Continental Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City
Continental Hotel......known as the "Grand Dame" of Hotels, was built in 1880 during the French colonial period and is named after the Hotel Continental in Paris.
It has quite an interesting history.
It was in 1878 when Frenchman, Pierre Cazeau started building the Hotel Continental so French travelers coming to the new Continent would feel at home in this luxury accommodation. Two years later the Hotel was completed!
The hotel has been refurbished and changed hands many times, even to a reputed gangster from Corsica, and later his son Philippe who ran the hotel until the Communist takeover in April 1975.
During the First Indochina War the Hotel Continental was frequently referred to as Radio Catinat, since this was the rendezvous point where correspondents, journalists, politicians and businessmen talked about politics, the business news, and current events.
Then, during the Vietnam war era, it was renamed the Continental Palace and became popular with journalists who nicknamed the ground-floor bar the Continental Shelf. Newsweek and Time magazines each had their Saigon bureaux on the second floor of the hotel.
The hotel is featured in Graham Greene's novel "The Quiet American" and in its two film adaptations in 1958 and 2002.
It was the central locale in the film "Indochine."
Following the Fall of Saigon in April 1975 ownership of the hotel was taken over by the Ho Chi Minh City Government and Tu Do Street was renamed Dong Khoi Street.
A beautiful building with an inner courtyard, nice for afternoon tea!
One of the great landmark buildings from the French colonial era is the 4-story Hotel Continental. It was built in 1885 by the Societe des Grands Hotels Indochinois and its terrace was the meeting place for the French high society in Saigon. It features in both Graham Greene's 'The Quiet American' and Somerset Maugham's 'The Gentleman in the Parlour'.
Most of the action in Graham Greene's "The Quiet American" takes place in and around this hotel. The hotel was built at the turn of the 19th century and is probably the most elegant hotel in Saigon.
If you want an idea of what you will be looking at here pull out a DVD of "The Quiet American" staring Michel Caine and Brendan Fraser.