Some might not know that Ho Chi Minh City was once the headquarters of the French government as the country was under colonization. As a result, a myriad of French hotels and restaurants were established to serve the Westerners. Now, when struggles are no longer present, tourists get to stay at some of the most high-end hotels in Ho Chi Minh – which still embrace authentic French architecture.
History of the French Quarter in Ho Chi Minh City
On October 3rd, 1865, Rear Admiral Pierre Rose issued a decree and set forth a total area of Saigon of about 3 kilometers squared, nearly half of that of District 1 today. The surroundings include the Saigon River, Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, and the Ben Nghe Canal. The French built most of the buildings in the region, such as the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, the former Independence Palace named Norodom Palace, the Municipal Hall, the National Bank, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Ben Thanh Market.
The French government in the South of Vietnam presented Saigon to the world as the “Pearl of the Orient.” Today, there remain a few streets with all the former luxury, like the Catinat (Dong Khoi Street), Bonnard (Le Loi Street), Charner (Nguyen Hue Street), De la Somme (Ham Nghi Street), and Norodom (Le Duan Street).
Top 5 French Quarter Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City
1. Hotel Continental Saigon
The Continental Hotel is a well-known historical hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, located at 132 – 134 Dong Khoi Street. It is about a 1-minute walk to the Parkson Plaza behind and a breeze to the Saigon Opera House located right adjacent to it. The construction started in 1878, and it was officially opened in 1880 to welcome visitors from France to Saigon.
The Le Bourgeois Restaurant generally serves European dishes, while the Continental Palace Restaurant offers Vietnamese cuisine. The hotel also opened La Dolce Vita Bar for guests to taste Vietnamese coffee and drinks.
2. Hotel Majestic Saigon
Another famous hotel in the old French Quarter is the Majestic Hotel, established in 1925 by Hua Bon Hoa, the wealthiest man in Saigon at that time. The location is right on the corner of Dong Khoi Street and Tong Duc Thang Street.
This hotel has a boutique style, offering both traditional and modern facilities such as an outdoor pool, a restaurant, a rooftop bar, a health club, and a gym. Wi-Fi is available and accessible in all areas of the hotel. All rooms have necessities like wooden furnishings, antique phones, air-conditioning, personal safety deposit boxes, and private colonial-style marble bathrooms. Majestic Hotel also has a casino with staff who speak both French and English.
Overlooking the Saigon River, the Majestic Hotel attracts visitors with its positive service ratings and the convenience of the attractions nearby. The hotel is 500 meters from the Saigon Opera House and the Municipal Hall overlooking the Nguyen Hue Walking Street.
3. The Grand Hotel Saigon
The Grand Hotel Saigon is a 5-star hotel at 8 Dong Khoi, District 1. The hotel is conveniently located in the city center, 8 km from Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN), 1 km from the Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Reunification Palace.
Although this hotel has undergone many changes, it has retained French architectural style for nearly a century. Built in 1930, the Grand Hotel Saigon is one of the oldest hotels in Ho Chi Minh City.
Here, you can enjoy tasty Asian-European cuisines prepared by professional chefs and a drink at the cafe overlooking the Saigon River. You can also relax at the on-site sauna, enjoy a massage, or sunbathe at the outdoor pool.
4. Rex Hotel Saigon
Rex Hotel was built in 1927 by a French businessman named Bainier. It was initially intended to be a garage and car showroom. From 1959 to 1975, it was renovated to become the Rex Complex Hotel.
Nowadays, the Rex Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City is a 5-star hotel on Nguyen Hue Walking Street. The architecture of the hotel is a mix of classical elegance and oriental charm, creating a unique elegance.
Each room is decorated in a Vietnamese style, along with internet, TV, and tea/coffee makers. You can unwind by playing tennis, swimming at one of the rooftop pools, or exercising at the gym. If you love having a cocktail or liquor out in the open air, the Rooftop Garden Restaurant at the Rex Hotel would be a good choice.
5. Caravelle Saigon Hotel
The origin of the Caravelle Hotel was the Grand Cafe de la Terrasse, one of Saigon’s first and most famous cafes in the late 19th century. The construction started in 1957 and was opened on Christmas Eve in 1959. In wartime, Caravelle was also a gathering place for international veteran journalists at the 10th-floor terrace, offering a panoramic view of Saigon. American television companies CBS and ABC, as well as the New York Times, all had their offices here.
Located at 19 – 23 Lam Son Square, District 1, Caravelle Saigon Hotel is a 5-star hotel with French and Vietnamese aesthetics, right next to the Saigon Opera House. There is an outdoor pool and a restaurant located in the open air. The hotel’s rooms are sophisticatedly decorated in soothing, neutral tones and a view of the city or the Saigon River. The air-conditioned rooms come with crystal walls and floors. All rooms have modern amenities such as a flat-screen TV and a 24-hour room service.
Look for more luxurious hotels in Ho Chi Minh City below:
Summary of French Quarter Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City
Staying at the French Quarter hotels in Ho Chi Minh City, you can enjoy beautiful views and visit the nearby attractions. Furthermore, you will experience a combination of Eastern and Western cultures and architecture in the most culturally-dynamic city of Vietnam.