“To be loved by our guests”, is the mission of the Lotte Legend Hotel, says Mr Hide Ishiyama, General Manager. Legend is located in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (or as the locals prefer, Saigon). Eleven years old, the hotel is Legend by name and legendary by reputation, not to mention its fantastic location, right next to the Saigon River and in the heart of the tourist area, it is one of the very few, ‘truly’ five star hotels in Ho Chi Minh City.
On our arrival at Legend, gold framed glass doors open with welcoming Vietnamese smiles. The hotel lobby is an opulent sea of pink and cream marble with a water fountain centrepiece and two, magnificent, grand rearing black stallion statues which guard the bar and dining areas. “The horses”, said the hotel’s GM “were a favourite and passion of the original Japanese owner of the hotel.” Further legendary symbols like the stained glass zodiac motifs in the hotel’s blue and yellow ceiling and the gold phoenix next to the Chocolatier and Patissier display make this hotel unique in this busy, cosmopolitan Asian city.
When shown to our riverside room after a friendly and efficient check-in we did the important travellers test. The beds revealed a five star crisp, ‘white linen’ experience and the oversized pillows were completely seductive.
The bathroom was exceptionally clean with a washlet toilet (as found in most Japanese hotels). Later, to our pleasant surprise we found the toilet seat to be heated for that added comfort and just one of the little luxuries that makes this hotel stand out from the rest. The bathroom product range was extensive only to be exceeded by the large sumptuous white bath towels. Mr. Ishiyama, says he is very proud of his staff and his executive house keeper, with good reason.
Looking out to the panoramic view through the window of our 8th floor room we could see the energy and vitality of the city below. The road was filled with an army of motor bikes, cars and brave pedestrians testing their commitment to life as they tried their luck to cross the road.
We could almost reach out and touch the Saigon River. This river is no Venice of the East like the Chayo Prayer River in Bangkok, but still provides guests unique scenic value. Heavily laden barges slowly creep amongst the tourist dinner cruisers which have their party lights ablaze like a Hollywood set, while their passengers enjoy the neon accentuated views of Ho Chi Min City.
Next morning, the breakfast buffet, brimming with Asian and European choices, meant our perpetual diet would have to wait another day. The bright purple skinned dragonfruit with its white centre and studded with a profusion of tiny black seeds, added contrast to the array of other colourful tropical fruit selections such as bright orange papaya, a compote of yellow jackfruit, vibrant jumbo passionfruits and scarlet, sweet red watermelon.
The freshly carved, succulent gambon sat glistening under the light warmer next to the Asian soup bar where a small line of people selected the traditional Vietnamese Pho (beef noodle soup). Others chose such delights as the egg fried rice, fried noodles with vegetables, sea bass, pork medallions or visited the egg station to have eggs cooked to their personal taste. The bakery section was also a favourite with freshly-baked, crusty breads, croissants and pastries prepared daily in the hotel kitchens.
After breakfast a relax on the pool lounge beds was essential. Here we caught up on our emails using the hotel’s free Wi-Fi. Alternatively, hotel guests can relax with a soothing massage at Legend’s spa or use the hot tub and sauna facilities available. For the more fitness conscious there is a very well equipped modern gym.
The hotel’s pool is one of the biggest in any of the five star hotels in Saigon. Completely round and twenty meters in diameter, the crystal clear water is perfect for lap swimming or just floating around and cooling off in the sweltering mid morning sun.
Through the convenient rear entrance of the hotel you can easily make your way into the heart of District 1, the centre of Saigon. Within a short walking distance you will find a wide variety of shopping options such as Saigon Centre, Diamond Plaza and the ultra new Vincom high-end shopping complex. This is one of the largest shopping malls in Vietnam today and it has an excellent underground food court. Also close by are many historic buildings such as the city’s Opera House, Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, the famous Rex Hotel and the Bitexco Financial Tower with its 49th storey sky observation deck.
Legend Hotel is locally managed and family owned by the eldest son of the original owner who made his wealth as a confectionary maker in Kobe, Japan. This hotel, like the Legend’s hot chocolate served in the hotel’s cafe, is a thoroughly satisfying experience, reasonably priced and loved by its guests.
The Lotte Legend Hotel is 7 km or a 30-minute drive from Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Other dining options in the hotel include Crystal Jade Restaurant and Yoshino Japanese Restaurant.
2A-4A Ton Duc Thang Street
District 1, Ho Chi Minh City,
Tel : (84-8) 3823 3333
Fax : (84-8) 3823 2333
Winner 2014 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence
Winner of The Guide Awards 2009-10 For “It’s combination of natural beauty and sheer opulence offers the best option for the discerning traveler. A hotel of luxury and tranquility”.