Tried & Tested

Ho Chi Minh City

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE -

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

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