By PHOOWADON DUANGMEE
Le Meridien Saigon Hotel brings a strong sense of Paris back to South Vietnam
Sitting majestically on the banks of the Saigon River and offering views of both Ho Chi Minh City’s heritage buildings and the busy waterway, the new Le Meridien Saigon Hotel has pushed accommodation in the southern Vietnamese city to the next level of luxury.
Decorated in a chic and elegant style with a strong Parisian accent, the 350-room hotel brings the French back into town and this time they are being welcomed with open arms.
Fronting on to Duc Tran Street, Le Meridien Saigon is just 15 minutes on foot from the city’s heritage sites and noble architecture including Saigon Notre Dame Basilica, Saigon Central Post Office, Gia Long Palace, the Municipal Theatre and Ho Chi Minh City Hall. It’s also an easy stroll to Nguyen Hue Street where the best restaurants and bars can be found.
In short, at Le Meridien Saigon, you’re never far from anywhere or anyone.
The popular hotel brand established in 1972 by Air France to provide on “a home away from home” for its customers and crew prides itself on bringing Parisian fashion, design and the coffee culture to its destination, no matter how far afield.
Arriving guests walk into Le Meridien Hub – the brand’s reinterpretation of the traditional lobby transformed into a social gathering place. The Meridien Hub also features signature elements from the Paris-born brand – a variety of delectable eclairs and exclusive Illy coffee prepared by well-trained baristas.
The hotel houses 350 contemporary guestrooms and suites starting from a spacious 38 square meters, each outfitted with signature Le Meridien amenities. Each room has a separate sitting and working area, French soaking bathtub and rainforest shower.
I spend two nights in one of Le Meridien Saigon’s suites. Offering a panoramic river view, the suite is beautifully appointed with comfortable spaces for living, changing and sleeping. Art abounds and paintings by local artists adorn the walls. The floor is carpeted, and the bed puffy and inviting. The living room boasts a large couch and upholstered chair. Two floor-to-ceiling windows look out over the water and I spend a long time watching ships and smaller boats sail majestically by.
But it’s the bathroom that really wins my heart.
The white, shiny French tub is a real treat and even those who prefer a shower will want to relax in it. This is where you want to retire after a sweaty day of dodging mopeds and visiting museums and heritage sites. From the tub, I can see an iron bridge spanning the river in distance and some small sampans plying their trade.
For a culinary experience, Le Meridien Saigon offers a speciality restaurant called Bamboo Chic, serving a combination of Japanese-Chinese cuisine prepared to French style. Latest Recipe offers all-day dining while Explore Bistro, part of the Explore Spa & Health Club, has healthy and detoxifying food and beverage selections for dining-in or to grab-and-go. A favourite with visitors is Art Cacao with its signature eclairs, artisanal chocolates and sweet bites.
Other hotel facilities include more than 1,000 square metres of meeting and pre-function spaces, including a versatile 400sqm ballroom and Le Meridien Fitness and Explore Spa, with an indoor pool offering breathtaking views from its sundeck.
To complement the luxury experience at Le Meridien Saigon, guests can access Galerie Quynh Contemporary Art on Dong Khoi Street by showing the curator a hotel keycard. This is a part of the “Unlock Art” programme run by Le Meridien worldwide that’s designed to help guests explore and enjoy the local art scene.
Le Meridien Saigon promises guests the very best of French hospitality – coffee, food and art.
AT A GLANCE
High points: Luxury retreat with panoramic view of the Saigon River
Low points: None!
Pay for it: US$180 per night for the entry level room
Find it: Corner of Ngo Van Nam and Ton Duc Thang streets, Ho Chi Minh City
Call it: (+84 8) 6263 6688
Browse it: www.LeMeridien.com/saigon