The first quarter of 2016 had me hopping around a half-dozen SE Asia countries, with stops in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam. Each stop was one that I had made before, giving me a perspective on how the region has grown in recent years.

During that time, no other region has impressed me more than southern Vietnam. The commercial and entertainment hub, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) has gone through a transformation, drawing travellers from around the world.

If a single property could exemplify a city’s transformation, The Reverie Saigon is this city’s newest jewel. With a September 2015 grand opening, The Reverie commands the upper and lower floors of the contemporary, 39-story, mixed-use Times Square development in Ho Chi Minh City. It has emerged as

the boldest expression of opulence to debut in Vietnam, ever.

With unreserved grandeur that epitomizes the best of Italian design, the hotel transcends expectations of place to a modern-day exploration of fanciful, classically inspired splendor. From its rooms and suites to its restaurants and bars as well as its extravagant public spaces, all feature indelible expressions of some of the best craftsmanship and artistry in the world.

As visually arresting as the setting is within, so too are the expansive views from the city’s highest hotel. You’ve never seen Saigon quite like this, from the monumental colonial French architecture on the streets below to the dramatic twists of the Saigon River and the panorama of the sprawling city itself. There is only one Saigon, and there is only one Reverie – culminating in one of Southeast Asia’s most dynamic and colorful destinations.

With frontage on Saigon’s two most storied avenues, Dong Khoi Street and Nguyen Hue Boulevard, The Reverie beats at the heart of the city’s prestigious central urban area – District 1. As Saigon’s most

happening neighborhood for both business and leisure, ‘D1’ has become a mecca for high-end shopping and the city’s hippest dining spots.

On the Dong Khoi front – an elegant street once known to the French as rue Catinat, and to a later generation as Tu Do – upscale local boutiques and charming coffee shops trade sidewalk space with some of the world’s most glamorous brands. On the Nguyen Hue front, the city’s brand new, tree-lined pedestrian-friendly boulevard accentuates the intermingling of the old and the new in Saigon, running between the picturesque riverfront and the 1908-built Hôtel de Ville – now the People’s Committee Hall.

With one foot in Asia, and the other in Europe, The Reverie offers four outstanding restaurants and bars to satisfy longings for the familiar and the exotic. Led by Italian Executive Chef, Giovanni Parrella, each outlet strives to leave culinary impressions that are no less memorable than the hotel itself.

One of Southeast Asia’s most distinctive, all-day dining venues, Café Cardinal delivers stunning views of Saigon and a tempting take on Sebastien Schneider and his chefs at work in an artfully designed show kitchen. Its extensive menu is decidedly French, with deliberate detours into complementary Western and Asian cuisines.

With bold expressions of jade, vermilion and gold, the stage is set for one of the city’s most refined dining experiences. The Royal Pavilion is a celebration of authentic Cantonese fare, the menu raises the bar with its masterful preparation and exquisite presentations of delicacies such as abalone, sea cucumber and bird’s nest alongside must-haves such as suckling pig.

The inevitable dining venue for a hotel inspired by nearly all things Italian, R&J serves traditional

Italian dishes marked by subtle, creative detours into contemporary culinary trends. Led by Chef de Cuisine, Fabrizio Valdetara, whose career includes work in Michelin-starred kitchens in his native Italy, the menu dabbles in regional favorites from north to south, from seafood stew to osso buco.

The homemade pasta is crafted with Italian flour and the premium Italian ingredients on the menu are all imported direct from the country of R&J’s inspiration. Select meats and seafood are shipped in from as far away as France and New England.

Though the menu may evoke home-style dining, the ambiance is full of flair and romance, from walls of vibrant Italian mosaics to extravagant candelabras and a whimsical collection of deliberately different dining chairs that celebrate 40 distinctive corners of Italy.

And the service is as engaging as the setting, with staff who not only wait on you, but also shake & stir welcome cocktails, present a selection of the day’s freshest catch and assemble tiramisu all right before you.

A classic in the making, The Long @ Times Square is not merely a sidewalk café par excellence. The venue is its own thoroughfare, stretching between the city’s most fashionable street, Dong Khoi, and its most monumental boulevard, Nguyen Hue.

Located at street level, The Long is an indoor and outdoor experience at the same time, with open, street-side fronts and an arched skylight that runs its length. The bar’s lithe, marbletopped counter leaps between the streets in six individual segments, stretching 48 meters across. Its menu reads like literature from an Italian trattoria and the kitchen aspires to a reputation as one of the best pizzerias in Asia.

Each venue cultivates a distinctive ambiance, from the chandeliers and elegant furnishings of Café Cardinal to R&J’s vibrant mosaics inspired by the meticulous tile work of grand Venetian palazzos, to The Long @ Times Square and its echoes of timeless sidewalk cafés.


Vietnam’s most exclusive city spa, The Spa at The Reverie Saigon is a studied melding of sophisticated, urban luxury and a decidedly European-inspired setting. Together with the Fitness Centre, The Spa encompasses 1,200 square meters (12,900 square feet) over two floors and features 10 treatment rooms – four dual-bedded suites and six for individual therapies.

The reception area, along with separate men’s and women’s changing rooms and steam & sauna facilities, are located on the 6th floor while the treatment rooms and a beauty salon are situated on the floor above.

With four private rooms for hair and nail treatments and three semi-enclosed manicure / pedicure areas discreetly tucked way on the 7th floor expanse, The Spa’s beauty area beckons Saigon’s social elite and high profile VIPs to its posh setting – replete with views.

The comprehensive spa menu is a celebration of holistic relaxation and rejuvenation, with treatments

that draw from the depths of Southeast Asian spa traditions as well as Western-inspired aromatherapy treatments. The result is a poised balance of East and West. In addition to The Spa, the 6th floor is home to the city’s most technologically advanced fitness facility. Accessible to hotel guests 24 hours a day, the 120-squaremeter (1,290-square-foot), poolside space is equipped with TechnoGym’s latest line of ARTIS

cardio equipment with Wi-Fi-enabled UNITYTM user console – offering seamless connectivity to

smartphones and iPods to deliver personal playlists to one’s fingertips while simulating workouts in various scenic settings.

The Spa’s interior strikes a balance between opulent luxury and natural inspiration. The 6th floor reception area cultivates a gorgeous elegance in mixed media, with white marble, golden mosaic tiles, rose carpeting and plush leather competing for attention.

Upstairs, the beauty salon balances demand for privacy and exclusivity with three semi-enclosed manicure / pedicure areas alongside four private rooms for hair and nail treatments. A curvaceous

stairway, decorated in a floral mosaic pattern designed by Sicis of Italy, provides a segue from the

classical extravagance on the 6th floor to the more contemporary ambiance of the floor above.

Classical furnishings decorate the spa reception and seating areas throughout and provide a bridge

between The Spa’s more contemporary atmosphere and the regal ambiance of the hotel’s public spaces.

On a spacious open-air deck on the 6th floor, Saigon’s most enticing swimming experience beckons with a 24-meter (78-foot) long pool decorated with exquisite mosaic tile artistry also by Sicis.

The free-form space deploys an ozone-generated system to give swimmers the freshness and buoyancy of a freshwater pool while an underwater sound system plays a compilation of music that changes with the mood of the day, from vibrant classical to soothing instrumental, and more mellow beats after the sun goes down.

Open for less than a year, The Reverie Saigon has quickly become a symbol of HCMC’s grand style and opulence.

Based in Bali, Bill Healey has been consulting, installing, and supporting solutions in the global golf and leisure industry since 1982. He has been involved with over 1,000 systems installations in 40+ countries from North America to Africa to Asia and Australia.


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