Rex Hotel, Saigon - review by Rusty Compass
Ho Chi Minh City | hotels guide

Independent reviews and recommendations by Rusty Compass. No advertorial, no paid placements and no sponsored content.

Rex Hotel, Saigon

| 26 Jun 2017
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Map

Map
Rex Hotel, Saigon
141 Nguyen Hue Blvd., Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
+(84 8) 38292185

Map

Price guide: New wing rooms from US$120

Our rating
Location
Design
Ambience
People
Facilities
26 Jun 2017

Excellent central location. Some of the best and worst value hotel rooms in Saigon. Choose carefully. Good facilities - 2 pools. Overflowing with kitsch. Plenty of local character.

Note: The information provided in this review was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service

Review

The Rex is a sprawling complex over a large block in the centre of Saigon that has been developed in bits over the decades. Little effort has been made to blend the various wings and additions.

The location is excellent, the quirky design is fun if you're energetic and have a sense of humour. The best rooms in the newest wing are great for those wanting to indulge without breaking the bank. We reckon if you want to stay here, you might as well stay in some of the best rooms. Otherwise you might be better off elsewhere.

The Rex's place in the city's history is an added attraction as is the distinctly local design and atmosphere.


Ho Chi Minh City,hotels,Rex Hotel,Saigon,Vietnam
Photo: Mark BowyerRex Hotel, Premium Room - avoid the old wing

Design, ambience and people

Best to think of this place as two hotels - the original block and the new wing. Rooms in the old wing are dank, overpriced and scheduled for refurbishment.

At first glance, the new wing seems bizarre with its cavernous lobby bereft of human life. Still, the rooms are a welcome addition to the city's high end stock. Premium rooms may be the best combination of price and quality in town.

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Photo: Mark BowyerRex Hotel, Saigon Rex Hotel, Saigon

If you're feeling extravagant, the absurdly enormous Governor's Suites have superb views across the People's Committee building and the city and are often available at very reasonable prices (around US$200).

They're priced less than regular rooms in the city's other five star hotels but are enormous with views, and loads of natural light. With air conditioning and lights blazing  across vast spaces though, you'll need to manage the guilt of consuming power equivalent to a medium sized Vietnamese village.

Service at the Rex is friendly and natural but less efficient than the internationally managed five star hotels around town.


History

The Rex has been a Saigon icon since the early twentieth century although it only became a hotel after the Vietnam war ended in 1975. What began as the Saigon Garage developed into an entertainment and office centre in the 1960s and 70s. The US government had a special stake in the building housing the Abraham Lincoln Library, as well as the the US Information Service before 1975.

The building has two wartime claims to fame. It was the location of the increasingly delusional daily US military briefings known as the "five o'clock follies" where US officials would characterise progress in the war in terms of the "body count". Also, the rooftop bar, which still exists, was a favourite watering hotel for journalists, spooks and military brass. 

Always a barometer of change in the city, a large part of the hotel has recently been given over to high end shopping featuring international brands like Chanel.


Facilities brief:
Two large pools, restaurant, historic rooftop bar, free wifi, spa, fitness centre.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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