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Caravelle Hotel

From the rooftop bar of the Caravelle Hotel, Vietnam War correspondents watched U.S. Air Force jets streaking over enemy strongholds on the outskirts of Saigon. Today, the Caravelle’s bar endures as the most compelling perch in what is now Ho Chi Minh City, though the panorama consists largely of construction cranes and fledgling skyscrapers, as Vietnam spruces up as a dynamic destination. The Caravelle’s amenities—a Japanese-style spa, a suite of restaurants, a tropical fruit bowl at check-in—fulfill expectations for an international five-star property, but its location on Lam Son Square sets it apart from any other hotel. Through the banks of windows in rooms on the hotel’s facade, you can glimpse the towers of the 19th-century Notre Dame Cathedral; the opulent Municipal Theater, which served as the legislative house of the South Vietnam government; and the chic shops on Dong Khoi Street, formerly home to Saigon’s wild, wartime bars. Accommodations Rooms and suites come equipped with 24-hour concierge service, and guests can choose from city or river views. Facilities An outdoor pool set seven stories above the city and nestled among palm trees, and a complete fitness center and spa. Dining Restaurant Nineteen serves a crowd of discerning patrons and fills a niche long empty in Ho Chi Minh City: upscale Dining. Rates From $230 to about $1,200.

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