ibis Saigon Airport: The First Choice for Business Travellers
Most people think of airport hotels as having grungy carpets, questionable sheets and a nondescript continental breakfast. But when I got to the newly opened ibis Airport Saigon, I could immediately tell that it was different.
Checking in was a good experience. The lobby was well-designed, with plenty of natural light, a staircase leading up to the second floor and a Starbucks coffee shop firmly planted in the opposite corner.
The woman at the check-in desk was pleasant and professional, and told me a few key facts about the hotel. This branch opened in December 2016, making it one of the newest hotels in Saigon; a shuttle to and from the airport can be scheduled in advance, although Tan Son Nhat Airport is a mere six-minute walk from ibis’ front doors; and all ibis hotels offer what they call the 15-minute guarantee: ever since the first ibis opened in Bordeaux in 1974, every hotel ensures that if a customer has any sort of problem that’s not solved within 15 minutes, they get one more night free of charge.
Would I be able to wrangle a free night? I would soon find out.
Room with a View
The room was small, yet comfortable. Ibis offers a variety of rooms ranging from 18 to 72 square metres (you can also rent one of the studio, one-bedroom or two-bedroom long-stay apartments). My room came with a queen-sized bed, mini fridge, small electronic safe and flatscreen cable TV. From my fourth storey room I looked out over a manicured courtyard with numerous blooming plumeria trees.
Before dinner I decided to treat myself to some spa time. Bathing suit on, I headed to the rooftop swimming pool where I could see the main draw of the hotel: the view. The long, rectangular outdoor pool ran along one side of the hotel, overlooking Tan Son Nhat Airport. Going for a swim and watching planes take off and land is quite special.
Dinner at Oopen and Drinks at the Hub
Once I had worked up an appetite, I headed down to the 24-hour Oopen Restaurant on the first floor. The restaurant is best described as fresh and clean. I was seated quickly, and the wait staff were almost eerily efficient. I ordered the Terra pasta (linguini with creamy carbonara sauce with mushrooms), and as soon as I tasted it, I could tell Ibis was from Europe. If you’d prefer something Vietnamese, this fusion bistro offers delicacies like the Vietnamese barbecue pork banh mi and a more traditional com chien.
I hadn’t hit 8 p.m. yet after dinner, which meant that happy hour (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.) was still going on at the Hub bar on the rooftop. With a half-priced draft of Tiger in hand, I looked out over the expanse of Tan Son Nhat Airport and Tan Binh District and saw a different side of Saigon. One of the special things about the Hub is that it passes on house music of any kind, opting instead for a mellow, loungey feel, where you can converse with friends or take a dip in the pool after sundown. Despite the occasional startling sound of a plane roaring off the runway, I was in peace.
Sweet Sleep and a Breakfast of Champions
If I thought the drink at the Hub was peaceful, sinking into my bed later that night sealed it. Ibis’ slogan is a pillow, and now I can see why: the pillow, mattress and duvet were of a supremely high quality. This feature is highlighted in brochures, and rightly so.
The next morning, breakfast was waiting at Oopen. The hotel takes pride in its three breakfast shifts: the Early Riser from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m., the conventional breakfast from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and the Late Riser from 10:30 a.m. to noon. I took advantage of the Late Riser (it was the weekend, after all, and I had no flight to catch) and was delighted to see a wide assortment. In the chafing dishes were bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs and hardboiled eggs; on the tables were orange juice, a sushi bar and a veritable mountain of baked goods.
As I checked out of ibis Airport Saigon at noon, I remembered the 15-minute satisfaction guarantee. I wouldn’t be getting my free extra night because I couldn’t find anything to complain about. If you’re curious what ibis has to offer, check out their website at ibis.com/9468.