Business travel with a smile


Laptops make business travel more effective
Airport, business travellers
Hand on mouse
Home | The Team | Travel Columns | BLOG | Sitemap | Contact |
Luxury Traveler Spacer


Park Hyatt Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City - lobby
Park Hyatt Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Any frequent business traveller will tell you that it’s not all as exotic as it sounds. That is, unless you’re lucky enough to travel to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and stay at the Park Hyatt Saigon. Bridget McNulty tells all.

Text Bridget McNulty
Photography Mark Peddle and courtesy Park Hyatt Saigon

The Park Hyatt’s motto is ‘luxury is personal’ and as soon as you check into their Saigon hotel, you’ll understand why. It’s not just the friendly welcome and easy in-room check-in by reception staff dressed in traditional Vietnamese attire. It’s not just the welcoming gift of small chocolate treats waiting for you on your desk. And it’s not just the residential feel of the large, spacious rooms with French windows and wooden plantation shutters; although all this helps. It’s the sense that although this is in every way a smooth-running luxury machine, it is also a place where your slightest whim will be accommodated, with grace and ease.

For the business traveller, the Park Hyatt Saigon is ideal for a number of reasons. The business facilities in the hotel are top-notch, with 24 hour secretarial services in the business centre, ample banquet and meeting facilities (including a ballroom that can accommodate up to 400 people, four meeting rooms and two boardrooms, all fully equipped with high-specification audio-visual and wireless broadband technology). Each room has its own separate workspace, a good-sized desk with all the stationery you might need to write up a quick proposal, and high-speed broadband internet access (although this is charged for by the minute).

Should you need a break from work, you can choose to do a few laps in the sparkling 20-metre pool, where you’ll be served chilled jasmine tea the moment you choose a lounger. Or work up a sweat in the fitness centre, featuring the latest Life Fitness cardio equipment with personal LCD television screens and headphones. All this is what you’d expect from a business hotel, though, and it’s not what sets the Park Hyatt Saigon apart. For me, the difference is in three key factors.

Firstly, the spa. The Xuan Spa (xuan meaning ‘spring’ because the spa is designed to rejuvenate you completely) is an award-winning sanctuary with seven treatment rooms, all with floor-to-ceiling windows to let in natural light, and antique Vietnamese wood furniture. As soon as you step into the softly candlelit treatment room, you’ll feel the tension start to dissipate. All treatments begin with a gentle foot wash and massage, and then it’s up to you to choose from a wide range of facial or body therapies, including massage and ayurvedic treatments. If you can’t decide between a massage or a facial (as I couldn’t), go for the best of both worlds and have half an hour of each. The therapist is so highly skilled that a half hour Swedish back massage will melt any tension you might have stored in your muscles, and the express facial (specially designed for those on the go) is a revitalizing boost for the skin, and includes a short (but heavenly) head and neck massage. All the products used are from the deliciously fresh award-winning Comfort Zone spa range, imported from Italy, and the spa offers a special range of facial therapies for men, so there’s no reason for businessmen to miss out on the pampering…

The other highlight of the Park Hyatt Saigon’s unusual service is their cooking class. If you have a half-day to spare, this offers a way to engage with Vietnamese culture directly – from the trip to the local market to choose fresh ingredients, to the morning spent cooking up traditional Vietnamese dishes (accompanied by Vietnamese tunes and glasses of freshly squeezed sugar cane juice). Students will learn how to cook fresh spring rolls, lotus salad and fried garoupa, amongst other dishes, and will leave equipped not only with a Park Hyatt Saigon apron, but a Vietnamese cookbook, a precious folder of recipes, and the skills to recreate this slice of Vietnamese life.

Lastly, all visitors to the Park Hyatt Saigon have to visit Square One, one of the hotel’s two restaurants (the other being Opera, an authentic Italian restaurant). Square One was recently voted the Number-One Restaurant in Vietnam by The Miele Guide 2009, and when you eat there, you’ll see why. The restaurant is unique in that it has five different dining areas, all with open kitchens, cooking Charcoal Grilled meats, Vietnamese Grill, Steam and Wok, and Seafood on Ice, accompanied by a Dessert Kitchen and the Juice and Tea Station. The cuisine is a direct split of Western and Vietnamese dishes, with Western-style meats and seafood, and traditional-style Vietnamese cuisine. Another refreshing feature of the restaurant is that guests can sit in any area they choose but order from the entire menu. If you’re really interested in what the chefs are up to, you can even sit at the counter of the kitchen and watch the magic in action.

So every visit to the Park Hyatt Saigon should include a spa treatment, a cooking class, and a meal at Square One. But, really, that’s only half the pleasure in staying at this business-hotel-with-a-difference. The rest of the pleasure is gleaned from the hotel itself, in particular its extraordinary art collection, all by local Vietnamese artists. The art collection is so impressive, in fact, that the hotel has put together a coffee-table book showcasing the highlights, with biographies of each of the local artists. Every guest will no doubt have their favourite (although choosing a favourite may take some time) but the most impressive artwork is certainly ‘Hue’ in the reception area, created by an artist called Ho Hoang Dai. The large rural scene is composed entirely of stained pieces of newspaper, painstakingly assembled in a collage that took over two years to make, and which the artist refuses to replicate (even though numerous international guests have asked him to). It’s small touches like this that really make the Park Hyatt Saigon special – this is not some chain hotel only interested in shuttling guests in and out. It’s a carefully put together residence for discerning travellers to experience a taste of Vietnam, even if they only have a few days in the city.

If sightseeing is more your cup of tea, ask the concierge for a perfectly put-together Concierge Kit, complete with detailed map of the city, and separate listings for art galleries, shopping, interior design, restaurants, bars and clubs in the area. Just one more way the Park Hyatt is making your stay easier, and more authentic.

And at the end of our stay, that’s what impressed me most. The rooms are beautifully appointed, and extremely comfortable, yes. The flat screen television has all the usual satellite channels as well as all the BBC channels (the only place I’ve seen this in South-East Asia), which is a nice touch. And the staffs are impeccably trained. But what will stay with me about the Park Hyatt Saigon – despite its international level of service – is this: it offers the visitor a chance to experience Vietnam, authentically. Even if your stay in the country is only in Saigon for a few days business, you will be able to taste authentic Vietnamese cuisine, perhaps learn how to cook a few dishes, explore some of the city surroundings and soak up some of the country’s best artwork.

And that, for a business hotel, is pretty impressive. The Park Hyatt Saigon live up to their motto: at this hotel, luxury really is personal.

Also view Square One Restaurant

Park Hyatt Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City - reception area
Park Hyatt Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City - presidential suite Park Hyatt Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City - meeting room Park Hyatt Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City - foods Park Hyatt Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City - The Xuan Spa

Style Discreet luxury, with a Vietnamese twist.

Setting Right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City – overlooking the beautiful Opera House and in walking distance of the Reunification Palace, the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Ben Thanh Market.

Why you'll appreciate it it It has all the facilities of a business hotel, the five-star service you’d expect from a large hotel chain, but the character of a boutique hotel. It’s totally international yet uniquely Vietnamese.

Business Facilities:

Type of Internet Connection
High-speed broadband internet in the rooms and the business centre. Internet access is expensive, but highly secure.
Number of in-room phone lines
Varies depending on the room, but at least two (one next to the desk, one next to the bed) and one extra in the toilet.
Type of Desk Space
Separate, spacious desk area.
Fax Machine
The business centre has 24 hour secretarial services, including faxing facilities.
Printing Facilities
In the business centre.

Good to know If you’re looking for a place to unwind after a busy day, the Park Lounge is open till 10pm, and has a resident pianist and singer each evening. There is a butler on hand 24 hours a day should you need assistance with anything.

Best rooms or suites to book The best room in the hotel is the Presidential Suite, but the Park Suite and Park Executive Suite are also extremely comfortable, with separate bed and living rooms, complimentary fruit platters and bottle of wine, and plenty of working space. The Park Executive also offers a small kitchenette, ideal for those staying longer. If you plan on doing a lot of swimming, the Park Deluxe rooms open directly on to the pool (with a small private terrace), but they offer less privacy than the slightly smaller Park King rooms on higher floors.

Room for improvement Apparently, the internet in the hotel is of a far higher and safer quality than the wireless internet available on the street, which is why it is not complimentary. But I still think a business hotel should offer free internet – it’s such a key part of doing business these days.
Two small complaints about the Park King rooms: the walls leading to the corridor are very thin – you can hear doors closing and people talking; and the baths are extremely short, only long enough to sit in.

Address 2 Lam Son Square, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Tel +84 8 3824 1234
Fax +84 8 3823 7569

How to Get There
The Tan Son Nhat International Airport is only 7 kilometres out of town, but the trip takes about 45 minutes by taxi, as the traffic is so bad. An airport limousine service is available to and from the airport, and Guest Services can arrange for an airport greeting service if you wish.

Park Hyatt Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City - full front View