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Continental Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
132–134 Dong Khoi Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: 84 8 829 9201's insider take:

If the walls here could talk, would they dish on Graham Greene—or the down-market decor of this famed-but-faded gem? Originally built in 1880, the Lam Son Square landmark has an incredible guest list: André Malraux stayed here, as did Greene, who took corner room 214 and set much of the intrigue of his novel, The Quiet American, at the Continental's terrace bar, a favorite watering hole for journalists and their sources. The bar is gone, sadly, replaced by La Dolce Vita café, yet the Continental's government-run operators seem content rest on their fading laurels. The large rooms are fitted with utilitarian furniture, dingy wall-to-wall carpeting, and outdated sinks and tubs. The breakfast buffet features slabs of that glorious proletariat cold cut, Spam. Even the free stationery is disappointing: A postcard of the hotel's exterior has been amateurishly doctored to include prewar automobiles. However, there are mitigating factors: a central location, Internet rates below $100, a helpful front desk—and a history that begs for a private-sector makeover. Request third-floor deluxe rooms overlooking the Municipal Theater, which have terrific views from the narrow, New Orleans–style wrought iron balconies.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.