Recently we returned from our holiday to Vietnam with the kids. Craig and I went to Vietnam in 2003 for our honeymoon but it was the first trip for the kids. I knew we would be out and about while staying in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) so didn’t see the need to pay for a 5* hotel like we had in Nha Trang at the An Lam Resort. I think Signature Saigon Hotel is the best place to stay in Ho Chi Minh City and here’s way.
I wanted a great central location in District 1, most of the main tourist attractions are located within walking distance from District 1. At the same time, I wanted something clean and comfortable. My favourite go-to booking site for hotels in Asia is always Agoda, once again it didn’t let me down. I found the perfect hotel at the perfect price, in the prefect location, The Signature Saigon Hotel.
We had adjoining rooms with a queen bed in one and a queen and fold out sofa bed in the other for the kids. Both rooms had a bathroom each, one with a bath and the other with a shower. The rooms had a TV with cable channels, a computer and screen, a desk and mini fridge.
The beds were comfortable and the rooms clean. The double room didn’t have a window which was fine as the adjoining room did which opened to the front of the building. The beds all had white linen and where crisp and comfortable.
The rooms had split system air-conditioners, I found them to be too cold with the adjoining room door closed, it was a powerful system for a small room. Due to the humidity and heat, we did have to leave them on low during the night. It was fair to say that the rooms were pretty small but we didn’t spend much time in them so it wasn’t really an issue.
The rooms had some great old pictures of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and they added a really nice touch to the rooms, it was simple but effective and both Craig and I took the time to look at them and work out what they were of.
Vietnam has its peculiarities but once you get there you will understand that the organised chaos somehow works. Here’s a great post about things you should know before visiting Vietnam. Hope it helps put some prospective on it.
The location is perfect, just a block away from the Ben Thanh Market. Ben Thanh Market is the main market in HCMC for all things including souvenirs, clothes, food, luggage, shoes and anything else you can think of and most of the things you wouldn’t think of or think you needed! It’s located on the very busy Durong Le Lai Street which has a ridiculously busy roundabout that we had to cross to get there. Initiation of fire, if you can cross there, you can cross anywhere.
On our first day we took a self guided walking tour of the main attractions in District 1. It took us about 5hrs and included Ben Thanh Market, Rex Hotel, HCMC Town Hall, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Post Office and the Reunification Palace before heading back the hotel. It’s a decent walk, luckily on flat terrain, but our 3 kids aged 6, 8 and 10 managed to keep up. The temperature was in the mid-30’s and humidity was just shy of 100%, we did stop for drinks and an ice cream though.
On our last night in HCMC we headed on foot to the Backpackers District for dinner, its only a 10 min walk from the hotel. I felt safe walking there at night and its a fairly direct route, the streets are pretty busy. Right next door to the hotel is a Circle K convenience store, we could get most things from there including a couple of cold beers and slushy for the kids, which we did each day to cool them down.
The room rates included buffet breakfast for all 5 of us. The restaurant was located on the 10th floor and had a breakfast bar outside where you could sit and take in the views. The buffet breakfast included eggs cooked to order, noodles, bacon, dim sum, hash browns, pancakes, danish pastries, bread, sausages, soup, fresh fruit, cereal and juice. There really was plenty to eat. Keira was in her element as she loves a buffet breakfast and we found that the kids weren’t really hungry until much later in the day. We were often having a light lunch around 2 or 3pm.
The restaurant also served dinners. We didn’t stay at the hotel for dinner so I can not comment on what it was like. There was also a bar downstairs behind the lobby if you felt like having a drink somewhere other than your room.
I booked a few tours through the reception desk, I never did get the name of the lovely lady that assisted us with the bookings for the Traditional Vietnamese Water Puppet Show and the 2hr Cyclo Saigon Tour of the city but she was very efficient and her english was very good. We were able to charge the bookings to the room also and finalise it all in one hit when we were checking out.
Our flight from Nha Trang to HCMC was delayed and we didn’t get to the hotel until 1am, I managed to send an email to the hotel to let them know. When we arrived I was relieved to see that someone was waiting for us and our 3 very tired children. The check in clerk was asleep on the couch in the foyer and was woken by security. We were efficiently checked in and the kids were in bed within 15mins. They took our passports and said come down in the morning and finish checking in. I was chuffed as I was in no mood for messing around and the kids really needed to go to bed. The next morning I went down and they handed me back the passports and all was done and off we went.
The hotel is in a good central location for exploring HCMC and would be perfect for the holiday market but also very suitable for the business traveller. As always I made my booking through Adoga.com but have added the pricing below for 3 of the top booking sites for a family of 5 people which is what we stayed in for the duration of our stay (accurate in 2015):
Agoda.com – $125AUD (currently on a flash sale down from $205AUD)
Expedia.com – $134AUD (this is the price a twin room, 4 people, as they do not show adjoining rooms)
Booking.com – $90AUD (not an adjoining room, only a couples bed room for 2 people only)
This is really interesting, Agoda has been consistently cheaper in my research but never has there been differences as recorded above as in them not even having the option to get an adjoining room on the website. Booking.com only had rooms for couples not even families.
The kids loved this hotel as it had the cartoon channel in english which gave Craig and I a bit of a break and gave them something to do in the small amount of down time we had between activities. It also helped to keep them entertained while we were getting ready in the morning. They also really enjoyed the buffet breakfast, they love to have choice!
Craig and I enjoyed the location of the hotel, it was central and affordable and the rooms were clean and comfortable. If I was returning to HCMC I would certainly stay here again and would recommend it to others. I think $125AUD per night for 5 people is a great price taking in the location and that it is walking distance to most of the sights.
Most organised tours in HCMC will pick up from your hotel, we did two great tours, one to the Mekong Delta and one to Cu Chi Tunnels and they picked up and dropped off to the door. This minimises the chance of communication issues and ensures the tours aren’t waiting around for tourists that have gotten lost. Much easier for those with young kids like us also.