The Island Lodge

Thoi Son, Saigon & South, Vietnam Book from Book from £167 per night

Laid-back lodge on a tropical Mekong island, with stunning pool and river-view rooms
Nestled at the tip of a languid fruit-laden island in the Mekong, owner Michel has created a coconut slice of tropical calm with this hotel, its river-facing rooms and quenching pool offering front-row seats to the best show in town. Set amidst thick vegetation just 2 hours from Ho Chi Minh City, the lodge feels more remote than it really is – but the minute you're whisked on-site, moped horns and karaoke bars are replaced by forgotten French classics on the gramophone and the murmur of chugging boats straining against the flow of the Mekong. With grandparents who grew up in old Indochine, Michel has come full circle to re-create the relaxed atmosphere of that bygone age, his original family pictures and period pieces adding a romantic twist to the stylish decor. Super-smiley staff indulge your every whim, and with Michel adding the personal touch, it's a beautiful combination of French luxury with a Vietnamese smile.

Whilst adventurous types can explore the labyrinth backwaters by boat, and authentic markets and villages by bike, we felt no guilt just flopping poolside for a couple of days. There’s something quite hypnotic about watching the constant flow of boats chugging past, and with the Mekong bringing glimpses of local life to you, why move? Perfect.

Highs

  • The proximity to Ho Chi Minh City - great for some downtime pre or post your international flight
  • A beautifully relaxing pool to escape the humidity
  • Delicious French and Vietnamese food
  • Excellent service combined with lovely little touches (personalised in-room messages, homemade treats delivered poolside)
  • Just 12 great-value rooms, with lots of space, stylish decor and private balconies or terraces

Lows

  • The built-up view on the opposite bank may not match your Mekong dreams
  • It's remote; no alternative restaurants or shops nearby
  • It's a bit of a schlepp to the Mekong's famous floating markets, but the local markets here are much more authentic (take a guided cycle-and-boat tour)
  • Charging for bicycle hire seems a bit petty (especially when you need one to get anywhere)

Best time to go

The humidity and heat are high year-round, but generally November to April are the driest months. You can expect some dramatic thunderstorms from September to November.

Our top tips

Stay at least 2 nights to really relax here, or longer if you want to get under the skin of the area. If you’re up early and feeling energetic, hire a bike and cycle over the sky-high bridge to My Tho for the ultimate views of the pancake-flat Mekong at sunrise.

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 12
  • Restaurant and bar open daily
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Life at the lodge focuses on the Mekong, and 8 identical river-view rooms make the most of the show. Open-plan in style, you'll find bamboo-designed storage areas and king or twin beds, plus retro chairs and desks adding a colonial feel. Tiled floors keep you cool underfoot and splashes of Asian art provide colour, while open-top rain showers and pebble drainage lend a tropical vibe to the bathrooms. Large river-view balconies have low-slung bamboo chairs, a perfect chill-out spot (you might even catch a breeze if you’re lucky).

The garden-view rooms are a better bet for families. What they lack in river views they make up for with additional size, bathtubs and double washbasins. Their large terraces open onto beautifully manicured tropical gardens with carp-filled ponds. Overall they give extra privacy, but with the same décor and style.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

Serious effort has gone into creating the varied and well-priced food here. Breakfast is a treat - cooked to order and as much as you can squeeze in. Lazy lunches can be taken poolside (we loved the grilled squid & mango salad), and dinners are served in the open-sided restaurant (romantics can snag a lone table at the end of the jetty for the ultimate Mekong experience). It’s a relaxed atmosphere helped along by an excellent wine list, with soundtrack provided by the chug-chug of passing boats.

The menu mixes French classics with local specialities - both the French set dinner (Quiche Lorraine, duck with potato gratin and pepper sauce) and Mekong snakehead fish were outstanding. If you've been on the road a while, the French options come as an indulgent treat, and for those just starting out, the Vietnamese food will start your love affair.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Cycling routes criss-cross the island, both guided or do-it-yourself. The less energetic can hire a moped to explore
  • Jump on the local ferries for adventures further afield in Ben Tre, famed for its coconut plantations
  • You’ll need an early start for the famous floating market at Cai Be (40km/1 hour+ each way), and it can be a very touristy affair
  • We'd recommend a guided cycle-and-boat tour of the local markets and villagesinstead; a much more authentic experience
  • Boat between the 4 islands of My Tho (Dragon, Phoenix and Turtle), each with their own unique personality
  • The on-site spa has a range of indulgent treatments: hot-stone therapy, a bamboo body detox, manicures and pedicures

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being

Kids

Families are welcome and this is a relaxed place, which feel inclusive to all. Probably best suited to slightly older kids, due to the unfenced and unsupervised pool, and ponds in the gardens (oh, and and that small river out front). Older kids will enjoy the boat trips and cycling the flat tropical trails, too. There's lots of books and a few board games in the lounge.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

All rooms can fit 1-2 baby cots or 1-2 rollaway beds for children aged 2-15. Garden View rooms are particularly suited to families, offering more space and privacy than River View rooms. They have bathtubs and large terraces, which open onto manicured lawns and carp ponds.

Distances:

  • Airport: 2 hours' drive (Ho Chi Minh City)
  • Shop: 15 minutes' drive
  • Hospital: 90 minutes' drive (Ho Chi Minh)
Kid Friendly:

Location

The Lodge is set on an island in the Mekong Delta (Unicorn Island, the largest of the 4 islands of My Tho). It is 90 minutes' drive south of Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon); allow 2 hours if you come straight from the airport.

By Air:
Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat International (67km away) is the nearest airport - click on the links below for information on airlines serving it.

From the Airport
Ask the hotel to arrange a transfer from the airport or from central Saigon. We recommend this option rather than taking a taxi, as drivers often get lost.

Detailed arrival information will be provided when you confirm a booking through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Vietnam and getting around

Airports:

  • Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat International 67.0 km SGN

Other:

  • Beach 160.0 km
  • Shops 10.0 km
  • Restaurant 10.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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