HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — One of Vietnam’s most historic hospitality establishments is getting a new face this summer, as the Caravelle Hotel embarks on its most significant renovation in 15 years.
Situated for 55 years on a prime corner of bustling Lam Son Square in downtown Saigon, the Caravelle began the initial phase of a property-wide renovation May 12, with its ground-floor lobby, café lounge and seafood buffet restaurant.
During the first round of improvements, scheduled to run until the end of August 2014, the Caravelle’s front desk operations and Nineteen Restaurant will be relocated to the hotel’s third floor. By September, guests and local residents will be greeted by a completely redesigned reception and an expanded lobby cafe featuring a champagne corner and tapas kitchen.
The announcement of the Caravelle’s renovations coincides with the hotel’s first soft opening in May 1959. The entire spate of changes, which will be done in four phases, are targeted for completion by mid-2016. The second phase will see upgrades in all the hotel’s guestrooms.
The Caravelle rose to prominence in the 60s and 70s as the preferred haven of international media corps covering the war. CBS News staffed its bureau on the hotel’s third floor. Such journalistic luminaries as Walter Cronkite, Malcolm Browne and Peter Arnett frequented the hotel and its landmark rooftop bar throughout the war.
Within the past four years, the Caravelle has received ISO 14001:2004 certification, EarthCheck Silver Certification, Vietnam’s Green Lotus Certification, and most recently, the ASEAN Green Hotel Award for 2014.