Ah, to run away from the hustle and bustle, even for just a night
Opened less than a year and a half ago, The Myst Dong Khoi (6-8 Ho Huan Nghiep, D1) has made a name for itself as a design-minded boutique hotel. There is no shortage of luxury hotels in District 1, but none fuse old colonial charm, Saigon’s ipseity and modern luxuries the way The Myst does. People choose the place they stay during travel based on neighborhood/ location, local experience, or just the view and amenities. It is safe to say that The Myst offers it all.
The exterior façade makes it one of the most distinct buildings, with its geometric shapes for windows and balconies, bursting with tropical greenery. From just looking at the building you feel like it could easily be a surrealist museum space. As you enter the lobby you are greeted by what appears to be an entire team of people buzzing around you. You almost feel embarrassed with the amount of attention you garner before you even check-in.
The lobby is designed using a mix of reclaimed materials from the old Ba Son Shipyard, Asian antiquities, and modern paintings from the investor’s own personal collection. It does in fact feel like a gallery or museum like the exterior suggests. The Ba Son Shipyard was once a symbol of industrialization during the time of the 1800s and a reflection of the Saigon working class spirit. That symbolism is cognizant at the hotel, not just by reclamation but keeping with a maritime theme wherever they deem appropriate.
Serene Corner Room
Each floor is made to resemble the city’s residential alleyways- and the rooms, the homes in the alleyway. No two rooms are exactly the same— stroking the curiosity, like that of a nosey neighbor to peek inside each space as housekeeping turns them for the next guest.
The room I stayed in felt like a guest room of a colonial villa. It came with a king sized bed and wooden furniture. A personal handwritten note from the general manager greeted me with a platter of Vietnamese pastries and bowl of indigenous fruit. The mini-fridge also came stocked with Vietnamese beverages. The outside balcony comes with a jacuzzi with a view of the river. (More about the view later.)
The rooftop pool and bar is where you will want to spend the majority of your time. It feels more like a social club than a hotel pool or discotech like other modern hotels in the area. Here you can find a clear view of the Saigon River.
The Nest Restaurant
The aptly named The Nest Restaurant on the 12th floor is located two floors below the rooftop. The windows and steel ornate framing with lush plants that encases most of the building gives you a sense of being like a bird overlooking the surroundings perched in the restaurant allowing you once again to enjoy the view. They provide a “tea time” with hors d’oeuvres starting at 2:30 every afternoon. The food is a nice little treat and break from sunning by the pool. The hamburger is decadent, topped with gooey cheese, fatty bacon, and a perfectly sunny-side up fried egg. You’ll be ready for another nap by the non-chemical pool afterwards.
The service is atypical compared to the usual languid and casual attention given to most patrons around the city. There was a sense of hyper vigilance almost to the point of resembling butterflies fluttering around Snow White when she prances through the woods and fields. Maybe I failed to tell them that I was not royalty.
The Myst Suite
The city of Saigon is ephemeral. Every metropolis claims to be, but in Saigon it is as if you are watching a hyper time lapse video. The streets, the buildings, the skyline—all are changing. This is perfectly evident at The Myst Dong Khoi with reminders throughout the hotel giving you pangs of nostalgia even if you have no real point of reference to what Old Saigon was like. The lurking monstrous construction of the Hilton nearby inching ever higher by the day could not be more literal of a manifestation of how the moment is fleeting. This impermanence makes your time in Saigon even more indelible, so enjoy it and before they find out that you’re not royalty.
Images Provided by The Myst