The best Ho Chi Minh City boutique hotels include an audacious new design hotel that wouldn’t be out of place in Barcelona or Bilbao, romantic waterfront retreats on the peaceful Saigon River, and intimate off the beaten track lodgings that ooze French colonial charm.
Vietnam’s southern city, which is more fondly known by its pre-1975 name of Saigon, is an engrossing destination that’s famed for its fantastic food, wonderful restaurants and bars, lively markets, and leafy parks, and some terrific sights – from French-colonial architectural gems to compelling museums and art galleries. Fortunately the best Ho Chi Minh City boutique hotels are ideally placed for experiencing it all.
While 48 hours in Ho Chi Minh City will give you a taste of this rapidly evolving metropolis, 3-4 days is best if you want to get out of the city centre of District 1 and explore lesser visited districts and do a day trip to the Mekong Delta.
These are our picks of the best Ho Chi Minh City boutique hotels – from stunning design hotels in the city centre to serene city escapes on the riverside and petite lodgings in local neighbourhoods. All are stand outs for their architecture and style, their close attention to detail, and their warmth and hospitality.
Best Ho Chi Minh City Boutique Hotels
The Myst Dong Khoi
Opened in mid 2017 in District 1, The Myst Dong Khoi is unlike any hotel Ho Chi Minh City has seen before, with an audacious white exterior – with plant-filled balconies and windows of different shapes and sizes – that wouldn’t be out of place in Barcelona or Bilbao. Inside, the decor melds the modern and traditional, with retro touches like curved arches and window grills. The 107 guest rooms feel more like apartments with their potted plants, original art, bold-coloured feature walls, and polished concrete – sometimes on the floors, sometimes on walls when flooring consists of polished timber. Furniture has been chosen and placed more as you’d decorate a living space rather than a hotel room, with tables and writing desks in the room’s centre, so as to enjoy the surroundings, instead of against a wall. A lovely daybed, scattered with cushions, beside the window, invites guests to curl up and read a book. Beside it is a vintage-looking wooden cabinet of the kind grandma might have had in her dining room, while some cupboards have traditional Vietnamese carved doors. These are rooms you actually want to settle into and spend some time. (There’s also complimentary mini-bar and WiFi). Then there are the public spaces: a large, high-ceilinged lobby that manages to feel cosy and inviting thanks to mismatched furniture –retro leather sofas in warm tones, and country-kitchen style wooden tables and chairs. The illuminated stained glass bar gives a nod to Piet Mondrian’s abstract art of the 1920s and his use of blocks of striking colour. The vintage style continues throughout. Outside the poolside bar is the kind of painted retro steel grates, already woven in a tangle of vines, that you find in homes across Indochina. The laptop is a good size and there are gob-smacking views over the city. Opposite the Saigon River, The Myst is just off Dong Khoi Street and not far from Nguyen Hue Walking Street, but I don’t know who is going to want to leave what has quickly become one of the best Hoi Chi Minh City boutique hotels.
6-8 Ho Huan Nghiep St., Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
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Overlooking District 1’s leafy Cong Vien Van Hoa Park and a short stroll to the War Remnants Museum, Independence Palace and Ben Thanh Market, Fusion Suites is one of the best Ho Chi Minh City boutique hotels for seeing the sights. All within easy walking distance along shaded boulevards and the park is a wonderful spot to spend some tranquil time. The hotel can arrange for you take Tai Chi lessons under the trees, too. With its blonde woods, minimalist style and neutral tones, Fusion Suites would have an almost Nordic feel to it, if it weren’t for the touches of Indochine-chic. Think: faded French-colonial tile pattern on the polished concrete bathroom floors, wall murals of Vietnamese scenes, such as a fisherman casting his net, and a display in the café of quintessentially Vietnamese objects, from a conical hat to the front-end of a motor scooter. Opened in mid-2016, the property still feels fresh and new, thanks to its clean design, light-filled rooms, and health and wellness philosophy. A complimentary treatment or massage at the very Scandi on-site spa is included in the room rate and healthy choices dominate the menu at Fresh, the casual ground floor restaurant. Like The Myst Dong Khoi, the eatery is furnished with country kitchen-style chairs and tables and has a homey feel to it. The rooftop bar, which offers sweeping vistas of the Saigon cityscape, is called Zen. In keeping with the current trend of creating hotel rooms that feel like apartments, these modish lodgings offer all suites accommodation, with spacious rooms – 32sqm for standard suites, and 42sqm for corner suites and family suites, which have double bunks for the kids – with kitchenettes, cosy touches like shag-pile rugs, and floor to ceiling windows. Request a high room with views over the park’s treetop. There’s free WiFi here too.
3-5 Sương Nguyệt Ánh, Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam
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Located in another leafy residential neighbourhood, albeit in District 2, on the banks of the Saigon River, peaceful Villa Song makes for a restful escape from the chaos of the city centre. Despite being one of the best Ho Chi Minh City boutique hotels, these intimate lodgings in a handsome French-colonial style building won’t suit first-timers, for whom sightseeing, tours and restaurants will be the priority. However Villa Song is perfect for those who have visited the city before and want an equal measure of relaxation. All 23 light-filled rooms are individually decorated in an elegant style, in neutral tones, with wooden floorboards, marble-topped coffee tables, and original art and framed black and white images on the walls. Each different in shape and size – from the snug Writers Room with single bed for solo travellers to the sprawling 105sqm Imperial Suite, with a king-sized four-poster bed and two expansive balconies with pool and river views – some can be joined together for families and friends. Rooms also come with Apple TV, Nespresso coffee machines, and complimentary mini-bars with wine and beer. There’s a sizeable swimming pool with sun-loungers, an on-site spa and small gym, a palm-shaded riverside restaurant, Bistro Song Vie, that’s ideal for long, lazy lunches and romantic dinners. And when you do want to cross the river, there are complimentary shuttles to District 1 on Villa Song’s private boat from their own pier.
197/2 Nguyễn Văn Hưởng, Thảo Điền, District 2, Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam.
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Anywhere else but Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, and a boutique hotel oozing French charm would feel odd in Asia. But Vietnam was part of French Indochina – the country proclaimed independence from the French in 1954 – so in Saigon it makes sense. One of the best Ho Chi Minh City boutique hotels, Ma Maison is located in a French colonial-inspired building, painted in the typical lemon-yellow of the era. Ever since its opened in 2009, Ma Maison has attracted a steady stream of repeat guests, from art collectors to long-term expats from Vietnam and around the region. Tucked down an alley in a fascinating local neighbourhood in District 3, Ma Maison is the perfect base for travellers who want to go local and get an insight into everyday life. Its twelve rooms – categorised into Standard, Signature and Deluxe – are decorated in the grey-painted furniture that is typical of the Provence style with matching floorboards, French doors and shuttered windows that open onto tiny balconies, flowers in vases, and pretty tiled bathrooms. Some overlook the neighbourhood, others the courtyard garden. Rooms may be snug but they are comfortable and charming. There’s a lovely ground-floor bistro, where you can enjoy breakfast and other meals, both Asian and European, but the garden courtyard is an even more pleasant spot to savour breakfast or dinner, especially on a winter’s day.
656/52 Cach Mang Thang Tam Street, Ward 11, District 3, Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam
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Another of the best Ho Chi Minh City boutique hotels that is further afield – a ten-minute’s drive from District 1 – The Alcove might not suit first-timers but will certainly satisfy those looking to escape the busy city centre and explore local neighbourhoods. Located on a lively alleyway, the 38-room hotel is set in a handsome French-style building with a lovely courtyard garden fragrant with frangipani trees. Yet it’s The Alcove’s towering lobby library that attracts all the attention with its striking colonial-inspired tiled floors and floor-to-ceiling shelves packed with books – novels, literature classics, travel guides, and reference books. There’s more reading material in the rooms, too, which are compact yet comfortable in a pared-back style that’s no match for the impressive lobby library. If you’re going to spend any length of time in your room, opt for the Alcove Suite, a more spacious room, with a small kitchenette. There’s a rooftop restaurant-bar called Bookmark, which oddly enough, offers American (burgers etc) rather than French food, however, it has fascinating views over the intriguing neighbourhood of narrow houses and temples and is just fine if you’re exhausted from seeing the sights and need to stay in for the night. Otherwise, explore the street food offerings on nearby Truong Sa Street – ask staff for tips. One attraction of interest not far from the hotel is the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe canal, which will give you a hint of what Saigon must have looked like in the 1880s when, like many Southeast Asian cities, it was crisscrossed by canals.
No. 133a Nguyen Dinh Chinh Street, Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
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They’re our picks of the best Ho Chi Minh City boutique hotels. We’d love hear your recommendations. Do you have any favourites?
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If you’re heading to Saigon, do check out our 48 Hours in Ho Chi Minh City Itinerary for Food Lovers. If you’re still at the dreaming stage, we will be hosting another Vietnam Culinary Tour in 2018. Do get in touch if you’d like to join us.