Recently I read a quote from a life coach who claimed most people spend more time planning their annual holiday than they do plotting their career path.
As I was about to scoff at such a ridiculous idea I caught myself. And remembered just how many hours I put into organising my trip to Cambodia and Vietnam earlier this year.
Call it procrastination, or over zealous planning, but I spent half a day when I should have been working on other things just looking at hotels in Saigon. Going through online booking sites, checking out their reviews, weighing up the pros and cons of their location and so on.
But those hours of playing (ahem, research) on the internet paid off in the end after I settled on a gorgeous Saigon boutique hotel called Villa Song.
Found in District Two, which is out of the bustling busyness of the city centre, and yet still close enough to get easily in and out of the main sights, Villa Song felt like a gorgeous oasis of calm.
Having just spent a week on the Mekong where I could look at water but couldn’t jump in, the sight of Villa Song’s pool was heaven. And it felt just as good too.
I loved design touches like the gorgeous staircase, and welcoming spots to curl up with a good book.
Villa Song has a restaurant that is open to hotel guests and other visitors, and where you can sit and watch the Saigon River flow by.
The food tended more towards the Italian than the Vietnamese, but as I was eating more traditional local dishes at every other turn, it was a nice change to tuck into a delicious pizza or salad. (And reasonable prices too – with the pizzas around 160,000 VND, which is about $7 US and salads 100,000 / $5).
And they also know how to make a delicious cocktail. It’s a lovely day when the hardest decision is whether to have another passionfruit mojito or to try their strawberry caipirinha. Also both around the 100,000 VND / $5 US mark.
Breakfast was included with the room, and hit the spot every time. Just the thing before heading out for a big day of sight seeing (and attempting to cross those Saigon roads!)
And after another stimulating and slightly exhausting day, I loved coming back to my room at Villa Song and relaxing.
The hotel has 24 guest rooms, including five suites. I was lucky enough to stay in one of the suites, which ran the length of the hotel. On my front balcony, I could see the river. From my back balcony, the pool.
The rooms are air conditioned with free Wifi and complimentary water. One of my favourite things was the free standing bath in the middle of the open plan bathroom.
I loved soaking in the tub with all of that space around. Though I’ll admit it wouldn’t really work unless you were travelling with a partner, or if you were like me and travelling solo. Or if you had one of those very open relationships and felt comfortable pottering around naked in front of family or friends.
But fear not, those travelling with friends or family, the shower was hidden from view from the rest of the room so you could still get nice and clean without flashing more flesh than you’d like.
As I mentioned earlier, Villa Song is in District Two which means it’s out of the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. But what I didn’t mention is how much fun it is to get into town and back.
The hotel puts on a complimentary speed boat which zips back and forth at set times every day. I loved stepping into the boat and seeing the city from the water as we sped along.
It only takes seven minutes to go by boat from Villa Song to the Central Pier in District One. Or if you prefer to go by land, you can also hop in a taxi, which takes around 20 minutes.
Escape the hustle and bustle and yet be close enough to dip in and out when you want to. It certainly worked for this traveller.