Ho Chi Minh City Caravelle Hotel publishes a book for its first 50 years

The building might not be the most striking in the city silhouette of Ho Chi Minh City (HCM), Saigon, but it is certainly one of the most iconic in south Vietnam’s metropolis. The Caravelle Hotel celebrated its 50th anniversary all throughout 2009, and no other hotel in HCM City has a more lively history than this property.

To celebrate this special birthday, a 114-page book has been published titled, Caravelle – Saigon: A History. It took a year for a team of writers and researchers to create the book and collect fascinating stories from the diverse individuals whose lives have intersected with the Caravelle.

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During the Vietnam War, the hotel acted as Saigon’s unofficial press club and became the rallying point for many media icons such as David Halberstam, Peter Arnett, Morley Safer, Neil Sheehan, and Walter Cronkite. CBS News, ABC News, and the New York Times also had their offices at the hotel during the war.

“The Caravelle’s history makes it part of the fabric of Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam in a way that very few hotels anywhere can be,” explained John Gardner, Caravelle’s general manager. “It’s not ‘just’ a five-star hotel, it’s something of a ‘character’ in the story of modern Vietnam’s development,” he added.

The book tracks back the story of the hotel from its opening in 1959 to its extensive renovation in 1998. It is also a testimony of the evolution of the hospitality industry in Saigon. The book can be ordered at the hotel’s gift shop or through the Internet at www.caravellehotel.com .