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Appliances Caught Between Centuries at Saigon's Continental Hotel

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 132-134 Dong Khoi St, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
February 13, 2009 at 9:02 AM | by | ()

All this week our roving correspondent Claire Duffett will be sending back her reports on the Vietnam Hotel Scene. Any questions or suggestions? Send 'em our way and we'll have Claire answer them for you.

We’ve been infatuated with Hotel Continental Saigon ever since we read Graham Greene’s The Quiet American way back when. Alas, we modern-day journalists can’t afford to stay in the place where Fowler and his fellow foreign correspondents partied back in the 1950s.

Despite our modest means, we still managed to catch a glimpse of the hotel when we passed through town a few weeks ago. And it met—and exceeded—our expectations.

Even the most basic rooms were enormous, with maybe a bit too much unused space, reminding us that there was once a time when space equaled luxury. The porches on the third floor where the suites are located overlook the Municipal Theatre and the Caravelle Hotel, a hotel with similar, probably better, amenities, but much less charm. Have a drink at Caravelle’s rooftop bar overlooking the city. The bartender there is renown, and there’s live music nightly.

In fact, it seems as though the Caravelle is more the place for people to hang out than the Continental's restaurant, which has become a stuffier affair. We suggest staying at the Continental and drinking at the Caravelle. The Caravelle’s rooms are just like any modern Hyatt or Hilton, while the Continental’s are straight out of the 1960s. Even the avocado green mini-fridges in the rooms are retro. Positioned next to new, flat screen TVs, it’s obvious the hotel is trying its best to stay modern without losing its throwback appeal.

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