Hotel Continental Saigon was offically open in 1880 after two years of construction. Its first owner was a French person who would like to provide a French-style accommodation service for guests from France.
At that time, Notre Dame Cathedral (1877-1880) and Saigon Central Post Office (1886-1891) were also built. In addition to Continental Saigon, there were a few hotels in the downtown area. But, at present, only Hotel Continental Saigon exists while the other hotels have been dismantled or converted.
In the past 142 years, Hotel Continental Saigon has been transferred to various owners, including the Duke of Montpensier (grandson of King Louis Philip – 1). He was also the owner of Prince’s Castle in Phan Thiet City.
The last foreign owner of Hotel Continental Saigon was Mathew Franchini. The Franchini owned and operated the hotel until April 30, 1975. The hotel was closed for one year before being assigned to the Vietnam Ship Supply Co. to serve sailors under the new name – Hai Au (Seagull).
In 1986, Hotel Continental Saigon was under management by Saigontourist. During its operation, Hotel Continental Saigon welcomed many local and foreign guests, including an Indian poet who composed the Indian national anthem and Jacque Chirac (late Mayor of Paris and French President).
Before the Covid-19 outbreak in Vietnam, Hotel Continental Saigon operated effectively. The monthly room occupancy was at 90-95%. The hotel’s banquet, conference, and culinary services also got good results, significantly contributing to the State budget.
During the tough time of the pandemic outbreak, when the source of international visitor dropped sharply, the hotel flexibly changed its business plan. It focused on the domestic market apart from serving frontline healthcare workers and responding to the program of Saigontourist Group.
Especially from July 1 to November 30,2021, the hotel served 464 medical staff members from the northern cities/provinces and provided 30564 meals on the spot and at other hotels where healthcare workers stayed.
The hotel’s staff members wholeheartedly took care of every meal and sleep for frontline heroes, even in the most challenging time of food and transportation as the city was under lockdown. This partly helped the doctors and nurses have good health and a peaceful mind in the stressful working environment.
Hotel Continental Saigon is always aware of its responsibility to the community. The hotel’s staff members jointly gave meals to patients and their relatives at HCMC Children’s Hospital II. Every year, the hotel receives a lot of interns from domestic and foreign universities, allowing them to practice their skills. This helps them combine professional knowledge and practical experience when they go to work. At the macro level, the young workforce can help improve the hospitality service quality in Vietnam.
Besides, Hotel Continental Saigon is also responsible for preserving the city’s heritage – the oldest hotel in Vietnam. Some activities include preserving architectural infrastructure, collecting historical documents and images, and promoting the history and architectural beauty of the building among international guests and city dwellers.
In addition, with great efforts based on taking advantage of inner strength and external resources, Hotel Continental Saigon has overcome various difficulties in its business activities, contributing to the tourism hospitality industry in HCMC in particular and Vietnam in general.
Such efforts have been highly appreciated. The Prime Minister has just decided to award a certificate of merit to Hotel Continental Saigon. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh signs the certificate of merit under Decision No.2153/QD-TTg. The hotel will organize the ceremony of receiving this certificate of merit on September 27, 2022 (the hotel’s 142nd Anniversary) at Continental Patio – a unique garden in the city.
Previously, the hotel got many different awards, such as the certificate of merit by the HCMC People’s Committee on an excellent performance in 2001, certificates of merit annually issued by Saigontourist Group, the Department of Tourism and HCMC People’s Committee, Flag of Excellence by the HCMC People’s Committee (2006), Third-class Labor Medal by the State President (2007), the certificate of merit by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism (2008), “Excellent Employer” award by HCMC People’s Committee (2008 and 2009), “Excellent Labor Collective” award by HCMC People’s Committee (January 2010) and many other certificates of merit and awards.
Environmental protection is also one of the main interests of the hotel. It is one of the first hotels of Saigontourist Group granted the ISO 140000 certification and the “Green Hotel” certification by the ASEAN Tourism Association.
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