Top places to stay and eat in Saigon

The Travel Nova | Villa Song Saigon | Boutique hotel

I was born in Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as I still call it, and I still have family living in the city. Of all the places I have visited in Saigon, I love District 2 the most. It’s a 15-minute drive from the city centre but it feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. There are plenty of cute shops and cafes to while away a leisurely day. Plus, the area is leafy and green – two words not often used to describe Saigon.

Make District 2 your base while in the city. Stay at Villa Song Saigon and be sure to make a booking for a sunset dinner at The Deck. These are two of my top place to stay and eat in Saigon.

Villa Song Saigon | Boutique hotel 

The Travel Nova | Villa Song Saigon | Aerial view

This beautiful boutique hotel has a stunning riverside location. Housed in a French-colonial style building, the hotel is a wonderful mix of modern amenities and old-school charm. Each of its 23 rooms is unique, and it’s worth splashing out to stay in one of the suites. My suite had a four-poster bed, over-sized bathtub, rain shower, an Apple TV and, the best part, huge arch windows with views of the Saigon River.

The Travel Nova | Villa Song Saigon | Suite

The Travel Nova | Villa Song Saigon | Bathroom

The a la carte breakfast was a lovely touch and a nice change from the standard buffet affair of other hotels. There were Vietnamese classics such as pho and banh coun (steamed rice pancake rolls), which were so good that I asked for a second portion. The international offerings such as a full English breakfast and continental pastries were also well done. Whatever you have, order the Vietnamese coffee. It was so good.

The Travel Nova | Villa Song Saigon | Top places to stay and eat in Saigon

 

The pool was a little sanctuary. It’s easy to forget that you are busy Saigon when you’re lying here and enjoying a cool drink from the mini bar. Why mini bar? Did I forget to mention that the mini bar is complimentary and it’s well-stocked? It’s a small gesture that I really appreciated, because it’s not a huge cost for the hotel but it sends the message that the hotel cares about its guests.

The Travel Nova | Villa Song Saigon | Swimming pool

There are also complimentary speedboat transfers to the central pier in Saigon. Villa Song Saigon is a real gem and I can’t wait to be back there again.

Villa Song Saigon (website)
197/2 Nguyen Van Huong | Thao Dien | District 2 | Ho Chi Minh City

The Deck | Riverside restaurant and bar

Arriving at The Deck, down the river from Villa Song Saigon, was a real treat. The restaurant is only a short 5-minute boat ride away and it also enjoys an enviable riverside location. There is a cool, easy vibe here. From the expansive, open-plan design to chic decor, it has a Mediterranean beach-bar feel in the middle of the urban jungle of Saigon.

The Travel Nova | The Deck | Riverside restaurant and bar
Photo courtesy of The Deck

The Deck serves up pan-Asian fare, deftly mixing local produce with some internationally sourced meat and seafood. The soft-shell crab and seared scallops were superb, as were the tender lamb racks and the grilled Wagyu sirloin. But the star of the meal was the black cod – beautifully seasoned, melt-in-your-mouth perfection.

The Travel Nova | The Deck | Seared scallops

The Travel Nova | The Deck | Black Cod

The cocktails were also something to write home about. My passion fruit martini tasted as good as it looked. Then the head bartender also knocked up a special concoction after hearing about the type of drinks I like.

The Travel Nova | The Deck | Passion fruit martini

Service at The Deck was exceptional. From the waiting staff to the executive chef, I saw everyone spending time to check by each table and having a chat, suggesting dishes and drinks on the menu depending on our preferences. It was unusual to have this personal touch at a decidedly popular place.

The Travel Nova | The Deck | Courtyard

If you can, book a table with river views for around 6 o’clock. It’s mesmerising watching the boats go by and there is even the promise of a stunning sunset.

The Deck (website)
38 Nguyen U Di St. | Thao Dien | District 2 | Ho Chi Minh City

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