This is a beautiful old hotel overlooking the Saigon River. The hotel opened in 1925 so you can imagine the architecture. I picked this hotel based on reviews on TA and coming from a small boutique hotel in Hanoi city I wanted a hotel with few more services.
The first contrast that I noted between Hanoi and Saigon is that the weather is much warmer in Saigon ( locals call it Sai Gon ) but the air seem much cleaner. Also Saigon looks much more modern than Hanoi .. you can actually see many high rises in Saigon .. in fact next to the hotel there is a majestic 68 story building that is almost completed.
Also in Saigon everything is far more expensive .. my guess is that the food costs about double what Hanoi costs. I also found out that if you book the hotel through their own website the airport transportation ( $ 28 each way for a 7 km distance ) is complementary. Without traffic it is a 20 minute ride at the most. I got to the airport way too early based on the one hour that the hotel suggested!
The hotel provides a good breakfast buffet .., other than that I thought their food was over priced and not really good. The one dinner I had at the hotel I had to return the beef dish because it was too tough to chew .. something that I found with beef dishes in Hanoi as well!
The hotel had a beautiful pool in the courtyard and a spa with very reasonable massage ($40 for 90 minutes) and facials. If you are looking for "monkey business' massage this is not the place.
The location is great .. walking distance to all the stores and restaurants. BUT, the moment that you leave the hotel you are going to be hit by everyone wanting to give you a ride of some kind .. in the evening there are couple of "girlie clubs" very close to the hotel and they are try to sell you a different kind of a "ride" .. the hotel also has a casino which I did not visit.
The room is clean and large. With construction going on around you it is tough to have a quiet time in your room but the hotel apologizes for it in advance. My first day there I left the room at 10:00 a.m, and returned at 2:30 p.m. and the room was not made up. The second day it was much better.
All in all if I come back to Saigon I will probably stay here at the $ 150 rate .. the double what I paid in Hanoi. I did not use the mini bar, the room service nor the laundry because I felt it was too expensive. Also soda is $ 2.50 vs 80 cents that I paid in Hanoi and no Diet Coke!
Across the street is a small cafe where you can actually get Diet Pepsi ( the first place I found in Vietnam with Pepsi ) and you can sit and watch the people trying the cross the busy street in front and survive!
Right on the corner of the next street there is a good restaurant called Jaspar which I liked very much. Actually had tender beef .. apparently owned by Australians .. I am going to write a separate review on the restaurant.
Tip for the hotel? Have your breakfast there ( starts at 6:00 a.m. ) and eat somewhere else.