OVER $100

Behind the Opera House, the 252-room Park Hyatt took over Saigon’s business/luxury hotel honors immediately upon its mid 2005 opening. It’s central, and its elegant public spaces (including a superb mezzanine restaurant Square One) out-imagine the rest of the town’s high-end options. Inside the nine-floor new building, the standard Park rooms have inlaid carpets surrounded by shiny wood floors, two-poster beds topped with pillows and fleur-de-lis duvets. All bathrooms have shower and tub, and rooms have a work desk with broadband Internet access; the deluxe version (about $80 extra) have balconies. There are 180 non-smoking rooms. In the lobby, the curving Park Lounge is filled with leather chairs looked out through chubby louvered windows. Soothing yellow creams line walls throughout the hotel – often with local lacquer paintings on walls and locally made furniture in the hallways. The effect may be possibly too elegant for the quite third-floor gym, where you can partake in the free 11am vo vi nam (Vietnamese kung fu) lessons. Outside is a pleasant pool area, with a green lawn and massage jets throughout the pool.
Tel 08-824-1234;; 2 Lam Son Square Q1; park room $140-210, park deluxe $220-290, rates peak in Oct & Nov
Book Park Hyatt online

Welcoming guests – mostly on business – with a huge marble lobby and twisting platform pillars, the 279-room Sofitel delivers some goods outside the Dong Khoi central area. Roughly across from the old US embassy site, the Sofitel’s cheerful rooms rival the best, with WiFi access (for a whopping $16 per day), padded head boards, and big windows. Atop the 18th-floor building is one of Saigon’s better roof-deck pools, with open 270-degree views. Nonguests can swim and work-out for $10.
Tel 08-824-1555;; 17 Le Duan; rooms from $130

Half renovated 1959 French original and half ’90s 24-floor tower, the 334-room Caravelle can’t be beat for location – on the corner of Dong Khoi and Le Loi, with a rooftop terrace bar where journos used to hang during the ‘American War.’ Despite the history, its ‘90s renovation makes the exterior look like a rather tacky business-luxe hotel, but it’s more inviting inside. Its two parts flow seamlessly together inside. The 10-floor original (right on the corner) is home mostly to higher-ceiling suites, and the 24-floor tower the bulk of the standard (‘deluxe’) rooms. All rooms have creamy gold carpets, fluffy duvets on beds backed by padded headboards. There’s a fax machine and broadband Internet access (for extra cost). The ninth-floor Signature floor offers extra amenities, and use of the Signature Lounge. The 7th-floor gym looks over the rather large pool, with attached kids area and poolside bar. Also on the floor is the Xi spa. Nineteen Restaurant is in the lobby, but the more evocative rooftop Saigon Saigon Bar was once a famous war correspondent hangout.
Tel 08-823-499;; 19 Lam Son Square; rates top from Sept to April: deluxe $230, city view deluxe $260, suites from $380

Where Dong Khoi begins, across from the Saigon River, the façade of this 175-room French colonial hotel actually gets some reasonable back-up from the inside – for once, a Saigontourist-run hotel doesn’t muff the history. Try for deluxe rooms with river views – from $145 at the desk. Arched doorways and rounded moldings back beds. There’s a nice small pool and fitness center, and the fifth floor café is a good spot to sip coffee or beer and watch the Saigon River ferry go back and forth. Rates include buffet breakfast. WiFi in rooms is extra.
Tel 829-5517;; 1 Dong Khoi; rooms $115-190

Standing 22 storeys over Tran Hung Dao’s statue and the Saigon River, this built-for-business (and package tourists) 349-room hotel – part of the Marriott guys – is a luxurious spot with a top-roof pool (which nonguests can use for $10) and light, airy rooms. The best rooms are the $150 ‘corner deluxe’ ones, with a separated sitting area and beds looking out two ways. The ‘deluxe’ look over the city ($125) or river ($140) and are a bit smaller. The fifth-floor atrium looks up 16 floors. DSL Internet access in rooms is an extra charge. There’s a business center and conference rooms.
Tel 08-822-0033;; 8-15 Ton Duc Thang St, Q1; rooms from $125
Book Renaissance Riverside online

The two-tower, 380-room Sheraton is a stylish, business hotel that perforates the Saigon (rising) sky 23 flights up. The standard is pretty roomy, but with nothing that says ‘Saigon’ here – could be Denver, but maybe that’s the point. Executive room privileges include a nice 21st/22nd-floor lounge/business center, including meeting rooms. Everyone gets to use the fifth-floor basketball court, gym and pool ($25 for nonguests). The lobby is filled with classy shops. Try to fit in a drink at the 23rd floor wine bar – open 4pm to midnight. Classy dinners up tp top too).
Tel 827-2828;; 88 Dong Khoi; rooms from $215
Book Sheraton online

Good if you get the web discounts, the 10-floor Duxton’s ‘deluxe’ rooms are only a fancy desk chair and TV armoire from the ‘executive’ rooms. The fine halls and lobby compare with the Sheraton, but some of the 198 rooms have a few carpet stains. There’s a small pool and gym. Free breakfast buffet.
Tel 08-822-2999;; 63 Nguyen Hue; deluxe/executive from $115/125

Its days as the go-to business hotel in the center have faded in the past five or more years, but the golden hotel still fills its 558 business-style rooms. It’s a bit stranded from the Dong Khoi and Le Loi hub of hotels, but only a couple minutes’ walk from the Ben Thanh Market.
Tel 08-822-8888;; 76 Le Lai; rooms from $129
Book New World online

Maybe someday these historic beauts will be wrestled from the incapable hands of Saigontourist. Meanwhile, go have a look, maybe a coffee or beer, but you’re probably better off skipping the overpriced, dated, sometimes musty rooms.

Nothing’s more eye-catching than the colonial-central Continental, but wait till someone saves it before checking in. (Apparently a UAE group tried in vain to buy it recently.) Overlooking the Opera House, the 83-room four-floor French colonial hotel dates from 1880 – and served as quite a hang-out during the Vietnam war. Inside things look OK at first – a sweeping staircase, a central courtyard restaurant, ceiling moldings along the high ceilings – but rooms are musty and don’t utilize their space, with uncomfortable wood-carved furniture and woefully dated refrigerator in the corner. If you must, go for the $110 deluxe over the $100 superior, for the balconies overlooking the opera. They were playing Bryan Adams’ greatest hits in the lobby when I was there.
Tel 08-829-9201;; 132-134 Dong Khoi Q1; rooms from $100

Built in 1930, this overpriced 107-room colonial-era hotel has more burps than glory, but in a pinch it’s OK staying in the wood-floor suites in the old French-colonial half (skip the carpeted, ho-hum new wing – definitely nothing special). A fun, old elevator leads up the old wing. There’s a pool in the courtyard, WiFi in the rooms for a fee, free breakfast.
Tel 823-0163;; 8 Dong Khoi; new wing $85-105, old wing $130

It’s got the kitschy rooftop bar and the lore – the ballroom served the setting of the ‘five o’clock follies’ of dubious reports of ‘progress’ during the Vietnam war – but this campy, at times confusing, Saigontourist hotel is way past its due date. Before Net deals kick in the cheapest room at the desk is $150 – a lot to ask for old carpets, old bamboo furnishings in stuffy rooms that sometimes have no views. Things may change – the Rex is building a huge ‘five-star’ hotel next door. Meanwhile, just come by for a coffee. Rooftop pool and tennis.
Tel 08-829-2185;; 141 Nguyen Hue; rooms $150-$190

$50 TO $100

Many visitors look for good deals in this range, but Saigon’s hotels often target rooms rates on either side.

Friendly, well-run hotel with 104 rooms in two wings. Some rooms look inward toward halls (at least they’re quieter) or behind the building; if you face the front, you’ll catch day honks, but you get a balcony. All are clean and comfy. The deluxe room is a lot bigger for the extra $10 – go for it. All have cream-colored walls, green carpets, work desks (with DSL Internet access; there’s WiFi in the lobby), and sliding doors for the bathrooms. It’s perfectly set between Dong Khoi, Notre Dame and Reunification Palace – good for walking tours of central Saigon.
Tel 829-5368;; 117 Le Thanh Ton; superior $80, deluxe $90
Book Norfolk online

Nicer than the Grand or Rex, the 127-room Bong Sen lives in the shadow of the Sheraton (across Dong Khoi) but is a popular business/tour group stop for those wanting to save about $50 per night. The graceful lobby has fountains and a café; rooms serve from the standard business-hotel template, but are clean and comfortable enough to hang out a bit. There’s free use of a nearby pool. If you want a view, though, you’ll have to opt for the $120 deluxe rooms.
Tel 08-829-1516;; 117-23 Dong Khoi; rooms $90-120
Book Bong Sen online


A lovely old man naps in the lobby – you may have to say ‘xinh chao’ a few times to wake him for your key – but this alley, five-room guesthouse feels a world away from Dong Khoi’s glitz and hustle half a block away. There’s ‘one room for every floor’ – huge tiled affairs, kept very clean, with refrigerators, TVs, tubs and green curtains on windows that look out two directions.
Tel 824-2471; 10/1 Ho Huan Nghiep; rooms $20

Lost a bit on busy Ham Nghia St, between Nguyen Hue and the Ben Thanh Market, the friendly, 31-room Liberty 2 (part of a chain of eight hotels, and a Saigontourist outpost), is a surprisingly comfortable hotel – with better-than-average rooms at this rate. Rooms have little balconies, framed abstract art on the walls, and mint-tinted bedspreads. Free breakfast is served on the top-floor restaurant with nice panoramic views of central Saigon. WiFi throughout. Check the website for details on their other locations – this is the most central.
Tel 822-4922;; 129-33 Ham Nghi, Q1; rooms from $50

On a strip sometimes called ‘little Tokyo’ – for its noodle shops and much of its visitors – the Hoang Tu is one of several budget hotels a couple blocks east of the Opera House. You can walk easily to the central sights, and in between the abundant food and drink options on the street (and on Thi Sach, a block west). The 21 rooms are simple and pleasant (better than the nearby Spring), with AC, TV and Internet access. Gold, ruffly curtains hang from windows in the higher priced rooms (the cheapies have no windows). Staff are nice, and there’s a lift.
Tel 08-822-9776; [email protected]; 8A/4D2 Thai Van Lung (Don Dat) St; rooms $22, $27 &$35

This open-in-2006, mid-range hotel — a block from Hai Ba Trung, and near the ‘little Japan’ sushi bars — is a fine central choice, with a gold lobby filled with big cowboy-style leather lounge chairs and 90 clean tiled rooms with WiFi access upstairs. They put a cheesy ’star’ emblem on the wood headboards of the bed, but it’s a few dollars cheaper than its new towering neighbor next door (the May Hotel) and no compromise in comfort. Flip flops are on small shoe stand by bed to use; all rooms have both air con and fan to click on. Free breakfast buffet.
Tel 08-823-3999;, [email protected]; 24 Thi Sach St; standard/superior doubles including breakfast US$49/55

Popular with central-based guests from the West and around Asia, but you can probably beat it. Its 45 rooms show their age pretty quick, with wall nicks and carpet stains. There’s Internet in the lobby, free breakfast, and supposedly working WiFi in the rooms.
Tel 08-829-7362; [email protected]; 44-46 Le Thanh Ton; doubles from $36

The NY is a clean budget hotel right on Hai Ba Trung St in the center. NYC prints hang in most of the typical rooms – clean, with TV, AC, tile floors, ugly curtains. You can get online in rooms too.
Tel 08-824-4290; [email protected]; 22 Hai Ba Trung St; $22 to $35