FIRST STOP: Park Hyatt Saigon is located in Lam Son Square, in the historical District 1 of Saigon and facing the opera house.
The Park Hyatt’s Urban Spa is, without a doubt, the best in the city. At the hotel’s (incredible!) restaurant, Square1, I had an amazing Seafood Platter, and the Rice Ball is a must. The menu is nicely varied and includes Vietnamese dishes, seafood options, meat dishes – you name it.
The comings and goings of Saigon’s movers and shakers from the Bar, 2 Lam Son, provided me with some great people watching all night. A stylish bar in Ho Chi Minh City, the bar is modern in design with Vietnamese influences. It features an illuminated stainless steel and glass bar from which are served a wide selection of premium beverages… from vintage wines to refreshing signature cocktails. Located above the bar is a mezzanine floor that offers a cozy lounge seating area for more privacy. I loved the designer music selection – customized and programmed to compliment the intimate setting in a lovely, smoke-free environment.
The butler/concierge service at this hotel spoiled me rotten. Someone was available and ready to help with any request 24/7. They were also fantastic when it came to timing and tending to your needs or requests right away.
In a city that is quickly developing and replacing its former colonial heritage with glass skyscrapers and modern minimalism, the Park Hyatt offers refreshingly traditional colonial style and luxury. Japanese designer, Super Potato, gets credit for the restaurant fantastic interior.
Don’t miss out on the markets. I picked up some great housewares in nearby stores. Then there’s the nearby War Memorial and the Kuji Tunnel to help travelers understand the history and resilient spirit of people of this country.
NEXT STOP: Princess D’Annam Resort & Spa, a 150km drive away from the bustling Ho Chi Minh City.
This hotel offers a new Helicopter service from Ho Chih Minh City. If you’re planning a trip to Saigon, this would also be a great place to go.
I thought one guest’s comments about this property were particularly accurate: “Creating the level of service achieved by Jean-Philippe, Zulkifli and his staff at the Princess D’Annam, within Vietnam, is nothing short of miraculous. I would not be surprised if they also walk on water.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
ON TO: The Nam Hai, a perfectly private property on the beach near Hoi An.
Highlights for me here were the beach and the pool. The rooms are also incredible – just wait until turn down service, when you’ll walk into a room that entices all of your senses, thanks to beautiful music playing and your canopy bed awaiting with curtains drawn, creating a spa-like experience in your own room.
A pianist from the Philippines sings all your favorites in The Restaurant and Lounge bar. The entire setting is romantic and relaxing, yet only a short flight away from the busy cities of Vietnam.
The Butler Service was excellent, available 24/7 to help with anything and very good with getting to you right away. The hotel features a GHM design, oozing a modern, sexy style. Try an assortment of Vietnamese appetizers for some local flavor while you’re here, and head to Hoi An where you can visit the Marble Mountains and go into Marble Village for some shopping. But be warned: your carry-ons can become heavy – mine did!
NEXT STOP: Pilgrimage Village in Hue, a very traditional property with natural surroundings and a beautiful Lotus pond.
I loved the rustic luxury here and the feeling of being in a traditional Vietnamese house. Of course, the nearby markets were a favorite place to visit, and I picked up some great housewares. Hue has a lot of French influence and is a fantastic place to spend some quality shopping time.
FINAL STOP: InterContinental Hanoi Westlake in Hanoi, where I fell in love with its incredible pool and fantastic fitness center.
Built directly over the tranquil Tay Ho, or West Lake, the hotel’s location offers picturesque views as well as plenty of local color (fishermen trawl the waters right beneath your windows).
Then again, the same can be said for everything else I experienced in Vietnam. Take my advice and visit if you can.