(No.2, Vol.5,Mar-Apr 2015 Vietnam Heritage Magazine,Advertorial)

Photos: Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City

The panorama from the window of my room-looking out down the wide boulevard, beautifully framed with rows of giant maranti trees nearly reaching the level of the 11th floor with their sprawling tops and the city centre with the sky-high lotus-shaped Bitexco Tower and high-rises of office buildings and malls at the distance was utterly impressive. Minutes ago, I enjoyed a slightly dizzying taxi ride through a labyrinth of lanes packed with patchwork groceries, tailors, motorbike repair and forging shops, food and fruit stands. The beeways of streets suddenly interspersed with wide
avenues jammed to the rafters with vehicles of all possible and impossible kinds, outlined with smoking old pagodas and temples in fringes of whimsical ornaments, boiling markets and streams of wandering hawkers. The taxi finally moored to the entrance of the five-star Hotel Equatorial and I tottered through the spacious and refreshingly cool lobby to the check-in counter. The Hotel Equatorial’s ground floor pleased the eye with elegant interiors and tasteful decor as well as with huge spaces, an inviting and casually elegant cocktail lounge, delicately accentuated with glass and wooden carved screens and Chit Chat restaurant-cum-café with a showcase displaying tempting French pastry and Lunar New Year sweets.
The Deluxe Room looked elegant and well-appointed, tastefully furnished with an eye for utter comfort and functionality, equipped with a big working desk and window lounge chair to contemplate a spectacular long-range view of the city. The room boasted lots of natural light and a pleasant, unobtrusive palette of beige and chestnut interior colours. The pleasant surprise that followed was the access to Equator Club Lounge with separate front desk, cosy restaurant where gourmet breakfasts and afternoon tea and drinks are served to the Deluxe Club rooms’ guests. The on-floor briefing room and separate spacious smoking room are also available for Deluxe Club Room key holders.
Hotel Equatorial features 333 guestrooms and suites, ranging from elegant Deluxe and Premier to sumptuous Senator and Presidential suites with grand Rome-style balconies, terraces overlooking the open swimming pool with bar and appealing arched patio.
The hotel combines, in an excellent and well-thought-out way, the full range of facilities and services for both business and leisure guests. Its favourable location on the intersection point of the city’s four most vivid and colourful districts with abundance of inimitable oriental ambiance to plunge in, including the famous boiling markets of Cholon, makes it a perfect place to give one’s private southern capital discovery its kick start in an impressive and non-trivial way. Situated on a quiet shadow alley eight minutes’ shuttle bus ride from District 1, Hotel Equatorial makes one feel like they are staying not in a hotel in a bustling city, but in a resort with a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere which is great to immerse oneself in after a day of dizzying city street medley explorations or tense business meetings. To strengthen the feelings are state-of-the-art Fitness & Leisure Centre with full gym, spa centre with extended spa-menu and private massage rooms and sauna; steam room and hot Jacuzzi pool.
Award–winning and atmospheric Chit Chat Restaurant fascinates with the full illusion of an Asian street food market with garlands of bunches of exotic herbs, colourful stalls and live-cooking action stations, with rows and rows of Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese and Malaysian dishes galore, went alive on the hotel ground floor. Over 75 dishes are presented here in the culinary collection of daily dinner buffets.
Chit and Chat institution offers exclusive themed buffets, not to be missed while in the city, such as ‘Delightful Weekend Dim Sum’ every Saturday and Sunday and ‘Seafood Extravaganza’ every Sunday. The last one conquered my palate forever with freshest of the fresh oysters bursting with the flavour of ocean depths, tamarind crab and a head-spinning mosaic of sashimi and rolls.
Exquisite Orientica Restaurant, on the first floor of Hotel Equatorial, with its elegant Asian-style interiors and feng shui
inspired décor, offers its guests an insightful and stylish outlook on the enigmatic and multifaceted philosophy of Asian gastronomic culture, with impressive pieces of high Asian cuisine.
The culinary side of one’s stay at Hotel Equatorial provides a truly healthy and flavourful whole-day buffet option and can be easily turned into a gourmet food therapy to rehabilitate one’s precious self after a year of workday’s hectic meals too.
Hotel Equatorial has everything the most discerning traveller may need for a memorable and truly five-star, international standard stay, starting from elegant interiors and a full set of world-class facilities, through great sightseeing city exploration options and up to the small details and surprises that turn one’s stay into a unique experience to

Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City
242 Tran Binh Trong St, Dist.5,
Ho Chi Minh City; Tel: (08) 3839-7777

By Nathalie Sokolovskaya