(No.9, Vol.6,Nov-Dec 2016 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)
Elegantly standing on the fragrant frangipani-ornated Nguyen Hue Boulevard, splendid five–star Rex hotel has been an essential element in HCMC’s golden collection of iconic hotels, setting standards for luxury and hospitality with charming flair and distinct character in the southern capital nearly for a century.
It strikes its guests with a unique mix of history, colonial architecture, noble elegance and thrilling ambience of mystery. Its large columned lobby in light brown, gray and champagne marble housing an atmospheric coffee lounge, shopping arcade and reception area boast an old world noble elegance with the charming traits of art deco.
The labyrinths of carpeted corridors with framed black and white pictures of old Saigon, antique side wall lamps and liveried porters bring to mind Christie’s Orient Express decorations. Varnished wooden doors lead into the hotel’s fancy accommodations, ranging from Deluxe and Premium up to colonial chic Governor’s and Imperial suites in the Executive Wing. The rooms interiors, in dark chocolate and champagne, feature fine custom furniture in noble colonial style, shiny parquet floors, mellow light from beautiful lamps and sconсes, altogether creating a ceremonious yet festive, cosy and intriguing atmosphere, and also a space of fine comfort and chic in which to indulge oneself.
The Executive Wing overlooks the spectacular and lush vertical gardens, which are really surprising to find along the five-floor-high walls of the spacious courtyard, serving a beautiful, open-air patio cafe by day and turning into Golden Lotus open air in-house theatre by night with colorful Vietnam cultural heritage shows put on stage nightly.
The Rex’s Golden Lotus Theatre, with one-of-a-kind interiors which are actually all exteriors to experience in the very heart of the Southern metropolis amid the verdant tropical greenery under the starry sky with spectators seating placed on the elevation of the large balcony, is definitely a venue not to be missed. With such aesthetics, the Rex Hotel deserves, if not an Audience Choice award, then sincere applause for its non-trivial concepts and creative approach. But the show is truly impressive, representing a colorful, meaningful and enticing insight into Vietnamese traditional arts, engaging masterly Vietnamese court dance, traditional mystical operetta originally performed by mediums from Northern Vietnam, a stone musical instruments performance from the highlands, spectacular dance of lanterns invented over 300 years ago in Hue, and 11 sketches of Vietnam’s national water puppet performance in a 50 minute show. The show is accompanied by a team of traditional music players and singers, which brings to mind a curious association with silent cinema era.
The live music night in Rex Hotel could be continued after the fall of the theatre curtain in the historic rooftop bar which got famous during the Vietnam War, when it served as a meeting point of military officials and war correspondents and later was recognized as one of the best bars of SE Asia by Newsweek magazine.
One day would be barely enough to visit all of the in-house facilities, which include two rooftop swimming pools with striking city views, two thematic restaurants full of character and boasting sumptuous and sophisticated interiors of Vietnamese court, offering almost unlimited options to widen one’s gastro–outlook, an Executive lounge with elegant interior décor and a charming view of vertical gardens. The Rex Health Club with spa center that has such a range of intriguing spa packages titles on the menu such as Ancient Vietnamese, Four Hands Therapeutic, and Candle Journey massages along with constant attractive promotions for in-house guests, promises hours of relaxation and rejuvenation after the hectic days of exploring the numerous city sights. The key city sights, including Saigon Notre Dame Basilica, Municipal Theatre, War Remnants Museum and Ben Thanh Market are all in walking vicinity from the hotel.
With its long history, distinct noble elegance and an insight into rich and colorful Vietnamese culture, Rex Hotel offers its guests an excellent chance to see another Saigon, elegant and aristocratic, which stands behind the curtain of a modern and hectic SE Asian metropolis.
141 Nguyen Hue St, Ben Nghe Ward, Dist.1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: (08) 3829-2185