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141 Nguyen Hue Blvd., Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
08 3829 2185
Hotel star rating:
Saigon is not short on iconic hotels and this is another one. Built in the late 1920s, the impressive building was once an auto-dealership specializing in imported European cars. It became a hotel in 1961, just in time to achieve further fame as a favoured base for American troops and home of the daily press briefings by the US forces military command – famously dubbed the 'five o' clock follies' by the cynical press corps. The hotel fell into decline following the war, but it underwent a wholesale refurbishment not too long ago and can once more count itself among the city's more prestigious addresses. The downstairs arcade is certainly pretty plush with names such as Cartier, Polo and Rolex jostling for space and the jazzed-up interior also fits the five-star bill. Special mention goes, however, to the rooftop bar, which remains one of the best spots in town to watch the light draining from the day with a stiff drink in hand.