Embellished archways, golden ironwork and balconies overlooking the city made me feel like I was living out A Room with a View as I checked into the Majestic Hotel in Saigon, Vietnam. The 1920s French Colonial style hotel wouldn’t look out of place in the Champs-Elysées, but instead overlooks the Saigon River in District 1 as one of the oldest remaining hotels in the city. It reflects the work of the Golden Age of Architecture and has been kept up in a manner that makes you feel like you’re still in that time.
The Majestic Hotel was once home to celebrities and royalty, hosting guests like actress Catherine DeNeuve, former French president Francois Mitterand and the crown prince of Japan in its prestigious tenure. The hotel was even mention in Graham Greene’s The Quiet American. It also served as a government guesthouse before being restored to its original intention, a luxury hotel with the best European amenities. The Majestic has remained in much of the same architecture style as it was back then, unlike some of the other historic hotels nearby.
I knew I wanted to end the grand Australiasian Adventure on a high note, so I asked my friends at AsiaRooms for a recommendation for somewhere to stay in Saigon before a 30+ hour travel day to get home. I couldn’t have been more pleased when we were given a welcome juice and brought to our room in the historic wing. A set of grandfather clocks behind the desk told us what time we should set our watches to so that we could be on “home” time.
Our room had a layout that reminded me of an apartment, complete with artwork, a desk and a seating area. I set myself up at the desk and took advantage of the free (and reliable!) WiFi as a chance to get a bit of work done before our marathon travel day. The room also included a television with English channels, a minibar, a vintage telephone and a daily delivery of exotic fruits. The bathrooms had a bathtub, a luxury in this part of the world, complete with fixtures imported from Paris.
The beds were among the most comfortable of the entire trip, as they weren’t the firm Asian standard. Instead, they were plush with a mattress topper, down pillows and a thick comforter. Our balcony overlooked the pool and let in light for when we wanted it, but blackout curtains allowed us to sleep in as well. Every night at 6, an employee would come by to turn down our beds and offer us chocolates. I didn’t know hotels still did this, but I’m glad the tradition lives on at Majestic!
The hotel boasts six restaurants and bars, but is ideally located in an area surrounded by restaurants, nightlife and some of the city’s best shopping. We dined at L’Uisine, a few blocks down the street, twice during our stay and purchased authentic Hilltribe souvenirs at a boutique across Dong Khoi. Back at the hotel, you can keep yourself entertained at the casino or indulge in a treatment at the spa and salon. It was too rainy for us to swim, but we did spend almost an hour at the gym as a way to counteract our daily noodle intake.
Any day in Vietnam must be started with a proper breakfast and the Majestic Hotel gives you more options than you know what to do with. The included buffet features fruits, hot Western style meals, an omelette station and Asian breakfast options with a variety of juices, tea and coffee. The view may not be spectacular, as it’s of the hazy river frequented by barges, but it’s a nice start to the day nonetheless.
I could easily see myself staying at the Majestic Hotel again on my (one day) honeymoon or a special occasion while traveling through Vietnam because it’s so worth the splurge. The staff is beyond helpful, packing us a breakfast to go on our 3 am taxi to the airport, and the level of service is the best I experienced all trip.
My stay was arranged by AsiaRooms as a part of an ongoing partnership but all opinions are my own. Rooms range in price between $150-250, but you can find a deal during the low season.