We asked for airport pick-up and the man who fetched us spoke little English but it didn't really matter as we were too tired/sleepy to talk (it was 3am). He brought us to Beautiful Saigon and then left. I thought the hotel recently changed its name but soon found out from the male receptionist that the owner has several hotels with the word "Saigon" - Beautiful Saigon 1, Beautiful Saigon 2, Graceful Saigon, etc. We panicked a bit as we were dropped off at the WRONG hotel. Thank goodness the receptionist informed us that Graceful was just 5 meters away (!) and he even allowed us to print our hotel voucher for FREE. Good thing he spoke English. I wanted to send him a fruit basket after that. He was really helpful.
Upon check-in, the male receptionist merely asked for our hotel voucher and passports but my sister went down and got the latter as we were not comfortable not having them (yes, even while we sleep). You can do the same. Just ask nicely. Breakfast is served from 6:30am-9am, which is good if you plan to start the day early. Not buffet but they have a list where you can choose. Pretty basic - eggs, milk, coffee, OJ, bacon, bread, jam and butter and fruit - which is good.
We don't see a lot of foreigners inside the hotel. Maybe twice only. The breakfast area looks like the dining area of someone's home. I found it personally amusing. But the important thing is that it's clean and the food is served hot.
During our first day, our first instinct was to just hail a cab (Limit yourself to either Mai Linh or Vina Sun, nothing else! These are the 2 taxi companies that consistently use their meters) but Ms. Nhung, the hotel manager told us that we could easily walk to the War Remnants Museum (or in that area).
Graceful and its partner hotels give away free maps of areas which cover (Ben Thanh Market, Post Office, Reunification Palace, all museums,etc.) We decided to give it a go and boy oh boy, was it tiring! But it is simply the best way to get a taste of the real Vietnam. You will miss a lot of the local life if you always get a cab or hire a private vehicle. Of course, that does not mean you don't take care of your valuables. Beware of sidewalks as motorcycle drivers use it to no end (and recklessly, if I must say). Every few blocks, we stop by restaurants/shops/offices which look high-end/pricey and check if we're going the right way. We do this because people in these places usually understand English compared to street vendors/random people on the street/ tourist police). We did arrive at our destination and it wasn't that long.
We had several problems with the safety deposit box but WAIT! Before you think of something else -- the problems started since my sister kept on forgetting the code. Anyway, it was still safe and reliable. The all-around bellboy (in red uniform) was very helpful, even changed the batteries of the safe without us asking and never got tired of returning in our room with the emergency key. Speaks great English too. You gotta give him a good tip.
We got a Standard Room with a double bed. No-frills. Not a gigantic room of course, but it served its purpose. It was clean and NOT noisy as what some people say. Bed's comfortable. They have a PC, so you have free internet access. Pretty helpful especially with tourists who want to do last minute checks with opening/closing hours of certain attractions,etc.
Ms. Nhung, the manager, is incredibly helpful and polite. That, i must say. She speaks good English and is very patient. The hotel staff are great and the receptionists always try to help.
We paid a total of 83.50 US dollars for 2 1/2 nights, including daily breakfast and airport transfers. This is cheaper than the quote they sent us through e-mail before we went there. It's a great deal!
Just bear in mind that the hotel is narrow, meaning it's not the sprawling type where you can run around freely. Not more than 10 floors, I think. Doesn't have an elevator, only a winding staircase. For each floor, there is one room. They have a travel agency downstairs which is amazing! They will assist you if you haven't made reserved trips to, say, Mekong Delta or the Cu Chi Tunnels. Only if you ask for help! They don't push their services to their customers which is good.
The hotel is located in the backpacker district. The road is brimming with foreigners, which is why it tends to attract certain bad elements. But these foreigners leave Vietnam unscathed so you're all good. It's not that dangerous, just be alert when using the road and haggle with prices! Also, every time you step out of the hotel, do carry the calling card of the hotel (found at the front desk). Show it to the cab driver upon going back. It saved us a lot of trouble.
I highly recommend this hotel. Budget-friendly, clean and has a strategic location.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Under the management of Beautiful Saigon Hotels Group, our team at the Graceful Saigon hotel offer international standard rooms and friendly service with a smile to make you feel at home on your holiday in Hochiminh city – Vietnam. Our motivation is to provide a pleasant and interesting stay for our guests. We thrive on our slogan "Affordable and a Nice Stay". Welcome to Graceful Saigon hotel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Graceful Saigon Hotel Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Asia