“I love the fact that one can embark on a mini culinary journey just in our hotel alone,” explained Kai Speth, General Manager of The Reverie Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In an interview with Speth, who also serves as Vice President of Windsor Property Management Group Corporation, we discussed the origins of the property, what distinguishes their luxury suites, the range of dining options available on-site and much more.
Tell me a little bit about the history and location of The Reverie Saigon.
The Reverie Saigon is located in Ho Chi Minh City’s prestigious District 1, the city’s central urban hub, between two of its most prominent thoroughfares – Dong Khoi Street and Nguyen Hue Boulevard. An elegant street formerly known to the French as Rue Catinat, today Dong Khoi is lined with upscale shops, artisanal coffee houses and the Vietnam flagship boutiques of some of the world’s most notable luxury brands. The best part is that there’s a fantastic intermingling between them and the small, but equally noteworthy local shops and boutiques that are tucked away on the side streets off of Dong Khoi – adding a ‘surprise factor’ as you turn corners and explore alleyways.
Nguyen Hue Boulevard – once the location of a grand canal that led out to the storied Saigon River over which The Reverie Saigon now directly perches – is today a picturesque, tree-lined, pedestrian boulevard which runs between the riverfront and the landmark People’s Committee Building, and along which locals love to gather in the evenings.
Being the highest hotel in the entire city and mere steps from both the riverfront and much of Saigon’s can’t-miss destinations, our location and the views it affords are incomparable.
What makes the Saigon and Reverie suites so unique and luxurious, and how have you balanced local and regional design influences with a more modern touch?
Our Saigon and Reverie Suites are singular, bi-level suites which occupy the top two floors of the hotel, thus offering some of the most captivating views to be had in all of Ho Chi Minh City. And within, each present some of the most striking accommodations in all of Vietnam.
To start, the 276-square-metre Saigon Suite is a dream for design aficionados, as it features an impressive collection of conversation pieces by the who’s who of iconic design, including signature pieces by Poltrona Frau and Cassina as well as fantastic Cassina’s reproductions of iconic works by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright, Franco Albini and Le Corbusier. The suite is truly a one-of-a-kind blend of modern design and the finest Italian craftsmanship.
In contrast, the 313-square-metre Reverie Suite, our top suite, is a melding of modern amenities with luxuriously classic Italian design. It’s stately and spectacularly opulent, with its intricate inlaid hardwood flooring, exquisite silk drapery, hand-laid mosaic installations and plush furnishings fit for a chateau.
As far as local and regional influences go, traditional Vietnamese-style architecture is actually more fitting of an influence in resort settings, so for our urban canvas, the ‘local’ element is reflected in the rich splashes of colour that we’ve injected throughout both suites (as well as the rest of the hotel), as the Vietnamese love vibrant colours. And, of course, the service delivered by our staff is also very Vietnamese, in its warmth and hospitality.
In terms of dining, what are some of your favorite dishes and drinks across the different restaurants and bars at the hotel?
I love the fact that one can embark on a mini culinary journey just in our hotel alone. Between our five dining outlets, we feature quite a wide array of offerings so there are too many dishes to list as far as my favourites go, but one of the most irresistible would be The Royal Pavilion’s entire dim sum menu. I love everything on it, as well as the restaurant’s crispy chicken. And its refreshing mango sago dessert is to-die for.
The seabass at Café Cardinal is another one of my go-to’s, as the simplicity of its preparation makes it perfect as a lunch option – particularly when paired with the exquisite buffet of appetisers.
And when I’m in the mood for a hearty dinner, I usually retreat to R&J for its osso bucco, preceded by a pasta dish, as they make for great starters. Just ask the server to bring the pasta out as an appetiser.
At The Long@Times Square, it’s not much of a secret anymore that its pizza is the best, most authentic Napolese pizza in town. And I always leave room for some homemade gelato from our gelato bar. And as far as drinks go, I really think we serve one of the best Negronis in town, and I do occasionally enjoy one at The Long’s very lively bar area, whilst soaking in Saigon’s nightlife. It’s an ever-interesting scene to observe, particularly as the bar is at street-level, so it always draws in a colourful crowd.
How would you describe the design and decor of the spa, and what kinds of signature treatments would you recommend to guests?
The design and decor of The Spa at The Reverie Saigon can be described as exquisite in its detailing, with its hand-laid mosaic artistry, and contemporary and impressive in its overall design – with its bowed walls of slated walnut and its sleek, leather-clad treatment rooms.
Signature experiences include, amongst others, a Classic Vietnamese treatment which incorporates cupping therapy to help detox and restore circulation, and a Five Elements treatment designed by ila which encompasses various ancient Tibetan techniques – including hand-cupping, kneading, hot stones and poultice acupressure – to help release tension and re-energise. The Five Elements is especially popular, as it’s deeply relaxing.
What other experiences and activities might guests be able to organize while staying at The Reverie Saigon to enjoy Ho Chi Minh City more broadly?
Actually, our Haute Ho Chi Minh and Cruising Saigon packages are great examples of some of the experiences we’ve designed to help guests get acquainted with the city in fun and very personalised ways.
Haute Ho Chi Minh offers a spa- and shopping-oriented three-night stay that includes three spa treatments at The Spa and a privately guided three-hour shopping tour tailored entirely to guests’ interests, whether they be fashion, art, crafts or anything else they may be keen to browse while in Saigon.
And for the more recreationally inclined who’d like to see the city up close and personal both by land and by sea, our Cruising Saigon package comes with a two-hour sunset cruise complete with private butler in tow (to set-up the picnic basket and champagne service that we would arrange for you), as well as a four-hour ‘Saigon After Dark’ tour by Vespa Adventures – which puts you on a restored vintage Vespa with which you’ll be chauffeured around town to experience a fabulously fun itinerary.