There is no greater magnet for the hospitality industry than the sea, with towering hotels crowding the world’s finest stretches of beach, from the Côte d’Azur to Waikiki. For most travelers, a view of the ocean is the ultimate amenity, but luxury hotels that float or are submerged beneath the surface of the sea provide otherworldly experiences.
Floating is a term of art. There are some hotels that literally float, like The FloatHouse River Kwai in Thailand or the Off Paris Seine that is moored on the banks of the City of Light’s signature river. Others merely provide the illusion of floating, such as tropical overwater bungalows — these are quintessential French Polynesian accommodations but are found in the Maldives, Seychelles and Caribbean as well — where the design is fully integrated with the sea. Yet another category are hotels whose rooms or restaurants are submerged in the sea, providing guests with the underwater experience of coexisting with tropical fish amidst a coral reef.
The clubby Off floats on the Seine between the Right and Left Banks of Paris, not far from Gare d’Austerlitz in the up-and-coming 13th arrondissement. While the neighborhood is buzzing with fashionable bistros and nightspots, the barge-like Off provides an onboard restaurant and bar, even a lap pool. Those who splurge can choose between two fashionable suites whose décor was authored by designers Maurizio Galante and Tal Lancman.
Exotic species viewed from an elaborate underwater suite at Atlantis, The Palm. Above image and featured image: © ATLANTIS, THE PALM; photos by Victor Romero
An underwater guestroom at The Manta Resort off the coast of Tanzania. Photo courtesy of the Manta Resort.
With its recent grand opening, Resorts World’s glitzy new $4.3 billion property is the latest hot spot on the Las Vegas Strip, but the company’s resort on Sentosa Island, Singapore is even more elaborate. It encompasses multiple hotels — among them the elite Crockfords Tower, the postmodern Hotel Michael and Hard Rock — along with several theme parks, a convention center and casino. The property’s Beach Villas hotel offers 11 two-story Ocean Suites that immerse their guests into an exotic ocean habitat. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide an undersea view of more than 70 species of marine animals amidst luxury accommodations enhanced by personalized butler service.
Offering the best of both worlds is The Manta Resort in Tanzania — it is located on Pemba Island amidst some stunning turquoise-hued waters — and its three-level floating suite is anchored to the ocean floor off the coast of Africa. Above water, guests enjoy a gentle rafting effect and panoramic views, but in the bedroom below they are treated to the eyepopping aquatic habitat of this corner of the Indian Ocean. Pemba Island is one of the world’s premier diving areas, but guests at The Manta’s underwater room can experience the same thrills without ever putting on a wetsuit.
The Manta Resort’s own Kwanini Foundation is actively involved in protecting the rich marine habitat of Pemba Island, whose reefs are among the most diverse in East Africa. Rapidly increasing population is creating an unsustainable demand for fish, and the foundation is fighting to eliminate destructive practices like dynamite fishing near vulnerable reefs, as well as educating people on climate change and plastic pollution. These conservation efforts not only preserve the natural beauty of Pemba Island, but ensure the magic of The Manta Resort’s underwater accommodations as well.
Perhaps the most audacious example of a hotel with an underwater feature is the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland in China. Constructed at an artificial lake created at an abandoned quarry, most of the sleek, curvaceous structure is technically below grade, with 16 stories built into a subterranean cliff. All of the 336 rooms benefit from spectacular views of the lake and the property’s dramatically illuminated waterfalls and fountains.
One spectacular two-level suite at Shanghai Wonderland features an enclosed living room with outdoor terrace hovering just above the water, while its bedrooms are submerged beneath the lake’s surface, encased in a giant underwater aquarium. Lin Wang, chief marketing officer for IHG, Greater China, commented: “We’re delighted to be joining forces with Shimao Group [developer] again to open InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland — an architectural masterpiece that’s a wonder and beauty in the global hospitality industry.”
When it comes to underwater hotel restaurants, New Zealand civil engineer Mike Murphy is a pioneering force responsible for some of the most dramatic designs. His first underwater restaurant project, Ithaa, opened in 2005 and remains a stunning dining space in the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort. A decade later, Murphy completed the design for his largest underwater dining venue, named 5.8 Undersea Restaurant — it sits 5.8 meters beneath the surface of the Indian Ocean — at the Hurawalhi Island Resort in the Maldives. “Many projects must be canceled, as the sites aren’t suitable or the client desires a room size that’s unrealistically large,” explains Murphy of his niche specialty.
Despite his disciplined training as an engineer, Murphy appreciates the visceral reaction people experience in these underwater spaces. “Their mouths open in awe, they almost gasp in wonder at the beautiful underwater scene in front of them,” he says, and adds, “I, too, always get this feeling when I go down into these undersea rooms.”
The Hurawalhi project benefitted from advancements in fabrication, transportation and the availability of larger crane ships, reports Murphy, who notes these ventures work best in locations protected from severe waves or storm surges, generally inside a coral reef or protected harbor. “The design of the acrylic windows and arches is very important,” says the engineer, who explains, “The deeper you go in the water, the greater the pressure, and hence the thicker you must make the windows … and the more expensive it gets.”
Murphy designed the largest underwater project to date, a villa at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island called The Muraka, a spectacular suite whose room rate begins at $9,999 per night. “Driven by our inspiration to deliver innovative and transformative experiences to our global travelers, the world’s first undersea residence encourages guests to explore the Maldives from an entirely new perspective below the surface of the sea,” said Ahmed Saleem of the Crown Company, which collaborated with the engineer on the
$15 million project. Murphy, who retired a few years ago at age 70, continues to receive proposals for projects and is hoping his design for the world’s first revolving underwater restaurant will be realized.
Above, the view from an Ocean Suite at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore. Photo courtesy of RESORTS WORLD SENTOSA SINGAPORE.
At far left, an underwater suite at the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland.
Above, the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland, constructed at an abandoned quarry. Photos courtesy of InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland.
The FloatHouse River Kwai is a bona fide floating resort in Thailand, a country where floating homes and markets are not particularly unusual. The hotel’s string of thatched roof villas is essentially a lengthy pontoon boat parked along the river made famous by the novel and Oscar-winning movie Bridge on the River Kwai. Each villa provides nearly 1,000 square feet of comfort appointed with teak furniture and features a private terrace with a swing from which to lazily watch the slowly passing riverboats.
The luxurious Taj Lake Palace hotel is not technically floating on India’s Lake Pichola, but most certainly appears to be. The artificial lake, which was created in the 14th century, has several islands, and the white marble-clad structure — it was originally a summer palace for the ruling dynasty of Mewar — was constructed on one of them in 1746. The palace was designed in a manner that makes it look like an ornate floating raft, and while the illusion is convincing, nobody gets seasick. The hotel oozes elegance and romance, and the most extravagant suites, with hand-painted ceilings, crystal chandeliers and panoramic water views, are indeed palatial.
In a city that specializes in over-the-top experiences, Dubai’s 1,500-room Atlantis, The Palm offers a 1,775-square-foot underwater suite with floor-to-ceiling windows for viewing the resort’s signature aquarium, stocked with 65,000 marine animals. A guest lying on the bed or relaxing in the marble bath will be mesmerized by sharks, stingrays and vibrantly hued tropical fish sailing past. A private elevator ascends to the suite’s intimate lounge, offering surface views of a lagoon, and guests’ needs are attended to by a dedicated butler.
With powder-white sand and turquoise waters that offer tranquil swimming and world-class surfing, this gated seven-bedroom property — set on beautiful Lorient Beach — is one of St. Barth’s most luxurious beachfront estates.
“This property represents an extremely rare opportunity to purchase a beachfront estate in St. Barth,” says Tom Smyth of St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty who is listing the property for 35 million euros. “We generally see an opportunity like this once per decade.”
Features include wraparound terraces providing easy access to the interior from all sides, a stunning pool, a spacious living area, a gourmet kitchen, and five equal master suites are all accessible from the courtyard.
Additionally, the expansive courtyard encompasses a private spa and a bar, and a two- bedroom caretaker’s house is located near the entrance. The property allows for expansion.
For more information, contact:
St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty
St. Barth +590.518.104.22.168
With 170 feet of beachfront and a 98-foot private dock, this 5-bedroom, 6-bath estate home sits on 1.5 acres on the longest natural beach on the northeast shore in Nassau, Bahamas. The majestic home greets all with a grand circular, brick-paved driveway with an electric gate.
“The gracious entrance, and its remarkable sea views from the lower and upper patios, make this home ideal for entertainment,” says Nicole Fair of Kerry Sullivan Real Estate who is listing the property for $4.5 million. Fine features of the home include Jerusalem stone flooring, Abaco pine and cherry wood cabinets.
“Guests will be charmed by the spacious foyer with sweeping mahogany staircase and tasteful décor,” says Fair. The home also features a wine cellar, terraced gardens, electric shutters, a generator and a guest cottage.
People who come to Tamarack rarely want to leave. A fortunate few don’t have to.
The Village at Tamarack is the latest ski-in/ski-out residential addition to the renowned Tamarack Resort in Idaho’s scenic Valley County. Located 90 miles north of Boise and nestled at the base of the Payette River Mountains at an elevation of 4,900 feet, Tamarack is more like a small, inviting hometown than your typical sprawling, mega-resort destination.
Surrounding The Village is Tamarack Resort, a four-season, boutique-style resort with world-class skiing for every skill level. This area welcomes families to the good life without pretense. Here, what you see is what you get. And what you see is nothing short of spectacular, no matter which direction you turn.
There’s the towering beauty of the mountains, the quiet majesty of the pine forests, the peaceful depths of Lake Cascade, and the rushing waters of the Payette River. Many of these vistas can be taken in from the comfortable perch of your own inviting residence at The Village at Tamarack.
This pedestrian-friendly alpine town is home to narrow, winding lanes, unexpected shops, eclectic dining options, and 129 well-appointed condominium residences—all just a few hundred skiable yards from the nearest lift.
3,600-Acres. Four Distinct Seasons. Unlimited Possibilities.
When you live at The Village at Tamarack, you can ski out to the lifts in the morning and ski in from the slopes at the end of the day. Then again, skiing is just the beginning of a long list of outdoor activities your family will share at The Village.
In addition to Alpine, Nordic and backcountry snow skiing, Tamarack boasts snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and snowboarding in winter. In the summer months, there’s water skiing, wake surfing, sailing, and paddle boarding on beautiful Lake Cascade, as well as fly fishing and white water rafting on the renowned Payette River. Zip-lining, golf, mountain biking, birding, hiking, and guided adventures can be enjoyed from spring well into the fall.
For you, downtown is downstairs.
After a day of nonstop activity on the mountain, slow down and relax in The Village’s retail district, located just below your residence. Mingle with neighbors at one-of-a-kind boutiques, bars, and coffee shops. Escape to the spa to relax and unwind after a long day on the slopes. Enjoy family-friendly meals at restaurants ranging from casual cafes to gourmet dining establishments.
Not far from Tamarack, there’s even more to see and do in the laidback, western-style towns of Donnelly and McCall. Boise, America’s most livable city in 2019, is also just an easy road trip away.
With so much to do outdoors, you may never want to come inside. Once you do, however, you’ll be met by warm, inviting, carefully considered interiors.
The Village’s first offering of luxurious, fully furnished condominium residences ranges from comfortable studios to spacious penthouses with multiple indoor and outdoor living areas. Most floor plans feature natural stone accents, full kitchens with waterfall islands, and inspiring views from nearly every angle.
Select floor plans include outdoor dining spaces and additional interior lock-off areas—which can be treated as guest space when needed or separated for rental use in the property’s management program.
Whether The Village at Tamarack is your primary residence, a second, or even third home, it’s likely to be one your family returns to for generations to come. Given the area’s low cost of living and family friendly environment, there’s no better place to raise kids. For adults, Tamarack is an ideal location for refreshing the spirit, rekindling connections and strengthening family ties.
Ready to make this enviable resort life part of your life? Get in touch with Trisha Sears,
The Village at Tamarack’s exclusive onsite broker.
Owning a home at Tamarack Resort may well be the chance of a lifetime. But with only
a limited availability of residences, the opportunity to own at the Village won’t last anywhere near that long.
For those who love consistently warm weather throughout the year, Florida is known for its tropical, relaxed atmosphere. The palm trees and sunny days transport you to the Caribbean — especially in a residential amenity like Laguna Solé.
Laguna Solé is a massive 7-acre, man-made swimming lagoon large enough to fit 21 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The crystal clear water imitates the Caribbean while its ultrasonic filtration system uses 100 times fewer chemicals than a regular pool.
The lagoon is located in the heart of Solé Mia, known for being the “city within a city” that’s being built by two of the most powerful real estate dynasties in America, the LeFraks and Soffers. The LeFraks developed LeFrak City in New York and Newport, New Jersey, while the Soffers are known for developing much of what Miami is today.
The lagoon is accessible by residents and guests of the Shoreline, Solé Mia’s newest two residential towers located right next to the lagoon.
The $4 billion city of Solé Mia is known for its residential amenities that are elevating the standard of residential living — and Laguna Solé is the most recent and extravagant example.
Photos courtesy of Solé Mia.
Golf has always been considered an elitist sport, but when precious metals and exotic leathers are introduced, it’s a whole new game.
With its expensive equipment and country club heritage, golf has always been considered a luxury pursuit, even though aggressive youth programs and some hip touring professionals have begun eroding the sport’s buttoned-down image. Nonetheless, players with unlimited resources or a penchant for fantasy are fueling demand for some over-the-top golf equipment and accessories.
The venerable luxury brand of Tiffany & Co. creates some of golf’s most coveted trophies, including those of the PGA Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational. It also produces an elegant sterling silver putter ($2,500), which is an ideal gift for any golfing enthusiast who likes to flash some bling on the greens. A more discreet way to glamorously accessorize one’s game is with the company’s sterling silver tee, which at $175 is a relatively inexpensive way to give a loved one a little blue box from Tiffany. Hopefully, it will not be lost on the course!
The most expensive regular-production golf clubs are the platinum-and-24-karat gold-accented Beres 5-Star series from Japanese manufacturer Honma. Veteran golf retailer Bill Stauff er of Las Vegas Golf & Tennis Superstore reports that a 14-club set with bag sells for about $65,000 and is popular with status-conscious Asian tourists who would pay more for these products back home. “There’s no question the quality is there,” states Stauffer, who insists Honma products are not simply for bragging rights. He explains the clubs are all made-to-order by seasoned craftsmen, which results in an eight-week wait for delivery. While the brand has traditionally been more popular with billionaire duff ers than PGA pros, superstar Justin Rose just inked a 10-year endorsement deal with Honma.
Transforming the clunky electric golf cart into a sophisticated driving machine is Garia, a Danish manufacturer whose top-of-the-line vehicle begins at $73,000. The Garia “Golf Car,” inspired by Mercedes-Benz, combines luxury, state-of-the-art technology and the true spirit of the game. For functionality, it features a scoreboard displayed on a touchscreen and handy tray for balls and tees, while comfort is ensured by the inclusion of that essential amenity on the golf course — a built-in refrigerator. And with an attainable speed of 43 miles per hour, albeit not recommended at stuffier country clubs, Garia has not overlooked performance. This aerodynamic Mercedes Benz-styled ride puts an end to the plastic buggy age and allows luxury golf enthusiasts to express themselves on the links.
Anders Lynge, designer and co-founder of Garia, explains the inspiration for the product was to take Mercedes-Benz design values onto the golf course, noting the iconic automotive brand has previously applied its sense of style to yachts and helicopters. All Garia golf cars are more than just your average golf cart,” insists Lynge, citing features like sports car-inspired double-wishbone suspension with disc brakes and an integrated instrument cluster. While it offers the functionality and simplicity of a golf cart, the designer maintains it drives more like an automobile.
“Buyers are wealthy individuals who need the car for golf and street usage inside their communities or on their properties,” says Lynge, who reports the car is street legal in both the EU and U.S. “Some are Mercedes collectors, some avid golfers who want the very best, others are athletes or entrepreneurs who have made it and now live in a golf community and want the best possible vehicle for driving and golfing,” says Lynge of his globally diverse clientele.
Par West Custom Golf Shoes is another brand that has gained traction among discriminating golfers. Paul Raddatz founded the business after making his first pair of shoes for PGA pro Payne Stewart — the game’s most flamboyant dresser in the ’80s and ’90s — from NFL football leather.
Currently, three of the top 10 ranked players on the Tour are wearing Par West shoes. The Wisconsin-based company custom-makes all shoes from a foot mold kit, taking into consideration clients’ sock preferences and habits on the course.
Honma Beres S-06 Driver
Sterling in Tangerine Ostrich
Reporting he has sold shoes with more than 5,000 distinct color and style combinations, Raddatz says many of his customers are simply unable to find shoes that fit in any pro shop. “Others are people who really want to look their best and care about quality,” he explains. Traditional styles are offered for conservative dressers, but for those more daring in their golf fashion, perhaps influenced by the PGA’s Rickie Fowler, Par West has plenty of eye-popping options to choose from.
Raddatz, a leather industry veteran, utilizes sharkskin, ostrich, American bison, crocodile, African elephant, and stingray for golf shoes, among other exotic leathers. He reports bold color choices like fuchsia, canary yellow or tangerine are surprisingly popular, and a pair of royal purple American alligator shoes is priced at $5,200. An avid golfer himself, Raddatz states, “I don’t care how much you spend on clubs or lessons. Stability on the ground is the basis for a good swing.” A large part of Par West’s business is corporate gifts, ideal for the Fortune 500 executive who fancies himself as the best dressed golfer at his club.
Some fashionable duffers may opt for a vintage Louis Vuitton golf bag, but among the most expensive currently available are ostrich, crocodile or carbon fiber bags from Barchi, handcrafted by Italian artisans. Customers should be prepared to spend more than $40,000 for these luxury bags, available in vibrant colors and accented with palladium hardware.
Considerably more modest but with plenty of cachet is Louis Vuitton’s golf kit clad in the design house’s signature Monogram canvas. The $850 item, which can be clipped to one’s golf bag or Garia cart, neatly holds three balls and four tees. Players with fancy accessories should probably consider membership at a country club that is equally selective, and the most expensive in America is Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey, where the initiation fee is reportedly $500,000.
Riviera in Cognac Calf & Chocolate American Alligator
New limited-edition beach cruisers created in partnership by Timbers Kiawah – Ocean Club & Residences and Peter Millar aim to raise awareness for the conservation of endangered sea turtles.
Available for both adults and children, the custom bikes don an original turtle print designed by Peter Millar and will first debut at Timbers Kiawah to mark the start of nesting season, a vulnerable time when guests of Kiawah Island must be most aware.
Another important aspect of the partnership is turtle conservation education, which will come to life for residents through sessions taught by local experts. Leaders from the Turtle Patrol and more will be engaged to lead education for adults and fun activities for Timbers’ smallest residents, The Timbers Tikes, highlighting the importance of recycling, keeping beaches clean and protecting the Loggerhead sea turtles, which are native to the area. The sea turtle programming will debut alongside the cruisers in Summer 2019 at Timbers Kiawah, which opened in October 2018.
Photo courtesy of Timbers Kiawah.
Montage Residences Big Sky, the first ultra-luxury mountain resort in Big Sky, Montana – set to open in 2021. Designed by Hart Howerton, Brayton Hughes, and EDG of San Francisco, it will feature 150 guest rooms and suites, along with 39 Montage Residences.
The limited collection of 39 residences that make up Montage Residences Big Sky elevate mountain living to its highest standard. These two- to six-bedroom residences, ranging in size from 2,300 to 8,100 square feet, are inspired by modern mountain design principles and feature timeless, comfortable styling throughout. Each residence embodies an enduring palette of regional materials including hand-stacked stone, western-inspired lighting, and custom cabinetry. In addition, residences all have well-appointed kitchens, fireplaces, lock-off bedrooms, underground parking and ample storage. Optional participation in the Montage rental program allows owners to designate usage dates and enjoy turnkey access.
Centrally located within Big Sky’s 3,530-acre Spanish Peaks enclave, Montage Residences Big Sky residents will have unparalleled proximity to outdoor amenities offering ski-in, ski-out access to Big Sky Resort’s 5,800 skiable acres (the second largest ski resort in the United States by acreage) and access to Spanish Peaks Mountain Club’s 18-hole Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course, which is located just steps from the resort. Hiking, mountain biking, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing trails abound, with three world-renowned fly-fishing rivers passing through the Big Sky region. The accommodations of Montage Big Sky will create a mountain paradise for luxury adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts visiting Montana and Yellowstone National Park.
Big Sky Resort actually has plans to transform the destination a bit, as well – with “Big Sky 2025,” a campaign to bring upgrades to the area. Nearly $1 billion in improvements are under way, including a developer-built Town Center that will soon get its first branded hotel: a Marriott Residence Inn named for Woodrow Wilson (who signed the act creating the National Park Service); it’s set to open by summer 2019. Additional hotels are a Marriott Residence Inn named for Woodrow Wilson (who signed the act creating the National Park Service); it’s set to open by summer 2019 and a One & Only Resort at Moonlight that is expected to break ground in a year or two.
All photos courtesy Montage Residences.
Barbados’ most luxurious harbor-front and beachfront resort and luxury real estate properties, Port Ferdinand and Saint Peter’s Bay offer prime real estate and accommodation on the Platinum Coast, the West Coast of the island, which is not only renowned for its calm and clear waters, but also the exclusive selection of restaurants and resorts. Located outside of the hurricane belt, where the West Indies meets the Caribbean sits Barbados – a diverse island, full of rich British history, delicious rums, and of course, white sand beaches along a blue-green sea.
Photo courtesy of Saint Peter’s Bay Oceanfront Residences.
Port Ferdinand Yacht & Beach Club Residence:
Starting at $2.1 million with a collection of two to five-bedroom luxury harbor-front villas, Port Ferdinand Yacht & Beach Club Residences offers homeowners luxury living in a full-service marina and yachting community. Providing a wealth of amenities including 60’ yacht slips, 100’ dockside storage room for each residence, waterfront eateries and bars, expansive Sandbox Tree spa and fitness center and 1.4 acres of pristine beachfront, the resort is perfect for anyone seeking a truly unique and luxurious Caribbean getaway. A new stylish bistro by Barbados’ finest chef, Larry Rogers, Dockside at 13˚/59˚, has also recently opened at Port Ferdinand, offering high quality meals using fresh quality ingredients in a relaxed dockside setting. Port Ferdinand is also home to the newest Nikki Beach Club!
Saint Peter’s Bay Oceanfront Residences:
Located a mere 3km away is Port Ferdinand’s sister resort, Saint Peter’s Bay. Consisting of a unique collection of three- and five-bedroom beachfront homes and penthouses for homeownership and rental, St. Peter’s Bay Resort & Residences boasts a private and discreet environment for all its esteemed guests. With residences starting at $1.6 million, the luxurious, but deeply relaxed beachfront resort, offers villa-style homes spread over 150 ft of pristine beach with crystal clear water – encapsulating Barbados’ appeal in one of its most exclusive settings.
Spanish-born Manuel Ferriol, the general manager of the new five-star Meliá Ho Tram Beach Resort, talks with us about what attracted him to Vietnam, why he’s been with Meliá Hotels International for 15 years, what’s so special about the only Spanish five-star beachfront resort in Vietnam’s south and why Vietnam has so much promise.
1) With substantial hospitality experience in Europe, what brought you to Vietnam and how has your time here treated you?
I always wanted to live and work abroad and a career in hospitality is the ticket to not only see the world but truly immerse yourself in it. After developing my hospitality career in Spain and becoming a resident manager, Meliá Hotels International offered me a number of options to take my career to the next level, including a terrific opportunity as director of operations at Meliá Hanoi, the Spanish group’s flagship hotel in Vietnam and recognized as one of the most luxurious MICE and events hotels in Asia. When I arrived in Vietnam in 2014, I immediately felt I had made the right decision and have never looked back.
After two years at Meliá Hanoi, I then became Meliá Danang’s general manager. My success in establishing the then-newly opened Meliá Danang, combined with my experience managing leisure and business hotels in Vietnam, resulted in my appointment as the new Meliá Ho Tram Beach Resort’s general manager. Vietnam is the land of opportunity on so many fronts, particularly the luxury hospitality industry. It’s so rewarding to be here during Vietnam’s phenomenal rise as the Asia-Pacific’s fastest growing country in terms of tourism.
The best thing about Vietnam is its people. The Vietnamese are welcoming and hardworking, and have been integral to the success of our operations and service due to their diligence and innate, genuine warmth.
2) You have been with Meliá Hotel Group for 15 years, an impressive track record. What is so special about working with the Spanish company and why have you worked with them for so long?
Meliá Hotels International is a significant part of me after so long. When I first started out in hospitality, I worked with another international company for one year before deciding to move to Meliá Hotels International; not only due to it being the number one Spanish hotel company but also because it’s family-grown and family-run, and offered me exciting career and development opportunities right from the start.
As Meliá Hotels International has a total of seven brands that speak to difference audience segments, career opportunities are boundless. The group rewards talent and dedication with excellent opportunities to grow and surge into the future, professionally and personally. I joined Meliá’s internal management program and I’ve given my absolute best to Meliá. In return the group has definitely given its best back to me, helping me to learn, to develop, challenge and improve myself and has guided me during each and every step of my 15-year career with the group hitherto. I have a strong sense of belonging to a family and this is reinforced every day by my interactions with my fellow colleagues and Meliá Hotels International’s management.
I know many hospitality groups speak about a passion for service but Meliá Hotels International really delivers on this with Spanish warmth and hospitality that none of our competitors can match in a more modern, younger and fresher image. The group is also far-sighted when it comes to corporate social responsibility and its sustainable development goals related to areas such as removing all single-use plastics, and reducing water use and carbon dioxide emissions. So much so we have been ranked as the third most sustainable hotel company worldwide for 2018 by RobecoSAM, a sustainable investment agency responsible for evaluating companies for the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
3) Can you tell us more about Meliá Ho Tram Beach Resort? Why should we head to Ho Tram and stay at your resort?
The resort is already deemed one of the most prestigious of the Meliá Hotels and Resorts portfolio globally and we aim to establish it as the top resort in Vietnam’s south as well as one of renown in Vietnam and the Asia Pacific. Our 17-hectare resort celebrated its grand opening on April 20 this year, cutting the ribbon on a host of world-class facilities such as three restaurants including a beach club, three swimming pools, a swim-up bar, a coffee shop, a 10-treatment room spa, an executive lounge, a ballroom and conference facilities, a kid’s club, gymnasium, gift shop and more.
All of our 152 rooms and suites face the ocean and afford panoramic views of Ho Tram beach. The 62 villas are mind blowing, ranging in size from 220sqm to 465sqm with no expense spared. The villas have their own private pools, BBQ areas, outdoor showers and gardens, living areas and separate dining areas. Four distinct food and beverage outlets – Breeza Beach Club, Muoi, Sasa and Elyxr café – and a swim-up bar make for a diverse culinary landscape luring casual and fine diners alike. Destined to be “the place to be” in Ho Tram and referencing the beach clubs of Ibiza and Bali, Breeza is situated right on the beach and will host live music, DJ sets, themed parties, and fire and dancing shows.
Ho Tram is fast developing a reputation as Ho Chi Minh City’s answer to New York’s Hamptons, Rome’s Sorrento and Sydney’s Blue Mountains; a go-to retreat where the well-heeled flock for a getaway that’s close by, upscale and restorative. With 500m of ocean frontage, this tropical setting is all the more spectacular as the sun rises to the left and goes down to the right in an incredible arc over the East Sea each day. We can’t wait to welcome you to our sublime piece of paradise.
4) Meliá Hotels International is significantly investing in Vietnam and the Asia Pacific. Why has the group set its sights on Vietnam?
Meliá Ho Tram Beach Resort heralds a new era for Meliá Hotels International as the first property to open in southern Vietnam under the Meliá Hotels and Resorts brand and the fourth for Vietnam. Meliá Ho TramBeach Resort joins Meliá Hanoi, Meliá Danang and Meliá Ba Vi Mountain Retreat as part of the group’s burgeoning portfolio. Plans call for Meliá Cam Ranh Bay, Meliá Ninh Binh and Meliá Saigon Central to open in 2020.
Meliá has grown particularly quickly in Vietnam, where it already had 13 hotels either open or in the pipeline, making it one of the leading international hotel companies in the country. In response to the “bleisure” (business and leisure) travel trend, Meliá Hotels International is particularly focused on the Asia Pacific’s emerging economic zones and key MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, events) destinations, with 75% of our hotels catering to the bleisure market in this region.Meliá Ho Tram Beach Resort is situated in a coastal enclave only a two-hour drive from Vietnam’s economic capital Ho Chi Minh City, offering MICE planners and delegates a reinvigorating ocean-side location with ample space and cutting-edge technology.
Upstairs, above our lobby and foyer, the 420sqm ballroom hosts up to 400 people for a cocktail reception and 270 for a banquet with lively themes ranging from Mediterranean and Spanish to Indochine. An adjacent sprawling terrace with a panoramic vista of the resort and the beach provides a picturesque spot for gala dinners. The ballroom can also be divided into three smaller meeting and function rooms.
Meanwhile, domestic tourists are increasingly traveling to the host of beautiful destinations on their home turf. The numbers of international tourists flocking to Vietnam increase year after year. According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), for 2018, the country welcomed 15.5 million visitors, a 20 percent spike on 2017.
The fact that so much is happening in Vietnam is all the more impressive in light of just how quickly things have progressed here. Vietnam has enjoyed the world’s second-fastest growth rate in GDP per person since 1990, and no doubt tourism has played a role in this positive trajectory. Despite its skyrocketing growth, we believe Vietnam is not an oversaturated market whose most exciting days are yet to come.
Photos courtesy of Meliá Ho Tram Beach Resort