With over 900 hotels in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon or HCMC) alone, Hotel Continental Saigon is not only the oldest hotel in HCMC but also the oldest hotel in Vietnam. It was an honor to stay in a hotel with so much history.
From the moment I stepped in, I was immediately captivated by the charm of the colonial decor. Everything was so beautiful and unique that it even made me wonder if I was dreaming or awake.
A place where luxury and history meet
Hotel Continental Saigon opened its doors in 1880 to serve the most sophisticated and demanding travelers of the time. Throughout the years, the hotel has hosted many important people, including the English writer Graham Greene, who wrote the anti-war novel, The Quiet American – a book that was made into 2 films featuring the Continental.
But it wasn’t until the First Indochina War, that the hotel became popular by many politicians, journalists and other influential people that gathered together at the Continental to discuss political events, breaking news and other matters of the time.
The Unmatched Location – Dong Khoi Street
The Continental is located right in the heart of the city. In my opinion, there is no better spot in town than the Dong Khoi street corner. I t is right across from the Saigon Opera House, which is where most of the important shows/performances of the city are presented, including the popular A O Show Saigon.
Within walking distance, you can get to most of the tourist attractions in town, such as The Ben Thanh Market, War Remnants Museum, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office.
This area is also great for people watching or enjoying a cup of coffee at the Le Bourgeois café terrace. But If luxe shopping is your thing; you can cruise the high-end shops at the Vin com Center & the Louis Vuitton on the opposite corners and end the night at one of the upscale restaurants & bars that surround this neighborhood.
The whole property is just spectacular – no wonder in 2012 the hotel was recognized as Monument Architecture Arts of the City.
Apart from the colonial decor and history, the entire hotel is very spacious. No matter which room you stay in, you will be delighted with the view of either the architecture of the Saigon Opera house, their courtyard with big trees as old as the hotel itself, or the Vin com mall boasting some beautiful decor on their windows and walls.
The property also has a luxurious restaurant overlooking the opera house, an indoor/outdoor restaurant where a breakfast buffet is served daily, and right by the entrance there is an outdoor cafe that seems to be the favorite of many tourists and locals.
One of the very few drawbacks of the hotel if you’re looking for a place to get pampered, I hate to disappoint you, but the hotel only has a massage area, not a real spa. That was not a big problem for me, because on this occasion, I chose to stay here mainly because of the history. Yes, I am kind of a nerd.
Our suite was simple but elegant. We had pretty much everything we needed to make ourselves home, from an electric kettle to comfortable couches in the living room overlooking the Vin Com mall. What I liked the most about this view was the interesting contrast of the sophisticated, classical building and the scooters and cyclos (used as Luxury transportation for French people during the colonial time) filled with tourists passing by…Not your average scene but I found it very entertaining.
One of the things that grabbed my attention the most was the bedside light control. I just loved how cozy the whole suite felt with this little piece of technology, it made me forget that I was in the hectic Ho Chi Minh City.
The bathroom was modern and decent sized. I really loved the fact that the shower and spa bath were separated – not very common among 4 star hotels around Asia – but greatly appreciated. The simple things in life, right?
My only constructive piece of criticism is that they could have provided more pillows. We only found 3 pillows on our king size bed. After asking for one more, they kindly brought an extra one, but we still could have used more than that! Haha, maybe I’m just being picky, but I love pillows! Obviously for sleeping, but also to use it as a base for my laptop. I’m sure I’m not the only person that does that, right?
Overall our experience at the Junior Suite was exceptional and that’s why I decided to highlight the things that made a big impact on my stay:
Little details – Big impressions
- Welcome amenities – Fruit was provided not only as a welcome but everyday in a nice traditional Vietnamese basket
- Wi-Fi – Each suite had a private Wi-Fi router, so Internet was always fast & reliable
- Bottle Water – 2 small bottles daily
- Coffee and tea – 2 bags of each daily
- Crispy Chocolates – Provided everyday with the delivery of breakfast tickets.
- Breakfast Buffet – I just loved the big variety of delicious Western and Vietnamese options, but what was so amazing and as impressive as the food was the courtyard surrounded by the big frangipani trees.
Wow! hats off to all the Continental employees. From the moment we arrived, we were welcomed by a happy doorman dressed in a nice uniform, and immediately the bellboy took our suitcases and took them directly to our room. The check in/out was smooth, and the employees in this department were very polite and kind, they even upgraded us to a Junior suite, which we enjoyed very much.
I can’t recall how many times I called room service for one or another reason, but every time I called, they showed up in my room literally in less than a minute. Super fast, unbelievable! For a moment, I though they were standing outside my door, ready for me to call. The same kind of service we received in different areas of the hotel and all employees always kept the professionalism and genuine smile that differentiate the continental from many other hotels.
Would I recommend Hotel Continental Saigon?
Definitely! I truly believe the continental has one of the best services in Vietnam and if you add that to the history, there is no reason why you shouldn’t stay there. Just keep in mind that this hotel is the opposite of what a modern hotel looks like but they’ve done a great job of incorporating the amenities of the new world without sacrificing the charm of the colonial era.
Hotel Information:Hotel Continental Saigon 132 – 134 Dong Khoi St., Dist Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tel: (84.8) 38 299 201
Rates start at 116 USD per night.
Disclaimer: We received a week complementary stay at the Hotel Continental Saigon, but all opinions herein are my own and have not been influenced in any way by arrangements we made with the Continental.
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