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The oldest hotel in Vietnam was the perfect place for spies during the war

The oldest hotel in Vietnam was the perfect place for spies during the war

Recently I had a staycation at Hotel Continental in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City.

I’ve been living in Vietnam since 2010, but it was the first time I’d actually set foot inside one of the rooms.

You may be familiar with the hotel name.

It featured prominently in English author Graham Greene’s acclaimed novel set in 1950s Saigon The Quiet American.

In fact, Graham Greene stayed at Hotel Continental in Room 214 while he penned the story.

In the video below, I walk you through the same room, in which I stayed for two nights.

Hotel Continental has an intriguing past.

It was built in 1880 and for a time was owned and operated by a Corsican gangster until the end of the war in 1975.

The hotel was also nicknamed “Radio Catinat” during the Vietnam War because it was a meeting place for news correspondents, top military brass and undercover spies.

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At one stage its name was changed to Continental Palace Hotel.

It’s said that plenty of information and deals were traded from within its walls.

The video also includes an interview with highly-regarded local architect, Hoanh Tran, who sheds light on the hotel’s history, design and what he believes should be done to preserve it.

Click on play and browse the chapters.

Follow Matt on Instagram at @mattcowansaigon

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┬ęThe Bureau Asia 2021

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