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“cheap, cheerful. nice rooms for the price” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Empress Hotel IMS Ho Chi Minh

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Empress Hotel IMS Ho Chi Minh
2.5 of 5 Hotel   |   136 Bui Thi Xuan Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #126 of 353 hotels in Ho Chi Minh City
Manchester, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“cheap, cheerful. nice rooms for the price”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2012

Rooms fairly standard (a little dated) but all with aircon, phone, fridge, flatscreen TV, bathroom, ample storage spaces and sofa/chair. Beds relatively comfortable.

Breakfast buffet is good - not a huge choice but ample to set you up for a days sightseeing

not that central for walking, but taxis are cheap.

hotel staff helpful - check in quick and easy. They dont speak a lot of English though so you might have to explain things a lot.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaryLeung, General Manager at Empress Hotel IMS Ho Chi Minh, responded to this review, September 5, 2012
Dear Katie,

I'm glad to learn you had a pleasant stay with us. Your comments on the breakfast and the level of spoken English are noted and these are actually two of the areas that we would like to make improvements besides renovating our rooms. Unfortunately this will not be done overnight but as the saying goes, it will be done "slowly but surely".

Yours sincerely,
Cary Leung
General Manager
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
Venice, California
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2012

I originally booked this hotel because of my American Express points and really didn't expect a lot! And I was really quite happy with the outcome of my stay. I met the owner of the hotel and we had an amazing time at dinner. She is one of the nicest people I have ever met. The staff is as great as she is, its like going on vacation and staying at one of your relatives home but without having to worry about feeling guilty that you are imposing on them.

David who served us breakfast the 7 days we were there was just one of the most polite people I met ... they accommodated every request with a smile. Tony the bellboy just took care of all our taxi needs and gave us directions to anywhere we wanted to go. Joselyn and Hoang the night servers also took care of us so well.

The hotel is located centrally and is about 1.50 - 2.00 dollars away from everything by taxi ... there is also an amazing pho restaurant around the corner that just serves amazing pho for 2 dollars ... and about a 10 minute or less walk is the best banh mi store where there is a line as soon as they open close to the hotel.

The rooms are always clean and they give you free drinking water everyday. Its a budget hotel so for the price of 22 dollars a night ... this place is a bargain!!!

I will only stay at this hotel when I visit HCM which will probably every other month!

Room Tip: The Junior Suites are actually for 3 people ... the extra room has an extra bed.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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CaryLeung, General Manager at Empress Hotel IMS Ho Chi Minh, responded to this review, August 13, 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for the wonderful compliment. It's not everyday that guests will take time to commend on our staff by name. I will definitely pass it on to David, Tony, Joselyn and Hoang and I am sure they will find it most encouraging for them to continue to serve all our guests with the same smile and attitude.

Once again, thank you and I hope we will soon have the opportunity to welcoming you back to The Empress HCM.

Yours gratefully,
Cary Leung
General Manager
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Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2012

nice rooms ,right for your budget. quite a walk from ben tanh market.good breakfast , polite staff,the doorman even speak fluent mandarin for chinese guests.although during our 2 night stay,there was some hammering on the floor above ours.over all,it's a good stay.

Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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CaryLeung, General Manager at Empress Hotel IMS Ho Chi Minh, responded to this review, August 13, 2012
Dear Guests,

I hope the hammering did not spoil your otherwise "good stay". Yes, we are in the process of renovating 3 rooms as mock-up rooms as we shall soon embark on a renovation programme whereby we shall have an additional 30 rooms to our current 40 rooms. To limit the disturbance, the contractors had been given strict instructions that noisy work could only be carried out from 9.00am-6.00pm daily and I believe they adhered to the schedule.

If you happen to return to HCM in the future, I hope we can have the opportunity to show you our new facilities. In the meantime, I remain,

Yours sincerely,
Cary Leung
General Manager
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quezon city, philippines
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2012

Quite far from Ben Tahn. Very good breakfast buffet! Clean, and ample room space. Nice small lobby. Very comfortable stay with basic amenities.

Room Tip: Hallways are narrow, honking is quite annoying from our room which faces the street.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaryLeung, General Manager at Empress Hotel IMS Ho Chi Minh, responded to this review, July 25, 2012
Dear Guests,

Thank you for the pleasant compliment and I hope you enjoyed your stay with us. Just to let you know, we shall be undergoing a renovation programme in the very near future whereby we shall have an additional 30 rooms and an extended open lobby area while maintaining a colonial theme with a cozy feel.
I hope we will have the opportunity to show you our new rooms should you plan to visit HCM again in the future. Once again, thank you and I remain,

Yours sincerely,
Cary Leung
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2012

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.

Room Tip: If you are traveling single, be sure to book a single room. That way, you won't have to pay extr...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaryLeung, General Manager at Empress Hotel IMS Ho Chi Minh, responded to this review, June 14, 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for the compliment. You want a job in Sales & Marketing? Just kidding. Besides all the places like Ben Thanh Market and Bui Vien which practically all tourists visit, I don't see too many people mentioning the flower market near Duong Ho Thi Ky. I was there one afternoon and actually it was quite interesting. Mind you, it is a bit local but they can make it a real nice tourist spot if they clean up the area and have some cafes/restaurant around. One day maybe. But once again, thank you for the encouraging compliment.

Yours sincerely,
Cary Leung
General Manager
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Nottingham, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2012

The hotel itself is fine, with comfortable rooms, good air conditioning and a fair priced bar/restaurant attached.  The backpacking area is only a ten minute walk and has lots of lively bars and restaurants.  Our personal favourite was the Bread and Butter which has friendly staff and a does a cracking Sausage and Mash, albeit with German style bratwurst.  We would also suggest the good value happy hour cocktails at Cheeky Monkey bar.  I would have given the hotel a fairly positive review aside from what happened when we tried to check-out.

We were called at about ten to nine to say our taxi had arrived and proceeded to the reception desk to check out.  We were then asked to wait whilst they checked the room.  We asked what they were going to check, and were told it was in case we'd "left anything".  The receptionist, her name-badge said "Lucy", made a phone call which wasn't answered and then shouted at the bell boy who got in the lift.  I asked if we could pay whilst the room was checked, but I got no response from Lucy who seemed to be filling time by shuffling paperwork.  It was obvious they were checking for THEIR own protection, which is highly irregular and I have never experienced anywhere else in the world, and even more baffling given that they had taken a pre-authorisation of my credit card at check in.

A few minutes later the bell boy reappeared and asked us to sit down whilst we waited.  I pointed out that we had a taxi waiting outside, we'd had enough of waiting, and just wanted to pay.  Lucy, who had now become quite surly, finally gave us the bill and we paid by card before leaving, during which time a maid appeared and headed to the elevator, presumably to check our room.

Just as we'd got into the taxi the bell boy came running out to say there was "a problem".  Upon returning inside I was told that "wine" was missing from the mini bar, and shown a slip on which Lucy highlighted the whisky, vodka and cognac.  I was by now pretty frustrated and made very clear that we'd not had those drinks, and infact had only had the free bottles of drinking water replenished in our room for two out of the four days so clearly the maid wasn't checking the mini bar properly.  After the accusation was made and countered a number of times, and Lucy had made yet another phone call, I was told I could go.

Vietnam is known for it's scams, and most tourists know to be wary of taxi drivers, but you don't expect unscrupulous behaviour from hotels.  This is quite obviously a scam to try and increase hotel takings by about $15, which perhaps some people feel pressured into giving in and paying.  My suggestion would to be avoid the Empress Hotel.  Despite being a fine hotel, the attempted scam by the staff was insulting and left a really sour taste.  Find another of the many good value hotels in HCMC, but preferably one with integrity.

Also, be careful to watch out for taxi scams.  We were picked up from the bus station by a taxi and driven 5 minutes to our hotel whilst watching the meter rocket up.  When we got there we were asked for 288,000d ($15), which is outrageous compared to standard metered price.  We refused and only gave 50,000d, which he accepted after I took photos of his registration and said I would phone his office.  We later found out the bus stop was just around the corner and the taxi should have cost only around 10,000d.  We also heard of another couple paying $30 from the airport when it should cost no more than $9 including all fees.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaryLeung, General Manager at Empress Hotel IMS Ho Chi Minh, responded to this review, June 12, 2012
Dear Guests,

I deeply regret you had the feeling that the hotel was trying to "rip you off" on some mini-bar charges. Since arriving at this hotel two months ago, I have to admit that our housekeeping department has not been doing a good job in replenishing or checking on the mini-bar items but I can assure you that corrective actions have been taken and incidents like this will not happen again in the future.

Yours sincerely,
Cary Leung
General Manager
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liverpool
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2012

Just 10-15 mins stroll away from the active area of District 1, this hotel is located near the park and seems to put a breathing space between the road chaos of Ho Chi Minh centre and its urban spread. An elegant entrance is complimented by attentive reception staff and there is often someone on the door to usher in the AC or introduce the heat of the day. Our room was compact, pleasantly styled, however this styling did result in an unnecessary dimness due to the choice of lighting. I requested a room with a decent window and we were able to look out onto the street at the front. Windows opened so we had a sense of air to the room and our packed clothes. All equipment (tv, aircon, fridge, plugs etc) worked and the bathroom was a nice size with a good shower area.
Breakfast was served in the bistro next door and was moderate with good service for toast and coffees. I found the hotel trip options to be far more expensive than the travel agents opposite the park, for what appeared to be identical offerrings (eg $23 vs $5 for a day at the Meekong).
We were warned about moped bag-snatchers and I pass this on to you. Its rife in HCM and we witnessed it and heard several sorry stories. There was not a lot to see around the city (the odd pagoda, palace and zoo), and we felt a couple of days was enough. Its lively areas are cosmopolitan and vibrant at night to early morning; but we were then glad to move on to our next stop.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Empress Hotel IMS Ho Chi Minh

Address: 136 Bui Thi Xuan Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
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 ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #126 of 353 hotels in Ho Chi Minh City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Empress Hotel IMS Ho Chi Minh 2.5*
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Also Known As:
Empress Hotel Ho Chi Minh City

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