Need to know
15 (including four suites), spread across seven tranquil garden villas.
Noon (flexible, subject to availability); earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from $183.10 (VND4,272,727), excluding tax at 15.5 per cent.
Breakfast is included.
Look out for statement design pieces by Mr Lam, formerly a furniture-maker. We loved the curved wooden staircases and the circular sun beds, positioned opposite each other so you can admire your companion as you sunbathe, instead of lying like canned fish in a row. The ‘spa’ is really two treatment rooms and a yoga/relaxation area: unwind with a massage or a spot of synchronized bendy stretching.
At the hotel
Gym, spa, yoga classes, free WiFi throughout, onsite parking, laundry service. In rooms: iPod dock, desk, minibar with snacks including Mars chocolate and Tiger beer, espresso machine.
Our favourite rooms
Don’t be deceived by the hotel’s modestly named rooms: An Lam Executive rooms have private plunge pools, for example (we’d call them Amazing An Lam Pool Rooms, but then we’re not responsible for their monikers). All rooms come with a balcony, terrace or garden, meaning nobody goes home without enjoying stellar views of the surroundings. The river-view villas (Song & Saigon and Sunset) each have a big private pool and terrace overlooking the river: hours can trickle away here, lost in contemplation of the water world around you. If you want to be able to bag the best table for lunch, Sunset has direct access to the restaurant: when Raymond Blanc stayed, he kept popping into the kitchen next door.
The large central pool is flanked by tropical gardens, wooden loungers, hanging lanterns and hot-pink bougainvillea.
To avoid going home decorated with bites, bring or buy insect repellent: the lushly beautiful river-perch makes the hum of mozzies inevitable.
The hotel’s free speedboat service leaves District 1 Pier three times daily: 10.30am, 3pm and 6.30pm.
Little Smiths are welcome: babysitting is available (from US$10 an hour); cots are free; extra beds are US$45 a night, and the chefs will tailor dishes to fussy palates.