reads like the Who’s Who of Italian furniture makers. Perhaps echoing Ho Chi Minh’s reputation as one of Southeast Asia’s most dynamic and vibrant destinations, the Reverie Saigon is a gem that truly sparkles.
Easy to spot from its snowy white and garden-green exterior, punctuated by peculiarly sized and placed window openings, The Myst Saigon rightfully derives its name from the word ‘mystery’, offering urban sophistication that is deeply rooted in the past of Saigon. For visitors looking to uncover the cultural past and traditions that shaped the city and its culture, The Myst Saigon is a scrumptious treasure trove of glimpses into the old city – from deriving its inspiration from the pathways and the alleys of the city, to integrating vernacular design elements like elaborate door carvings, stained glass-patterned windows and locally sourced furniture pieces.
Designed by Vietnamese architectural firm, A21 studio, the hotel integrates regionally sourced and reclaimed materials to enhance the sense of locality and exclusivity. Most notable is the incorporation of the structural metal components from the now-defunct Ba Son shipyard as part of the lobby roof installation – a startling contrast to the otherwise polished entryway, as well as distinct features of Bason Café and The Nest restaurant.
While arriving at any resort by a speedboat can deliver an immediate sense of luxury, An Lam Saigon River raises the stake a notch by creating a scenic arrival setting that embodies the retreat’s exclusive tranquillity. Stepping off a boat onto a private deck and into a lush riverside retreat, the visitors are transported to an idyllic sanctuary set amidst century-old trees with lush canopies providing gentle cover from the sun.
With a total of 19 luxury villas blending traditional Vietnamese and contemporary design elements, the retreat is an escape from the busy city. From romantic waterfront dining, to peaceful poolside lounging and pampering at the spa, visitors will feel at one with their surroundings, much like the retreat feels a part of its native setting, not disturbing of the beauty of nature around it and throughout it.
Introducing a unique blend of local heritage, culture and modern aesthetic, Le Méridien Saigon merges its signature renowned brand with a distinct experience of staying in the heart of an emerging city. A glimmering tower on the banks of Saigon River, the hotel is readily noticeable as one of the newer high-rises transforming Ho Chi Minh’s skyline.
Taking advantage of its location and vantage points, the hotel opens up to the city with facilities that embrace the city – the expansive 9th floor outdoor pool peels off from the building and hovers above the streets in understated splendour, while the next door modern Asian fusion restaurant Bamboo Chic frames its layout and decadent locally-influenced furnishings with envious city skyline backdrops.
Artistic installations that draw references from the past and present Saigon provide moments of discovery even in the most banal public areas (i.e. lift lobby), while the spa at Le Méridien is a treat for the eyes and the body, glammed up in underwater inspired colour palette and materials that evoke a sense of calm.