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The Story of Saigon's Floating Hotel

There was a time, not too long ago, when Saigon wasn’t full of tourists and backpackers. In the late 1980s, Vietnam had just opened its doors to the west and was rushing to renovate its decrepit colonial-era hotels. With few local options available, international investors found an ingenious way to fill the need for 5 star accommodations in the city – a floating hotel.

From 1989 – 1997, the 201 room Saigon Floating Hotel was docked on Ton Duc Thang St., just across from the statue of Tran Hung Dao. The country’s first foreign-invested hotel was operated by Japan’s EIC Development and run by Australia’s Southern Pacific Hotels and offered a range of facilities, services and 400 highly-trained staff.

Known fondly as “the floater,” it was brought in from Australia’s Barrier Reef to accommodate the rush of international investors seeking to cash in on the recent “doi moi” reforms. In addition to hotel accommodations, it also housed two of Saigon’s most popular bars - Downunder Disco and the Q Bar.

By 1997, Saigon had added dozens of new hotels and “the floater” was rendered obsolete. It was shipped to Singapore to be refitted and eventually ended up in North Korea after a deal to move it to Palau, Micronesia fell through.

The more you know…

Here's an Australian news report on the hotel: