He has a powerful weapon; he charges a million a shot. For a price he’ll erase anyone; the man with the golden guuuun…


At the Reunification Palace, swank trappings of a 60’s international bachelor pad tell you 007 could rappel down a flagstone wall and leap over a stuffed leopard at any moment, stopping for a martini at the casino room on his way. I don’t know who the decorator is, but I love what they did with the place.

The UN-esque exterior has a modernist facade with a poured cement grille over the windows like some 60’s community college. Various official-looking flags fly over the entrance.


On the first floor, important conference rooms are the platonic ideal of all the aped modernism of recent years, and combine harmonious geometry with old-fashioned Vietnamese vernacular. Symetrical vistas abound. Every detail is considered, and sumptuous materials such as dark wood with mother of pearl inlay or lustrous, patterned silk upholstry adorn the surfaces.


The conference hall has a particularly Communist aura with rows of chairs leading to a gold bust of uncle Ho flanked by a red curtain and star, the national symbol.


Some rooms in upper floors are less luxe, or have perhaps been stripped of some of their decoration. The office of the president is spartan compared to the conference rooms, yet it does sport the requisite stuffed leopard. I don’t know what a "Credentials Presenting Room" is, but I want one in my next abode.


The cinema is a bit underwhelming in comparison to everything else, but the gambling room doesn’t disappoint. Its geometric Bauhaus-esque furnishings and primary colors diverge from the rich tones and later modernism of other rooms. It has some lovely wood furniture and a giant six foot red disc whose sole function is to support a small sconce.

On the next floor, the projection room’s decor is apparently not for public consumption, but features a great old projector.


Climbing up to the roof, a glass walled clubhouse with wetbar looks out onto the helipad — of course. Big red dots tell us where bombs went off.


Finally, we go subterranean, to the basement command center. It contains surprisingly little equipment to our eyes. My first impression is that each room looks like a set that some Austrian photographer is using to make ironic art commenting on bureaucracy and the futility of cheese or something. There is an unintended poetry in the way there are only about five objects in each room. It’s kind of amazing that this was head of operations, although maybe the rooms have been stripped down since it was in use. We walk past the official transport vehicle, a 50’s Cadillac much like my dad once collected.

Then we’re shooed into an incongruous undecorated room where they’re playing music on traditional Vietnamese instruments and urging us to buy some. And it’s time to go.

FYI, the Reunification Palace can be rented for weddings, parties, bar and bat mitzvas, anniversaries and more, according to the sign.