“On the banks of the Saigon River, a luxurious sanctuary to retreat from the hyperactivity of Vietnam’s buzziest city”
All have calming, contemporary décor and private balconies or terraces - there are 4 standalone villas and a clutch of rooms spread across another 3 villas (An, Lam and Tram).
The An Lam Suite sit in Villa Tram and overlook the communal pool. The feel inside is sumptuous, with star-shaped roofs, lots of dark wood, and glass encasing the bedroom and bathroom (you can draw curtains for privacy). The huge sitting areas feature sofas or daybeds, a small desk and table, tea and coffee-making facilities, an iPod dock, and a TV/DVD player with 90 channels. Walk-in dressing rooms adjoin the well-equipped bathrooms, which have tubs, separate rain showers and his and hers sinks. The kingsize beds (with very deep mattresses) are draped in mosquito netting, and there are pretty accents such as embroidered lampshades embellished with pink- and oyster-coloured shells. There are also a couple of Family Suites in Villa An, with 2 bedrooms a piece.
Pool Suite, in Villa An or Villa Lam, are a little larger and have the added luxury of private plunge pools shaded by fruit trees, as well as balconies overlooking the gardens. One of these is the Penthouse, reached by steps encased in elegant curved palm which looks rather like an animal’s ribcage. It also has a plunge pool on a terrace shielded by the leaves of a magnificent banana tree.
The 4 villas are ideal for anyone seeking maximum privacy. The Riverfront Pool Villas (Villa Song and Villa Saigon) sit right on the riverfront, with floor-to-ceiling glass opening onto decks facing the water. They too feature plunge pools, set in secluded courtyards enclosed by tropical plants. Riverfront Pool Villa 2 Bedrooms (or Villa Sunset) is similar but has 2 double bedrooms, while the 2-storey Garden Pool Villa is tucked away in the grounds; it’s furthest from the communal areas and has a Jacuzzi tub, so it's perfect for couples who want to cloister themselves away (though it doesn't have a river view). All the villas boast outdoor bathtubs and showers for spoiling alfresco ablutions.
The veranda of the restaurant, Luc Binh, has just 3 tables - it’s a very private spot to linger by the river, watching a continuous flow of small container vessels, clumps of water hyacinth (luch binh in Vietnamese) and fishing boats painted with eyes for luck. Other diners sit under elegant tangerine-coloured paper lamps in a semi-enclosed area, on mustard-hued banquettes scattered with burnt orange cushions. There’s also an air-conditioned indoor dining room in Villa Tram, but it lacks ambiance and is often empty.
Breakfast is bountiful, with pastries, breads, French toast, pancakes, fruit, good coffee, speciality teas, and jam pots laden with pineapple, kumquat, marmalade, honey and guava. There’s also a selection of local dishes, including pho (Vietnam’s famous noodle soup). The only disappointment was the muesli, which wasn't muesli as billed but cornflakes topped with diced passion fruit and watermelon.
Service at lunch and dinner is a tad slow when the restaurant is full, but the food is excellent, with hot bread and butter followed by a menu of Vietnamese and Western options. Highlights include spring rolls, delicious bo buc lac (wok-tossed beef) and delicate sea bream wrapped in a banana leaf. Desserts are just as good - our pannacotta glazed with passion fruit and topped with grated pistachio was superlative - and a small wine list is available.
Luc Binh also has a rustic bar area on the riverfront, with an expansive decked terrace. Meals can be served at private tables dotted around the gardens, too, and room service is available.
An Lam’s isolated location means there are no other places to eat nearby, but staff can recommend and book restaurants in the city for day trips or a change of scene.
An Lam Saigon River welcomes children of all ages, but it’s a serene place that’s best suited to couples. Bear in mind that swimming pools are not fenced and neither is the river.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
The Pool Suites and Riverfront Pool Villas can all accommodate an extra bed or baby cot; some An Lam Suites and Riverfront Pool Villa 2 Bedrooms (Villa Sunset) have 2 ensuite bedrooms (both doubles), plus space for an additional bed or baby cot. The Garden Pool Villa can take a baby cot only.
The butlers can babysit for a fee.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking