Tried & Tested

Hotel Check: Mövenpick Hotel

30 Apr 2009 by intern11
Hotel Check: Mövenpick (Hotel Hanoi) WHAT’S IT LIKE? All the cabbies still refer to this freestanding hotel as the Guoman Hotel – which it was for many years – so some time will have to pass before they associate it with the Mövenpick group. The Swiss chain assumed management last December after an extensive renovation, following the opening of its first property in Vietnam, Mövenpick Hotel Saigon five months earlier. Boasting a classic white façade, the hotel welcomes guests into a gleaming lobby crowned by a magnificent chandelier. The reception counter is to the left and the drinks lounge is to the right. Staff are stationed in strategic corners, ready to help the uncertain guest and offer chilled glasses of water. My check in was swiftly performed even if there was a bit of a crowd when I checked in that particular evening. WHERE IS IT? Ly Thuong Kiet Street is one of Hanoi’s busiest thoroughfares, which only calms down after 8pm. Adjacent to Mövenpick is Pacific Place, housing the headquarters of IBM and HSBC. Other important offices nearby include the Embassy of Switzerland, UNDP and European Union. Noi Bai International Airport is 40 minutes away by car, while the Friendship Palace Exhibition Centre can be reached by foot in a few minutes. HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 154 rooms and suites, 93 of which are non-smoking rooms and 20 are connecting rooms. There are three categories: Superior Deluxe (30sqm), Premium Deluxe (37sqm) and Junior Suite (60sqm). My Superior Deluxe Room with a king bed proved to be a surprise. A direct contrast to the classic European flavour in the public spaces, the guestroom exuded a hip feel, aided by an accent wall, dark timber floors and funky furniture. ROOM FACILITIES: The bathroom had the, by now, standard window-with-louvres-for-privacy feature, LCD flat-screen TV with satellite programming, minibar, IDD telephone system, personal safe, broadband access and Wi-Fi capability. Connecting to the internet never posed a problem. RESTAURANTS: Collin Ong, a veteran of upscale properties in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Kuwait and South Africa, helms the kitchens of Mangosteen, Mövenpick’s sleek dining outlet on the mezzanine, specialising in a blend of Vietnamese and Swiss cuisines. Established hits are the Prawn, Papaya and Green Apple Salad tossed with white radish and wasabi dressing and Kasespatzle, an oven-baked noodle topped with Emmenthal cheese and garden lettuce. BARS: Lounge 83 (the number taken from the hotel address) offers breakfast and snacks as well as wines from the in-house cellar. Nightly live music is the big draw. Floor-to-ceiling windows permit a vantage view of the street action. My colleague and I enjoyed a dish of extremely fresh spring rolls there one evening. BUSINESS FACILITIES: Four multipurpose meeting rooms accommodate between 10 and 110 persons, while a business centre is equipped to help out. LEISURE FACILITIES: No swimming pool but the Kinetic Gym and Wellness Studio with its power machines, massage and sauna are enough for a good workout. It’s challenging to jog around Hanoi with the endless procession of motorbikes and pollution. But if you have to, rise early or wait until late night to do so. PRICE: Internet nightly rates in mid-June start from US$388. VERDICT: Mövenpick introduces a fresh wind to Hanoi. The staff were exceedingly well trained and genuinely solicitous, especially when I hobbled into the lobby with a sprained ankle that I suffered while covering a major travel trade show at the decrepit Vietnam Exhibition and Fair Centre. Its uneven flooring was a minefield of accidents waiting to happen. And I was the first known casualty, although an overseas buyer was also reported to have tripped. CONTACT: 83A Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, tel 84 4 3822 2800, Margie T Logarta  
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