Originally built as a French garage in the early 20th century, the Rex Hotel was expanded into a 6-floor trading centre in 1959, owned by Mr and Madame Ung Thi, King Bao Dai’s relatives.
It was leased to the AmericanCulturalCenter in 1960, at which time the Abraham Lincoln Library was established on the ground floor. During the Vietnam war the American Information Service made its base at the hotel, which soon became the favorite haunt of U.S. officers and the scene of daily press briefings to foreign correspondents, or “five o’clock follies”, as they were called.
In 1973, the building was renamed the RexTradingCenter. It became famous throughout South East Asia and included three cinemas, a cafeteria and dance-hall. Designs were drawn to convert the Trading Centre into an illustrious hotel, however the project was unrealized at the conclusion of the war on April 30, 1975.
Since 1975, the development and prosperity of the country has come full circle. The Rex Trading Centre became the property of Saigontourist Ho Chi Minh City and was upgraded into an international hotel, renamed Ben Thanh. The “Rex Hotel” was adopted as its international trademark.
In 2008, the Rex Hotel was classified as an international 5-star hotel. With its traditional charm, wide range of international standard services and 289 well-appointed rooms, the luxurious new refurbishments have been thoughtfully designed to preserve the historic integrity of the Rex Hotel while at the same time introducing sophisticated postmodern architecture. The Rex is really “Your Vietnam Home”, a choice venue for international VIPs as well as visitors and friends.
“Ho Chi Minh is not the Saigon it once was. Everything changes following the developing trend”. However, the memories remain and, not unsurprisingly, U.S war veterans choose to stay here today: “The Rex is still the Rex! Central location. The Rooftop Garden. For a Vietnam vet, there really Is no place else to stay if you are in the country on a nostalgia trip.” (quoted from an American veteran’s commentary on Asia.com, John Evans, who stayed at Rex in June, 2003).
Vietnam is proud of this landmark hotel, which is known as the pearl of Vietnamese tourism.
Taxis are a safer method of getting around, and usually drivers are reliable and the fares cheap ($2-5). Make sure you have the address of where you're going written down because pronouncing street names correctly can be tricky. All taxis are metered, starting at around 13,000 VND. Go with the companies listed below:
Mai Linh Taxi Company-Tel: (08) 3838 3838
Saigon Taxi-Tel: (08) 3842 4242
Vinasun-Tel: (08) 3827 2727
Vina Taxi-Tel: (08) 3811 1111
Map & Directions: