I stayed here twice in recent weeks. I am a regular user of Novotel hotels, having stayed in them in four different countries and on two different continents. This Saigon Centre Novotel is the newest, being only around a year from launch date. The inclusion of numerous modernities that I've not seen anywhere else - Novotel or otherwise - impressed me. They may be simple little touches, but they all add to the overall experience with a bit of a surprise and *wow* factor. For example, instead of the usual cardboard (or laminate) signs to hang on your door knob to say either "Please clean this room" or "Do not disturb" - signs the tend to fall off or flip over or otherwise just be fiddly - Saigon Centre Novotel has eliminated them and replaced them with light switches. A red light means 'do not disturb'. A blue light means 'clean my room'. That's just one example. There were a dozen clever little new ideas built into this new hotel.
The rooms are clean and spacious. The bathrooms are spacious, comfortable and have some novel privacy features built in. WiFi is free, high speed and very stable.
Staff are fast with any queries and will be to your room almost instantly if you call for any form of assistance. The staff are also very well trained in how & when to smile, so you always have a welcome feeling here.
The restaurant, "The Square" on the second floor is everything I've come to expect from a Novotel. Their buffets never disappoint. Very fresh, plenty of variety, good service.
If I was to raise any negative factors, they would have to include:
a) I was a bit surprised that many of the staff had only the most elementary of English language skills. Others were excellent, but having stayed at other Novotels in non-English language countries - including another in Vietnam - I would have expected Saigon staff overall to have higher English language skills. (That said, I just have to keep reminding myself that *I* am the outsider here, the English-speaking person in a non-English speaking country, so the problem is really more mine than theirs.)
b) The location was a bit inconvenient, though the taxis are cheap enough to quickly get you anywhere to find anything you need. It would be nice, though, if a pharmacy, a convenience store, and such like were in brief walking distance, rather than being either a taxi ride away, or a very long walk on stinking hot summer days. Maybe, though, given that this hotel is new, such services will gradually open closer by as local small business sees the need to service the hotel clients.
c) The lack of a 'tours desk' surprised me. There isn't even a stand with brochures of available tour services, much less any staff operating a tours desk and taking bookings. The lack of such a service seems quite unusual for a Novotel. (I understand that you can ask the Concierge for suggestions, but that's hardly the same thing.)
Overall, though, the positives outweigh those negatives by a hundred to one. The Novotel Saigon Centre comes with my strong recommendation.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The 4-star Novotel Saigon Centre hotel enjoys a city-centre location with easy access to shopping and entertainment hubs. This modern hotel features a 320m2 ballroom accommodating up to 400 people. The bar on the 20th floor is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day, for breathtaking city views and a relaxed atmosphere at Novotel. ... more less
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