One of Saigon’s best known hotels
Occupying the northwest corner of the sprawling Nguyen Hue promenade, Rex Hotel is one of Saigon’s best known hotels, having survived many iterations.
What began in 1927 as a car showroom was rebuilt as a hotel in 1959, immediately becoming a United States Information Service USIS office, a library, accommodation for high ranking US military, broadcasting studio and press briefing room. The daily military press briefings, known as the “Five O’Clock Follies” and much maligned by reporters, were held on the hotel’s rooftop bar.
It finally returned to its original purpose in 1973 and is currently revamped to suit today’s modern needs. It now boasts two outdoor swimming pools and a rooftop tennis court. Luxury designer brands wrap around the exterior of the hotel and their presence probably heightens the disappointment you’ll feel upon entering the gaudy lobby. It’s blanketed with glossy marble and behind the reception is a decorative golden dragon and those darn row of clocks of London, Paris, Tokyo time.
Luckily, the lobby does not reflect the rooms in the new wing which are tasteful and contemporary. It’s a simple layout, yet the Premium rooms are classy and come with all the dressings. King sized bed, crisp white linens, dark wood furniture and floors, desk, luggage rack, flat screen TV, minibar, kettle and a spacious bathroom (more marble!) with shower, tub and all modern fixtures. This is in an older building where the room doors line an outdoor corridor that wraps around the building and despite efforts, the rooms still feel dated and small. If you want to stay at the Rex, go for Premium or higher. (There are Deluxe rooms which are not even listed on their website.)
We’d rate this as a solid 4-star—head to Park Hyatt for a 5-star. Caravelle seems more in tune with international guests while Rex Hotel seems predominantly geared towards the domestic and Asian market. The biggest selling point is the location. It’s well situated for those hitting up Saigon’s tourist attractions and shopping. Nguyen Hue is a public square/promenade that runs all the way from the Rex Hotel and Ho Chi Minh City Hall down to the river.
The Rex is a lively place every evening as Saigonese and tourists gather to stroll and enjoy the ambience. It’s walking distance to Dong Khoi St, Saigon Centre, Takashimaya and Reunification Palace. Rates include breakfast, check their website for promotional discounts and online agents for a discounted rate.
Address: 141 Nguyen Hue Blvd, District 1
T: (28) 3829 2185;
Coordinates (for GPS): 106º42'7.81" E, 10º46'35.5" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: over US$100
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Deluxe double room||US$165||US$165|
Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you'll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.
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