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Empress Hotel IMS Ho Chi Minh
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Reviews (196)
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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 extra for something you essentially won't use. Besides, these rooms tend to be the cheapest!
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Ernest W
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 reviewResponded 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

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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1  Thank Angry_13
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 reviewResponded June 11, 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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Thank daveandjaneLiverpool
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2012

The hotel's location is a 15-20 minute walk to the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Post Office and the market. This to me is a bonus as I saw more of Ho Chi Minh this way and also got to walk through a very pleasant park.

The hotel smelt a little musty, particularly on hotter days, but was clean, well run and with friendly staff on the front desk. I had a room at the back of the hotel which was a bonus as this meant I didn't get much traffic noise during my stay.

The downside was the wi-fi access that was only accessible via the Business Centre and for which you paid a fee whenever you used it.

Room Tip: Request a room at the back. Also walking through the park at one end of the street, particularly in the late afternoon is worth it.
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank Bluebell047
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 2, 2012

had a 3 nights stay at this hotel. booked it thru airasia travel agency. went for a holiday with a friend.
in general its kinda strategic in terms of location considering the amount paid for this hotel.
rooms is good.. just that at nights since its near the street u can hear noise from the nearest pubs and since its next to street, therefore expect vehicles sounds all the time.
other than that, i think if ur considering a place with affordability and ok location. this place can be considered. .
breakfast is not great but good..

Stayed: June 2011
Thank Krockz77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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