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President Hotel, Saigon

Until early 2018, a tall, decrepit concrete tower, known as the President Hotel, loomed over the streets of Cholon, Ho Chi Minh City's Chinatown. Built as an apartment block by millionaire Nguyen Tan Doi in the 1960s in what was then Saigon, the building was one of the most modern dwellings in Vietnam. It had a roof top swimming pool, a fountain and a ballroom. 530 apartments were serviced by four lifts, with waste chutes on all floors. In 1964 it was taken over by the American Army to house soldiers when they first arrived in or before they left Vietnam.
When the northern forces captured Saigon in April 1975, the building was turned over to the new administration. Over the decades, the President Hotel went into slow decline and by the early 2000s it was a shadow of its former self, rotting in the humid tropical air of Vietnam's modern, commercial capital. It was closed in 2016 and demolished in 2018. Laurent Weyl met some of the last residents.
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