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When making your way through the affordable luxury of Vietnam's capital, don't miss out on the opportunity to scoot out to Halong Bay, or the "Bay of Descending Dragons." It's about a three-hour car ride to the east of Hanoi, heralded for its remarkable scenery of 2,000 islands that rise up from its waters.
There are literally hundreds of boats willing to take tourists out for a sail, some for the day and others overnight. While many are known for scamming tourists with high rates and low returns, we had a great experience upon the Emeraude, known for its tasty cuisine, friendly staff, and cozy confines.
Rooms aboard the Emeraude were recently renovated and feature hardwood floors, surprisingly spacious and tiled bathrooms, air conditioning, and beds that would put you to sleep even without the gentle rocking of the boat. There are three suites available if you're traveling with a family, but regardless of which you end up in, the major highlight, of course, is the killer views you get from anywhere onboard while you cruise the beautiful bay.
Yesterday, we showed you how much value there is to be had at budget hotels in Hanoi, taking an inside look at what $39 a night will get you in Vietnam's capital. But that story begs a different question: If you can get that for $39 a night, what does a "normal" hotel rate by Western standards get you?
We wondered the same thing, and so we searched out the most luxurious hotels in town to find out and after a stay at the five-star Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, we're thinking we have stumbled upon a contender for the best bang for your buck...in the world.
When it comes to the price of lodging, it doesn't get much cheaper than Hanoi, especially if you're a backpacker and are doing the hostel thing You can find shared rooms for as low as a few dollars a night, and rates for private rooms around the city start in the teens and usually include a free breakfast.
On our recent trip to Vietnam's capital, we "splurged" on a "high-end" budget hotel called the Art Trendy Hotel, located in the heart of the Old Quarter, renting a room for $39 a night. In the States, that kind of money won't get you very far, barely enough for a room at the Motel 6. But in Hanoi, $39 a night went a long way. The name might need work, but the Art Trendy delivered big bang for the buck.
By the end of the summer, Aman Resorts will be crossing off another hotel opening of its to-do list for this year: Amano’i, its brand new resort on scenic Vinh Hy Bay in Vietnam will have the first lucky guests jumping in that gorgee-ous infinity pool on September 1.
Combining the usual Aman (Sanskrit for ‘peace’) and no’i (‘place’ in Vietnamese), Amano’i sits on the coast northeast of Ho Chi Minh City. There are just 31 pavilions and five villas, with arrival happening at a central pavilion on the hilltop, offering in-your-face views of the coastline.
We been to plenty of hotels around the world and it's always a pleasant surprise for hotel staff to sport a uniform that's a departure from the stuffy, black or charcoal suit. Walking into the Sheraton Towers Saigon we were warmly welcomed by, what seemed like, a crew of greeters with one in particular catching our eye--a lovely young lady dressed in a golden and bronze ao dai topped off with a matching hat.
The ao dai is a traditional silk dress worn by men and women alike, but emphasizes the way the dress ties feminine beauty to Vietnamese nationalism. Walking around the city, visitors will undoubtedly spy heaps of different dresses in a rainbow of different colors; even school girls are decked out in the silk frock. Through the years, ao dais have been tweaked and modernized with the most current design of the garment finding its roots right in Ho Chi Minh City.
The dress is so popular, Prada and Giorgio Armani have even had their hand at creating a haute couture version of the traditional article.
Let's have a look at the location before we get into the property. Hoi An is one of the Vietnam's UNESCO World Heritage sites and is best known for it's colonial architecture, traditional handicrafts, vibrant art scene and romantic café culture. The city itself calls the banks of the Thu Ban River home and truly makes it part of the charm.
Anantara takes advantage of the colonial history by staking claim to a group of French, Dutch, Chinese and Japanese influenced buildings that house all of the 93 rooms and suites that feature killer river views and balcony day beds to relax in the warmth of SouthEast Asia. If hanging out in the plush digs is more your speed, each room is two-stories with an upper bedroom and bathroom, leading down to a lower lounge that opens onto it's porch. Yeah, this is luxury.
Hotel Openings / Aman Resorts / China Hotels / Vietnam Hotels / Jordan Hotels / Luxury Hotels / → All Tags
When we mentioned at the beginning of the year that Aman Resorts would be opening a third property in China, very few details were available other than its location in the city of Lijiang, in the western province of Yunnan, towards the border with Myanmar (Burma).
We’ve since talked about the June opening of Aman Canal Grande in Venice, and now we have a few more details on what will be called AmanDayan, as well as word on two additional properties in Vietnam and Jordan.
A Lagoon Pool Villa at Banyan Tree
We may have gotten excited when Banyan Tree arrived on Shanghai’s The Bund in October, but this wasn’t the only development the small hotel group had up its sleeve: just weeks later it opened its first property in Vietnam.
This isn’t just a simple hotel opening though: the “integrated resort community” Laguna Lăng Cô, in the Chan May region of central Vietnam, contains both a Banyan Tree and Angsana Resort. It’s not the first time Banyan Tree has pulled this off, with a similar combination already existing in Phuket, Thailand.
So what's the difference between the two resorts you ask? And what's there to do when you arrive? Read on to find out.
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As we mentioned earlier today, there's a hotel boom happening in Asia right now. There's so many to list, we're giving you a sort of Magic Mike-type news brief. A little tease, and a little unveiling. It's just a little show for now, but keep coming back and we'll keep giving you a little more...detail.
Rosewood Beijing, slated to open in summer 2013 in the business-centric Chaoyang District will be the brand’s first China property. The 279-room hotel, though in an urban location, will be filled with terraces, gardens and balconies throughout to go along with its intended residential feel. Guestrooms will be designed to look like luxury apartments, with big bathrooms, walk-in closets and even window-seats, and at 538 sq.ft., they’re said to be amongst the largest in Beijing. The hotel will have seven restaurants and lounges, an indoor swimming pool, yoga studio, and the Rosewood Sense spa with five suites designed for overnight stays.
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Christmas merriment isn't reserved for countries in the global west, though Europe and North America certainly have cornered the market on gingerbread houses and chintzy decorations.
In far reaches of the world, hotels cater to a clientele of locals, expats, and tourists alike who enjoy their fair heaping of tinsel and egg nog. Today we're focusing on three Asian hotels spreading yule tide joy in spades, some sticking to tradition, some contributing their unique cultural touch to the holiday.
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Today's cool hotel history lesson for today involves the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi which recently discovered a Vietnam War-era secret bunker that once housed Jane Fonda, Joan Baez and a few others during the 1972 Christmas bombings by American forces.
After the bombings and the war, the bunker had been sealed and forgotten. And while the hotel always knew of the shelter, they could never find it. Until over the summer, when during renovations of their poolside bar, a worker's drill hit a piece of concrete. The seven-room, five-foot high bunker had finally been uncovered. Associated Press reports:
Since then, workers have been excavating the flooded and low-ceilinged space. Not much has been found in the seven rooms: a wine bottle, a rusty paint can and a light bulb still in a socket. But a few tales remain, some involving famous guests. “If these walls could talk, they would tell a lot of stories,” says hotel general manager Kai Speth, while giving The Associated Press an exclusive first glimpse. The bomb shelter “needs to be brought back into the life of the hotel as a reminder of what this hotel and this town went through.”
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What the hotel managers will be wearing at Hyatt Regency Danang.
Last week, we took a look at some of the big hotels opening in New York, London, Los Angeles and Miami but there's a whole world out there! We'll be highlighting some upcoming hotel openings every week until the end of the year! Know of a cool hotel that's opening? Let us know!
When the Hyatt Regency Danang opens in Vietnam on October 31, the hotel staff is going to be sporting some very stylish uniforms complete with matching shoes, hats and accessories. And it's not just the front desk that will look pretty. The stewards, chefs, housekeepers, security guards and even the landscapers will all get stylish clothes to wear.