Park Hyatt Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by most locals, is the economic capital of Vietnam and feels very different to the civil capital of Hanoi, in the North. The Park Hyatt is one of the best hotels in the city, alongside The Reverie (if you like the garish decor) and Intercontinental. It is located in the centre of the city, next door to the Opera House, so the location is hard to beat. Once inside, out of the traffic chaos of HCMC, we were impressed by the Vietnamese art on display and the feeling of control inside the cool lobby.
We were swiftly checked-in and were soon being escorted to our Deluxe King. One aspect that we appreciated at check-in was the card provided for diamond members to choose their amenity from - one beverage choice (e.g., a bottle of wine) and one food amenity (e.g., fresh fruit platter or Vietnamese spring rolls). There was a good choice and we wish more Hyatts would do this. In our room on arrival, was a small plate of whole fruit (oranges one day, plums the next) and a pot of delicious fresh macaroons (the green tea flavour are a must try). These were in addition to the diamond welcome amenity.
As we had been unsure whether to apply a suite upgrade certificate to our stay or not, we also asked to view a Park Suite. These provide two separate rooms, one a lounge area (some rooms have a small kitchenette too) and the other a bedroom with large bathroom (twin sinks, usable soaking tub, bathroom with bidet) accessed through a walk-in wardrobe.
The decor of the rooms and suites are similar, mixing traditional Vietnamese with French colonial and more modern touches. The carpets were rich and very deep (our favourite carpet was in the hallways, the raised birds are a real feature). All room information is available through an iPad and lighting and air-conditioning is motion-censored. Whilst this makes sense for the hotel, it does mean rooms can get a bit warm if you are out during the day. Toiletries in all rooms are provided by the English company Miller Harris and were good quality.
The recent renovations changed the outdoor pool area dramatically, creating more of a resort feel. The pool itself has a range of seating (including cabanas) and a waterfall feature at one end. It is surrounded by gardens, so provides a good break from hectic Ho Chi Minh city. Although the hotel has a spa, this was made smaller in the rework (to create new suites) and has nice treatment rooms but none for couples or with special features.
The gym is a good size and has a range of modern LifeFitness equipment, free weights and resistance machines. Mrs d2t went before breakfast and was surprised how busy it was - all four treadmills were taken, as were many other pieces of equipment. However, the attendant advised her to use a cross trainer and within 5 minutes, he had come over to say that a treadmill was free - great service.
Park Deluxe King
Due to our diamond status with Hyatt Gold Passport, we were upgraded to a deluxe room. These are all located on the third floor and provide a small terrace and easy access to the hotel's swimming pool. Unfortunately, during our stay it rained most of the time, so we were unable to sit outside, but this would be a great feature during dry weather.
The room itself was a reasonable size (although felt smaller than the advertised 42 square metres) with spacious bedroom area complete with plentiful storage (chest of draws, wardrobe accessible from hallway and bathroom), a desk large enough to work at and casual seating for two. From our point of view, the bathroom felt somewhat cramped - there was only a single washstand and the bath was tiny. We would have preferred the generous shower to be made a feature twin-headed shower and the bath omitted as it was too small to use.
The Park Hyatt offers two restaurants - Square One, which serves Vietnamese specialities and fresh seafood, and the all-day dining option Opera, which specialises in Italian delicacies. In addition, the Park Lounge is the place for afternoon tea in Saigon and 2 Lam Son serves martinis and cocktails in a stylish environment. The entire hotel is non-smoking, so you don't need to worry about fumes in the restaurants or bars.
We only ate in-house for breakfast (in Opera) and this was superb. Offering an expansive buffet of hot and cold items, as well as a menu of made-to-order Western and Vietnamese specialities, this is perhaps our favourite Hyatt breakfast. The chicken pho was the best we have had in Vietnam - light, fresh and not at all oily. Iced coffee was (according to our friends) absolutely delicious and Mrs d2t enjoyed the fresh coconuts on offer.
The Park Hyatt Saigon is known for being one of the best hotels in the city and we enjoyed our stay. The renovations give the hotel a fresh, modern feel without loosing the feeling that you are in Vietnam, although some aspects are not universally liked. In general, service was excellent, especially at breakfast, and the hotel feels very well managed. We were disappointed by the lack of a couple's treatment room in the spa and some emails were a little slow to receive responses to. We also found the lobby bar overpriced and when we tried to pay in US dollars after checking out, were quoted a terrible exchange rate. After stating that we were unhappy with the rate, the waitress agreed to exchange dollars at the hotel's front desk exchange rate, but it took so long we never received our change (only a couple of dollars worth of dong but it was the principle that counted) and left a bad feeling on leaving the hotel. Regardless, we would return to the Park Hyatt Saigon. It is a beautiful hotel with great facilities, solid service and good value for money.