Lorna Subritzky stays at the Reverie Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Location: On the uppermost floors of the Times Square building in District 1 - an easy walk to historic buildings (check out the French colonial Opera House, the neoclassical Central Post Office, the historic Reunification Palace and Ho Chi Minh City Museum) and shopping (from sprawling markets to chic boutiques).
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Airport transfers: Can be arranged in the hotel's fleet of luxury cars - head-turners from Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce and Bentley.
Style: The Reverie bills itself as "the most spectacularly extravagant hotel in Vietnam", and I can't imagine otherwise. The only Vietnam property to be a member of Leading Hotels of the World, it features design from 15 Italian houses (including master Murano glassmaker Venini, which makes this collector very happy) and proudly believes in overstatement rather than understatement. Opulent art is found in every corner.
Check-in experience: A speedy experience with faultlessly polite service (a theme throughout our three-night stay). However, the hotel had booked the room in my son's surname and not in mine - I suppose the assumption here was that the man always pays. Despite me explaining otherwise, this assumption continued with welcome messages, notifications and even the final bill addressed to Mr Plant and not Ms Subritzky.
Sadly for me, young Mr Plant declined the opportunity to hand over his credit card (as an aside, all Vietnamese hotels require a marriage certificate at check-in should a foreigner wish to share a room with a local woman).
The reception desk is dwarfed by a three-metre tall Baldi clock, custom-made for the Reverie. It's embellished with emerald-green malachite, hand-chiselled lead crystal and 24-carat gold accents, which together weigh nearly 1000kg. Not your everyday timepiece - but then, this is no everyday hotel.
Room: We're allocated 2922, a deluxe twin room with spectacular views over the city and Saigon River from the floor-to-ceiling windows. If this is entry-level, I can't begin to imagine what the pricier rooms and suites are like.
Every detail has been thought of: a Nespresso coffeemaker, plenty of bottled water (tap water is not for drinking), French teas, a complimentary minibar that is refreshed daily (no wine or spirits, but plenty of local beer, juice and soft drinks) and a fruit bowl.
There's a comfy chaise longue from which to admire the view, a media hub and a large desk with the best stationery kit I've ever seen (scissors, highlighters, post-it notes, glue stick, stapler and more).
The beds are super-comfy with fine linen and an extensive pillow menu, and many of the walls are mirrored so the spacious room appears even larger. The flat-screen TV has a multitude of channels and Wi-Fi is fast and free. Quality robes and slippers are provided, with the nightly turndown service including a selection of handmade chocolates.
Bathroom: Spacious and luxurious, and accessed from the entranceway or through the walk-through wardrobe. The deep marble tub has a bath pillow and TV, there's a large rain shower and twin basins. Products from luxury French brand Chopard include bath salts and a loofah. The toilet is separate within the bathroom and boasts a wash/dry function as well as a heated seat.
Food: There are plenty of choices. Breakfast (including champagne should you desire it) was included in our room rate and was an elaborate affair in Cafe Cardinal, which offers buffet and a-la-carte menus for breakfast and lunch before transforming to French fine dining in the evening.
The Long features more casual trattoria-style dishes and its street-level tables provide great people-watching opportunities. We ate there several times. It also mixes up a mean cocktail during happy hour.
R&J (which stands for Romeo and Juliet) has a reputation for authentic Italian fare, while The Royal Pavilion is renowned for its fine Chinese dining.
Room service: On our final day, we'd had a large lunch and several beers during a busy afternoon so opted for a simple in-room dinner of a grilled cheese sandwich for him and a bowl of pho for me. But this being the Reverie, there was no such thing as simple room service. A large table was wheeled in and set up with candles, flowers and chairs. There were complimentary amuse-bouches along with warm baguettes, and my pho came with six small bowls of herbs, chilli, bean sprouts, lime and sauces so I could flavour it to my liking. It was a Vietnamese version of the magic porridge pot: no matter how much I ate, I couldn't seem to make a dent in it and in the end, I had to admit defeat. Even my son's simple toastie was exquisitely presented and we agreed it was the best room service we've ever had, and reasonably priced too.
Exercise and pampering: We were burning plenty of calories walking around Ho Chi Minh City in the heat, but should you require it, there's a very large fitness centre housed in the hotel.
The cardio equipment has Wi-Fi-enabled consoles for seamless connectivity to phones and iPods. Alongside, on a spacious open-air deck, are two jacuzzis and a 24m mosaic-tiled pool. Its underwater sound system streams a custom playlist, and at 6pm daily, swimmers and poolside visitors can enjoy an underwater light show. Also on this level is The Spa with 12 private treatment rooms, separate men's and women's steam and sauna facilities, a beauty salon and a hair salon.
Price: As you might imagine, this five-star slice of luxury doesn't come cheap, with the rack rate for our room at NZ$589 (including breakfast). However it was packaged with our Avalon Waterways river cruise, so presumably, the actual rate we paid was much less.
Bottom line: If bling is your thing - get a room.
Lorna Subritzky hosts Coast's Days show, 9am to 3pm. Listen to Coast this week to win an Avalon Waterways adventure. coastonline.co.nz