Tried & Tested
Ho Chi Minh City
Hotel Intercontinental Asiana, Ho Chi Minh City British Airways Philadelphia – Heathrow 787 Business Class
BACKGROUND This is InterContinental’s third hotel in Vietnam (not counting its landmark resort in Danang). This property is a new build and part of the prestigious mixed-use Kumho Asiana Complex, also home to Bobby Chinn’s new outlet and the a contemporary Asian leisure and business hotel, the adjoining 260 residential suites are currently the city’s most upscale private address, convivially dubbed by some businessmen as the“CEOs’ YMCA.”
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Staff garbed in luridly colorful traditional ao dai dress linger at the unremarkable sandstonecolored façade to meet arriving guests (and also instruct taxi drivers so that those departing don’t need to negotiate the tonal language and city streets). As soon as I stepped down to the curb I was escorted to the reception desk while my bags were collected from the car; once in the lobby it was the matter of moments to confirm my booking and
indicate the location of my room – although I was left to find it by myself – and my bags were delivered soon after.
WHERE IS IT? Close to the Notre Dame Cathedral and Saigon Post Office in District 1, many of the city’s best bars, restaurants and downtown delights are a stroll or short cab ride away.
ROOM FACILITIES Each of the 18 high-ceilinged suites features a different interior design and commands jawdropping views of the city. Floor-to-ceiling windows in my 19th floor deluxe room provided an inspiring backdrop for my glass oval desk. High speed Internet, HDMI and AV cable outlets were convenient to my work station. My tub filled in a few minutes despite could open the three-door wrought iron screen separating bathroom and bedroom to watch TV. Photos of Vietnam street scenes and lanternembroidered cushions gave a sense of locale; muted earth colors and white leather chair and foot stool – inspired by
Eames’iconic design – spoke to the hotel’s contemporary aesthetic.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS Warm and welcoming, the trattoria-style restaurant Basilico – overseen by an Italian chef – serves traditional Italian fare such as breaded pork loin milanese and scaloppine al limone followed by home-made desserts in at all-day dining outlet Market 39 on the ground floor is an international affair with a noodle station serving local specialty pho and bo kho soups alongside baskets of bread, pancakes and waffles, and full English. Lunch and dinner is a French,Vietnamese and southeast Asian culinary tradition showcase. Signature restaurantYu Chu -‘Emperor Kitchen’- marries culinary spectacle with authentic Cantonese and Peking cuisine. BUSINESS AND MEETING
FACILITIES The entire third floor is conference and meeting facilities with over 20,000 square feet of flexible space including one grand ballroom and six meeting rooms. The team pledges a two-hour response time to queries with a 24-hour turnaround for quotes, dedicated Instant Service Managers –‘always available’ on-site contacts – and interactive online floor plans and virtual tours. Staffed between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM, the business center offers three workstations with a technical concierge on standby.
Open from 6:00 AM until late, the gym is equipped with weight machines, treadmills and cross trainers; trainers and yoga instructors are available free- of-charge. There’s a 20-meter Perspex outdoor pool, and the spa is one of the city’s better options: at the end of a long day, the 45-minute Tranquil Meditation FourHand Massage is just what the doctor ordered.
Located in the central business district, this is a great base for business and leisure travelers. It could be any modern hotel anywhere in Asia, except for the arresting views of the city’s scenic French colonial thoroughfares. BT