Vietnam War Bunker Unearthed Under Famous Hanoi Hotel

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The Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam.

A bomb shelter dating back to the Vietnam War has been unearthed beneath the famous Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The hotel, which has hosted celebrities like Charlie Chaplin, Graham Greene, Jane Fonda and numerous war correspondents, now houses many high-end boutiques such as handbag designer Hermes. It was only during the renovation of a poolside bar that the bunker was discovered early this summer; it had been sealed off three years after the end of the war, and it fell into the forgotten annals of history.

(MORE: Is Time Running Out to Find Soldiers’ Remains in Vietnam?)

Since then, the bunker has been excavated but few remnants lie in the historic hotel’s secret bunker. Composed of seven rooms, a wine bottle, a paint can and a light bulb remain of what’s left inside.

Widely considered a landmark, the hotel is situated just a few minutes walking distance from Hoan Kiem Lake, in the heart of downtown Hanoi. The Associated Press reports that several historians are lobbying the hotel to open up the bunker to the public, since “it could play an important role in illuminating Vietnam War history.”

General manager Kai Speth isn’t so keen on the idea. “I have an obligation to my guests to keep the Metropole luxurious and exclusive. If I just leave it open, can you imagine? All of the tour guides of Hanoi would take everybody down there.”

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Erica Ho is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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