It’s 6am in Ho Chi Minh City. Jetlagged and bleary-eyed, my two friends and I stagger out of the airport, where the Vietnamese sunshine — and humidity — packs quite the punch. Happily, a driver is waiting to whisk us to our first destination in air-conditioned comfort. The city looms large from outside the car windows; modern skyscrapers intermixed with colonial French buildings, with endless throngs of beeping mopeds weaving their way in between. The bustle is infectious, even this early.
In District 1, we pull up outside the 40-storey Times Square Building, where The Reverie Saigon occupies the topmost floors. Opened in 2015, this unabashedly lavish property — its website uses the term “spectacularly extravagant” — comes with panoramic city views, its own private yacht and a joyfully OTT approach to Italian-inspired opulence. Gilt, marble and crystal gleam from every surface, while objet d’art abound (our jaws drop at the 24-carat gold and malachite clock looming three foot high in the lobby). Understated this is not, but the fantastical makes for great fun.
The hotel is also a mecca for lovers of luxury brands, from Frette linen and Chopard toiletries to entire suites designed by prestigious maisons, such as Provasi or Visionnaire. There are 286 plush rooms to choose from (in no fewer than 12 categories), each with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city and, if you’re lucky,
the Saigon River.