Vietnam – the hub of art, gastronomy, culture and young spirit – has easily climbed to the top of our bucket list rated as one of Asia's best value destinations.
With young travellers demanding for more streamlined and vibrant experiences, Vietnam's first homegrown hospitality group, Wink Hotels, ticks each of your category when looking for a stay in the never sleeping Ho Chi Minh City.
Location and space
Standing tall amongst its neighbours, Wink Hotel Saigon Centre still manages to seamlessly blend into the local scenery and Saigon's narrative of modern meets tradition.
The 237-room boutique hotel is the flagship and leader in the pipeline of 20 hotels soon-to-be opened in Vietnam within the next five years.
The hotel's prime spot is definitely its biggest selling point. Swooning solo travellers, couples and remote workers with its central location in buzzy District One, all you need is around you.
We're talking Instagram-worthy cafes, speakeasies and watering holes, modern Vietnamese restaurants, and even the local market.
In the words of Wink Hotel's Brand Director David Kaye, "Ho Chi Minh is a place to be, not a place to see".
This was echoed through the ethos of the hospitality brand, reeling us in with vibrant pops of colours in its contemporary interiors, high ceilings, and eccentric stall-like carts, whilst still maintaining a casual unassuming vibe.
Described to us as the "biggest living room in town", the hotel lobby boasts comfy chairs and nooks to hit pause and escape the bustle of the city to enjoy the little moments.
They weren't kidding in applying the term space-efficient to the compact Standard Room.
At 18 square metres, it's a cosy nest for solo travellers and couples. Like the number of room categories (just three), the room seemed almost edited to remove the unnecessary frills.
The ultra-comfy bed features plush high-quality linens from French designer Catherine Denaoul for a good night's sleep, and you'll find a small closet with a few hangers and bedroom slippers.
The small work desk is where the hotel magazine (providing insights and recommendations in HCM) rests. There's a safe to keep your belongings safe and USB ports to charge your devices, but there are no coffee or tea-making facilities in the room.
The bathroom also came clean and felt hygienic, offering good water flow in the rain shower, along with locally sourced products, and single-use plastic-free amenities.
Though the walls seem rather plain in the room, we'd like to believe this was done intentionally drawing your eyes to the city view through the large floor-to-ceiling windows.
That is, until your draw the black-out curtains, revealing an equally picturesque mural of the city by renowned artist Richie Fawcett.
Food and drink
Designed by young people for young people, the concept of fast-paced lifestyle and enterprising mindset is well-understood here.
Ushering in a new era of travel while still keeping tradition in mind, the restaurant and bar on the first floor presents boozy drinks and wholesome traditional Vietnamese food.
Bringing Vietnamese street food culture to the comfort of a hotel environment, the Wink Carts offer easy, quick breakfasts and lunches.
Simply order and pay directly at the kiosk and your Pho or Broken Rice will be delivered to you by the staff to your table.
Though the restaurant only serves meals from 6.30am to 10pm, the bar runs 24/7 for grabbing local craft beer, candy, RTE meals, chips and more.
Facilities and services
Amenities here are also quick and efficient for the young hustlers. There is a pay per use laundromat, with two washers and dryers, as well as ironing boards.
The laundry room also features vending machines dispensing essentials like sunscreen, hairbrush, batteries and even condoms.
On the same floor, there's a spacious gym with quality machines, weights and mats. There's also a hotel-organised morning run around the Dakao neighbourhood every Thursday at 7am, but frankly, we get our cardio in just by walking around Ho Chi Minh City.
Looking to get some work done? Check out Wink Hotel Saigon Centre's quaint co-working space for you to get on meetings or work on pitches.
It's good to get your work done here earlier in the day as the wifi tends to get a bit iffy in the evenings and late nights. Another unique service we loved here is the 24/7 WhatsApp helpline.
Drop a message to the hotel's WhatsApp number any time of the day for recommendations – be it for the nearest noodle bar or questions about the hotel. This was very helpful throughout our first-time trip to the city.
We wouldn't say Wink Hotel Saigon Centre is luxurious in aspects like furnishing and ambience, but with certain services, it provides travellers with a memorable, on-demand and authentic Saigon experience – which still manages to hit the mark of luxury to us.
Wink Hotel Saigon Centre is located at 75 Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm, Đa Kao, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam, p. +84 28 3826 9999.