My friend travels a lot for work, so he gets a lot of free hotels and flights with the points that he earns working from different cities around the world. He decided that he wanted to visit Vietnam during his vacation, so he invited me to join him in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Hanoi. Originally, Vietnam wasn’t really in my travel itinerary until early 2015, but he tempted me with free stays at 5-star hotels. Obviously, this wasn’t an offer I could easily resist, so I booked a $50 flight from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City and met up with him.
Our first stop, the Park Hyatt in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City. As I walked towards the main entrance, it opened automatically in front of me… operated by two doormen, who greeted me with a smile. Inside, I patrons and staff quietly shuffled around under the high ceilings and French-style decor.
Park Hyatt Saigon, Ho Chi minh city
After checking in, one of the staff led us up to our suite. The front door opened up to a large, classy living room with dark wood furniture and a welcome gift of fresh local fruit. Wood-panel shutters framed the windows at the back of the room where the wall curved gently, adding a touch of class and elegance.
The bed room included a king sized bed a large lounge chair. To the left of the bed sat a small outlet with a study, and beyond that, the bathroom.
In the bathroom, white marble formed a decadent background, accented with dark wood and orange marble countertops.
The included breakfast had a large selection of American and Vietnamese dishes, of which we could choose as many as we wanted. The numerous fresh fruit juices were also excellent.
Vu, our personal butler, was extremely attentive to our needs and helped us get everything that we wanted. From the moment we checked in to the moment we left, he was there to help us with any requests that we had.
We also spent some time relaxing at the pool before we had to leave. Checkout was at 4:00pm, which made things extremely convenient for us.
It was hard leaving the Park Hyatt, but we had places to go and things to see, so we packed our things and made our way to the airport. Our next stop, Hanoi, to see the majestic Halong Bay.
Sheraton Hanoi Hotel, Hanoi
The Sheraton Hanoi Hotel is located about a USD $12 cab ride from the city center, so we ended up not getting out much. However, the area was beautiful and everything that we needed was right in the hotel.
Being a diamond member is fantastic. The hotel staff upgraded our room to a suite, and although it was not on a very high floor, it certainly had a lot of space. We had the choice of a higher floor suite, but it was a smoking room. Since neither of us enjoy the smell of smoke, we decided to choose the lower-floor non-smoking suite.
The master bedroom was large and spacious, of course.
Green marble and brown marble tile filled most areas of the bathroom. It looked a little dated, but was still quite splendid in person.
The included Hors d’oeuvres for diamond members in the club lounge was served from 5-8pm, and that’s what ended up being our dinner each night.
Breakfast was equally fantastic with large spreads of American, Chinese, and Vietnamese food. The dim sum was thoroughly avoidable, however.
This time, we did not have a butler, but it was still a fantastic experience, and highly recommended for anyone staying in Hanoi who does not wantto be near the hustle and bustle of the city. Also highly recommended for anyone who wants to stay in a foreign country, but does not want to actually experience any of the culture of said country and just wants the service and comfort of a cheap five-star hotel (there’s nothing wrong with that; who are we to cast judgement on others?) because we basically just stayed in the hotel the entire day. It was a good way rest and recharge, however!
And now, it’s back to my former life of backpacker hostels.