Vietnam continues to hold promise for hotel chains

2 Sep 2009

Despite a current downturn in tourist arrivals, Vietnam continues to figure in the growth plans of major international chains which all sense its rich market potential.

Accor group's MGallery Collection yesterday welcomed La Veranda Resort and Spa Phu Quoc as its first member in Vietnam. MGallery is the company's upscale brand that brings together properties noted for their exceptional personality through one or more of four principal elements: vision, design, history and location.

“La Veranda Phu Quoc is offering a unique experience in a memorable setting,” said Patrick Basset, Accor vice-president for Vietnam, the Philippines, South Korea and Japan. Previously known as Grand Mercure La Veranda Resort and Spa, the hotel underwent extensive rebranding, emerging with an entirely fresh identity realised through new services and rituals

Situated on an island off the Gulf of Thailand, the resort is the gateway to a host of stunning natural attractions – pristine beaches, turquoise waters and lush green jungles set in a national park that's home to more than 900 species of plants.

Built in the style of a French colonial seaside mansion, La Veranda Phu Quoc features dark wood, mosaic tiles, exposed brickwork and double doors with high ceilings, creating a distinct style of comfort and indulgence. The 43 guestrooms and villas contain Vietnamese touches in their décor and period furniture.

In other developments, Starwood Hotels and Resorts announced the entry of its Le Méridien brand into Vietnam with the signing of Le Méridien Saigon.

Targeted to open in July 2012, the 350-room property will be a part of a mixed-used 22-storey tower located on Ton Duc Thang Street in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. Le Méridien Saigon will have four restaurants and bars, a health club, an outdoor swimming pool, spa and approximately 800sqm of meeting space.

“Vietnam is among the fasting growing nations in Southeast Asia and has been experiencing strong leisure and business travel within and into the country,” said Miguel Ko, chairman and president of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Asia-Pacific. “The growing demand present us with tremendous opportunities to better serve the needs of travellers.”

The announcement of its first hotel in Vietnam is part of Le Méridien expansion strategy in Asia-Pacific, where the brand opened four hotels in China and Thailand between 2008 and 2009. Over the next three years, Starwood plans to open four other properties in the region – Chongqing, Xiamen and Qingdao in China as well as Taipei in Taiwan.

Starwood also launched a dedicated customer toll-free number in Vietnam – 1206 5111, with calls are being answered by native Vietnamese speakers. The hotline was introduced to help the hotel group build the foundation for its growing portfolio of hotels and resorts in the country.

In the first seven months of 2009, visitor arrivals to Vietnam dropped by 19 percent compared with the same period last year, a slump that tourism pundits generally concede is only a temporary situation.

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Gigi Onag

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