Ho Chi Minh City’s District 3 Emerges as THE Place to See the Real Saigon
A neighborhood of leafy avenues, storied palaces and pagodas, meaningful museums and some of Vietnam’s most striking colonial architecture, District 3 is one of Ho Chi Minh City’s most underrated enclaves.
As well as history and heritage, it is also home to some of the city’s best dining as well as a burgeoning crop of hip bars.
Now, with the opening of Sherwood Suites, a plush apartment-only property already established as the district’s most prestigious hotel address, visitors have a prime base from which to uncover its treasures and sample its delights.
In doing so they can dig deeper in an area that makes a less headline-grabbing but equally charismatic alternative to its neighbor District 1, the city’s main commercial and tourist hub.
“When visitors come to Ho Chi Minh City, they tend to focus on the main tourist sites in District 1 such as the opera house, Ben Thanh Market and Notre Dame Cathedral. It’s where many of the best-known eating and drinking spots are too,” says Nguyen Van Oanh, guest services manager at Sherwood Suites.
“District 3 is a little more off the radar and is all the better for it. The French colonial villas and mature trees make it one of the city’s most charming neighborhoods to explore. There are numerous incredible sights and there’s a wide range of restaurants and bars. What’s more, it’s still central enough that you can walk to anywhere in a matter of minutes.”
While neighborhood highlights like the War Remnants Museum and the Jade Emperor Pagoda and Xa Loi Pagoda, two of the city’s most evocative pagodas, are well known to visitors, other gems are less frequented.
Vietnam’s tragic, but still compelling war history, is showcased at both the War Remnants Museum – a powerful museum that brilliantly conveys the horror of conflict – and the Secret Weapons Cellar where a covert Viet Cong operative amassed an arsenal of weapons and explosives in a chamber beneath his residential home.
Historic and architecturally significant buildings, churches and pagodas abound in District 3. Indeed, the area is home to what is believed to be the oldest building in the city – the Thanh Xa (or Archbishop) Palace, built for Pierre Pigneau de Behaine, Bishop of Adran, a French ally of Vietnamese emperor Gia Long in 1790. Other heritage highlights, meanwhile, include Ky Dong Church and Vinh Nghiem Pagoda.
District 3 is not just a place for heritage lovers. It is home to a fantastic selection of restaurants and bars which range from romantic cocktail spots to clubs that sample the best of the Ho Chi Minh City music scene. Culinary pinnacles include Pho Hoa, a legendary venue in which to sample Vietnam’s de facto national dish, while nightspots include craft beer haven BiaCraft and classy sky bar Shri.
All these – as well as the draws in District 1 – are within easy striking distance of Sherwood Suites. The new 20-storey property is positioning itself as a compelling new choice for travelers by offering five-star service and amenities such as an outdoor covered pool, an international deli and restaurant and an expansive 24-hour gym with sauna and steam room alongside a range of self-contained luxury suites and apartments.
With an opulent design aesthetic that calls to mind the stately architecture in London’s exclusive Knightsbridge area, the property features a generous total of 157 apartments. Studios weigh in at 57 square meters, one bedroom units range from 61 sqm to 81 sqm while two bedroom apartments offer between 91 sqm and 118 sqm of space.
“There’s something for everyone in the neighborhood,” continues Oanh. “One of the great pleasures of working at Sherwood Suites is having the opportunity to pinpoint great experiences in Ho Chi Minh City. And our location in District 3 makes it easy for us to show our guests things they might not have been aware of previously.”