First published August 2015 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle
Centrally located with a rooftop pool and sleek modern rooms, Edenstar is a solid Saigon mid-range hotel. Catering to all types of visitors, Edenstar is on a narrow street lined with tall trees, and within walking distance of most of Saigon’s major attractions. It may lack any distinctive Saigon character, but it more than makes up for it in excellent quality, service and facilities.
EDENSTAR HOTEL, SAIGON
Address: 38 Bui Thi Xuan Street, Distrcit 1, Ho Chi Minh City [MAP]
Price Range: $70-$100 per night | Phone: (84-08) 6298 8388 | Website: www.edensaigonhotel.com
Bui Thi Xuan is a small, elegant street, lined with large tropical trees dating to French colonial times. Although some French villas still remain standing on this road, it’s mostly given over to modern, 10 storey blocks, many of which are mid-range hotels. Angular, brutal and functional from the outside, these hotels are warm and cosy on the inside. Edenstar is the best of them.
Bui Thi Xuan Street is near the edge of District 1 and District 3: a short stroll to Tao Dan Park, and 5 minutes from Ben Thanh Market. The location is not as cheap, youth-oriented or seedy as Pham Ngu Lao, but nor is it as pricey, posh and exclusive as Dong Khoi. In the hotel’s immediate vicinity there are wine bars, fancy restaurants and boutique shops, but there are also local food joints, shops and offices: you get the best of both worlds.
Edenstar’s lavish lobby is elaborately decorated with marble surfaces, chandeliers, floor to ceiling glass windows, and fresh orchids. There’s a cosy lounge café and bar here which is full of natural light and serves excellent coffee and drinks. Staff are young – they always are in Saigon – and gregarious: many of them venture to practice their English language skills by trying a joke or two.
Guest rooms are modern, sleek and well-equipped, but lacking any specific Saigon character: decor is rather ‘international’ – what you might expect to find in an airline’s first class airport lounge. Straight lines and right angles, venetian blinds and writing desks make the rooms feel like a cross between a condominium and an office cubicle. But they are clean, very bright, and comfortable. The shower is excellent and there’s a large bathtub with plenty of hot water in all rooms. Ask for a high floor or pay a little extra for an upgrade, because the views over Saigon are superb.
Happy Hour at the rooftop bar is from 5-7pm. Cocktails are good and, during Happy Hour (buy one get one free), they are great value at $5 each. Dinner can also be taken on the rooftop, where the views over the city are marvelous. However, dance music is played at a terrifying volume – who makes these decisions?
Also on the rooftop is the swimming pool. A great place to relax, take in the views, and have a refreshing dip, the pool is a perfect size for kids, but too small for a proper swim. Utilizing rooftop space is increasingly common in Saigon, where the streets are busy and traffic incessant: the rooftop at Edenstar is an ideal retreat after a day at ground-level. From up here you get the kind of perspective and space which is necessary to fully appreciate Saigon.
A buffet breakfast is included in the room price. There’s a large spread of Asian and Western dishes, including stewed cinnamon pork belly, Vietnamese noodle soups and, of course, bacon, eggs et al. Quantity trumps quality, but overall it’s a satisfying way to start the day. For a more local meal, head across the street and try the excellent chicken noodle soup (miếng gà) at Sơn Nga, 23 Bui Thi Xuan, for 35,000vnđ ($1.50).
Edenstar works well for all travellers on a mid-range budget: young couples, families, business travellers will all find the rooms, service, facilities and location of this hotel good value for money. Comfortable, centrally located – with access to both tourist sights and local life – Edenstar holds its own in the extremely competitive mid-range price category in Saigon.
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Edenstar Hotel, Saigon: