The Common Room Project, Saigon - review by Rusty Compass
Ho Chi Minh City | hotels guide

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The Common Room Project, Saigon

| 11 May 2015
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The Common Room Project, Saigon
80/8 Nguyen Trai St., Ward 3, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City


Price guide: Rooms from around $60USD Beds from 15USD

Our rating
11 May 2015

The Common Room Project is something unique in Saigon - a mix of communal dorms and private rooms in a funky space crafted from a not so funky suburban Saigon home. For independent travellers with plenty of confidence in new surrounds.

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


The Common Room is located 5 - 10 minutes by taxi from downtown Saigon in District 5 - right by the Cho Lon, Chinatown area. It’s down a nondescript suburban lane off a major thoroughfare with plenty of local life - but well away from tourist hotels and restaurants.


Saigon’s been pretty slow to pick up on the changes sweeping accommodations the world over. Travellers are seeking more earthy and less formal accommodaton experiences - which is where The Common Room comes in. It’s more like staying in somebody’s home than in a hotel - more homeliness and fewer provided services. You’re expected to mostly take care of yourself - which is what guests here are looking for.

There are dorm beds and 5 private rooms with double beds over five floors in a converted suburban Saigon tall house that was likely built sometime over the past 10 - 15 years. These aren’t pretty houses but the Common Room Project have transformed it into a cool and cosy space.

The downstairs area is shared space - the communal table is a huge piece of polished timber. There’s also a communal kitchen. While some cooking is available to the guests, it’s assumed that most guests will get their own breakfast and do their own cooking.

Private rooms are nicely done and at 30sqm, are a comfortable size. All have windows but most look onto the neighbour's wall. Plenty of natural light gets through.

The higher floors have views across Saigon's suburban sprawl  Decor is restrained but tasteful. The owners are very proud of the handpicked mattresses and the bed linen.

Dorms are well thought out with custom bunk beds and are good value for money. The largest of the dorms have 14 beds.  Dorms are also be a good fit for family groups or other groups. They’re small enough that you could book one out completely.

The Common Room Project isn’t for everyone. The owners, American Vietnamese Hanh and Australian Vietnamese Austin have very deliberately created something with a special type of independent traveller in mind. They’re very quick to point out that this isn’t a backpacker dorm. They welcome travellers of all ages who are keen to embrace the communal living concept. The other travellers and the hosts are a big part of the experience. But you should be ready to look after yourself.  

For those with an independent streak looking for a cool urban space with atmosphere, friendly staff and interesting owners, The Common Room is well worth a look.

Free wifi, kitchen- no TV, no reception.

Rusty Compass reviews are always independent. We received no inducement financial or otherwise to publish this review. We did not stay at The Common Room Project but we conducted a full inspection.

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