Siteseeing: VietnamMatt Dougherty • Photography courtesy of NOOR, Azerai, and Myst Dong Khoi • February 28, 2018
With 97 projects in the pipeline, Vietnam is on its way to becoming a hospitality powerhouse. Along with having one of the fastest-growing Asian economies, recent changes in development and international investment laws have helped the country become friendlier to new business, according to Lodging Econometrics senior vice president Bruce Ford. “A significant amount of the global upper-upscale and luxury brands are now seeking these locations,” he adds. Consider the success Six Senses has found in the country with the 50-villa Six Senses Con Dao, designed by Paris-based AW2 and located off the mainland’s southeast coast, and the idyllic beach hideaway Six Senses Ninh Van Bay from Bangkok firm Habita Architects.
Larger hotel companies are also planting a stake in Vietnam: the Sheraton Grand Danang Resort opened last month with 180 rooms situated in two six-floor hotel blocks; the 459-key InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort is set for a second quarter debut with multiple beachfront dining options, including Ink 360 sky bar (the island’s tallest); and Rosewood is coming next year to the ancient town of Hoi An on the central coast with 70 guestrooms, 30 residences, multiple F&B spots, and new wellness concept Asaya situated lakeside, with design courtesy of Malaysia-based Denniston.
In the heart of Ho Chi Minh City on a tree-lined street, local firm A21 Studio made Vietnam’s rich history the focal point of Myst Dong Khoi’s design. The property, the seventh from Silverland Hospitality, features winding corridors with concrete ceilings and exposed sprinkler pipes to recall the city’s streetscape. Salvaged elements from a 200-year-old demolished shipyard across the river are integrated in the lobby and outdoor café, while the 108 guestrooms take cues from the layouts of traditional Vietnamese homes, showcasing Ho Chi Minh City’s “simple charms and rich traditions,” says A21 architect Nguyen Hoa Hiep. Also in Ho Chi Minh City is Sherwood Suites, a member of the Lifestyle and Residence collections of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, where 157 spacious rooms boast fully equipped kitchens, marble bathrooms, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Guests also have access to a pooldeck with a cocktail bar and a Mediterranean-Asian fusion restaurant.
Still to come: The 211-room Hilton Da Nang from local firm Noor will debut in April with a design that references the architecture of nearby Hoi An and includes a natural palette with locally sourced materials such as sandstone, ceramic wall tiles, marble, walnut, and bronze. Meanwhile, Adrian Zecha teamed up with Thailand-based-architect Pascal Trahan on the recently unveiled Azerai Can Tho, the brand’s second property following its debut in Laos in 2017. In classic Zecha style, the 60-room hotel will interpret traditional architecture through a contemporary lens. And joining the sprawling 244-room JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay from Bangkok-based Bill Bensley will be its sister property, the JW Marriott Danang Resort, set for an early 2019 debut. The good news is this is likely only the first wave of development in Vietnam, Ford says, with another expected for 2021.