Pullman Hotel Asia Pacific Expansion Continues

Pullman Hotels have announced that its hotel brand will further expand
into the Asia Pacific making it one of the fastest growing 5 star hotel brands
in the Asia Pacific region with 50 Hotels to open by 2014.

 

This year new Pullman Hotels will be seen in Vietnam Indonesia and
India.

 

The full media release from Pullman and Accor can be read below:

 

 

 

 

PULLMAN FLEXES ITS MUSCLES
WITH CONTINUED EXPANSION IN ASIA PACIFIC

 

The Pullman brand is one of the Asia Pacific’s fastest growing 5 star
hotel brands with 18 hotels in operation and commitments for a network of
around 50 hotels by 2014

 

Pullman hotels and resorts recent announcement that the Hyatt Regency
Hotel Auckland has now become Pullman Auckland marks the entry of the one of
the regions fastest growing brands to the New Zealand market and will be one of
four new countries that the brand will enter in Asia Pacific this year. Beyond
New Zealand, the Pullman brand will debut in Vietnam, Indonesia and India in
2011.

 

The Pullman Asia Pacific
network today

 

The Pullman Hotels and Resorts brand was launched in Asia in January 2008,
and has since grown its network of 18 operating hotels. Additionally nine
Pullman hotels are committed to open in 2011, which will take the Asia Pacific
operating network to around 30 hotels by year end.

 

Michael Issenberg, Chairman
and Chief Operating Officer for Accor Asia Pacific says that
“Expansion of the Pullman brand continues
apace with significant growth in major markets and led by growth in China where
we have nine hotels operating today and a further 16 committed.  The
brand’s expansion has found traction around the world but nowhere more so than
here in Asia Pacific where the response from hotel owners and developers has
been very positive.”

 

2011 Pullman openings include

 

Earlier this month, Pullman Ocean Bay Sanya Resort and Spa opened and
marked Accor’s 100th hotel in China. This 413 room hotel is adjacent Sanya Bay
and provides guests access to a private beach and surrounding tropical
rainforest. All Asian inspired rooms and suites have ocean views.

 

Opening in April 2011 and also in China is Pullman Lijiang Resort and
Spa.  Located next to ShuHe Ancient Town and only ten minutes from the
Unesco World Heritage Site DaYan Ancient Town, the hotel experience connects
the old with the new with the design a fusion of contemporary architecture and
traditional NaXi inspired designs and motifs throughout the public spaces and
129 guest rooms.

 

Vietnam’s first Pullman hotel is to be Pullman Danang Beach. Located on
the white sandy beach, the hotel will feature 207 guest rooms, extensive dining
options and event facilities.  With the leisure and incentive guest in
mind, the hotel will also have 3 swimming pools.

 

Pullman Bali Legian Nirwana is located adjacent the beach in central
Legian. With 351 rooms and suites, Pullman Bali Legian Nirwana is extensively
equipped with ballrooms, meeting rooms, swimming pools, fitness centre, tennis
courts, and many other recreational activity facilities. The hotel is scheduled
to open in mid 2011.

 

Ideally located by the new metro link in Gurgaon, the corporate
satellite city of New Delhi, Pullman Gurgaon Central Park presents a fresh
approach to upscale accommodation as the first Pullman hotel in India.
Featuring 285 stunning rooms and suites, Pullman Gurgaon Central Park offers an
extensive range of food and beverage outlets, a large gymnasium, a designer spa
with beauty salon and the state of the art technology, personal IT service and
conferencing facilities Pullman is renowned for. This hotel is also schedule to
open by second quarter of this year.

 

Beyond this, during 2011 Pullman hotels and resorts will also open in;
Dongguan, Gurgaon, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Phuket.

 

Innovative services make all the difference

 

All Pullman Hotels and Resorts have identifiable elements helping
Pullman stand out from the crowd.  These identifiers include:

 

‘Pullman Welcomer’ easily
identifiable moving throughout the hotel and fully dedicated to fulfilling the
requests of guests – a signature role to ensure a guests stay is both efficient
and pleasurable.

 

Co-Meetings combining quality
meeting venues with innovative services including online visual booking
solutions, dedicated extranet for event organisors, innovative breaks enabling
guests to recharge and restore.

 

‘Pullman Event Manager’ providing a
single contact to event organisors and is involved from the beginning of the
event planning til the end and is on hand to make suggestions, help create
innovative elements and ensure the smooth running of each event at a Pullman

 

‘IT Solutions Manager’ designed to
ease the inconvenience of guest technology issues, the role is on hand to help
guests stay connected during their stay.

 

Pullman Bedroom, designed
to be a haven of calm. Accommodating travelers who hop between time zones,
everything from the bed to the room service menu, connectivity and docking
stations help keep guests in touch, recharged and relaxed.

 

Paresa Phuket Named One of the Best 101 Hotels in the World

The Paresa Resort in Phuket has been named
one of the Best 101 Hotels in the world by UK’s Tatler Magazine
World’ in their Travel Guide 2011. Paresa
is one of only two hotels in Thailand, and the only place in Phuket (a
destination with no shortage of world-class hotels) to appear in the list,
beating countless competitors from prominent international luxury brands.

 Paresa Resort Villa Bedroom

 Paresa Resort Swimming Pool

 

 

The full media release by Paresa can be read
below:

 

 

 

PARESA NAMED ONE OF THE ‘BEST 101 HOTELS IN
THE WORLD’

BY UK’S TATLER MAGAZINE

 

Following its success at the Thailand Boutique Awards 2010, editors of
the UK’s influential society magazine, Tatler, have named Paresa in Phuket,
Thailand, as one of the ‘101 Best Hotels In The World’ in their Travel Guide
2011. Paresa is one of only two hotels in Thailand, and the only place in
Phuket (a destination with no shortage of world-class hotels) to appear in the
list, beating countless competitors from prominent international luxury brands.

 

The new ‘101 Best Hotels In The World’ list, published in the January
2011 issue of Tatler, is compiled by a team of expert travel writers who spent
many months visiting, comparing and exhaustively researching hundreds of hotels
across the world. In the Travel Guide 2011, Paresa appears in the ‘Hey Good
Looking’ section and is described as “pure, clean-lined and contemporary” and “stunning”.
The editors highlighted some of the hotel’s unique features including its sleek
design, fantastic modern Thai food; location on the exclusive Millionaire’s
Mile and breathtaking views of the Andaman Sea.

Ibis Bangkok Riverside Opens in Bangkok Thailand

The Accor Hotel group has announced the opening (1 November
2010) of the 3 star Ibis Bangkok Riverside, located on the Chaopraya River and
will feature 266 rooms with Wi-Fi internet access, International Satellite TV channels,
fridge, safe box and other standard amenities.

 

 Ibis Bangkok Riverside

 

The Ibis Bangkok Riverside is set to change the face and
re-define quality affordable business accommodation in the Chaopraya River
area, with rates starting from only AUD$37 per night.

 

Erwann Mahe,
Executive General Manager of ibis Erawan Thailand, commented
“ibis Bangkok Riverside offers an affordable
option for everyone who wants to enjoy Bangkok riverside’s tranquil
atmosphere.  It is particularly important
to highlight the excellent value for money of this 3-star hotel set in an
outstanding location with easy access to city’s most popular tourist spots. We
are confident that the location, the international standards and team’s
friendliness will fit both the needs of leisure and business travellers.”

 

 Ibis Bangkok Riverside Standard Room

 

 

The hotel facilities include the standard ibis-specific
offer of 4am to noon breakfast to suit early birds and late risers, a relaxing
lobby bar and round-the-clock reception where hot and cold snacks as well as
drinks can be enjoyed anytime. The hotel offers a swimming pool, day-lit
meetings rooms with state-of–the-art equipment and a designated internet area.

 

The Ibis Bangkok Riverside’s Signature restaurant “TASTE”
features the very best in Thai and International dishes  Including International Buffet dinner on
Friday and Saturday evenings.

 

The Ibis Bangkok Riverside is only 5 minutes from the Thon
Buri BTS Skytrain station and a 10-minute drive from Sathorn Road.

 

>> To check rates and find additional information about this property check here: Ibis Bangkok Riverside Rates and Room

 

Pullman Hotels Vietnam Expansion Grows with an Additional Two Hotels Signed

Pullman Hotels have further added to their
expansion plans in Vietnam with the announcement of an additional two hotels signed
up for Danang and Haiphong.

 

The two new 5 Star Pullman hotels  to be added to the growning list of hotels for
the Accor group and Pullman hotels will be the Pullman Danang Beach and Pullman
Hai Phong Flamboyant Island Resort.

 

The first Pullman Hotels are expected to open
in Vietnam from 2011 with the
Pullman Vung Tau, Pullman Danang Beach and Pullman
Hanoi Horison and then the Pullman Saigon Centre and Pullman Hai Phong
Flamboyant Island Resort set to open in 2013.

 

The full media
release from Accor Group – Pullman Hotels can be read below:

 

Two new Pullman
hotels signed for Danang and Haiphong in Vietnam

 

Announcing two newly signed projects – Pullman Danang Beach and Pullman
Hai Phong Flamboyant Island Resort

 

A total of five Pullman hotels will be operating in the country by 2013

 

Bangkok, September 23, 2010 Accor, the largest international hotel operator in
Vietnam, announced today two new developments for its 5-star Pullman hotel
brand – Pullman Danang Beach and
Pullman Hai Phong Flamboyant Island
Resort
.

 

“With sustained economic growth and significant
investment in infrastructure leading to increased volumes for business travel
and continued international and domestic leisure travel strength, opportunities
continue for quality upscale hotel developments in Vietnam.”
says Patrick Basset, Vice President of
Operations for Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan and South Korea.
  “We are delighted to announce these two new
hotels in Danang and Hai Phong and excited about the prospects for the Pullman
brand in Vietnam.”
added Mr. Basset.

 

Accor has
commitments to develop five Pullman hotels in Vietnam: Pullman Vung Tau,
Pullman Danang Beach and Pullman Hanoi Horison are scheduled to open in 2011;
and Pullman Saigon Centre and Pullman Hai Phong Flamboyant Island Resort are
due to open in 2013.

 

Pullman Danang Beach

 

Due to open in mid 2011 and
located on the beach front.  The hotel will feature 207 guest rooms, 4
restaurants and extensive leisure facilities including three swimming
pools.  The city of Danang attracts tourists from Vietnam and abroad and
is renowned for having one of the worlds top ten beaches. This hotel will be
the debut of the Pullman brand in Vietnam.

 

 

 

Pullman Hai
Phong Flamboyant Island Resort

 

Located in the
Do Son district of Hai Phong, Vietnam’s most important northern seaport. It was
the entertainment and recreation centre for the country’s elite in the past and
with the new development is set to regain its former image. Flamboyant Island
lies in Van Huong Bay, which has been a famous port for ships to shelter in
during storms. The 300-room hotel will have three restaurants, two bars, a
ballroom, meeting rooms, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, an entertainment
centre, spa and an amphitheatre.

 

Flamboyant
Island is aptly named as the integrated resort and residential project is made
up of areas such as Apollo, Poseidon, Helios, Eros and Zeus, making the project
reminiscent of some of Dubai’s more adventurous projects.

 

 

 

 

Pullman Vung Tau

 

Will have 360 guest rooms, a
ballroom that can accommodate up to 500 guests, several smaller meeting rooms
with “Chill-out” zones, a business centre, gym, spa and a swimming pool. The
hotel will also provide an all-day dining restaurant, a specialty restaurant
and a lobby bar and lounge. Pullman Vung Tau is located adjacent the international
convention centre and a 5-minute walk to the beach.

 

 

 

 

Pullman Hanoi Horison

 

Located in the city centre and is
currently undergoing and extensive renovation and upgrade.  Once completed
this 250-room hotel will have significant event space accommodating up to 1,000
guests, whilst providing facilities such as outdoor swimming pool, a fitness
centre, restaurant, lobby and pool side bars. With an extensive range of
tailored services to accommodate meetings and seminars, Pullman Hanoi Horison will
entice business travelers and events visiting the nation’s capital.

 

 

 

 

Pullman Saigon
Centre

 

A 290-room newly
constructed upscale hotel with contemporary architecture and chic interiors
will be located in District One of Ho Chi Minh City. Once completed, Pullman
Saigon Centre will comprise of 1,500 sqm of ballroom and meeting facilities,
two restaurants, a bar, an outdoor swimming pool, business centre and fitness
facility.

 

 

Air France A380 Japan First Flight Touches Down

The first ever Air France
A380 Flight into Tokyo Japan touched down for the first time today, operating
under flight number AF 276 the flight touched left CDG terminal 2E at 13:30 and
touched down at Tokyo Narita at 08:10 local time.

 

The return flight back to
Paris will operate under flight number AF 276 and is scheduled to leave at
11:50 hrs with arrival at Paris Charles de Gaulle terminal 2E at 17:15 hrs

 

Narita Japan is the third
port which Air France has introduced the A380 into, Air France has a total of order
12 Airbus A380 aircraft with another 8 to be delivered.

 

The Air France A380 is a 538 seats three classes (La Première (First), with
9 seats on the main deck, Affaires (Business), with 80 seats on the upper deck,
and Voyageur (Economy), with 449 seats) Aircraft.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The full media release from Air France can be read below:

 

 

 

Wednesday 1
September 2010

 

Today,
Wednesday 1 September 2010, Air France’s Airbus A380 served the Paris-Tokyo
route for the very first time, making Tokyo the first destination in Asia to be
served by the airline’s Super jumbo. The aircraft with registration number
F-HPJD, Air France’s fourth A380, took off early in the afternoon from
Paris-CDG north runway eastbound, and will land at Tokyo-Narita at 08:10 local
time, tomorrow morning.

 

The A380
flight schedule on the Paris – Tokyo route:

– Paris-Tokyo:

AF 276, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays; flights will be daily starting 4
October 2010.
Flight departs from terminal 2E at 13:30, and arrives at 08:10 the following
day

 

– Tokyo-Paris:

AF 275, on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays; flights will be daily starting 5
October 2010
Flight departs at 11:50 and arrives at Paris-Charles de Gaulle 2E at 17:15

 

Paris-Tokyo
is Air France’s 3rd route served by A380, following Paris-New York in 2009 and
Paris-Johannesburg in February 2010. Thanks to the A380, Air France is
rationalizing frequencies on these busy routes by combining two flights leaving
at close departure times, while still offering the same number of seats and
reducing costs by 20%. The A380’s main deck is the same size as a Boeing
777-200 and the upper deck is the same size as an Airbus A340-300.

 

Air France’s
A380 is equipped with 538 seats in three cabin classes – La Première (First),
with 9 seats on the main deck, Affaires (Business), with 80 seats on the upper
deck, and Voyageur (Economy), with 449 seats divided between the two decks.

 

The A380 is
the world’s most environmentally-friendly aircraft – with less than 75 grams of
CO2 produced per passenger per kilometre –
and the quietest in its category. Its spacious cabin offers passengers
additional comfort. On board this aircraft, Air France has introduced changing
lighting moods adapted to the various stages of the flight, meeting points and
relaxation areas, as well as a completely new in-flight entertainment system
with wider screens.

 

Air France
has ordered twelve A380s, four of which have already been delivered.

 

In winter
2010, Air France and KLM will operate 52 weekly return flights between Paris,
Amsterdam and Japan:

– to and
from Tokyo-Narita : 31 flights, including 21 AF flights (of which 7 operated by
JAL on a code-share basis) and 10 KLM flights;

– to and
from Tokyo-Haneda: 7 AF flights operated by JAL on a code-share basis, starting
31 October 2010 ;

– to and
from Osaka-Kansai : 14 flights, including 7 AF flights and 7 KLM flights.

 

With this
large number of flights, Air France and KLM offer passengers a wide choice of
departure times both ways with daily flights leaving both in the morning,
afternoon and evening.

Ritz-Carlton Shanghai Pudong to open 21 June

The Ritz-Carlton hotel group have announced they they will open their second Shanghai property in Pudong on 21 June 2010, that will feature 285 rooms.

 

 

 

 

The full media release from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Group can be read below:

 

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company L.L.C. Opens its
Second Hotel in Shanghai, The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong on June 21

 

SHANGHAI,
CHINA – The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, opening on June 21, will be the
luxury hotel brand’s second property in the city, and its seventh in China.
Located in Shanghai ifc, the prime real estate in Lujiazui financial trade
zone, the hotel and development is the work of architect Cesar Pelli.

 

“The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai,
Pudong is an integral feature of Shanghai ifc, developed by Sun Hung Kai
Properties, one of Asia’s leading property developers, with proven excellence
in creating world-class mixed-use developments incorporating luxury retail,
office, residential and hotels, as the company’s IFC and ICC in Hong Kong have
demonstrated. It is a great honour for us to partner with Sun Hung Kai to build
and develop this iconic hotel in Shanghai,”
commented
Rainer Burkle, area vice president and general manager.

 

The 285-room
Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong is Shanghai’s ultimate destination for luxury and
style, and occupies the top 18 floors of the Shanghai ifc South Tower. Opening
in June during the World Expo, the design and style of the hotel is
contemporary, with hints of new interpretations of 1930’s Shanghai Art Deco.
This gives a great sense of place to the hotel as guest rooms and restaurants
embrace magnificent sweeping views over The Bund – the most intact collection
of Art Deco architecture anywhere in the world.

 

With
interior designs by Richard Farnell, The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong guest
rooms and suites range in size from 50 square meters (500 square feet) to 400
square meters (4,000 square feet), for the palatial Ritz-Carlton Suite and
Chairman Suite. There are three floors of Club accommodation, and each
club room enjoys access to the hotel’s stunning Club Lounge on the 49th level,
which will be open 24 hours a day.

 

This new
hotel will offer a host of exquisite luxury restaurants and a bar with
unrivalled views over The Bund and the Shanghai skyline. Restaurants include
Aura Lounge and Jazz Bar, Jin Xuan, the fine dining Chinese Restaurant designed
by Steve Leung; Scena Italian Restaurant and Flair Rooftop Restaurant and Bar,
both designed by the world famous Super Potato. Flair is Shanghai’s highest al
fresco dining and wining venue and is destined to be the unique new social
center of Pudong and the city. Featuring more than 2,500 square meters (25,000
square feet) of meeting and conference space on the third level, including a
1,135-square-metre (11,350 square feet) Grand Ballroom, the second largest
ballroom among the city’s luxury hotels, The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong can
accommodate large and small meetings and gatherings in sumptuous environment
with world-class technology and facilities underscored by The Ritz-Carlton
legendary service. All meeting space offers floor-to-ceiling windows and
natural daylight.

 

Located on
the hotel’s 55th floor, and occupying an area of more than 1,500 square meters
( 15,000 square feet), The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA features 10 treatment
rooms, including nine multi-function treatment rooms and a Harmony Suite where
two guests may relax and enjoy treatments together. The Ritz-Carlton Spa by
ESPA combines the essence of ancient and modern Chinese, Indian, European and
Balinese spa cultures and uses luxury ESPA products that harness the best of
nature’s essential oils, botanicals and marine supplements. The exquisite
collection of treatments represents complete care, personalization and the
ultimate in luxury.

 

A
diamond-like façade glittering with the vibrancy of the city, Shanghai ifc mall
also boasts opulent interiors framing the most stylish shopping environment and
housing hundreds of world-renowned international branded retails. Guests of The
Ritz Carlton will enjoy direct access to this world leading lifestyle landmark.

 

“As Shanghai has been experiencing exponential
growth and many multi-national companies have opened in Pudong, we find it
strategically viable for The Ritz-Carlton to be located on both sides of
Huangpu River,”
Burkle explained.While The Ritz-Carlton Portman, Shanghai at Puxi has established its
name over the past decade as the most preferred luxury hotel in the city, I
have no doubt that The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong will prove itself to be
another quintessential business and social centre for domestic and
international travelers alike.”

 

Mercure Beijing Downtown opens Accor’s 400th for the Asia Pacific

 

The Acccor hotel group has opened its 400th hotel in the Asia Pacific region with the opening of the Mercure Beijing Downtown Hotel in China. China already has 50 Mercure hotels in China making this a signifianct milestone for China the Asia Pacific and Accor.

 

 

 

 

 

The full media release from Accor and Mercure can be read below:

 

 

 

Accor opens its 400th hotel in Asia Pacific :
Mercure Beijing Downtown

 

A milestone
achievement

The Mercure
Beijing Downtown joins a network of 670 Mercure hotels in nearly 50 countries
and is one of the worlds largest brand networks. The hotel is the 99th Mercure
in Asia Pacific and will be joined by additional Mercure hotels in Lavasa and
Hyderabad in India during 2010. The hotel is the second Mercure hotel in
China’s capital.

 

Accor
commenced operations in the Asia Pacific Region in Singapore in 1982 and has
since extended the network throughout an additional 15 countries and to total
almost 80,000 hotel rooms. The first 100 hotels took 18 years to achieve and
since these early days, the momentum has accelerated significantly with 300
hotels being celebrated in late 2007 and now just two and a half years later
the 400th hotel milestone.

 

Mercure
Beijing Downtown

Mercure
Beijing Downtown is ideally located in the very heart of Beijing within easy
reach of surrounding office parks and tourist destinations such as Tiananmen
Square, Temple of Heaven, National Centre for the Performing Arts and a ten
minute walk to Dawang Road Metro Station on Subway Line 1.

 

The newly
built hotel is uniquely designed as a low rise development and with garden like
ambiance, providing comfortable respite to business and leisure travellers in
its 373 guest rooms.  Modern and individual, this international 4 star
hotel epitomises the Mercure Brand Values, blending the best of the cities
culture, with attentive services and contemporary facilities.

 

Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa named Worlds Most Desired

The newly opened Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa in Australia’s
Blue Mountains has been named the World’s most desired resort in the Recent
Australian Luxury Travel Gold List Awards 2010.

 

Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa opened in October 2009 and is
the world’s first hotel/resort to be certified carbon neutral by the World Greenhouse
Gas Certification Scheme.

 

 

 

The full media release from Emirates can be read below:

Australia’s first conservation-based luxury resort, Wolgan Valley Resort
& Spa, has been voted as the world’s most desired newly opened hotel/resort
at the prestigious Australian Luxury Travel Gold List 2010 Awards.

In its sixth consecutive year, Luxury Travel’s Gold List Awards received
a record-breaking number of votes from its Australian readers. The awards
nominate and recognise the world’s best luxury travel including cities, hotels,
boutique properties, spas, golf and family resorts.

Opened in October 2009, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa is the only resort
in recent history to receive permission to be built adjacent to a World
Heritage Area. Combining the expectations of the high-end traveller with a
commitment to broader social, ecological and environmental sustainability,
Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa is redefining what traditional luxury means to
travellers.

Joost Heymeijer, General Manager Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa
said:
““Wolgan Valley has
become an aspirational destination that is driven by an extraordinary location,
new luxury and outstanding conservation values. It is simply a unique and
unparalleled Australian experience.”

Located between two of Australia’s most prominent national parks and
bordering the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, Wolgan Valley was selected by
Emirates after an extensive research for a location that lent itself to
world-class conservation-based practices.  The secluded resort also
incorporates the ‘Timeless Spa’ branded facility offering guests world-class
spa treatments in a luxurious setting of commanding views of the spectacular
the valley below.

The resort has recently become the first hotel in the world to achieve
carbon neutral certification from an internationally accredited greenhouse gas
certification scheme. Wolgan Valley is also a proud member of Leading Hotels of
the World, the world’s largest luxury hospitality organisation, representing
more than 450 of the finest hotels, resorts and spas.

Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa Thailand Opens its Doors

Renaissance
has announce the opening of The Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa in Phuket
Thailand, the resort is the third property for the company in Vietnam 17 for
the wider Marriott brand  and features 150
deluxe rooms, 4 one bedroom suites and 25 one bedroom suites with pools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The full
media release from Marriott Renaissance can be read below:

 

 

 

 

The
Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa opened this week off Mai Khao beach in the
northern Phuket island promising a boutique experience with distinctive luxury
and exceptional service.  The third Renaissance in Thailand, this new gem
is the ultimate escape for intimate vacations, executive retreats and romantic
honeymoons.  The 180-room resort opened under a long-term management
agreement with Seacon Hotels & Resorts Company, Limited with Jason Nuell as
general manager and Joanne Chung as director of sales and marketing.

 

“In our unique portfolio of distinctive hotels,
this Phuket resort stands out like no other,”
said Tina Edmundson, senior vice
president lifestyle brands and Renaissance operations.
“Legendary Thai service combined with modern touches of luxury and
local architectural design offer unparalleled ambiance and style at one of the
world’s most desirable vacation spots.”

 

Located adjacent to Sirinath
Marine National Park, the Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa features an
impressive 17 kilometre stretch of unspoiled sandy beach.  Colors
incorporated in the hotel’s décor are inspired by natural surroundings
including the bright blue waters of the Andaman Sea, the glistening white sands
and the vibrant colored coral reefs. The hotel has 150 deluxe rooms, four
one-bedroom suites, 25 one bedroom villas with private pools and one oceanfront
three bedroom villa. 
 
In celebration of its opening, the Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa is
offering an introductory package for THB 5,555+++ (approximately $175) that
includes deluxe accommodations and complimentary American breakfast for two
adults.  A villa package starts at THB 8,888+++ (approximately $275) and
includes breakfast as well as free internet. This offer is valid through May
31, 2010.
 
The Renaissance Phuket Resort and Spa offers five restaurants that promise to
satisfy every palate. Seakram serves up hot, sour, salty and sweet dishes that
make up Thai cuisine. Located directly below Seakram is the Sand Box that
offers a fun and cool daytime hangout during the day and transforms into a
contemporary bar and barbecue restaurant in the evening.  From lobsters to
shrimps, fish to crabs, Phuket is a haven for seafood and Loca Vore features an
exquisite menu that highlights these fresh resources. Warm and inviting, the
Lounge is located in the heart of the hotel and offers quaint semi private
spaces to conduct social or business meetings while enjoying good food. Open
all day, Doppio is a modern and residential bake shop that offers deli items
accompanied by a variety of hot beverages offered in the cosmopolitan Espresso
and Leaf tea bar.

 

The resort offers numerous
relaxing treatments at the award winning Quan spa that features soothing bath
therapies, unwinding massages and various other refreshing body treatments.
Using fresh local ingredients that have wellness factors such as coconut, mango
and banana, Quan treatments give guests a unique and revitalizing tropical spa
experience.
 
While parents are relaxing at Quan, children can take advantage of the hotel’s
kids club that offers video games, reading corners and activity centers. 
Babysitting services are also available for families with infants. A fully
equipped fitness center has modern cardio machines and free weights along with
several fitness classes for those who enjoy an active lifestyle.
 
As the perfect destination wedding and events venue, the Renaissance Phuket
Resort and Spa has six meeting rooms totaling nearly 3,000 square feet, seating
160 people. High tech equipment along with certified planners guarantee
well-planned and successful events.

Renaissance
Phuket Resort and Spa participates in Marriott Rewards, the guest reward
program that allows it’s over 30 million members to earn points or airline
miles for each dollar spent during each stay.

 

Marriott announces opening of Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel

Marriott has announced the opening of the Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel; this spectacular 333 room luxury hotel is only the second Renaissance hotel for Thailand, with a third to open later this year in Phuket.


 Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel exterior


 


 


 


 


 


The full media release from Marriott can be read below:


 


 


 


 


Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel Sparkles as the Newest Gem in the City of Angels

 Towering over Bangkok’s premier shopping and business district, the 333-room Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel has opened under a management agreement with Maneeya Realty Company, Limited. The hotel is the second Renaissance Hotels property in Thailand, with a third property set to open in Phuket later this summer. Stefan Gruber is general manager and Julie Codus is director of sales and marketing of the new hotel. “Bangkok is such an exciting and vibrant metropolitan city and we are thrilled to bring Renaissance here,” said Tina Edmundson, senior vice president lifestyle brands and Renaissance operations. “The design and décor of every inch of this hotel has been hand-picked to reflect the graceful Thai influence in color and style while utilizing modern textures and lines.” In celebration of its opening, the Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel is offering a spectacular promotion that includes vouchers for current and future stays.  For THB 5,999 per night for a deluxe Room, guests will receive THB 1,650 in voucher that is valid for services on property, including the various food and beverage outlets on property, spa visits, internet and more. In addition, guests will also receive a second THB 1,650 voucher that can be used for their next stay, between April 1 and October 15, 2010. This offer expires on 30 April 2010. Placing high value on design, all rooms feature marble tiled entrances, white oak floor and blond Tanganyika wood furniture. Infused with Southeast Asian style, guestrooms are classically designed in warm, vibrant colors and feature oversized windows and glass enclosed bathrooms. The most distinct feature throughout the hotel is the Cassia Fistula motif, Thailand’s national flower. The image is etched in a multitude of colors and textures from color coated glass and carved leather to engraved stone and Italian marble, giving the hotel a distinct and dazzling effect. The impressive glass architecture is brought to life at night as spotlights illuminate in hues of blue, yellow and red that makes the hotel glow from inside out, making its presence known in the bustling city. Presenting a variety of dining experiences, the Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel has four restaurants and three additional lounge areas. Flavors offers a mix of international and Thai cuisine while R Bar serves up tapas and fine wine. Fei Ya features mouthwatering roast duck and traditional Chinese cuisine and La Tavola highlights fresh seafood in its traditional Italian menu. For socializing and relaxation, Azure Lounge is an easy-listening champagne bar that offers light snacks and classic cocktails. H2O is a sleek and modern pool bar that offers unmatched views of the capital city. A club lounge is also available on the 21st floor for executive level guests.  Located on the hotel’s top floor, Quan spa offers the ultimate relaxation haven with five individual treatment rooms on a split level overlooking the pool and impressive Bangkok skyline.  A special Thai massage room offers customized pajamas for guests to put on during treatment which they can take home afterwards. A social noise proof zone allows patrons to hold spa parties while listening to their own iPod play lists and being pampered by Quan therapists. Poised to be a popular venue for social events and business gatherings due to its ideal location, the hotel offers 11 meeting rooms complete with reception areas, open kitchens and a large landscaped terrace that allows meeting participants to step out into the open air during breaks. The ballroom with state of the art light and sound equipment is nearly 7,000 square feet with 3,000 square feet of additional pre-function space. Local artwork lines the ballroom area that combines clean lines, contemporary design and simple forms. The high ceilings and spectacular chandeliers create ambiance and mood for all function types.   Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel participates in Marriott Rewards, the guest reward program that allows its over 30 million members to earn points or airline miles for each dollar spent during each stay.

10 Best Luxury Hotels Asia

It’s your
hotel that can either make or break any trip, turning a mediocre day into a fantastic
night or at the other end turning a great day into a horrific night, Asia is no
exception with its fair share of fantastic and dare I say not so great hotels.

 

Which is why
the team here at Asia Travel Magazine decided to compile a list of the 10 Best
Luxury Hotels in Asia, so you can be assured your hotel won’t be what spoils
your next holiday to Asia.

 

Shangri-La Hotel Singapore

 

 

 

The Shangri La Hotel Singapore, now
this is the hotel that foreign Heads of State & dignitaries chose to stay
when they are in Singapore, they don’t just stay because the Shangri-la is the
most secure hotel on the Island it’s also the service and attention to detail which
the Shangri-La is world famous for and in our books makes it number 1
Singapore.

 

On entry to the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
you will be awe struck by the main lobby this theme continues throughout the
entire hotel.

 

Those in the know who only want
the best book a room in the exclusive Shangri-La Valley Wing.

 

 

Mandarin Oriental
Hong Kong

 

 

Since opening in 1963 the Mandarin Oriental
Hong Kong has been synonymous with luxury & style, this still holds true
today, mind you the hotel has gone thru a renovation in recent years which has
made it even better.

A highly recommended stay in Hong Kong! Our
favourite rooms at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong are the Harbour View Rooms
for a standard room, for a Suite the Deluxe Oriental Suite is great, but for
pure indulgence the Mandarin Suite is number one!

 

Peninsula Hotel Tokyo Japan

 

The
Peninsula Hotel Tokyo is a relatively new Luxury hotel located in Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo, and can be considered the ultimate in state of the art luxury; each room
tastefully incorporates technology which will make your stay enjoyable.

 

The
ultimate room at the Peninsula Hotel Tokyo is the Peninsula Suite which has
wide sweeping views Hibiya Park and the Imperial palace gardens.

 

 

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok

 

Just as
the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong above the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is a Luxury
hotel which should need no introduction with over 130 years of tradition the
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is one of the best that Thailand & Asia has to
offer. Situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River the views and atmosphere
should not be missed.

 

This
hotel is the choice of the rich and famous not to mention heads of state.

 

Our
favourite rooms at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is the Mandarin Room, for a great
suite the  Executive Suite is great value
for money,  but if money is no object the
Royal Oriental Suite should be your first choice.

 

 

The Peninsula Hotel Bangkok
Thailand

 

Another great Thai hotel set spectacularly on
the bank of the Chao Phraya river, this 5 star hotel with the lot, has awesome
views tip top service & some of the most luxurious outfitted rooms we have
seen in Asia. It’s for these reasons The Peninsula Bangkok makes it on the list
of the 10 Best Luxury hotels Asia

We recommend the Grand Deluxe Room which has
spectacular panoramic views, but the best room in the house is The Peninsula
Suite which is extravagance on a huge scale, with the rooms easy access to the
hotels helipad

 

Four Seasons
Chang Mai Thailand

 

The first thing which comes to mind every
time I visit the Four Seasons Chang Mai, is tranquillity with a whole lot of
luxury thrown in.

The four seasons Chang Mai set among the rice
fields & mountains of the Mae Rim Valley a stay here is truly one of the
most unique luxury hotel experiences to be had in Asia.

For extreme luxury Asia Travel Magazine
recommends one of the private residence rentals with private plunge pool

 

Oberoi Udaivilas – Udaipur,
India

 

The Oberoi
Udaivilas in Udaipur India is consistently ranked one of the best luxury hotels
in Asia if not the world and we agree, from the moment you enter you are
treated like a king or queen.

The
attention to detail and service provided by staff is simply breathtaking, for
some this service is hard to get used to!

 

Sofitel
Metropole – Hanoi, Vietnam

The Sofitel Metropole Hanoi is truly a little
piece of France in Hanoi, the French influence might have something to do with
the fact the hotel was built in 1901 which is smack bang in the middle of the
100 year French occupation of Vietnam. If there is one thing the French did
right in Vietnam it’s this hotel.

It’s the style the service and the staff that
make the Sofitel Metrople Hanoi the best Luxury hotel in Vietnam, East meets
West its best!

To experience the true history of this hotel book
a Luxury room in the Historical Wing, for those that love all the mod cons the
grand premium room in the opera wing is a must

 

St. Regis
Shanghai China

The St. Regis Shanghai is a premier luxury
hotel in the center of Pudong that yearly wins many of the top Luxury hotel
awards. Our view on this hotel is that it’s hard to beat, fantastic service
& great facilities

Our favourite room at this hotel is the
Executive Deluxe room, for a suite either the Shanghai or Beijing Suites or for
the extravagant the Imperial Suite.

 

Pudong
Shangri-la Shanghai

 

The Pudong Shangri-La Shanghai China is an
ultra modern luxury hotel in the heart of Pudong, what we love most about this
hotel is the top notch service that the Shangri-La is renowned for, this
together with the most luxurious interior & rooms, puts the Pudong
Shangri-La Shanghai at the top of the pile of hotels we would stay at in China.

If you want a great experience we recommend a
Bund view horizon club room or suite, but for extreme luxury and indulgence we
can’t highly recommend the Shanghai Suite enough

 

Vietnamese Food Guide – The Food to try on a Trip to Vietnam

For
the majority of International travellers, trying food from a different country
or culture is one of the most exciting aspects of visiting a different country and
Vietnam is no exception, Just remember to be adventures and write down the names
of the food you like, so you can order it on your return home!!

 

Vietnamese
food is a one of the most delicious styles of food in Asia if not the world, its
style and taste shares slight similarities with its near neighbours (China,
Thailand, and Cambodia) yet the food of Vietnam is distinct and original.
Unsurprisingly French cooking has much influence on the food and cuisine of Vietnam,
which is most apparent in the countries outstanding breads.

 

So
what are the foods Asia Travel Magazine recommends trying on a trip to Vietnam?

 

Pho
Vietnamese Noodle Soup
– This is perhaps the most popular & famous
Vietnamese Dish of all time. You can try two main types of Pho, the first and
most popular is Pho Bo (Beef) with the other being the chicken variety Pho Ga.
Pho is made with rice noodles and the dish is always served with a plate of
fresh mints, bean sprouts and lime, along with Hoi sin Sauce & Nuoc mum
(Fish sauce).

 

Pho
originates from Northern Vietnam and is usually eaten for breakfast; however
you can pick up a bowl at any time of the day or night.

 

If
you are a little adventurous ask for a Pho Bo Dac Biet, Dac Biet is the
Vietnamese word for Special, and you will usually get beef tendon, Beef Flank
& Beef tripe.

 

 

Banh
Xeo

– Crispy Vietnamese Pancake with pork & prawn (shrimp)

 

Banh
Xeo is a crispy rice flour pan cake filled with pieces of pork, school prawns
& bean sprouts, which when cooked and crispy is folded in half and is about
the size of a large plate (I have seen them bigger). To eat tear off a piece of
Banh Xeo and wrap in Vietnamese Lettuce leaf along with fresh mints, then dip
in Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese dipping sauce) 

 

Banh
Xeo is not very well known in the west, yet everyone I have ever suggested it
to or made it for has absolutely loved it. As with most Vietnamese dishes Banh
Xeo is quite simple yet bursting with freshness and flavour. Banh Xeo is highly
recommended, if you visit Vietnam without trying you are simply missing out.

 

In
Saigon’s district 1,
Dinh Cong
Trang
Street
specialises in Banh Xeo, Asia Travel Magazine recommends heading straight the
restaurant named
Bánh Xèo 46a,
at 46A Dinh
Cong Trang.

 

 

 

Bun
Bo Hue

– Spicy Vietnamese Noodle Soup 

 

As
the name suggests this dish originally heralds from the imperial city of Hue in
central Vietnam. Bun Bo Hue is made from Pork broth & served with
Vietnamese sate sauce (Dried chilly & oil mixture) along with beef meat,
and noodles. Even though this is referred to as Spicy Vietnamese soup I
generally find it is far from spicy, so it is normally up to you to add additional
chilli and/or sate sauce at the table if you like it hot.

 

As
with Pho and most other soup dishes Bun
Bo Hue
is served with a side plate of fresh herbs/mints & bean sprouts
which are added to your bowl prior to eating.

 

 

 

 

Nem
Nuong

– Grilled/BBQ Pork Balls Wrapped in rice paper with mints

 

Nem
Nuong is made from a mixture of pork mince and various spices then grilled/BBQed
 on bamboo skewers. To eat put one or two
Nem Nuong balls on a sheet of moist rice paper, along with fresh mints, lettuce,
Cucumber & vermicelli, wrap the rice paper and dip in Vietnamese dipping
sauce. 

 

I
was introduced to Nem Noung at An Ngon Restaurant in Saigon on my first trip to
Vietnam,
and it became an instant favourite of mine. It was so good that I returned to
An Ngon several times before the end of that trip, and have always make the
point of returning on each trip since. 

 

Lau – Vietnamese Hot
Pot

If
you ever go out for lunch or dinner with Vietnamese this is always on the menu,
and will usually be a Fish or seafood hot pot (but you can get beef &
chicken). As the hot pot slowly cooks away at your table add more seafood and
fresh mints & vegetables.

 

 

 

Cha
Gio

– Vietnamese fried Spring Rolls are very similar to Chinese spring rolls;
however some of the ingredients are different. Cha Gio is normally made out of
pork & prawn mince with the addition of Black Fungus (a type of mushroom)
& shredded taro.

 

Cha
Gio can be eaten alone (with Vietnamese dipping sauce) but more often than not
is eaten in a bowl with Vermicelli noodles mints & Vietnamese fish sauce
(similar to the dish below)    

 

Bun
Thit Nuong/Bun Dac Biet –
Bun Tit Nuong/Bun Dac Bit is
a rice noodle dish, which is served with various meats along with the
obligatory fresh mints and famous Nuoc Mam Cham (Vietnamese fish sauce)

 

 

 

 

Chao
Tom –
Prawn
(Shrimp) paste grilled on a sugar Cane stick

 

Chao
Tom is similar to Nem Nuong in that the cooked Chao Tom is usually wrapped in rice
paper and eaten with mints however the main difference is that Chao Tom is made
from Prawn (Shrimp) and cooked on a sugar cane stick. For eating take the meat
off the sugar cane stick & place on a piece of moist rice paper with fresh
mints, lettuce, cucumber, finally roll & dip in that wonderful Vietnamese
dipping sauce.  

 

Bun
Rieu

  A pork soup base soup with prawn’s
& shrimp paste, Bun rieu is severed with rice noodles and usually also
contains pieces of tofu & tomato. Like I have mentioned for other dishes
you also get a plate of herbs/mints & bean sprouts, which are added to the
bowl prior to eating.

 

 

 

 

Banh
Cuon

– Large rolled rice noodle sheets filled with pork mince, black fungus (a type
of mushroom)  Severed with fresh mints
and Nouc Mam (a Vietnamese Fish sauce with chilli garlic, lime, sugar) Sliced
Vietnamese ham (Cha Lua) is also mixed amongst the Rolled Rice paper sheets.

 

Canh
Chua –
Hot & Sour (a little sweet also) Fish Soup,
cooked with tomato pieces, pineapple & Okra. The sour flavour usually comes
from tamarind, this soup is severed with fine vermicelli rice noodles along
with the standard plate of fresh mints & bean sprouts.

 

 

 

Banh
Mi Thit

– Vietnamese Bread roll with sliced Vietnamese ham (Cha Lua), Roast Pork, pate
and vegetables

 

Banh
Mi is the Vietnamese take on a French Baggett, add Thit (meat) to Banh Mi and
you get Banh Mi Thit, a Vietnamese bread roll (Baguette) with Vietnamese ham, roast
pork, pate & vegetables.

 

The
plan Vietnamese Roll (Banh Mi) is also served with the Vietnamese stew/curry
dish Bo Kho.

 

 

 

 

This
is by no means a complete list of Vietnamese dishes, I could go on for pages,
and I am sure I have left out a few of my other favourites.

 

Below
are some great sites & blogs about Vietnamese Food & Cooking

 

Top Saigon Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam Shopping Experiences

In the planning stages you would not expect Saigon Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam to be a top shopping destination, but on arrival visitors surprisingly find the opposite, a shopper’s paradise.

With hindsight it’s actually not that difficult to see why Saigon is a haven for shopaholics, just look at the the ground level of most houses on any major street, all setup to sell everything from shoes and clothing to food and alcohol, and then there are the numerous markets scattered throughout this huge metropolis, with this variety and competition, you will be sure to find what you want at a great price, with a little bargaining.

If up market & brand name labels are more you’re your style, then Dong Khoi Street in district one won’t disappoint with the like of Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci, Saigon Ho Chi Minh City truly a shopping experience for just about every taste and budget, so let’s look at the must do shopping experiences on a holiday to Vietnam.

Top Saigon Shopping experiences

Ben Thanh Market – Number one on any trip to Saigon Vietnam should be the historic Ben Thanh Market; located in District one, this market once the main market for locals is now focused squarely at the countries ever expanding international visitors, shoppers still get a feel for how the market was pre 1990 when Vietnam opened its doors to the west and international tourists. The variety of items for sale at Ben Thanh market is quite staggering with the sale of everything from Clothing, fabrics, cosmetics, fake Rolex and coffee thru to fruit vegetables and live animals.

Some facts about: Ben Thanh market dates back to the 17th century when it was an uncovered muddy market located near the Saigon wharf (Ben) and the Turtle Citadel (Quy Thanh) Ben Thanh Market has moved and been rebuilt twice with its current location/building being opened in March 1914, the buildings landmark clock tower is the symbol of Saigon

 

As mentioned Dong Khoi Street is the place to go for top quality brand labels, and is well worth a visit for a look even if this type of shopping is not your style, Dong Khoi street also houses some quality Vietnamese art and craft shops, Dong Khoi and the area around is also home to some of Saigon’s most trendy Café and nightclubs.

District 1 in Saigon houses three major department stores

Diamond Plaza – The most popular shopping mall is Diamond plaza which has a good rang of quality designer clothing, fragrances and electronics, with a Cinema, Pizza Hut and Bowling alley on the upper floors.

Diamond Plaza Saigon Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam Shopping

Saigon Tax Trade Center – Sitting on the corner of Nguyen Hue and Le Loi Street is the Saigon Tax trade center, the ground floor mostly specializes is locally made gold and silver jewelry, throughout the store sells great quality locally and overseas made clothing, shoes, cosmetics and tourist souvenirs. Of special note is the 3rd floor where you will find a seller of pirated DVDs along with a reasonable sized supermarket selling a great selection of local and imported foods from around the world.  

Parkson Department Store – Parkson  Department Store which opened its doors in 2005 is different from the two before mentioned,  as the entire store is owned operated entirely by Parkson, and they sell more of the big ticket items such as plasma TVs, and white goods, along with the usual clothing, cosmetics,  great for a look if you have the time.

Shopping outside district 1

An Dong Wholesale Market – (Near China Town) Shoppers are presented with an overwhelming choice, of clothes fabrics, jewelry and food, but with an emphasis on clothing and fabrics. Even though this is a wholesale market store holders are happy to sell to the public and international travelers,  fewer tourists frequent An Dong because it’s a little further away and not as well known as Ben Thanh, for this fact it’s a great opportunity to see a local Vietnamese market in action. The ground level of An Dong specializes in mainly gold jewelry, and food, with the upper levels of the market selling clothing and home items.  

Binh Tay in Cho Lon (China Town) – Nearly every major city in the world has a china town and Saigon is no different, and Cho Lon District is Saigon’s China Town, with the huge Binh Tay wholesale market at its focal point which is bigger than Ben Thanh, and just like An Dong above sellers are happy to sell to everyone. Binh Tay has a huge array of items imported from China (as you can imagine) around the world along with locally made items.

Warning this market this market is not air-conditioned and not well ventilated so its recommend you get there early in the morning to beat the heat.  

Great things to buy in Saigon:

  • Ladies have a traditional Vietnamese Dress Ao Dai and other clothing tailor made
  • Vietnam is renowned for stunning quality lacqureware pictures, bowls, plates & drink coaster plus many other items that have both decorative and practical uses.
  • Vietnamese Art, Saigon Ho Chi Minh City is has many great traditional and modern art shops, from carvings, and rattan thru to stunning paintings.
  • Vietnam’s coffee is some of the best in the world, renowned for its unique flavor and richness, it’s no wonder the global coffee giant Nestlé reportedly buys a third of the country’s entire coffee export. When purchasing your coffee also get yourself a coffee grinder and a Stainless Steel coffee filter.
  • Shoes and Handbags, All women love their shoes and hand bags and Vietnamese women are no different, so you will find an enormous range and variety of shoes and handbags, from reasonable quality brand name rip offs thru to original Vietnamese designed masterpieces.
  • Men have a casual or business suite made; Vietnams tailors are some of the most skilled in the world and importantly cheap.

  • You can get some very cheap yet practice tourist items, nearly every trip I do to Vietnam I always buy a dozen or so fold up wooden business card holders, they are cheap and compact, friends and business acquaintances love them.

Shopping in Vietnam Saigon Vietnamese Lacquerware

 

 

 Shopping in Saigon Ho Chi Minh City Vietnamese Coffee

Tips for shopping and bargaining in Vietnam

  • If the item does not have a price tag, the price is nearly always negotiable.
  • When negotiating a price, knock at least three quarters off the top.
  • If negotiations are getting you nowhere start to walk, you will be amazed by the number of sellers that will agree on your price while you are walking away.
  • Vietnam has recently changed from paper to polymer (plastic) bank notes, and some of the notes look very similar because of their color, for example the 20,000 Dong note looks very similar to the 200,000 dong note and the same goes for the  50,000 and 500,000 dong notes. So It always pays to double check before handing over any money and also when receiving change.

Asia Travel Magazine would like to hear your questions and Saigon Ho Chi Minh City & Vietnam Shopping experiences, why not leave a comment or question below!

Ho Chi Minh City Saigon Travel and Hotel Guide

Ho Chi Minh City Saigon Travel and Hotel Guide – Ho Chi Minh City the former Saigon with its 8 million population, at first sight it’s a great destination for the young with its bustling streets and fast paced lifestyle, but looking deeper into Saigon it offers more than just a cheap getaway for young backpackers.

On arrival in Saigon the first thing you notice is the traffic, lots of motorbikes weaving in and out around your taxi, this is Saigon and its people going about their everyday life, and it is what makes Saigon one of the most exciting places to visit in all of south east Asia.

Ho Chi Minh City Saigon is truly the Paris of the east, during the 100 year rule of the French, Vietnam and its people took on and kept a lot of French culture, which makes Vietnam and Saigon quite unique for the part of the world. From the great bread, cakes, coffee and cafe’s thru to the superb French architecture it’s easy to experience the French side of Saigon just do as the locals do, Saturday morning go out to one of the thousands of cafe’s that are found everywhere in this great city, follow this up with a Vietnamese Baggett (Bánh Mì) filled with Vietnamese ham, pate, carrot, and cucumber, then wonder around district one admiring the inspiring French architecture.

If shopping is your thing, you won’t be disappointed, Saigon’s CBD District 1 has many name brand boutiques, but if it’s a bargain you are looking for the entire city is jammed packed with Markets and shops, nearly every house with main road frontage is a shop selling anything from Shoes to detergent, and yes the prices are negotiable.

Just watching the people of Ho Chi Minh City Saigon go about their everyday life is an experience, Family’s of 5 all riding on the one motorbike, gracious girls in their beautiful Áo Dài riding their bike to school or university, street sellers selling lotto tickets, and the knock knock knock of the noodle knocker advertising their nearby approach for the order of fresh noodle soup. 

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Ho Chi Minh City Saigon

  • Drink Vietnamese Coffee in Vietnamese coffee shop (Cà Phê Sữa Đá for the famous Iced coffee Cà Phê Đá for Cold Black coffe with sugar, Cafe Sữa Hot White coffee) 
  • Shopping in District 1 at Bến Thành Market, or Chợ Lớn District (China Town)
  • For Families Visit Đầm Sen, Suối Tiên or Saigon Water park, to cool down from from Saigon’s heat
  • Take a one day trip to the Củ Chi Tunnels, the famous tunnels the North Vietnamese used for the movement of troops and supplies into South Vietnam
  • Girls and Ladies have a traditional Vietnamese Dress (Áo Dài) Taylor made
  • Vietnamese Food try a traditional Phở Bò (Vietnamese Beef Noodle soup) or Bánh Xèo (Vietnamese pan cake wrapped in Lettuce) at Bánh Xèo 46a 46a Đinh Công Tráng Street, district 1 (near Tân Định church)
  • Visit Ho Chi Minh City Saigon’s Reunification Palace (Former Presidential Palace)
  • Take a ride on a Cyclo – Xích Lô (Important Negotiate a price before you get on) or the Back of motorbike (Xe Ôm) to experience traffic as the locals do.
  • Drink the local Bia (Beer) Ba Ba Ba (333) Saigon Bia or rice wine (Rượu Đế)
  • Pluck up the courage to cross a busy Saigon Street, its easy wait for a less traffic or small break step out from the kerb and walk at an even pace across the road, the locals will ride around you, they do it every day.  Better still sit near a busy intersection and watch other new tourists crossing the road.
  • Sample some of the many exotic fruits this great city has to offer, fruits include, Durian, Mango, Mangosteen, Jackfruit, Papaya, Lyches, Rambutan, logan

Food and Dining

If food is your thing then Ho Chi Minh City Saigon is for you, the city is jam packed with great and cheap places to eat. Some of my favirotes include:

 

Quán Ăn Ngon Restaurant (District 1 across from entry to Presidential Palace)
138 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia District 1
Phone: (+84 8) 829 9449
Price: Cheap but delicious.
The word Ngon means delicious and as the name suggests the food here is delicious, (P.S  I come to this restaurant every time I come travel to Saigon, I think my first trip to Saigon I visited Quán Ăn Ngon 6-8 times)

Bánh Xèo 46a
46A Dinh Cong Trang District 1
Phone: (+84 8) 824 1110
Price: Cheap a great experience
Serves Bánh Xèo a Crispy Vietnamese Pancake filled with Prawns (Tôm) Pork (Heo) and Bean sprouts, tear off a piece of pan cake and wrap in leatuce leafe filled with Vietnamese mints, Thai Basil and dip in Nước Mấm (Vietnamese dipping sauce)

Hội An Restaurant
11 Le  Thanh Ton District 1
Phone: (+84 8) 822 9783
Price: Medium-High
Experience Imperial Hue dishes, in a royal atmosphere

Getting around

Saigon is an easy and cheap place to get around, if you want to do it on foot, get yourself a cheap map from one of District 1’s bookshops, taxis are cheap but if you want to go into one of the surburan districts are a little slow as they get stuck in traffic. To get somewhere faster, go on the back of a motorbike Xe Ôm (Xe meaning motorbike and Ôm meaning Hold on).

Note there are many fake taxis in Saigon, I recommend getting into only new looking, taxis of a known company, companies include Mai Linh, Vinasun, Saigon Taxi, etc, etc. Before you the driver drives off ensure the meter has been turned on and only pay the amount on the meter.
Hire a personal driver or minibus – for extended trips to the Mekong Củ Chi you might want to hire Minibus with and personal tour guide. A trip into Vĩnh Long on the Mekong will cost around $70 for a day.

Ho Chi Minh City Saigon Hotel Guide
Hotel wise Ho Chi Minh City Saigon caters for all budgets from cheap backpacker and budget/mini hotels up to five star International hotels.

Asia Travel Magazine’s top hotels in Ho Chi Minh City Saigon

Take a look at the following site for the best range and cheapest prices on hotels in Saigon Ho Chi Minh City, their prices blew us away, they compare the best online retailers to find you the cheapest rate:

Hotels Combined Cheapest Rates for Hotels in Saigon

Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers
88 Dong Khoi Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone (+84 8) 827 2828

Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers centrally located in Saigon’s District 1, is in the thick of Saigon’s most popular tourist destinations, with a short walk to Ben Thanh Market, Reunification Palace, and the Saigon Opera House, all rooms include Sheratons famous Sweet Sleeper, and are decked with all features and amenities you would expect from a Sheraton hotel including in-room safe, Broadband internet access and 24 hour room service.

Cheapest price online for Sheraton Towers & Hotel Saigon

Caravelle Hotel Ho Chi Minh City Saigon (Full Review coming soon)
19 Lam Son Square District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone: (+84 8) 3823 4999

The Caravelle Hotel originally built in 1959 by the French, has long been regarded as Saigon’s best and most prestigious hotel, with 334 room extending 24 floors into Saigon’s skyline. All rooms are decorated in fine style, that include creamy gold carpets and fluffy duvet’s. The hotel’s 9th signature floor that includes access to the signature lounge. All rooms include fax machines and broadband data connection for an additional cost.
For a nice drink at the end of a long day the 10 floor bar is well worth a visit, and has quite a lot of history it was a favourite hangout for journalists during the Vietnam War. 

Cheapest Price online for Caravelle Hotel Ho Chi Minh City Saigon

New World Hotel Ho Chi Minh City Saigon (Full Review coming soon)
76 Le Lai St., District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone (+84 8) 822 8888

Over looking Saigon’s famous Ben Thanh market, the New Wold is Saigon’s Largest hotel and is packed with facilities, that include tennis courts, swimming pool, golf driving range, jogging track and a children’s playground.

Cheapest Price online for the New World Hotel Ho Chi Minh City Saigon