Travelling with a family of 7 is not an easy feat as one has so many diverse needs and concerns to address...finding just the right hotel to fit the bill such as ...does it have a good gym, is the restaurant really good, are the rooms clean and spacious, is the hotel centrally located? if the hotel is old, have any recent renovations been done to update the property are just some of the challenges I had to address. So, when I chose the "5 star" Imperial Hotel for 2 nights and one of them being on New Year's Eve, I thought that this place fit the bill! Although esthetically quite pleasing in that the entrance, lobby and rooms were all quite spacious, new and grandeur, the service was definitely not of an international 5 star caliber.
As an example, our New Year's Eve dinner gala was promised to be the highlight of our trip (a mandatory charge of $50 pp that we had to pay even though we did not want it) we reluctantly agreed as this was a condition to stay at the hotel and we were finally actually looking forward to this special New Years Eve in Asia. In the end, to say that we were extremely disappointed with this evening is a gross understatement.
From, the dinner buffet viewpoint, we found the food to be very unappetizing in both taste and appearance. As examples, an overcooked roast turkey was so dry that we could hardly swallow it and the fact that there was no additional turkey to be brought out even when there was nothing left on the first roast. As well, there was no additional "famous roasted suckling pig" when there was clearly no more to offer at around 8:30pm. The wine tasted like something that was homemade and there was not a hint of alcoholic content to it. The dessert selection looked like it was made by a very amateur person...
As it was billed as a spectacular gala, we expected at least a semi-formal dress code only to find that many were in the jeans and t-shirts.
With regards to the "spectacular entertainment", it was something of a local Vietnamese Idol contest from student type fashion show to Elvis impersonators. The volume of the music was so loud that it hurt our ears ...I had requested if it was possible to turn down the volume of the P.A. system but nothing happened. We left early extremely shocked and disgusted by this promised "highlight of our trip".
However, with regards to the breakfast buffet, this was definitely one of the better ones we encountered on our Vietnamese travels, a large extensive selection of western and authentic Vietnamese offerings.
My choice in selecting this newer hotel property versus an older one with charm and character (like Saigon Morin) is still a good one if you don't care too much about quality of service that is consistent with a European or North American standard 5 star property. You will still get a great nights sleep in a clean, new and spacious room decorated in strong Asian colors and teak furnishings. With regards to fitness, pool and spa, I can't comment as I didn't have a chance to try these places out. Also, there is a small smoke filled casino on site as well.