Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City, is known as the Southern capital of Vietnam and is a ‘must visit’ location when exploring South East Asia. It’s a fast growing, bustling and energetic hub of activity with shops, restaurants, iconic sights and some of the country’s busiest traffic that will leave you transfixed. Development is happening all around the city with new building projects, new hotel openings and and a new transport system well underway, but how is the city keeping up with a new trend in travel by catering well for vegan guests?
Elsewhere in the world, veganism and interest in the vegan lifestyle is on the rise and there is a growing market for vegan products in Saigon, but are luxury hotels in the city adapting their service for those who choose to cut out animal products from their diet and other areas of life? These 4 vegan friendly luxury hotels in Saigon certainly are adapting, and have been leading the way in tailoring their customer experience to accommodate vegan guests.
The Intercontinental Asiana Saigon and Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, are both centrally located in Dsctrict 1 and have been providing luxury travellers somewhere to lay their heads for a number of years; in the rapidly developing luxury location of Saigon’s District 2, boutique hotel Villa Song is a retreat from the city that shouldn’t be missed and the current ‘place to be seen’, uber luxury hotel The Reverie Saigon is delivering a vegan service that matches the top class standards found throughout this lavish hotel.
1. Intercontinental Asiana Saigon – perfect for business or pleasure
With a city centre District 1 location, the Intercontinental Asiana Saigon offers both business and leisure travellers a great option in Saigon; check in here for everything you would expect from this luxury brand and be suitably impressed with the level of service from check in through to your departure.
Rooms at the Intercontinental Asiana offer a feather-free bed and in-room amenities from luxury brand Agraria; free from animal derived products and not tested on animals, this is a huge plus for any vegan traveller.
Intercontinental Club rooms also includes access to the Club Intercontinental Lounge where evening cocktails and vegan canapés are available. The staff have an excellent understanding of veganism and offer a selection of specially prepared vegan options from either the kitchen or the ‘live station’ situated in the lounge. Having the live cooking station not only makes for an interesting experience watching the chef cook but it means that the food can be easily veganised on the spot.
Breakfast is extensive with clear labelling and a good food knowledge from the staff team, meaning that vegan guests get to enjoy an array of vegan dishes including Asian favourites like congee, sushi and Vietnamese dumplings as well as a selection of healthy juices from the fresh juice station, soya milk lattes and well stocked fresh fruit and salad counter.
2. Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers – spacious suites in District 1
With 485 stylishly appointed rooms the Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers offers another centrally located luxury option in Saigon with spacious suites providing guests the chance to relax and enjoy the views across the Saigon River. The views from the Signature Restaurant and Level 23 Wine Bar are particularly stunning at night, with the nighttime city lights providing an interesting backdrop to drinks or a romantic dinner for two.
There is a good sized outdoor pool and well equipped state of the art gym, perfect for relaxing or exercising. The pool and fitness area are conveniently located next to the Grand Tower Lounge which is available to guests booking rooms in the Grand Tower. Vegan guests will enjoy drinks throughout the day here (such as soya milk cappuccinos) and cocktails in the evening.
One of the standout features of this property for vegan guests however, is Li Bai, the Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Tower’s Chinese restaurant which has an extensive vegetarian and vegan menu on offer. Dining there gives an opportunity to try vegan versions of Chinese food and local Vietnamese food with intriguing names such as ‘Buddha jumps over the wall’ soup, also expect dishes like lotus root salad and a variety of faux ‘meat’ made from tofu.
The food is fresh and tasty with all dishes clearly labelled on the menu; staff are happy to recommend dishes and understand about non-vegan ingredients that should be avoided.
3. Villa Song – a riverside retreat just out of town
Located in District 2, Villa Song occupies an enviable location overlooking the Saigon River. Guests can enjoy drinks or meals sat right on the riverside, watching boats go by and observing local Vietnamese life close up from this great vantage point. Inside, beautiful art covers the walls and all rooms have a unique design but the overall feel is peaceful, fresh and uncluttered. There’s an inviting outdoor pool and in-house spa for some pampering.
Vegan guests will be happy to know that in-room amenities are provided from award winning company Rendevouz, whose plant based natural products have also not been tested on animals.
Vegan guests staying at Villa Song will also be impressed by the separate menu provided for their stay with choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner (including dessert). With both western and Vietnamese favourites to choose from and a laid back policy which allows guests to order breakfast at any time they wish, dining as a vegan guest at Villa Song is a stress free affair.
Expect delicious Vietnamese pho for breakfast, with fresh juices and coffee. Enjoy eating a vegan version of this traditional Vietnamese dish, adding your own fresh herbs, spices and other condiments to personalise the flavour just as you like it.
Dinner at Villa Song’s signature restaurant, Bistro Song Vie, provides more excellent vegan food with velvet like soups and other creative plant-based dishes that wouldn’t look out of place in a fine-dining restaurant.
4. The Reverie Saigon – opulence at its finest
Newly opened luxury hotel, The Reverie Saigon is fast gaining a reputation as one of the most fantastic hotels in the world with jaw-dropping interior designs showcasing the talents and craftsmanship of four top Italian designers. Adorned with unique fixtures and fittings, including one off pieces such as the 3 metre Baldi Firenze clock on display in the magnificent reception area, this hotel is set to take your breath away at every turn.
Vegan guests can relax easily at The Reverie Saigon, where service is polished and personalised; every detail about guest preferences is memorised and seamlessly woven into daily interactions. Whether it’s making vegan scones at afternoon tea or cooking the freshest of ingredients at breakfast, just the way you like them; the staff at The Reverie Saigon seem to live to offer their guests good service.
Vegan guests would be wise to opt for the privileges of The Reverie Lounge which like the rest of the hotel, is a masterpiece of design and opulence. In the evenings, expect to be served dainty vegan canapés with free flowing (vegan) Moët et Chandon Champagne; sit back and enjoy.
Downstairs at R&J, The Reverie Saigons’ Italian lounge and restaurant, the chef will prepare vegan guests a tasting menu that is as big on theatre as it is on taste; even the bread served at the beginning of your meal will have you melting with pleasure.
Delicate layered vegetable terrine, a minestrone soup like no other, with over 30 different vegetables used to make a delicious vegan version of this classic Italian dish, a smoked aubergine and tomato spaghetti that arrives at the table underneath a glass smoking cloche, which when lifted releases an aroma which teases the senses; vegan food at R&J is not to be missed when staying at The Reverie Saigon.
These 4 vegan friendly luxury hotels in Saigon are leading the way in catering for vegan guests; they are places where all guests, regardless of their dietary requirements, are sure to receive excellent service – this is vegan luxury at its best, right in the heart of Vietnam.
Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest.