A Review of Saigon’s Alcove Library Hotel, 10 Years After Opening

The Alcove Library Hotel in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) has been on my radar since they first opened in 2014. I remember including a snippet of their press release in a travel article back in 2019, and I said I’d book a stay there when I finally visited HCMC in Vietnam.

That day finally came in 2024. While I’d love to tell you that it was everything I ever imagined, the truth is that this hotel has seen better days. I already knew that based on the latest reviews on Agoda, but I still wanted to see it for myself.

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Facade of white building
The Alcove Library Hotel in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)
Finally, after 10 years of having it on my Pinterest board, I visited and reviewed Saigon’s Alcove Library Hotel.

Let’s start with the good. The Euro-inspired architecture still has its charms, especially since the Alcove Library Hotel is located on a quiet street in the Phú Nhuận district, away from the louder, touristy areas of Saigon, giving it a hidden gem vibe.

The wall-to-wall bookshelf—a.k.a. the library—greets you as soon as you enter the hotel, right before you get to the concierge. For bookworms such as myself, that’s enough to elicit glee, especially when you see that it’s not just Vietnamese books, but a hodgepodge of English to international titles, covering a wide range of genres.

View of gate, street, and buildings across
View from the hotel’s garden and entrance

Local vibe

Front of white hotel building
The hotel’s patio and garden

The books are no longer organized by genre as I imagine they used to be during the hotel’s early years. I was tempted to spend a day playing librarian and organizing the books for them. I also wish I brought Filipino books to leave and share with other travelers.

There’s a clunky ladder to help you reach the higher shelves. Guests who booked rooms on the second floor can peek at the veranda and be part of the library’s façade. Once you’ve selected a book to read, cozy up at one of the reading nooks—the indoor couches or one of the tables in the garden outside.

Girl standing in front of wall-to-wall bookshelf
Kate was here.
Curly-haired girl reading a book in front of bookshelf
The library is the star of this boutique hotel


And that, dear readers, is where the charm of this hotel ends. Looking closely at the bookshelves, I noticed that some shelves have started to crack and fall off, which is telling of what awaits when you enter your room.

While staying true to the literary theme—book quotes plastered on the wall, an extra book shelf above the bed headboard, and a number of pre-selected books for you to read on the side table—the room quality is a disappointment. It feels more like a rundown Manhattan apartment more than a hotel room. I immediately noticed the A/C that’s one kick away from conking out, the peeling paint and stucco in the bathroom, cracked walls, uneven tiles, rusty fixtures, and a dilapidated particle board table. I know I’m not alone in saying that his hotel badly needs a facelift. It’s been 10 years, after all.

Scooter parked in front of bookshelf
This hotel boasts a Euro-style architecture
Books arranged in a shelf
You’ll find a mix of Vietnamese, English, and other international titles.
There’s a small coffee station by the entrance

Except for a small coffee nook by the entrance, they don’t have any food service. You’ll have to walk to the neighboring cafés or restaurants for sustenance.

But for the price of ₱1,500 night (VND650,400, no breakfast) for a private two-person bedroom in Saigon, that’s a steal. For writers and bookworms such as myself, a library may cancel out half of the hotel’s downfalls. There aren’t many niche library hotels in Asia, so they’ve got the market covered. Here’s hoping for that much-needed renovation and upkeep.

The Alcove Library Hotel is located at 133A Nguyen Dinh Chinh Street, Phu Nhuan District, Phú Nhuận, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.