A new breed
200 Le Lai, District 1 T: (08) 3925 4348
Vietnam Inn Saigon is among a new breed of hostels blowing in to Saigon, offering more stylish digs and traveller friendly atmospheres, and adding some much needed competition to the backpacker end of the accommodation market.
While technically not in the Pham Ngu Lao backpacker area, it’s just on the opposite side of 9/23 Park on Le Lai, so Vietnam Inn Saigon is still easy to find. Compared to other hostels in Saigon, the building is massive in both height and width, looking more like one of the area’s three-star hotels than a hostel. Inside you’ll see more of the same, plenty of space in the lobby, lots of places to lounge around scattered throughout the building and even an elevator that connects you to the top floor.
And it’s a tight ship. At the front desk are signs with set prices for most anything you’d desire, such as tours and shuttles to the airport, with competitive prices considering you’re slightly outside the tour booking area. Staff are friendly, English-speaking, and very personable considering that the hostel can sleep more than 100.
Dorms are mixed or not mixed. Mixed dorms are bigger, with 12 beds as opposed to eight in the gender-specific rooms, and are slightly cheaper, at 150,000 VND compared to 170,000 VND. All dorms are air-con and include private lockers that seem to be sturdy, as well as large windows that look out to the city below, although the windows are generally covered by curtains. Beds are solid and big enough for the larger Western traveller, plus rooms have plenty of power outlets, a rarity in the city. Shared bathrooms are large, all with multiple showers, toilets and sinks. Things are clean — maybe not eat off the floor clean, but it’s a hostel, after all.
Like any Saigon hostel, you’ll also have the option of staying in a private room all to yourself. At the Inn, private rooms are basic. They have air-con, TV and a private bathroom, but besides that are basically empty. It’s just a bed in the middle of the room and that’s pretty much it. I guess at 450,000 VND a night, things aren’t terrible, but private rooms definitely aren’t the Inn’s bread and butter.
Instead, what really sets the Inn apart from the rest of the city’s other hostels are its facilities. While the typical Saigon hostel may have a common room for a few travellers to mingle, the Inn has a full-blown bar. We’re talking about a legitimate bar that serves drinks and has a pool table and a dartboard, all just an elevator ride away. And on the top floor, the rooftop restaurant is probably one of the nicer rooftops offerings around the Pham Ngu Lao area, offering sweeping views of HCMC and the surrounding area.
Vietnam Inn Saigon isn’t going to be for every traveller, with the indoor bar kind of keeping it from being a place for families travelling with kids or people looking to spend a quiet night inside.
If that’s what you’re looking for, try Long Hostel or the Saigon Backpackers Hostel or, better yet, give a family-run guesthouse a shot. But if you’re coming to Saigon to let loose on the cheap, you might not be able to do much better than the Vietnam Inn. As its reputation as the “fun hostel” grows, so are numbers wanting a bed, meaning you should book ahead, especially for a spot in an unmixed dorm.
By Max Murta
Last updated on 25th June, 2014.