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Wink Hotel Saigon Centre: Saigon’s Hip New Place to Stay

“Because you get it” is a fitting tagline for the newly-opened Wink Hotel Saigon Centre, the first hotel of several planned Wink Hotels in Vietnam.

Its sleek, colorful design that pays homage to modern-day Saigon and its local brands; use of technology for automated experiences; no-nonsense amenities, and location in a trendy District 1 neighborhood all make immediate sense to “young in spirit” travelers. Catering to open-minded guests, Wink Hotel Saigon Center aims to fill the space between expensive, traditional five-star city hotels and cheap unbranded local hotels.

Wink Hotel’s colorful facade exemplifies the hotel’s aesthetic: energetic, playful, clean, and bold. Entering the lobby, which is known as the “Wink Space,” one encounters numerous nods to Saigon, including large Nguyễn Thế Sơn photos of the neighborhood, lighting fixtures that resemble birdcages, 1954 Vespa-style street carts selling artisanal coffee, and a nook with the chess boards one encounters in the city’s parks. A specially curated playlist of up-tempo music is a nice change from the elevator music that usually greets hotel guests.

Like much of the hotel, the Wink Space aims to change how people use hotel facilities. Featuring a 24-hour bar with an attached patio and large open areas to work and gather with friends, it challenges the idea that lobbies are simply places to pass through on the way to one’s room. Host to music, fashion, lifestyle, and networking events, it establishes and caters to local communities.

Another novel element of Wink is its embrace of technology. One can check-in ahead of time on their phone or at a kiosk upon arrival, and an app functions as their room key as well as a payment method for various services. There are, of course, employees able to assist with check-in if one would prefer, but Wink has broken the barrier between front-end staff and F&B staff, so the same person that can suggest a restaurant or art gallery in the area or provide extra towels can also pour you a beer.

Wink appeals to those visiting Saigon for business as well as tourism, as reflected by the Wink Space shop: Grab & Go. The 24-hour noodle bar is perfect for those that may be returning to the hotel after a late night on the town, while the snacks and sundry items are convenient for anyone with too hectic of a schedule to make a stop at a convenience store on the way to a meeting.

Winking Seal craft beer, Vietnam Coffee Republic, Lady Kombucha, Sông Cái Gin, a Saigon Soul Revival album, and a book by Luke Nguyen: the items on display and for sale at Wink reflect modern Saigon’s youthful, local creativity. Also, in line with evolving guest preferences, the hotel uses as little plastic as possible and has done away with wasteful buffets, instead offering unlimited a la carte breakfast served until noon.

Wink aims to innovate the hotel experience beyond the ground floor as well - A vending machine in front of each elevator sells essential items including phone chargers and health and beauty items. The mezzanine floor has a self-service laundry facility named the Laundromat available for guests. 

In addition to a standard gym, Wink’s second floor contains a Toong co-working space with private rooms that can be reserved. In its efforts to be a part of larger communities Wink has several partnerships with local companies including Grab and guests receive complimentary access to hot desks at all Toong city-wide. Wink’s free and tier-less loyalty program includes promotions at partner bars, restaurants, retail shops, and services throughout the city, as well as the ability to stay a full 24 hours independent of check-in time.

Wink’s free Life in a Wink! (LIAW!) program adds even more perks to one’s stay including 4 pm late check-out, Grab discounts, free night offers, and other partner benefits. The hotel has also teamed up with Vibeji - a library of experiential workshops to provide curated experiences to guests including arts and crafts classes, dining opportunities, and sightseeing tours.

The hotel also teams up with local organizations as part of its sustainability efforts. PLASTICPeople designed specially produced in-room items such as amenity trays and coasters using recycled plastic and Wink has done away with single-use plastic amenities in each room. Moreover, the use of technology means the LEED-certified hotel can offer streamlined, paper-free stays with all bills and reservation information sent electronically. Water-efficient fixtures, energy-efficient LED lighting, and an irrigation system reliant on condensation further reduces their environmental impact.

Đa Kao is one of Saigon’s coolest neighborhoods, filled with craft beer bars, art galleries, upscale restaurants, and delicious street food. Tucked in the center of District 1, it makes exploring other parts of the city extremely easy as well. It is, therefore, no surprise that Wink expects guests to spend minimal time in their rooms. Thus, the single and double rooms contain only the basic amenities and keep costs down by not including fancy flourishes. 

There are hints of the brand’s aesthetic in each room, however, such as the floor-to-ceiling blinds that feature illustrations by local artist Richie Fawcett. And each room’s bed is an exception to the austere furnishings. Wink prioritizes a comfortable night’s sleep and has thus imported the same high-end beds used at international resorts and uses only Catherine Denoual linens.

Given the speed of change in Saigon, it’s curious that accommodation expectations have remained fairly static over the years. Wink Hotels are a breath of fresh air. True to its name, it provides a playful, welcoming atmosphere that is certain to attract couples, families, business travelers, travel enthusiasts, and creative people hoping to stay in a hotel that mirrors their lifestyles.

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Wink Hotel Saigon Center | 75 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, Da Kao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City