The Hotel Review: Caravelle Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
19 – 23 Lam Son Square, District 1 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The Caravelle is a five-star hotel in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, and it’s consistently ranked among the top hotels in the bustling metropolis (just like The Nai Harn in Phuket that Groomed and Glossy have reviewed), it has a fantastic panoramic view that overlooks the city’s skyline.
The hotel has a pool, a business centre, and a casino. They have an Olympic-sized pool and there’s a poolside bar open to anyone who wants a cocktail while lounging by the water. While we did not take a dip, the overall design and the pool lights were really inviting.
The casino Club Vegas has a lively atmosphere largely thanks to the slot machines that make up a colourful sight complemented by the familiar gaming sounds. There weren’t a lot of players in the area, and many of the machines were vacant. This is probably because of Vietnam’s gaming laws for locals. Expatbets’ guide to ‘Slots in Vietnam’ explains the technicalities of gaming in the country, and they state that only foreign passport holders are allowed to play. Only two gaming establishments accept locals, and both are located in another part of Vietnam. The ones in the city and its hotels are for the pleasure of foreign guests. We grabbed the opportunity and enjoyed a brief gaming session before going back to our room.
The Caravelle has Deluxe and Opera Rooms provide great views of the city. The Opera Room overlooks the Opera House and the Cathedral. We took one of these and were impressed with the cleanliness and interior design. It has a deluxe bathroom, thermostat control, shoeshine service, and other perks. The hotel also offers Signature Rooms, which are slightly cheaper but seem to be equally clean and cosy. Other options include Business Suites, which are very spacious, especially the Executive ones. They have multiple rooms and toilets.
The 750-square metre Kara Spa provides wellness packages like Relaxation and Vitality, both of which are 180 minutes of pure bliss. You will be greeted with a welcome drink, and given a footbath. Depending on the package, it will be followed by a revitalising facial and a full body massage; or a Vietnamese scrub, Dead Sea mud wrap and Balinese massage. We were astounded by how large the place is, as well as its relaxing ambience. The spa also has a sauna and Jacuzzi.
DRINKING AND DINING
The highlight of the Caravelle experience for many guests, including us, is the legendary Saigon Saigon Bar at the hotel’s rooftop. Since its establishment in 1959, the bar has become the city’s most sought-after watering hole. During the war, it was also frequented by foreign war journalists, politicians, and the city’s elite. Going up to the rooftop is a heritage wall where old photos of the hotel’s best moments are posted. The bar has all of the usual cocktails, hard liquor as well as some local craft beers. It also hosts Happy Hour from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm when guests can order drinks at 50% off.
Another particularly exciting find is the Martini Bar which is tucked away in a nondescript corner on the hotel’s third floor. Aside from the plethora of drinks, a collection of photos taken by American photographer Catherine Karnow during the 1990s is worth checking out.
*Saigon Saigon Bar
Opera Room averages at £105 per night.
The cheapest way to get to the hotel from Ho Chi Minh City Airport is through Bus Line 109. You can also take a cab and get to your destination in around 7 minutes.