There really isn't anything NOT to like about this hotel. For one, it is centrally located on Bui Thi Xuan in District 1, within walking distance of the thriving, busy, and, of course, overpriced Ben Thanh market and all the famous sights of colonial Saigon (post office, opera house, Notre Dame Cathedral, city hall). There are also eateries and restaurants galore if you'd only turn the corner, not to mention a major supermarket at the end of the road. Then, there's the upkeep. When you first walk in, there are marble floors, chandeliers, all spic-and-span, and when you go upstairs to your room, the cleanliness is extended there as well. The room itself is not carpeted but tiled, the first I have ever seen from an urban hotel. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, for it makes it that much easier to clean, and as a first time visitor, it helps to know what you are stepping in or on, for god only knows what's lurking in the carpet after HOW many people have been in and out. Room amenities might seem a bit jejeune or even lacking to some, but this was a minor thing for me, especially considering the price I paid. Yeah, nothing really to write home about, but at least it was all well functioning. I was especially appreciative of this fact after having been in hotels with much higher star ratings but with showers, sinks, and AC's not even working properly. At least everything was here. Then, there is the food. When you first arrive, you are greeted with a welcome drink in the cafe, which I found interesting because though it was technically under the hotel's administration, it was not physically attached to the hotel. Instead, you had to walk out of the hotel to get to it, which usually means braving 120+ degree heat. Fortunately, it really was just a few steps. But here was also where you could have breakfast everyday. Unlike in the United States where breakfast typically means bread and if you're lucky bagels, here, breakfast always entails hot food. There is Western food (eggs, bacon, sausage, ham) as well as Eastern food (noodles, dim sum, you tiao). While in the States, you could easily pay $10+ for this, here, you get all this for free with your room. Best of all, if booked at the right time, I suppose, your room can be under $20! I think the total price came out to a little under $20 a night! (This is because you can actually book a single room with a single bed. Very good for singles!) Not to mention the stellar, PHENOMENAL service. Unlike in other Asian country scenarios, where staff tends to be unhelpful, rude, and even unethical, the staff at the Empress was nothing but outstanding. They helped us out everyday, always asking where we were going and ensuring that we knew how to get there. They kept giving us maps with all the locations we wanted to go to circled, and, of course, as careless as we were, we kept losing them. On the last day, when we were headed out to the airport, the bell man called a taxi for us and kept repeating, to the point of becoming a broken record, right in front of the taxi driver, NOT to give more than 100000 dong under any circumstances. He was just SOOO afraid of us getting cheated! Just shows how much honesty and integrity the staff at Empress have, which, per my experience, is not universal throughout Vietnam.
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- Also Known As:
- Empress Hotel Ho Chi Minh City