Villa Song Saigon

This beautiful riverside hotel is always booked – here’s 5 special reasons why.

Villa Song's colonial mansion and restaurant reside along Saigon River in District 2’s Thao Dien ward, a 20-minute taxi ride from District 1.

On a typical night at the hotel's open air restaurant, the stars shine brighter in a less polluted sky as the river quietly flows, bringing fresh air and the occasional boat as guests feast on delectable entrées. Across the river, dark silhouettes of trees project an overhead glow form unseen private homes beyond.

The world of Villa Song feels so far removed from the rest of Ho Chi Minh City that even guests visiting from nearby districts are stunned by the serenity and remoteness the Villa accomplishes.

Rated the #1 hotel in Ho Chi Minh City by TripAdvisor since the summer of 2014, the Villa Song boutique hotel has maintained its status impeccably. There are several reasons as to why few can come near the level of quality and dedication the Villa Song offers.

The first thing that came to general manager Yega Thiyagarajan’s mind when asked what feature stood out most to guests, was the courteous staff.

Upon entering the Villa grounds, the first thing guests notice besides the beautiful building itself is the genuine smiles that greet them.

Yega purposefully hired adept staff with little experience in the hotel industry. While risky, it turned out to be a brilliant maneuver.

You can feel the difference immediately.

There is no overly polite, almost plastic demeanor that comes with most 5-star hotels in Saigon. The subservience is replaced instead with a professional, friendly attitude that is both helpful and refreshing.

It makes you wonder why more hotels don't try hiring service staff from different fields and professions. The tension of overbearingly polite or apologetic servants smothers that "home away from home" feeling. Luckily, Villa Song's staff makes the colonial building and riverside location feel like the home you always dreamed of.

The advantage boutique hotels have over chains is the ability to dodge standardization in favor of a more unique approach to their room structure. Villa Song takes this concept to an unprecedented level. While placing rooms into roughly six categories, every room is different in its own unique way, and each has its own advantages.

No two rooms present the same experience. Suites may contain large paintings by famous artists from the owner's personal collection, others their own private garden, and yet others with a room-sized bathroom that embodies the epitome of luxury.

While room layouts remain unique, there is a key feature that frequent hotel visitors may immediately notice: everything has its place. No space is wasted and everything can be found in seconds, giving the rooms a modern and practical feel.

A free minibar and every utensil you could possibly need, from bottle opener, to wine and whiskey glasses, to water boiler, to instant coffee, is within easy reach. Robes and slippers are in their respectful places, and the bathrooms ensure that even the most minimalist travelers have everything they need to feel clean and refreshed. Fresh delicious fruit is laid atop the counter as a bonus. The river view room and the suite rooms also include Apple TVs and Nespresso machines.

After checking in from a long day of travel in the hustle and bustle of Vietnam's chaotic streets, have a hearty sleep in the custom-made beds (guests remark these are some of the best hotel beds they’ve ever slept in) and wake up to a delectable free breakfast by the riverside, complete with invigorating Vietnamese coffee and a healthy morning meal.

Yega never understood why high-end hotels charge for simple items like mineral water at their restaurants or even the minibar in the room: you should get what you pay for.

The Villa Song also provides guests a private shuttle boat that takes them directly to District 1 without the harrying morning traffic, transforming a jammed commute into a peaceful boat ride.

A salt-based filtration system ensures minimal skin irritation and a chlorine-free swim. Surrounded by rich vegetation, cozy seating and the Villa's room balconies, the pool is perfect for a quiet nightly swim. Kept immaculately clean and occasionally empty, some guests say they feel like royalty or celebrities as they lap the pool amongst the beautiful surroundings.

In addition to the pool, a small gym with high-quality equipment is provided for those wishing to maintain their workout regime while at the Villa Song, and a spa provides deep relaxation and reinvigorating rejuvenation to stressed guests.

There is nothing that helps a 5-star stay feel complete like a delicious riverside dinner. Incredibly intimate, serene and atmospheric, the open-air Bistro Song Vie restaurant delivers an a la cart menu of various worldly cuisines that include Asian, American and Vietnamese.

While in theory an international menu may seem somewhat tacky Yega admits, in practice the multi-cuisine menu has been a success. Guests rave at the diverse choice of meals that fit their moods for the night. After eating fresh seafood all day, a guest might be in the mood for a hamburger, or a salad, or simply a fine drink, and the menu delivers exactly what guests feel like eating that day. Breakfast is also served round-the-clock.

Prices are more than reasonable, with salads starting at VND138,000++; soups at VND90,000++; appetizers at VND128,000++; and main courses hovering around the VND250,000++ range, with desserts all priced at VND150,000++.

The restaurant's bar is adept in all manners and styles of spirits. Few bars in Saigon know how to make a decent Negroni, while Villa Song's bartenders not only make it well, but put their own exquisite touches on the drink.

In the mood for a hard to find glass of Macallan 18 (VND550,000++)? Or maybe a prestigious cabernet from Tuscany, Italy or Southern Australia (around VND4 million++ to VND10 million++)? Villa Song satisfies even the most refined drinker’s palates, while still offering some delectable choices in the mid-100,000s range per glass (such as the refreshing Charles de Fere Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine for VND150,000++ per glass).

Yega works tirelessly to maintain Villa Song's reputation. His plans for the near future include a single primary goal: keep Villa Song Saigon the top boutique hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.

You can find more information on Villa Song on their website as well as their pages on CityPass Guide and TripAdvisor.

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