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Continental Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City 

132–134 Dong Khoi Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: 84 8 829 9201
view web site ›'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 The large rooms are fitted with utilitarian furniture, dingy wall-to-wall carpeting, and outdated sinks and tubs.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.

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