Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is a bustling metropolis in Vietnam with a variety of nightlife options. Occasional crackdowns from police on adult entertainment establishments and an antiquated law that makes it officially illegal for a Vietnamese national to stay in a hotel room with a foreigner haven’t done much to put a damper on things, but it can be a real pain finding a place that will let a foreigner retire to their temporary quarters with a friend (or two) in tow.
Unofficially, the usual advice given to visitors is that one and two star hotels will allow guests in the rooms while better facilities will not. That is not a hard and fast rule however. There are exceptions and sometimes a little monetary lubricant can ease things up. No matter what the star rating of the hotel, guests can usually visit without problem before 10 or 11 PM.
All of this may sound a little confusing. That’s understandable. So, after receiving numerous requests, I’ve assembled this list of the top three guest friendly hotels that I’ve actually checked out myself. Things can always change, but these facilities were able to meet all of my needs when I’ve visited HCMC.
Of course I don’t advocate that anyone break the law in Vietnam or anywhere else in the world. I’m just providing some information based on first hand observations.
1. Thien Tung Hotel (District 1)
The Thien Tung Hotel is a solid three star hotel in the middle of the city. It’s within walking distance of a number of entertainment spots (including the bars of Hai Ba Trung) and more restaurants than you could try in a year.
The rooms at Thien Tung are very nice and the indoor swimming pool is quite good and good looking.
Considering the star rating of the hotel, you may think that it would be tough or even impossible to bring guests back here. It’s not. Assuming a customer books a room for two people and whoever they bring back to their room has an identification card they shouldn’t have any issues. Travelers can book their stay at the Thien Tung online for the best rate.
2. Boss Hotel Saigon (District 3)
The Boss Hotel Saigon is another three star hotel that is quite accommodating. Located in District 3, which is clearly more local-oriented yet very near to the tourist heavy area of District 1, the Boss offers all the amenities you would expect at a price that is probably lower than you imagine.
It’s near a lot of local action and only a quick jaunt to the places you may be more familiar with. There are even karaoke and 24 hour massage facilities on premises.
Best of all: As long as a person has proper identification, it should be no problem for them to visit a customer’s room at the Boss for a short or long period of time. Visitors can book a room at the Boss Hotel Saigon online to get the best deal.
3. Empress Hotel (District 1)
The Empress Hotel is a very well run hotel in the middle of Ho Chi Minh City. It’s very easy to find and check in. It has a great central location that allows guests to get where they need to go without hassles, yet it’s just far enough (about a 10 minute walk) from the most tourist oriented locations to keep guests away from some of the more annoying touts and scammers.
The Empress is officially a two star hotel, but I think it probably deserves a higher rating than that considering what some other “two star hotels” in Saigon look like. The rooms aren’t huge but they are well maintained and the building construction is solid, ensuring that customers don’t get bombarded with outside noise (or disturb theirr neighbors with noise if they are in the room having fun).
Bringing in guests at the Empress has never been a problem whatsoever that I know of. Visitors can book rooms at the Empress Hotel online to save time and money.
4. A25 Hotel Hai Ba Trung (District 3)
The A25 Hotel chain is pretty well known in the city. These non-nonsense hotels are far from luxurious but they are satisfactory. They provide decent rooms to customers with little to no hassle at a low rate. That’s why they continue to flourish.
The Hai Ba Trung A25 Hotel is actually one of the nicest hotels in the chain. The location is good too. While the hotel is officially located in District 3 it is actually on the edge of District 1 and a short walk to many places of interest for foreigners and locals alike. The area is surrounded by restaurants and cafes and it is also an incredibly easy place to grab a taxi or call an Uber or Grab car.
The A25 is guest friendly and doesn’t require much of its guests at all. As long as visitors have an identification card and are visiting customers who booked double occupancy they are more or less good to go.
Rooms at the A25 are relatively inexpensive but the place does have a tendency to fill up from time to time. That’s why it is best to book a stay at the A25 Hai Ba Trung in advance of any visit.
5. Caravelle Saigon Hotel (District 1)
The Caravelle Saigon Hotel is a beautiful and historic five star right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. This luxurious hotel is located just a short walk away from a number of hot spots including the new walking street and plenty of bars and massage shops.
The Caravelle comes complete with a cavernous marbled lobby staffed by beautiful women in traditional Vietnamese dresses, a large and illuminated pool, a full fledged gym, restaurants, scenic views and more. The rooms are as nice as you might expect and the entire facility is kept immaculately clean.
Unlike most five star hotels in Ho Chi Minh City the Caravelle is absolutely guest friendly. There are rumors that the five star New World Hotel* is also girl friendly but those may emanate from customers who gotten away with things rather than a set policy from management.
Obviously a stay at the Caravelle Saigon Hotel is not cheap. Luxury always comes at a cost. Still reasonable prices can be found by booking a room at the Caravelle Saigon Hotel online before arrival.