top of page
  • Mario Ng

Hotel Review: Caravelle Saigon (Deluxe Room)

When we decided to enjoy a year-end holiday in Ho Chi Minh City in 2022, we thought to book a stay at a hotel that was relatively affordable while still having the material comforts that larger hotels possess, such as a swimming pool.


Caravelle Saigon came to mind as it was quite well-known and is also right in the middle of District 1. It is also a historic hotel that has seen a lot throughout Vietnam’s history. It first opened in 1959 and later became a hub for foreign journalists covering the Vietnam War. It was also the location of the Australian embassy at one point, with Australian soldiers stationed at the hotel protecting them. After the war was over, the hotel came under the control of the Vietnamese government and was renamed Doc Lap Hotel, meaning “Independence Hotel” in English. In 1998, the hotel was reopened after a period of refurbishment, with a new 24-storey block added. In 2018, the hotel decided to refurnish its rooms again as part of its 60th anniversary celebration, opening to much fanfare in 2019. The resulting rooms look much more beautiful and enticing for travellers and tourists to visit.


As the hotel is not tied with any major loyalty programmes, we thought to book it via a third-party website instead. A check on the major vendors showed that Trip.com had the cheapest rate. Hence, we booked a 4-night stay at Caravelle Saigon to celebrate the new year!

 

TL:DR

  • Very affordable stay right in the middle of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1

  • Good views of Saigon River (depending on the room)

  • Nice bathroom

 

Service:

Service was generally good. Check-in was relatively fuss-free, even though it was understandably a busy period for the hotel. While some customers took some time due to various issues, the staff at the front desk maintained their professionalism. Before long, we were ready to enjoy our stay in the Deluxe Room. Check-out was also smooth and we were able to deposit our luggage with them after checking out since our flight would only take place at night. Understandably, we were unable to obtain a late check-out. We booked the most popular room available during one of the busiest periods of the calendar. It would be unfair to expect a late check out from the hotel. Hence, we were already appreciative that we could deposit our luggage with the hotel while we continued to walk and shop around the city on the day of our departure.


Staff members at the breakfast buffet were friendly and tried their best to serve guests every morning. We enjoyed the daily breakfast during our stay as it was one of our positive interactions with hotel staff members. Kudos to the staff members as well, as we could imagine the various special requests guests had, and the buffet staff members were able to consistently cater to the many different dietary requests. It is never easy to work in a buffet restaurant and the folks at Caravelle Saigon were fantastic. Similarly, at the swimming pool, we enjoyed a positive interaction with the staff member on duty at the pool bar. Even though we did not order anything, he was always friendly and smiling. It is staff members like these that make a hotel a great place to stay.


However, we do have to point out one minor issue we encountered. During our stay, we noticed that staff members at the lobby doors do not always open the doors for guests. We experienced this for ourselves. We thought that it was perhaps they did not notice the guests entering or leaving the hotel. Only when they explicitly saw that guests were heading in or leaving the hotel, will they open the doors for them. When we opened the doors ourselves and walked past them, they also did not really acknowledge guests but just continued to stand there. We feel that it defeats the purpose of putting precious manpower at the doors. If they are unable to spot guests entering or leaving the hotel, they might be better off serving customers in other areas.


They also appeared very solemn-looking, without much smiles between them. We also felt that it was usually only the staff members at the lobby doors who appeared without a smile. I am not sure why this is so. Maybe this is the hotel’s direction somehow, to instil some character into the staff members. However, I just do not see how this might impress guests.


Overall, we must say that the majority of staff members in the hotel were pleasant and friendly. We enjoyed most of the interactions we had with them. It is just the small percentage that we felt could be friendlier. Unfortunately, when service is good in all areas except for one part, guests do tend to remember the small negative part. Hopefully, everyone can be friendlier the next time we book a stay at Caravelle Saigon!

 
 

Hotel Facilities:

Caravelle Saigon has a beautiful swimming pool located on the rooftop of its lower block. It has many trees and green around that makes it look welcoming. It is quite big and can fit quite a few people. It is also a proper swimming pool, with the deepest part 1.8 metres deep. This should be able to satisfy the serious swimmers who enjoy a proper workout in the morning.


There is a bar at the swimming pool and guests can enjoy a nice snack or beverage in between swims. There was also a happy hour promotion when we were there but were too full to order anything. The staff on duty was all smiles nevertheless and wished us a pleasant day still.


Because Caravelle Saigon is located beside another tall building, the swimming pool gets a nice shade. This means that you will not face the full force of the sun when it is shining at its brightest. However, it also means that you might not be able to enjoy a proper suntanning session, compared to other hotels’ rooftop pools. Cabanas are available so you can grab a book, order a drink from the bar, and spend the afternoon relaxing, weather permitting.


The gym is located beside the swimming pool and has glass windows. This means that you should be encouraged to finish your workout session as soon as possible so that you can go for a dip and enjoy an ice-cold beverage! Unfortunately, we did not manage to snap any pictures of the gym as there were some people inside working out. However, the gym should satisfy most people on vacation.

We made sure to head up first thing in the morning so that we could have the pool to ourselves. We usually swim before breakfast as this is the most peaceful time at the pool and very few people are at the pool at that time.


When we were there, we only spotted one lady who had just finished swimming and was having some alone time at the cabanas. By the time we finished snapping those Instagram-worthy photos of the pool, she had left the pool. By that time, we were alone at the swimming pool, relaxing and enjoying the view.

Caravelle Saigon - Swimming pool
Caravelle Saigon - Swimming pool
 
 

Breakfast:

Breakfast at Caravelle Saigon is conducted at Nineteen, the hotel’s main restaurant located on the first floor. It is also where they hold regular seafood buffets. If you are a regular patron of YouTube buffet videos, you should be aware that Nineteen serves some delicious and fresh seafood at reasonable prices. This should put an inkling of what to expect for breakfast.


Throughout our 4-night stay, we are happy to say that we were always satisfied after leaving the restaurant. The food was consistently good and we were quite satisfied with the choices. 


For conventional breakfast goers, you can always rely on the cold cuts, pastries, and the good old egg station. For me, it was simply enjoying some comfort food when one was travelling. You cannot go wrong with some cold cuts, pastries and two sunny side-ups. The cheese also looked good and I enjoyed the smoked fish, all three types (salmon, mackerel, and basa). There were also quite a few types of pastries available. There were many sweet pastries and I had to force myself not to take every sweet pastry available.


There were two live stations during our stay where staff members served cooked-to-order noodles and global favourite banh mi. While we did not try the banh mi due to space constraints, we liked the noodles a lot. The type of noodles was rotated depending on the day. We managed to try another global favourite, the pho, and bun bo hue, which is commonly found in Vietnam.


One of the unique selling points of having breakfast at Caravelle is the variety of fresh fruits. We counted at least ten types of fruits that are served, with quite a few of them tropical fruits that must be popular with foreign tourists. Guests can also help themselves to fresh fruit juices kept cool in bottles resting on ice.


There was a token Japanese counter where three types of sushi were served. While no sashimi was served, those were adequate to stave off any cravings. There were other conventional breakfast foods served, including cereal and milk, sausages and bacon, and grilled meat. Guests should not feel bored of breakfast at Nineteen even after staying for a few days at Caravelle Saigon.


For dessert, one can enjoy tasty treats. Besides those sweet pastries, guests can look forward to matcha pancakes and waffles. Indulge with the various sauces available and you should be able to end off breakfast with a nice cup of Vietnamese coffee. For sure, breakfast at Caravelle Saigon was a good choice!

 
 

Room:

Caravelle Saigon’s Deluxe Rooms come in 34 square metres of space. It is quite a decent amount of space for an entry-level room and we were happy to be living here for 4 nights. When you first enter the room, you will see the bathroom located on the side, followed by the bedroom in front of you.


The room features a King-sized bed with lots of space to move about around it. By the windows, you also have a lounge chair to laze about while watching television. We spent some time relaxing on the lounge chair catching some shows on the television. A 49-inch television is mounted on the wall and it does its job well with a good amount of channels available. There are quite a few entertainment channels including HBO, Cinemax, and AXN so those should be adequate for your stay.

Caravelle Saigon (Deluxe Room) - View of the bedroom
Caravelle Saigon (Deluxe Room) - View of the bedroom
Caravelle Saigon (Deluxe Room) - View from the bedCaravelle Saigon (Deluxe Room) - View from the bed
Caravelle Saigon (Deluxe Room) - View from the bed

Beside the television is a workstation that is good for guests who need to do some work during their holiday. We admit taking turns to use the workstation to clear some work over the new year and we had no issues with the wifi either. While one of us would use the workstation, the other took a break and caught some television shows. The workstation also comes with all the necessary plugs so you can plug your chargers, USB and HDMI cables with no issue. The location of the workstation is also good as it forces you to focus on your work while not allowing you to catch some television programmes. Once you are done with your work, you can enjoy relaxing properly. You can also see that even with the workstation, there is still quite a lot of space in the room. We liked this room at Caravelle Saigon and it is a great room to stay if you are visiting the city for some time.


On either side of the bed are universal plugs and a port for USB-A cables so guests can easily charge their electronic equipment. On one side of the bed is a modern-looking touchscreen master switch for the room. It allows you to control the room’s lighting with just a simple and light touch. The alarm clock by the bedside also comes with a wireless charger. This can be a lifesaver for guests who forgot to pack a charger with them.

Caravelle Saigon (Deluxe Room) - Gadget-packed side table
Caravelle Saigon (Deluxe Room) - Gadget-packed side table
Caravelle Saigon (Deluxe Room) - Water and caffeine options
Caravelle Saigon (Deluxe Room) - Water and caffeine options

The room’s caffeine options come in the instant coffee sachets and Dilmah teabags. The coffee sachets come in both 3-in-1 and black coffee sachets so guests who are health conscious can opt for the black coffee ones. There are plenty of mugs and glassware in the room so you can always get a bottle of wine and relax in the room, which happens to be a great place to do so. Our room happened to face the Saigon River and we just loved the view. While Caravelle Saigon is not situated beside the river, it does have a good view of it. Of course, there are quite a few hotels surrounding Caravelle Saigon, including Sheraton Saigon and the new Hilton Saigon. However, if you look past them, the view is quite beautiful.


The wardrobe is quite simple with an ironing board, iron, and safe situated within. There are bathrobes available so you can grab them before heading for a swim at the rooftop swimming pool.


The bathroom looks modern and has beautiful tiles surrounding the entire space. We were most impressed with the bathroom as it reminded us of Fairmont Singapore’s bathroom, which we feel is a real compliment! There is a large mirror above the sink, which is functional and looks good at the same time. There is no need for your partner to scoot over while you are trying to style your hair. Toiletries come in wall-mounted Appelles bottles so you are assured of an enjoyable shower. Besides the usual shampoo, shower gel, and hair conditioner, Caravelle Saigon also provides guests with an Appelle skin lotion so everyone will be sufficiently moisturised throughout their stay.


Sustainable wheat husk toothbrushes are provided that make guests look and feel food. A relatively large tube of Colgate toothbrush is provided so guests need not open a new toothbrush set each time they wish to brush their teeth. This is some great thinking because most hotels usually provide toothbrush sets with a very small tube of toothpaste that is only enough for 1.5 times at most. The separated large tube of toothpaste solves this problem.


Perhaps because of the price point and the location of Caravelle Saigon, it is not always easy to get a late checkout. Bear this in mind as the hotel is really popular, especially if you are travelling during the holiday period. However, the hotel is nice enough to help store your luggage after you have checked out, so you can do some last-minute shopping before heading to the airport.

 
 

Overall, we enjoyed our stay at Caravelle Saigon. While service was admittedly lacking a little, not all of the staff at the hotel were like that. The vast majority of them were friendly and were happy to serve guests. It was just unfortunate that the least-friendliest staff members happened to be the ones greeting customers at the lobby, the first point of contact for guests. This does highlight the importance of having a good first impression. Nevertheless, it was a nice stay and the price point was very affordable. At this rate, we really cannot complain too much.


The Deluxe Room is the entry-level room at Caravelle Saigon and it felt spacious enough for a couple. The fact that we enjoyed our stay throughout the 4 nights showed that it was a good room. We were really happy to have welcomed the new year at Caravelle Saigon.


Having experienced the Deluxe Room, we would love to book another stay at Caravelle Saigon in one of their suites. Watch this space!


Click here to find out more about Caravelle Saigon and book a stay today!

 

Cost of Deluxe Room: S$166.60 a night - stayed over the new year in December/January 2022/3

 

Please note that this article may contain links to websites, where any subsequent purchases made may provide straitstravellers with a referral commission. This in turn helps support the running of this website. We appreciate your support thus far. Thank you!

 

Comments


bottom of page