We’ve been to a lot of hotels in our time but we will never forget this one… Italian design meets flamboyance in a statement so bold our jaws dropped open as we toured round. From the marble floors to the enormous chandeliers and the overuse of gold to the 'out there' (fancy a purple chaise made of ostrich leather anyone?), it really is something else.
The Reverie Saigon occupies floors 11 to 39 of The Times building in Ho Chi Minh City, offering incredible city views from the higher floors. It also boasts a heli-pad, five restaurants and bars, a large outdoor pool, a business centre, a fitness suite and a spa.
What’s on offer?
The pool, spa and fitness centre can be found on the 6th and 7th floors – exit the lift at 6 and turn left.
Being a hot, muggy day, we headed straight to the outdoor pool which is long enough to swim lengths in, and refreshing in the tropical heat. Before walking outside, a charming man asked us to sign in using a form; he then handed us two navy and white stripy towels and a bottle of cold water.
The left-hand side of the pool is straight with a wall of attractive tropical plants running along the entire edge; the right-hand-side is scalloped with platforms for rattan charcoal loungers and huge round chairs for two. You’ll find a terrace behind here linking to the hotel’s Café Cardinal with seating, tables and tall brass lights.
Enter the pool via one of three sets of steps. Before swimming, look down and admire the mosaic fishy theme on the bottom. At the top end you’ll find two rectangular hot pools (no bubbles) and another row of tropical plants. We sat in the hot tub and looked up to see all 39 floors in their high-rise glory; look right for the skyscrapers of Ho Chi Minh City. Spa staff attend to guests' needs with drinks and food.
You’ll find the fitness centre back inside on the right, a spacious room with pool views, weights and running machines; help yourself to bottles of water and towels.
The reception area for The Spa is as striking as the rest of the hotel, with grey and white marble floors, rich rugs, a gold reception desk, pink orchids, city views through large windows and a statement gold winding staircase where 12 treatment rooms and a post-treatment relaxation area can be found.
You’ll find the changing rooms past the reception desk up a couple of steps. Lockers are on your immediate right. Use the wristband handed to you on entrance to open any double-height locker that’s available, with both sections at your disposal – the bottom to hang clothes, and to grab material spa flip-flops and a towelled robe with silky exterior. The top section is for your personal items, and contains a beautiful jewellery box, disposable undies, a shower cap and a bottle of water. Rarely do we see such large, well-equipped lockers on our travels. Change beside a central bench.
Your vanity area is straight ahead with four white stools, large mirrors, hairdryers, brushes and more amenities than you could wish for including deodorant, cotton wool and a shaving kit. The view captivated us while we dried our hair.
Walk past this area towards two large rattan chairs with hot pink cushions – to the left is your Himalayan salt sauna seating eight and a super steamy steam room (also seating eight). Stay in long enough to watch the colours changes from yellow to green, and blue and pink (not as easy as it sounds given the heat).
Cool down in the experience shower afterwards - essential oils have been added to the water to leave your skin silky smooth. Post-spa showering is next door with two large showers backed by an entire mosaic of the same fishy theme as the pool. Your loos and sinks are back towards the lockers.
Tell us about your treatment
We tried the Rainforest Facial (60 mins, £94.50).
My therapist, Linh, met me in the reception area, offered me an iced ginger tea and asked me to fill out a consultation form. She then led me up that incredible winding staircase holding a candle in a rattan lantern to a double treatment room with city views.
Linh invited me to sit down so that she could place my feet in a bowl of hot water adorned with pink orchid petals; she washed my feet and legs using a sugar scrub. Linh then asked me to lie on the treatment bed face up. The facial began with three taps of a gong and a double cleanse. Linh spritzed toner into the air and let it rain down on my face before wiping it off with a cotton wool pad.
Linh then applied an Ila balm which she used to massage my face, moving down to my neck and shoulders. Next came a mud mask which hardened to cracking over the course of 20 minutes. While it did so, Linh massaged my scalp. It took several attemps to remove the dried mud; Linh ended the facial with eye cream and moisturiser.
The treatment concluded with Linh alternately pulling and pushing my feet through a towel before moving them around in a circle to get the circulation going – this felt oddly satisfying. In the post-treatment relaxation area afterwards - ginger tea in hand - my spa partner commented on how fresh faced I looked, a glow that continued long into the next day.
The Spa offers a range of signature treatments including Origins of Love couples massage, a four-handed Reverie Harmony massage and a Classic Vietnamese massage, as well as massages by Ila, hand and foot rituals by VOYA, exfoliation and wraps, and facials – Marine Life, Organic Anti-Ageing, Ocean Fresh. The Beauty Rituals menu includes manis/pedis and waxing.
Spa-goers will need to get dressed and head to one of the hotel’s restaurants for lunch. We opted for the Long Bar @Times Square, a long, thin restaurant and bar open to the street at either end. We loved the colourful mural of teal and reds along the left-hand wall; the industrial-style ceiling; and the abundance of hanging, tropical plants. We also loved people watching whilst sipping a refreshing Saigon beer and tucking into a homemade, wood-fired pizza with spicy Italian meat and spinach. The vast menu offers a range of Vietnamese and Western meals including salads, noodle soups, pizzas, burgers and starters such as spring roll platters.
For dinner, we ate at newly-opened Da Vittorio, an Italian restaurant with a classic design. Our private dining area had royal blue velvet walls which were too tempting to stroke.
We were treated to a 10-course taster menu with wine flight. The culinary journey began with cubes of foie gras coated in coconut, followed by a cherry tomato stuffed with aubergine (not an easy thing to do, surely). We loved the raw tuna shaped like spaghetti with pistachio cream, and the chocolate bomb with salted caramel centre and hot chocolate sauce. Glasses of Champagne, Gavi, bold reds and port were expertly paired, sending us into a culinary coma.
Breakfast is in the Café Cardinal with its pillar-box red palette, grey marble floors and chandeliers. Grab a range of Vietnamese and Western breakfast staples, together with iced coffees or juice to go.
We loved/we didn’t love
The design: it’s bold and brave, and like nothing else we have ever seen.
The location: set right in the middle of Ho Chi Minh, sightseeing, shopping and general walking around to take it all in is made easy.
Our cyclo tour: being cycled around this buzzing city – fearing for our life at times with all the mopeds and cars - was an experience we will never forget.
We didn’t love
The absence of a deep relaxation room in The Spa.
Who do you think would like it?
Lovers of on-the-edge Italian design: you’ll never forget your stay at The Reverie.
Businessmen wishing for a change from the Four Seasons and Sofitels of the world.
Celebs who can book one of several palatial suites and revel in comfort for a cool £13,000 per night.
10th October 2022
Minimalist lines; organic products; facial massage; tranquillity; interesting people-watching.
Discarded towels on loungers; steam rooms that aren't steamy; mobile phones.
Behind the scenes