LEADING BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN HO CHI MINH CITY
By Gilles Malaisé
Ideally located along the Saigon River, in the clean, quiet and upper-class residential District 2, a short and memorable 15 minutes complimentary speedboat cruise to the District 1 tourist / business / shopping attractions, Villa Sông competes the number one ranking in Tripadvisor with the five-star luxury The Rêverie, and comes before superlative palace-hotels like Park Hyatt Saigon and Caravelle!
A challenging 23 rooms boutique hotel with a serene ambiance, this posh, immaculate mansion owned by a group of investors from Singapore accommodates tourists (the place is ideal for a honeymoon) and businessmen (no traffic to the city center thanks to the boat). Usually welcomed in person by Yega, the courteous Malaysian general-manager, or by the exquisite, multilingual Miss Thuy, always princely pampered by one of the best-trained staff in Vietnam, lots of the guests made Villa Sông their home away from home in Saigon forever.
The kind of hotel where you like to come back, it has relatively small but amazingly cushy rooms: so well-appointed and quiet, with supremely smooth beds, dashing design, and brilliant bathrooms. It would be hard to describe their distinguished interior, as no two rooms are the same. Ours was a delightful “Sanctuary River Room”, ideally located on the 2nd floor, with a dreamy view of the Mekong. In this category, equivalent to a superior deluxe room in a chain hotel, the size varies quite a lot between 32 till 48 sq.m. Those who like space should, therefore, inquire in advance to book in the largest available room. We liked very much the complimentary WiFi, minibar, and Nespresso Machine. Another good mark for the elegant, high-tech Apple TV.
Looking for more volume and style? Then straightly book in a 71 sq.m “Villa Suite”, with a pleasant balcony and parlor. The gracious four-poster bed would particularly seduce those on a romantic stay. That category of room is equipped with a bathtub and a separate rain shower. The largest room in Villa Sông (105 sq.m) is the “Imperial Suite”. Glamorous, it has 2 balconies with river view and pool view.
Swimming in the cool salt-water pool allows an interesting perspective on the French neo-colonial design of the white villa, totally refurbished in 2013, and on the lush gardens planted with palms along the sleepy banks of the most dynamic river in Asia. The powerful, comfortable shuttle-boat can be hired for short excursions. Do like us, book it just for one hour, and discover the hidden parks, with piers and yachts, of the most secret and sumptuous villas in Saigon, housing politicians, movie stars, and tycoons. Those sanctuaries of capitalism alternate with temples and modest fishermen houses. District 2 is indeed worth the incursion: it has excellent restaurants, like the almost homonymous La Villa, regarded by expats and Saigonese alike as one of the top ten French restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City. It is located five minutes from the hotel by taxi.
Villa Sông is a member of the prestigious Secret Retreats collection of boutique hotels, intimate inns and camps, beautifully designed full service villas, exquisite restaurants and exotic cruises.
197/2 Nguyen Van Huong Street
Thao Dien Ward, District 2,
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
PHONE: +84-8-3744 6090, +84-8-3744 6091
GASTRONOMY AT VILLA SÔNG
not neglect the in-house restaurant, Bistro Sông Vie:
experience along the river is to die for. From the extravagant à la
carte breakfast, till the candlelit dinner, we have experienced a
technical perfection by Chef Kevin Marchetti, and much kindness from
part of the
enthusiastic waiters. Yet a young chef, Kevin knows all the tricks from
the elder Michelin-star mentors he has been meeting since he was a
teenager. We had our lunch in a totally full restaurant. Patrons are
quite young, yuppie style, with a lot of smart ladies in their
victorious 30s. Gastronomic is much patronized by women in Saigon: they
particularly enjoy French and Italian cuisines, and know wine better
than anybody. We met the same category of gourmets like at Le Corso, a
new and select French fine dining table, where we had our dinner the
next day. Quality food for quality people!
Traditional Vietnamese gourmets won’t miss goose or duck liver.
Tailored made for them, Kevin’s “Trio of Foie Gras” is a best seller
(at USD 35), with Liver Seared on Roasted Mango Pillow, Ballotine
with Black Sesame and Passion Fruit Gelée, and Parfait on Ginger Bread
and Lavender-Pepper Tuile. This is called a real treat. Like the royal
“Pillow of French Pigeon Breast” (USD 59), richly stuffed with Foie
Gras and Spinach on Zucchini-Carrot Mat, Sautéed Baby Potatoes and
Seasonal Veggies, Cacao Sauce. Escoffier is not far…
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