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“surprisingly sumptuous meal” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City

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Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   242 Tran Binh Trong | District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam   |  
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Ranked #22 of 370 Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“surprisingly sumptuous meal”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2014

I arrived in HCMC today. I was met by a warm cloak of air and a sweet and typically asian scent which I can never quite pinpoint but which makes me feel instantly at home. More so at home then when i am at home, ironically.

From the Equatorial i ventured into town on the Shuttle and looked around one of the shopping malls (Vincom) which as pleasant without being in any way inspiring. More evocative was the gentle flow of traffic and alluring side streets. The traffic has a strange of way of easing its way through to its destination with no real effort. The forced aggression seen on european roads in nowhere to be seen. The constant beeping of the horns doesn't imply even the lightest tone of irritation but instead seems to be a genteel reminder to other road users not to veer from their path (or occasionally, more pronounced beeps might mean 'i'm coming through!' There is something very relaxing, very buddhist inherent in the Vietnamese (and in general South Asian) road etiquette which i find very attractive.

After a light lunch in the cellar of the Vincom shopping centre (yes i was also appalled at myself for not choosing somewhere more authentically vietnamese or 'street') which included bun bo noodle soup with a variety of meats and reconstituted fish and some rice noodle wraps of beef (both tasty without being as delicious as i was hopping my first vietnamese meal to be) I headed back to the hotel. I slept for 4 hours to shake of the jet lag and then walked the streets locally to find an eatery. Although there are plenty of very simple side street eateries (it would be wrong to call them restaurants) where, i'm sure the food would have been delicious, I headed back to the hotel where the menus looked somehow more familiar.

I reviewed the seafood restaurant on the second floor which looked amazing and i'm sure i will eat there before i leave in a few days time, and then ended up opting for the buffet on the ground floor.

The deal was to eat and drink as much as you like for $44USD. that's expensive for Vietnam but I decided to make an evening of it after pacing up and down the buffet selection.

Wow.

I started off with the sashimi. there was tuna, some other white fish and salmon. The tuna and whitefish were delicious. The salmon was other worldly! I have eaten in the best sushi restaurants in the UK and some good ones in LA and New York but this salmon was truly out of this world. I went back to the counter 3 times for more.

I had spotted lobster with cheese so sampled a 'tail' which was very tasty. I then moved into the bbq grill and had tiger prawn, rare cooked beef, skewers of lamb and pork. the lamb was particularly memorable and came with a sort of lime salt which massively enhanced the flavour (if you don't get it, ask for it!). The praw was delicious and beef and pork were nice. Starting to feel self conscious about the fact i was now heading up for my 4th course (and had drank 2 beers and 3 glasses of deliciously sumptuous chilean red wine which was one of the nicest wines i have had in years and was all included within the meal) I had eyed up some American style beef chuck steak. I took a nice rare slice carved off for me by the chef and washed it down with the brown coloured sauce provided and some potato wedges and it was very good. In fact it was better than that.

After another visit to the sashimi counter for more salmon and some gelatinous deep fried rice and some more lamb skewer I started to think it was time to wind down, at least as far as the main course was concerned.

I had been attentively topped up another 3 or 4 times, my beautifully roomed chilean red, never getting down below 1/4 full. They were keen for me to enjoy the meal and i must have looked like i was there to do so! I was not given a choice of wine (other than colour) but i would not have wanted anything else. It was deliciously smooth and went amazing well with the salmon and the meat (interestingly).

I was offered a coffee and having heard about Vietnamese coffee decided to take a double espresso. I added a few sachets of brown sugar and it was undoubtedly the finest espresso i have tasted (one up from Harrods). I chose a selection of desserts including bread and butter pudding with a delicious thin vanillas sauce and some banana cake and creme caramel. They were all very nice without being remarkable.

Was there any downside to the meal?

The only thing which stands out was the fact that some of the buffet food (as is always the case with buffets) can hang around for a bit and therefore not be piping hot. I actually like my food to have been piping hot, but to eat it when it has cooled a bit, so it was not a problem for me, but i know some people who would have wanted it to be served straight from the kitchen to the plate. I think that's possible if you keep an eye out on the buffet and what is being replenished when.

Anyway, i thought i would give a fairly long review because I LOVED my meal. I soaked it up and enjoyed every minute, despite dining alone.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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564 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (113)
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Maroochydore, Australia
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2014

Have just returned from Vietnam where we spent the first 3 nights of our trip (2 mums away from husbands and kids!!) at the Hotel Equatorial.

Couldn't fault it. Staff were lovely, very helpful and informative. Check in was easy and quick. Hotel facilities were excellent. The rooms were spacious, clean and well appointed,

We didn't use the pool but it looked very clean and nice.

Food was excellent. Breakfast buffet was one of the best I have had anywhere in the world. Service was also excellent. The view from the tables in the front left is also great... lovely to sit and watch the hive of activity as Saigon awakes.

Location for us was great. We didn't think much of District 1 which is where the other large hotels are located and seems to be more geared to the western tourists - we found Distract 5 (where the Equatorial is located) much more interesting and also very quiet at night time. The free shuttle makes it easy to get around and also taxi rides are only a couple of dollars.

Airport pick up was in a large 7 series BMW, very clean and water bottles ready for us after a long flight.

Will be back...

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Perth, Australia
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2014

Have just spent the last 3 nights here, a little out of the city centre but is an excellent base for a short visit to HCMC ( Saigon). Staff very welcoming and cannot do enough for you. The rooms are excellent, very good bathrooms and toiletries. Swimming pool lovely though changing facilities at poolside limited. Chit Chat Cafe very good.

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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Belfast, United Kingdom
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2014

Cannot fault the hotel at all. Good sized rooms, great pool, lots to choose from for breakfast, very friendly staff. Only downside is the location. Yes, it is only a couple of dollars in a taxi to the centre, but it would have been nice to wander around the locale of the hotel.

Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
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Sidmouth, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2014

Very helpful courteous staff, amazing buffet and restaurant! Nicely located and the rooms were very comfotable. The shuttle bus service every two hours was ideal.Thanks to all concerned, we would certainly come back again.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Melbourne, Australia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2014 via mobile

After long flight we were greeted by hotel driver in air conditioned bus with bottled water and straight to smooth check in. Staff extra friendly and did anything they could to help. Rooms spacious and clean, pool and spa areas clean. Buffet breakfast second to none.
Also I left camera on bus, told concierge, by the time we were back from dinner, my camera at desk.
Only negative little far from city but shuttle bus very handy and reliable.

  • Stayed April 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Ballarat
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2014 via mobile

As part of our package with deals.com, we were pleasantly surprised with their choice. Rooms were comfortable, but starting to show their age. We upgraded to the Club Level which we would highly recommend. The staff, service and facilities were very good. The location really isn't an issue as taxis are cheap and they provide a courtesy bus.

Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
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Additional Information about Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City

Address: 242 Tran Binh Trong | District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone Number:
Location: Vietnam > Ho Chi Minh City
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#9 Spa Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City
#13 Luxury Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City
#15 Business Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City
#17 Family Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City
#20 Romantic Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City 4.5*
Number of rooms: 333
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The 5-star business hotel is centrally located between the waterfront and Cholon (Chinatown) and is only 20 minutes to the airport. 10-minute's drive from the hotel is the city's major commercial, financial centres, shopping strips, recreational parks and night spots. The newly refurbished rooms are elegantly designed and tastefully furnished, providing guests with contemporary surroundings and comforts. Facilities include 7 outlets, a business centre, meeting and function rooms and a comprehensive fitness centre and spa. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ho Chi Minh Hotel

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