An Lam Saigon River

The one thing I kept coming back to in my room at An Lam Saigon River was that in place of the usual Lipton and Nestlé offerings by the water boiler, there was a wooden box with six varieties of coffees and five types of teas. The coffee packets had an accompanying coffee machine, and the teas were partnered with a beautiful ceramic set.

The coffee was nothing too upmarket (it was still leagues above the instant coffee sparsely distributed in 5-star city hotels), and the fresh tea leaves an uncommon commodity. But this wasn't the point.

The point was that An Lam understood what guests wanted. The little details that other hoteliers always seemed to turn a blind eye to were An Lam’s gunpowder. Whereas some establishments reserved policy welcome fruit for VIP patrons or suite dwellers, An Lam’s fruit bowl was available to all guests, the fruits fresh and succulent. Like most aspects of the resort, it wasn’t an afterthought but part of the integral experience. This, of course, comes with a hefty price tag – but worth it for a few nights.

Granted, I’m contrasting big-city chains and a boutique jungle haven 20 minutes by boat from Saigon. Nevertheless, An Lam understands customer needs.

Rooms & Amenities

Nineteen rooms span the small area of lush trees and dense foliage that sit quietly beside the Saigon River, where verdant water hyacinth float by like silent islands. This is no environment for instant coffee packets.

All quips about standard hotel amenities aside, it is commendable how many 5-star establishments in the city maintain consistency for hundreds of guests at a time. Through a bureaucratic process, efficiency is maximized and errors minimized.

There’s a staff structure at An Lam, but it’s not as intense as those back in the city. All staff gets a say, and resort-wide decisions are often made on the spot. It’s this level of transparency that allows the hotel to mold each guest’s time at An Lam into an inimitable experience. And it all starts with the room.

Once the speedboat arrives at the dock and the smiling service staff hand you your welcome drink, you’re led to your room, the heart of An Lam.

Besides some broad distinctions such as suites, pool suites and villas, room hierarchy lives by a thin thread here. Unless you specifically want a pool or a spot right up by the river, anything will do. During my time at An Lam, I toured a few rooms and easily found the less expensive ones just as suitable to my preferences as the cream of the crop river villas.

You can thank the polymathic owner – who from time to time enjoys dabbling in the 40 year old whiskey from the resort’s Luc Binh Restaurant – for the creative room design. The man designed each of the 19 rooms himself. He’s not an architect, engineer or interior decorator. But he knows what makes a hotel room a home. He even designed the TV-mount swivel boards that let you watch your Smart TV from any angle.

How would I describe a room at An Lam? It’s one of the most practical, sleek and seductive rooms I’ve seen in Vietnam. The owner took the best aspects of beachside super resorts, removed any standardization, smirked at any mention of compromise, and let his imagination dictate the balance between practicality and luxury.

Oriental curlicued partitions mesh with pine-forest cabin aesthetics like wooden floors, walls and ceilings, and quixotic elements such as the canopied bed, standalone tub and rain shower make for a dreamy scene, especially with the jungle flora peacefully swaying outside.

Service

The four personal butlers assigned to the 19 villas all speak respectable English, as do management. You won’t have much problems being understood.

In such a small resort, you expect service staff to be more expedient, more attentive and more friendly. They are. The service is prompt, flexible and accommodating. At one point, my contacts were getting dry and I asked my butler if anyone on the resort had eye drops, since mine had run out. He briskly brought over three small bottles from a colleague.

Dining

The open air, all-wood Luc Binh Restaurant and Bar sits by the riverside. A choice selection of Vietnamese and Western fare is available. Menu choices have been deftly prepared by celebrity chef David Thai, who has consulted the An Lam team on technique and preparation this year.

You’ll mostly be dining al fresco, although a private room upstairs is available upon request.

The food is cooked with some of the highest quality European gas cookers and equipment available in the country, and all vegetables and herbs are sourced from Dalat in the Central Highlands. Do let the cooking team know if you have allergies or vegetarian requests – they will accommodate appropriately.

You can order breakfast, lunch or dinner at any time, have it in the al fresco environment or in your room. An Lam is careful to ensure that you are never limited in your options.

Breakfast

Do try the hot bakery rolls or buttery croissants – they’re fresh and quite addictive. French toast and a big bowl of appetizing pho are also available. Breakfast is served from 6:30 a.m. and is inclusive in the room rate. You can also have your breakfast in your room.

Lunch

A medley of well prepared a la carte Vietnamese and Western dishes are available for lunch, including soups, salads, spring rolls, burgers, pizza and pasta. The Green Mango Salad is highly recommended. You are free to eat your lunch poolside, which is quite an indulgent experience.

Dinner

Dinner is served a la carte until 10:30 p.m. The master chef prepares an assortment of Vietnamese and Western dishes that can be pared with a drink from the comprehensive wine list and cocktail menu. Save room for the desert – the Passion Fruit Panna Cotta with Pistachio, or the Lemon Sorbet are superb finishers.

Facilities

There’s a single pool at An Lam. It’s a great reading spot and a nice place to lounge around even if you have a pool suite. Luc Binh Restaurant is right by the river: the passing boats and water hyacinths are meditative sights while you’re eating or sipping coffee.

An Lam is more of an extension of its garden than the other way around. There isn’t much maintenance required – the flora remains from the era when the owner was a permanent resident here, before the resort came about several years ago.

The spa is scheduled to receive products and training from Thann later this year, and the room coordinator hasn’t seen many guests working the compact gym yet (which is Smart TV equipped), but these are hardly the focal points of An Lam.

There’s also a Jacques Blanchard gift shop on premises, with eccentric knick-knacks and household items.

What People Say

Over 300 reviews average a 4.5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor. Near unanimous praise is given to the rooms, atmosphere, friendly staff and great food. Some comments mention the high price of the resort but affirm that it’s well worth it. Some even remark An Lam is one of the best hotels they’ve ever been at.

What's Nearby

Tram's Cookery Restaurant

Only 20 minutes by speedboat, Tram's Cookery restaurant in An Lam Private Residences offers stunning views of Saigon River and exquisite ...

Binh Quoi Village 1

Binh Quoi Village 1 is ideal for celebrations with its lush gardens and riverside dining. The village is located just 20 minutes from Saigon's ...

Binh Quoi Village 2

This upscale venue includes a restaurant that serves Vietnamese specialities and a weekend seafood buffet. There are also bungalow rooms with river...

Bistro Sông Vie Restaurant

Amid a modern and stylish setting, Bistro Sông Vie restaurant in Villa Song Saigon tempts your palette with an intriguing offering of mo...

Tokyo Deli

Tokyo Deli serves authentic Japanese cuisine set in a chic modern setting. Tasty and healthy Japanese food at reasonable prices are the cornerstone...

San Fu Lou

There’s an unspoken itinerary at AB Tower: you eat dinner at Sorae, party at Chill Skybar and come to San Fu Lou – semi-attached to the...

Pendolasco Thao Dien

Ho Chi Minh City is known for being a culinary epicenter, where you can find and enjoy foods from every corner of the globe. That said, italian fo...

La Villa French Restaurant

We break down why La Villa is one of the best French restaurants in Saigon Chef Thierry, 37, first entered the Michelin-star arena in 2003, when h...

Quan Bui Restaurant

Not far from the monolithic Deutsches Haus and the French and American consulates, along the same tree-lined street where you’ll find the Sai...

Song Be Golf Resort

Twenty-two km north of Saigon, Song Be Golf Resort features the first international standard championship course in Vietnam. Lakes, tree-lined fair...

Amour Beauty Boutique

If you live near Saigon’s District 2 and are looking for a reliable beauty parlour where you can pamper yourself, we’ve got good news f...

Ubiquest

Ubiquest, based in Ho Chi Minh City, organises live-action games and scripted events all over Vietnam for companies, private groups and individuals...

Huong Sen Spa

There’s no tipping in Huong Sen Spa for two very smart reasons: peace of mind and equal treatment. When a customer is getting a foot massage ...

VJT Adventures

Take a unique adventure tour of Saigon and surrounding areas in restored US army Jeeps. Feel the wind in your hair while passing by historical spot...

X-Rock Climbing

This club offers beginner and advanced mountain climbing routes, safety courses and training on its 26-metre, purpose-built mountain. You will have...

Diamond Plaza Bowling

Typifying a modern, noisy and fun bowling alley, Diamond Plaza Bowling in Saigon's Distric 1 has state of the art machines, 24 wide lanes and your ...

Best Karaoke and KTV

The Vietnamese take their singing seriously, so if you are a keen crooner, belter, screamer or wailer, check out some of Ho Chi Minh City's karaoke...

Q Spa and Salon

For the last seven years, Q Spa & Salon has been providing the highest level of service to both tourists and the business and local community o...

Starbucks Coffee

With four central locations in District 1, this iconic coffee shop aims to bring it’s coffee specialty to Ho Chi Minh City. Order from a wide...

Pasteur Street Brewing Co.

New Locations for American-Style Craft Brewing in Saigon If you’re looking for craft beer in Saigon, Pasteur Street Brewing Co. is the place...

The White House Saigon

The White House is one of the newer bars in fashionable Thao Dien area of Saigon’s District 2. American owned, the bar and restaurant is base...

Cay Da Café

Cay Da Café is the ideal location for a quiet meeting or kick back with friends and enjoy a relaxing coffee, specialty tea as well as herbal...

Slate - The Bar

Slate - The Bar is the perfect HCMC meeting place for an after-work or pre-dinner drink. Slate takes its name from the dark grey tiles that cover t...

Greenie Scoop is Serious About Your Gelato

Among Saigon’s many dessert offerings, Greenie Scoop is special. The gelato maker delivers a world-class product through an attentive proces...

GEM Lounge

With its sophisticated and relaxed setting located at the exquisite GEM Center, this modern lounge has something for everyone. From the decorations...

Lush Bar

At the cutting edge of Saigon nightlife, Lush Saigon plays the hottest electronic music in Ho Chi Minh City to a crowd of locals and expats alike. ...

SOHY Bar & Restaurant

Saigoneers have a broad choice of rooftop bars, so another one has to be phenomenal to keep up with the rest. This is certainly the case for SOHY B...

Big C Supermarket HCMC

Big C is a family-oriented shopping mall and supermarket focused on providing customers the top-notch service and quality at the lowest prices. You...

Minh Sang Plaza

Looking for premier shopping and dining just outside of Saigon? Try Minh Sang Plaza located 30km from downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Minh Sang Plaza is...

Vin Gallery

VinGallery was created to spread awareness of the modern and contemporary art that is emerging in Vietnam. Exhibitions are dedicated...

Annam Gourmet Market

Great Food, Good Times For over 20 years, Annam Gourmet Market has quite simply been the most high-quality international food market in Vietnam. I...

Craig Thomas Gallery

Founded in Ho Chi Minh City in 2009, Craig Thomas Gallery takes the art experience of its namesake and director, Craig Thomas, and develops a full ...

Casanhà

Sometimes it feels like Saigon has a specialised shopping district for everything. These different markets can be convenient when one is shopping f...

Galerie Quynh

An internationally renowned contemporary art gallery showcasing Vietnam's most important artists and foreign talents, Galerie Quynh is a must visit...

San Art

San Art is an internationally renown, independent, artist-initiated, non-profit contemporary art organization centrally located in Ho Chi Minh City...

Saigon Square

Historically speaking, Saigon Square was originally located at the Kumho building in Le Duan, but has since moved to two outlets, the largest of wh...

District 9 & Binh Thanh

Venturing into Saigon's District 9 and Binh Thanh district allows you to catch a glimpse of daily Vietnamese life. It's a great place to soak up th...

Thanh Da Island

Eight kilometres north of District 1, Thanh Da has lush greenery, a rural feel and a serenity that belies its proximity to HCMC. Explore a couple ...

Jade Emperor Pagoda (Phuoc Hai Pagoda)

The 100 year-old Jade Emperor Pagoda is one of Saigon's most famous religious buildings. Put this atmospheric Cantonese pagoda, built in 1909, at ...

Vinh Nghiem Pagoda

The largest Mahayana pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City, a center for Buddhist beliefs and practices, and one of the city's most beautiful tourist attrac...

Tan Dinh Church

Tan Dinh Church, or in Vietnamese, Nha Tho Tan Dinh, was built by the French in the early 20th century. Set in the heart of HCMC's Tan Dinh fabric ...

National History Museum

Established in the 1920s as the Musée Louis Finot, the Saigon National History Museum is in a building that typifies Indochinese architect...

Saigon Botanic & Zoological Garden

The Ho Chi Minh City Zoo and Botanical Gardens are an age-old part of the modern city’s rich history. As Vietnam’s most populous and pr...

Women's Museum

Dedicated to Vietnamese women, the Women's Museum in Saigon has exhibitions covering three floors and focuses on ethnic dress, jewellery and women'...

District 3

WHAT TO DO IN D3? Located right next to District 1 in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, District 3 is a great destination if you are looking for some...

Opening Hours

24/7

Contact

21/4 Khu Pho Trung, Vinh Phu Ward, Thuan An District, Binh Duong, Saigon River, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Tags