A Short Staycation in Saigon

accommodation - Saigon/HCMC: July 16, 2018

Due to its convenient location in the heart of District 1, I have always either used New World Saigon Hotel as a landmark when I’m on the road, or as a meeting point. However, it wasn’t until recently that I had the opportunity to actually stay in the hotel for a weekend. And I’m glad I did.

I realise that the staycation culture hasn’t quite hit full swing in Saigon just yet and to most residents here, a weekend getaway would involve a drive to Vung Tau or Phan Thiet. But since I barely have the ability to wake up early enough to catch a morning bus to either of these provinces, the next best thing I can do is get a hotel within Saigon and pretend I’m on a trip.

Day 1: A Whole New World

So after throwing some random items into my backpack, I took the epic journey all the way from District 3 to District 1, and together with my partner, sauntered right up to the reception desk with my itinerary and passport in hand.

The first thing that struck me were the smiles. Everyone behind the reception desk seemed happy and it immediately lightened the entire mood of the place. The lady checking me in spoke perfect English, and within five minutes, we got our key cards and were ready to go.

new worldImage source: saigon.newworldhotels.com

My room was located on the fifth floor and since this isn’t exactly a beachfront hotel — we don’t have a beach in Saigon, anyway — I did have a nice floor-to-ceiling view of the busy streets below.

The room was spacious, well-furnished, clean and quiet. Just like every other normal person who explores a hotel room for the first time, I jumped on the bed to test how good the mattress really was. Not only was it great, the pillows were even softer than the ones I have at home.

new worldImage source: saigon.newworldhotels.com

We then headed down to Dynasty to check out the lunch made by the hotel’s expert Chinese chefs. I’m a huge fan of Chinese cuisine so I knew what I wanted and I had my expectations set high; I wasn’t disappointed at all.

The noodles were firm and chewy. They were even made on a traditional trolley which I found both amusing and fascinating. There was plenty of dim sum fare, with an interesting array of dumplings and within an hour, I was full. That was definitely a meal that exceeded all my expectations.

new worldImage source: saigon.newworldhotels.com

We decided to relax in the room for a bit as the weather that day seemed a little wonky (plenty of dark clouds one moment, and then the sun coming out the next, and then a heavy dose of rain).

At about 5 p.m. the weather started to clear up a little so we decided to take a walk around the hotel to check out the facilities. New World Saigon has a pretty comprehensive fitness station with all sorts of machines available, but being the fitness buff that I’m not, I bypassed that and headed straight to the swimming pool just a stone’s throw away.

new worldImage source: saigon.newworldhotels.com

It wasn’t too crowded and there was a nice mix of foreigners and locals enjoying the cool water with the sun peeking out from behind one of the nearby skyscrapers in the city.

I decided to get a cocktail from the Splash Pool Bar, a long island iced tea, which I felt was probably the most appropriate drink to get. It was served to me nice, cold and ready to be imbued.

new worldImage source: saigon.newworldhotels.com

After soaking myself silly for about 90 minutes, it was time to get back to the room, get changed and head out.

Day 2: Breakfast Fit for a King

I had planned to wake up at 6 a.m. to go down for an early breakfast.

I woke up at 9 a.m. instead, simply because the bed was too clingy and refused to let me go. I washed up, got changed and rushed down to Parkview, located on the ground floor, for the complimentary breakfast.

new worldImage source: saigon.newworldhotels.com

What a sight! I had only walked past the restaurant before and I never realised how huge it actually is, and the spread available was fit for an entire town. There was everything you could ask for: omelettes, fried noodles, pancakes, Belgian waffles, meat, salads... I was walking around with an empty plate for a good five minutes because I wasn’t sure what I wanted.

I was just simply spoilt for choice.

Eventually, I settled down with an eclectic mix of Belgian waffles, fried noodles, a sunny-side up egg, some salad, a few slices of ham and some cheese. I’m pretty sure I drew a few curious stares but not that I cared much — I was hungry and nothing else mattered. I also had coffee.

new worldImage source: saigon.newworldhotels.com

After breakfast, I had to go back up to pack up as our checkout time was at noon.

We packed up, cleaned up a little and headed down to the reception to hand over our key cards without any fuss — the gentleman helping us spoke perfect English and, once again, the entire reception desk was full of smiles even despite the large crowd gathering, mainly due to an airline staff checking out en masse.

Overall, it was a really fun, enjoyable and memorable experience for what was my first-ever staycation in Saigon. New World Saigon has some of the friendliest staff I’ve come across with an excellent range of high-quality food and top-notch facilities with really comfortable beds. If presented with the opportunity to do this again, I certainly would.

Address:

76 Le Lai Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Tel: +84 28 3822 8888 | Fax: +84 28 3823 0710

Banner image source: thanhnien.vn