French heritage in three of the oldest hotels in Saigon
- on Dec 16, 2019       By: BN
These three oldest hotels in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) are among the most elegant and well-known from the colonial era. Tucked away in the famous ex-Catinat Street, these are the places whose names keep getting talked about: Continental, Grande and Majestic. Despite the passage of time, they remain synonymous with a stay of great comfort and above all the emblematic refinement of a historic, cultural and engaging Saigon.
Hotel Continental Saigon
Arguably the oldest in Vietnam, the Hotel Continental Saigon was built in 1878 by Pierre Cazeau, a large French supplier of building materials, and was completed in 1880. Before 1970, it became the property of the Duke De Montpensier in 1911 and then Mathieu Francini in 1930.
He would be proud to have welcomed celebrities such as writers André Malraux and Graham Greene, the poet Rabindranath Tagore. Besides, the hotel was used by many journalists, politicians and businessmen during the wars.
With its 86 carefully decorated rooms, its almost 140-year-old French architecture should delight all those who want a stay imbued with a unique and exclusive atmosphere.
Address: 132-134 Dong Khoi Street, District 1
Hotel Grand Saigon
A century-old building in Ho Chi Minh City that is among the most popular with travellers is the Hotel Grand Saigon. Its history dated back to 1930 when it was first built to become a cafeteria. Henry Edouard Charigny de Lachevrotière, editor-in-chief of a French newspaper managed to put it into operation as the Hotel Grand Saigon. The building was renamed "Saigon Palace" in 1937 and then "Saigon Lu Quan" (Saigon Inn) in 1958.
In 1978, another Saigon Palace appeared at 16 Ngo Duc Ke Street to unite with Saigon Lu Quan in the Dong Khoi hotel. In 1998, we saw the reopening of the Hotel Grand Saigon, which has been renovated and upgraded and has since established itself as one of the most prestigious five-star hotels in Ho Chi Minh City.
Address: 8 Dong Khoi Street, District 1
Hotel Majestic Saigon
Launched in 1925 at the crossroads between Catinat Street (Dong Khoi Street today) and Quai de Belgique (Ton Duc Thang Street actual), the Hotel Majestic Saigon, one of the oldest hotels in Saigon, has a great reputation today despite a number of historical vicissitudes. Designed by French architects, it was funded by the wealthiest Vietnamese businessman of Chinese descent in all of Saigon - Gia Dinh. In 1965, two more floors were built with the intervention of the famous architect Ngo Viet Thu. Bombed in 1975, it was again renovated in 1994 in the style of Renaissance architecture. Majestic Saigon was awarded the standard of 4 and 5 stars respectively in 1997 and 2007, the first of its kind that is invested in and managed by the Vietnamese.
It shines as much by its lovely aesthetics and superb view of the Saigon River as by its reception of important personalities, the President of the French Republic François Mitterrand, the Japanese prince Akishino, the Danish prince Henrick, the prince of the United Kingdom, Prince Andrew, the Thai princess Maha Chakri Sring Dhorn, Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong… Admittedly, the building has been refurbished several times, but the combination is never out of place: classic and majestic. We’re confident to say it’s a great place to stay to relive the era of the "pearl of the Far East".
500metres from the Opera house and 1 kilometre from Notre Dame Cathedral and Ben Thanh Market, the hotel is an ideal starting point for exploring the most famous places in the city, both on the cultural and commercial sides, and the gastronomic as well.
Address: 1 Dong Khoi Street, District 1