Silverland-Tan Hai Long Hotel and Spa has a great location. It is just beside the Ben Tanh market where you can have fun haggling with the local merchants for clothes, souvenirs, food and coffee. It is also across a park where one can while away the time observing local people practicing kung fu or playing games.
Unique Quality: I had a really great massage in this hotel. it was less than usd20 for an hour's massage. Tips are not allowed since they add on a service charge that will be shared by all. They also have an extensive range for breakfast. Fruits, cereals, some bread, cheese, hot foods and pho.
Directions: Near the Ben Tanh Market
My girlfriend and I stayed at the 3* Tan Hai Long Hotel for 4 nights during our visit to Ho Chi Minh City in May 2013.
We booked our stay directly through the hotel's website and paid £37.75 per night for a deluxe double room with breakfast.
We settled our bill in cash (just over 4,500,000 Vietnamese Dong) when we checked in. We were offered the chance to pay by card, but chose to pay cash instead.
Tan Hai Long Hotel is located on Le Lai Street, just a minute's walk from the popular and central Ben Thanh Market in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City. We would literally leave the hotel through the front entrance, walk 50 metres along the street, cross at the pedestrian crossing and arrive at the market building within a minute.
Directly opposite the hotel is 23/9 Park; a pleasant park with grassy areas, exercise equipment and rows of benches under the shade of the trees.
Ben Thanh bus station is just a few minutes walk from the hotel, albeit across several heavily trafficked junctions.
We could walk from the hotel, via 23/9 Park, to the popular backpacker area around Pham Ngu Lao and Bui Vien streets in under 10 minutes. This area is packed with good value restaurants, cafes, bars, accommodation and excursion companies.
The Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre is a 10-15 minutes walk from the hotel, and a further 5 minutes walk brings you to Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum.
In the opposite direction, the Bitexco Financial Tower (with its impressive Saigon Skydeck) is a 15 minute walk away. It would probably take less than that but for the number of busy crossings en route!
We arrived at the hotel from Tan Son Nhat airport via the airport's pick up service. As we were staying for more than 3 nights we were entitled to a complimentary airport pick up. I emailed the hotel with our flight details and estimated arrival time about a week prior to our arrival and they arranged for the driver to meet us outside the arrivals hall with a placard bearing our names. The journey from the airport took about 20 minutes at 7:00am on a relatively traffic-free Sunday morning. It would take considerably longer at busier times.
At the end of our stay we caught a taxi back to the airport. We simply walked outside the hotel and flagged down a Vinasun taxi within seconds. Our journey was again early in the morning (around 6:30am on a Thursday), took 25 minutes and cost 135,000 VND (ca. £4.50).
Overall, we found the location of this hotel to be excellent. We particularly appreciated the proximity to the Pham Ngu Lao area and the Ben Thanh Night Market.
We learnt prior to our visit that not all of the hotel's rooms have windows. In order to ensure that we got a room with a window (Emma's request; I didn't really care either way) we paid around £5 per night extra for a "Deluxe" room rather than a "Superior" room. Not all Superior rooms have windows, but some do. We decided not to take the risk.
As well as guaranteeing a window, the Deluxe rooms are also slightly larger than the Superior rooms (28m2 vs. 22m2). However, looking at the photos on the hotel's website, we strongly suspected that we had been given a Superior room with a window rather than a Deluxe room. It didn't really matter; our 8th floor room (#804) had a window with great views over Ben Thanh Market and across to the city's high rise skyline and its imposing Bitexco Financial Tower.
Our room contained a comfortable double bed and a very effective and necessary (if somewhat noisy) air conditioning unit.
The wardrobe was a reasonable size and there were a number of drawers and a bedside cabinet on one side of the bed. There was also a writing desk with a cushioned stool and a small coffee table with a couple of chairs.
The flat screen TV picked up dozens of Asian satellite channels and international news and sports channels. Free wi-fi was available in the room and throughout the hotel. We received a password when we checked in and the connection was reliable and reasonably fast throughout our stay. There were ample electrical sockets for recharging batteries and phones overnight.
The room contained a small fridge. We received two complimentary bottles of mineral water each day, as well as coffee and tea making facilities.
The en-suite bathroom contained a bathtub with shower attached. Complimentary toiletries and clean towels were replenished each day, and a hairdryer was provided. Although we tended to take cold/lukewarm showers due to the outside temperature, warm water was available when desired.
Breakfast was served daily between 6:00am and 10:00am in the ground floor dining room. The dining room was clean and bright with lots of lighting and a water feature with fish swimming in it at one end.
The breakfast consisted of an extensive buffet which varied slightly each day and contained a selection of traditional western breakfast items and local delicacies.
The buffet included a small selection of cereals, croissants, toast with jam or peanut butter, muffins, biscuits, cakes and fresh fruit (pineapple, dragonfruit, papaya, melon...). There was also a choice of cheeses, cold cuts of meat, bacon and chicken sausages. A cooking station served freshly cooked eggs, omelettes and bowls of Vietnamese Pho Bo (beef noodle soup).
Other local cuisine included fried rice and noodles, glutinous rice balls, spring rolls, dim sum (filled with pork, shrimp or carrot), congee, seafood soup, asparagus soup, fish balls, plantain and a variety of curries and stir fries. There was a "non-pork" section for Muslim guests.
Drinks included coffee, tea, mineral water and a selection of fruit juices (lemon, pineapple, watermelon, dragonfruit, guava, carrot...).
When we first arrived at Tan Hai Long Hotel at 7:30am on a Sunday morning it was too early for us to check in. We were able to use the toilet facilities in the breakfast room to freshen up and change clothes and were able to store our luggage until we returned at 1:00pm to check in.
All of the staff that we encountered were friendly and spoke English very well. Every time we entered or exited the hotel, a doorman would be on hand to open the door for us. After a day of sightseeing in hot and humid Ho Chi Minh City, it was always a pleasure to be welcomed back into the hotel's wonderfully air-conditioned reception with a smile and a greeting.
The reception staff were very helpful and happy to answer our questions. They were also very useful when we wanted to change currency. The first time we changed currency, the reception staff changed it for us. The rate was very reasonable (31,000 VND to the £; the inter-bank rate was around 31,600 VND, so it was a very satisfactory rate). The second time we changed currency, the reception staff sent the bellboy out to change it for us and then deliver it to our room. I'm not sure where he went to change it, but he got us a rate of 32,100 VND to the £ (higher than that day's inter-bank rate!!). We were happy to tip him for his efforts.
There is a spa ("KL Spa") attached to the hotel which advertised various special offers on massages and treatments. Although the hotel doesn't have any leisure facilities of its own, it does have a special arrangement with a nearby hotel, which we took advantage of. For a cost of 210,000 VND (ca. £7) guests can purchase a day pass for the gym, swimming pool, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi at the 5* New World Saigon Hotel, just a 5 minute walk away along Le Lai Street. The outdoor pool is located on a sun-drenched terrace and is surrounded by sun loungers. There is an adjacent pool bar and music plays in the background as you swim in the warm water. We arrived at 5:30pm, the sun set just after 6:00pm and we swam in the pool until after 7:00pm. Even though we stayed for less than a couple of hours, and didn't make use of the other facilities, it was still well worth the price we paid. We were presented with towels and locker keys when we arrived at the pool.
Overall, we really enjoyed our stay at Tan Hai Long Hotel and found it to be very good value for money. The location is excellent (very central!), the staff are friendly, the rooms are clean and comfortable and the breakfast is varied and tasty. We'd definitely recommend paying to use the swimming pool at the nearby New World Saigon Hotel.
Directions: Located on Le Lai Street, next to Ben Thanh Market and opposite 23/9 Park. In District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City.
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Address: 14 Le Lai. Dist 1., Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam