A rare midrange offer in Pham Ngu Lao
Sitting tall — very tall — on Pham Ngu Lao, the namesake street of Saigon’s backpacker district, Elios Hotel is one of the area’s few options for those seeking a more traditional, midrange hotel experience.
The building is massive compared to the majority of guesthouses and hotels in the area and with a uniformed doorman greeting you as you enter, it’s obvious from the start that the service here will be to a higher level than what’s common for Pham Ngu Lao. The lobby is immaculate and modern, and two elevators, unheard of in this area, whisk you to your room.
Rooms come in a few flavours: standard, superior and deluxe. Size is the biggest difference between the three, with the standard being quite a bit smaller than the superior and deluxe — you’ll still have plenty of room to move around but they are smaller. Another drawback to the standards is that they lack a window, so if you get claustrophobic they might not be your best choice. Superiors and deluxes on the other hand are extra spacious, and have a window and view.
All rooms come equipped with the amenities you’d expect from a three-star hotel, such as WiFi, air-con, a TV and an overall high standard of cleanliness. Bathrooms are also pleasant; some are equipped with bathtubs, which is extra rare for the area. The staff, always just a phone call away, are attentive and helpful, especially during the included breakfast, served at the hotel’s rooftop restaurant.
Elios Hotel is a big place — with more than 80 rooms — and will rarely be booked to capacity. Prices quoted to walk-ins can be high, with a no-window standard starting at 1,000,000 VND. Your best bet would be to check online for a lower price. Besides being highly priced for the neighbourhood, the hotel’s size also means that you probably won’t get as personal an experience as you would at some of the more reputable guesthouses — there’s the usual sterility that comes with a large hotel.
Next door to the Elios, the Liberty 4 Hotel is the area’s other three-star establishment. It’s a little more cosmetically rundown than Elios, but their rooms are a slightly cheaper and larger alternative. If the Elios is out of your price range you can still get great service at a few nearby locations. A stone’s throw away you’ll find Vy Khanh Guesthouse or check out the Long Hostel, which is a little further down the road in the opposite direction. Or head to Bui Vien and check out the Ngoc Phan Guesthouse, another recommended budget option.
By Max Murta
Last updated on 14th February, 2017.
The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.