Read more from this trip – Spring Break in Vietnam:
- Cathay Pacific The Pier Business Class Lounge, Hong Kong (HKG)
- Park Hyatt Saigon
- Six Senses Con Dao
- Le Saigonnais Business Lounge SGN
- Cathay Pacific The Wing Business Class Lounge, Hong Kong (HKG)
- Cathay Pacific Premium Economy, Hong Kong to New York (HKG-JFK)
- Dates of hotel stay: 5 nights – March 13-16 & 20-22, 2020
- Where: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Paid stay / points: Paid
The Park Hyatt Saigon sits on the site of the former Briggs Hotel, which is known for being bombed by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Far removed from the location’s dark past, the Park Hyatt officially opened in 2005. The property has 245 spacious hotel rooms including 23 suites designed by Damansara Architects and EDC Design from Malaysia. The exterior’s ivory french facade gives the hotel an elegant colonial feel paying tribute to HCMC’s history.
The hotel is a 15-minute drive from Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN). The best and cheapest way to get around Ho Chi Minh City (“HCMC”) is the ride share application Grab. Most smart giraffes don’t bother with airport taxis in HCMC. Be like smart giraffes.
The Park Hyatt is centrally located overlooking the Opera House on Lam Son Square and within walking distance of popular tourists attractions including Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office and the Reunification Palace.
Lobby / Check-in
The French colonial style of the exterior continues once you enter the lobby area. I really appreciate when hotels put effort and money into their floral displays and the Park Hyatt clearly does both.
Check-in was relatively easy, but traveling during COVID-19 meant I had to undergo “new normal” check-in formalities including a thermal temperature scan. As the pandemic accelerated over the course of my stay temperature scanning was performed by a security guard ahead of entering the property.
The check-in associate in a mask and gloves acknowledged my Hyatt Discoverist status and walked me through my Hyatt Privé benefits. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Hyatt Privé it’s a program that entitles you to benefits such as early-check-in, free breakfast, hotel spending credits, late check-out and upgrades confirmable at the time of booking. Keep an eye out for a separate post on the Hyatt Privé program.
The lobby features Indochine furniture, teak wooden floors and Oriental rugs.
I booked a standard King Bed Room and immediately received an upgrade to Garden View King Bed Room. The room is an adequate size coming in at 365 square feet. The king sized bed was exceptionally comfortable.
Opposite the bed is a 48″ LED Smart TV atop a two drawer dresser. There were a variety of English language channels to choose from.
After being spoiled by a huge walk-in closet at the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires I was slightly disappointed by the small closet at the Park Hyatt Saigon. The closet also contained bathrobes and slippers.
I took a seat in the ornate chair to inspect my welcome gift, which consisted of chocolate cookies, dragonfruit, dried mango slices and red wine. The cookies were delicious!
In the corner of the room there’s a mirrored credenza where you’ll find the minibar, Nespresso machine and tea set.
The refrigerated minibar contained Coke, Coke Light, Evian Water, Heineken Beer, Jasmine IPA Beer, Krating Daeng (Vietnamese Red Bull), Perrier Sparkling Water, San Pellegrino Aranciata, Saigon Export Beer, Schweppes Tonic Water and a Snickers Bar. Above the refrigerated minibar is a snack drawer containing cashews, Haribo Goldbears, Nature Valley Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola Bars, mini bottles of liquor and Nespresso pods.
The bathroom features a rainfall shower and a marble bath. I was thrilled to see the Park Hyatt offering Cochine bathroom amenities. Cochine uses scents like Champa Jasmine, Tuberose, Frangipani and Agarwood inspired by Saigon. The bathroom loses a few points for only having a single sink.
I was originally scheduled to end my trip in Singapore, but due to COVID-19 I had to come back to HCMC after Con Dao. Based on the great experience I had during my first stay I decided to return to the Park Hyatt. This time I was upgraded to a Park Deluxe Room. It’s identical to the Garden View King Room except for a private terrace with direct access to the pool and gardens.
Fitness Center / Pool
The Park Hyatt has a well equipped 24-hour fitness center located on the third floor. While it doesn’t rank among the largest hotel gyms I’ve seen coming in at only 1,830 square feet, it has everything you need for a solid workout. There’s a variety of Life Fitness weight machines and free weights. You’ll also find medicine balls and kettle bells.
To offset some of the calories you’ve consumed at HCMC’s excellent restaurants head over to the cardio deck. They have the latest Life Fitness ellipticals, stationary bikes and treadmills. The gym is flooded with natural light, which will help you get through your workout.
After enduring a cold NYC winter I was looking forward to getting some sun and taking a dip in Park Hyatt’s 65 foot pool. The pool area is quite nice for a city property. It’s open daily from 6am to 8pm. The sun loungers that surround the pool have excellent padding so you can sunbathe in comfort.
A selection of light snacks and beverages is available at the pool. Unfortunately service at the pool was lacking during my visit. At a property of this caliber I expect waiters to come to your chair to take your order, but after failing to get their attention I had to go up to the bar.
Breakfast is served in Opera Restaurant from 6:00am to 10:30am on weekdays and 6:00am to 11:00am on weekends. During my first stay there was an extensive buffet, but during my second stay it was replaced with an à la carte menu due to COVID-19.
They had freshly cut papaya, melon, watermelon, dragon fruit, passion fruit, jack fruit and pineapple.
Fresh juices were available including orange and watermelon juice. They also had more exotic blends including pineapple/carrot/ginger, pineapple/mango/dragon fruit and red breakfast juice (lemon/carrot/apple/beetroot).
They had some irresistible sweet treats including coconut tarts, strawberry danishes, chocolate lamingtons, yogurt pound cakes, apricot crostatas, macadamia doughnuts, almond croissants and orange poppy muffins.
Breakfast bread options included fruit & nut, rye, baguette and multigrain bread. But there’s more!
Carb lovers rejoice, there were also bagels, white toast, rye nordic toast, whole wheat toast, panini al latte and ciabatta. To complement your carb of choice they had butter, pink guava jam, natural honey, strawberry jam and kumquat jam.
It’s no secret that giraffes love breakfast cereal. The cereal options at Opera included bran flakes, chocolate crisps, granola and museli so I was one happy giraffe. Skim milk and homemade soy milk were on offer to complement the cereal.
If you’re craving something more savory you wont be disappointed. They had a nice selection of cheeses including camembert, emmental, cheddar and tomme cheese. Yogurt options included homemade, greek and almond/mango flavored yogurt. They also had raspberry chia, bircher muesli, fruit salad and green papaya salad. Meat and fish options included smoked salmon, beef pastrami, rolled pancetta and salami.
I ordered off the à la carte menu several times. My favorite dishes were the avocado toast and healthy egg white omelet.
On my last night at the Park Hyatt I decided to dine at their Vietnamese restaurant, Square One. I started out with the spring rolls (tiger prawn, fried seafood, grilled Iberico pork) and pomelo / green mango salad with pan seared scallops and tiger prawns. For my main I chose the charcoal chicken with five spice, forrest pepper and lime. The dishes were all good, but nothing was particularly memorable.
First Class Giraffe Approved
I’m continually impressed with Park Hyatt’s properties. Aside from a minor service issue at the pool the staff were all phenomenal. Special shout out to the concierge who found me a private guide for a Củ Chi tunnel tour after another tour I booked was canceled by the operator. The tour guide and the hotel’s S-Class Mercedes were ready within the hour. I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at the Park Hyatt Saigon again in the future.