STAY AT THE PREMIUM PALACE HOTEL IN HO CHI MINH CITY
By Gilles Malaisé
Those wishing to enjoy Saigon in the lap of luxury and class, already know by reputation this authentic palace hotel: where mouth to ear, combined with the prestigious image of the Park Hyatt brand, attracts the most prestigious guests. Enquire with anybody in Saigon about the best five-star hotel in town; the reply is always the same: “-Go to Park Hyatt!”.
We dropped our luggage in this caravanserai of luxury a couple of days, during the weekend. When leading businessmen give way to sophisticated leisure travelers, and when the restaurants and bars fill up with festive Saigonese and expatriate patrons: making this imposing five-star hotel turning into a classy entertaining center for the local elite.
feels like magic; the monumental lobby looks both impressive and
reassuring. Quiet, yet animated by the presence of the elegant Park
Lounge, famous for its Afternoon Tea. The equilibrium of its
architecture makes it astonishingly homey.
Check-in procedure went as smooth as silk. It took less than five minutes to get to our Garden View Room, overlooking the swimming-pool. Spacious and ritzy, with a sublime floral carpet and nostalgic photos of the old Saigon, it featured tall colonial windows, framed with white wooden shutters, a well-sized hardwood writing desk, large-screen LED TV, Bose Bluetooth speaker, and a mini iPad displaying weather forecast, wake-up alarm, etc. We liked the Nespresso coffee maker, with a generous selection of blends which the housekeeper refilled everyday: just like the high-speed Internet connection, it was provided with compliments. Another bonus was the round-the-clock private butler service available to all 245 rooms and suites. Our gorgeous bathroom was equipped with the most complete toiletry kit ever, and with hyacinth and lime blossom fragrance amenities by luxury Vietnamese brand Cochine exclusively to Park Hyatt. Last but not least, the bed, with plush feather pillows, the finest linens, and a first class mattress, was one of the most comfortable which we experienced during our June/July 2016 Southeast Asian tour.
Like all palace
hotels, the Park Hyatt Saigon sells its suites
like hot cakes. The “Park Suites” are subdivided into different
categories. The cream of the crop, the Presidential Suite located on
the highest floor of the hotel covers not less than 190 sq. m. It
doesn’t show the flashy and stifling “Chinese influence” which we had
experienced so many times staying in premium suites in
South East Asia and China; no shining gold, no heavy marble, no shabby
“Louis Style” furniture, but elegant interiors with a cozy atmosphere.
Oil paintings, antiques, lacquerware and handcrafted embroidery by
established Vietnamese made us warmly feel at residence. We liked the
grand living room and the dining-room seating up to ten persons for a
dinner or a business meeting. And also the white marble bathroom: with
walk-in rain shower and TV-embedded mirrors. The rate was
quite reasonable, though we visited the hotel during the peak season
(it remains quite variable; thus we would say that it costs more or
less the price of an executive suite in a palace hotel in Paris and
London, while Deluxe rooms are 50 till 70% cheaper compared with
20-metre / 583 sq. m pool is settled in lush, beautifully landscaped
tropical gardens. It offers a
serene relaxation in the heart of the animated District 1. With its
private king-size sun bed tents, -a favorite to honeymooners- ,
this Garden of Eden reminded us of the Mandarin
Oriental Bangkok, where
service is at a top level, and ambiance supremely classy and romantic.
It has a One Thousand and One Nights scenery by night, when the
gardens are magically illuminated. A five-star place for leisure, the
park Hyatt Saigon has one of the largest (170 Sq. m) fitness centers in
Saigon. Last generation Life Fitness cardio equipment features
personal LCD television screens and headphones. For body-building,
guests can enjoy the most advanced weight machines from Life Fitness.
To complete our sports experience at Park Hyatt Saigon, we used the
steambath and the hot Jacuzzi.
GASTRONOMY AT PARK HYATT SAIGON
at Park Hyatt starts with the breakfast served at Opera Restaurant.
Comparable in term of elaborated cuisine, pleasant setting and
impeccable service, with the best buffet breakfasts (with “a la carte”
offers) ever experienced in referents high-end hotels groups worldwide,
like Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, InterContinental, Four Seasons, … We liked
the impressive selection of elaborated dishes, enhanced with regional
delicacies (we tried the warm fragrant “Pho”- the Vietnamese well-loved
noodle soup), the myriads of fresh tropical fruits and the
excellent bakery (particularly the ultra fresh pretzel rolls and the
chocolate croissants), and shall try their legendary Sunday Brunch
during our next visit to Ho Chi Minh City: featuring seafood dishes,
pasta, roasted meats and delightful desserts plus free flow of iced
cold Bollinger Champagne. Breakfast is a good prediction of the
quality of a hotel F&B. Though our gourmand
agenda was actually quite full, its top-quality encouraged us to manage
our time and enjoy at least one lunch at the Park Hyatt Saigon, in the
same Opera Restaurant, which, at lunch time, serves an authentic
The new Chef de Cuisine Matteo Fracalossi, with 20 years of experience, improved his passion for cooking at Villa Crespi, trained by two-Michelin-star chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo. He then worked in the best restaurants around the world before he joined the ark Hyatt Saigon. Though his cuisine, prepared in the large open-kitchen, tends to be influenced by a cool Northern Italian influence, he is also an expert on pasta from Central Italy and authentic Neapolitan pizza, made fresh from a wood-fired oven.
ordered the “Business Lunch Set Menu”, available from Monday to Friday,
11:30am till 2:30pm. For approximately USD 20, which is great value for
a five-star hotel, we had three courses, with a selection of 4 -
5 dishes per course. We started with Fried Eggplant Roll, Chilled
Tomato Sauce and Basil Pesto. Light and perfumed, ideally accompanied
with lukewarm, mouth-watering focaccia bread sipped in artisanal
ultra-virgin olive oil. As a main, we were so happy to see that the
chef included one of our favorite pizzas, with Prosciutto Ham, Funghi
(mushrooms) and Mozzarella on a dispendious toping. The tomato sauce
was 100% home-made, and the paste was crispy and slightly burned as we
like. The portion would have been enough to feed two gourmets. This
pizza costed about USD10 on the extensive a
A small, good pizzeria in Saigon would charge more or less the same
paired our lunch with a bottle of Chianti Riserva Piccini Collezione
Oro 2011 (USD 60 / bottle). One serving of
freshly brewed coffee was included in the set price.
is, last but not least, a reputed and authentic Vietnamese
restaurant. With an abundant and affordable Vietnamese Tasting Platter
two (featuring chef’s selection of the day, at USD 19), Green Papaya
And Beef Salad (USD 10), or vegetarian Assorted Spring Rolls (USD 8).
Some specialties from the Clay Pot are well worth the visit: like the
Saigon Style US Scallops, Bok Choy, Onion, Tamarind Sauce, Coriander,
and Sticky Rice (USD 27). Average bill for dinner is about USD 60,
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