Hotel Metropole Hanoi News

July, 2014

MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL

The Mid-Autumn Festival (Tet Trung Thu) is a colorful time of year. The Mid-Autumn Festival or Tet Trung Thu is celebrated throughout the eighth lunar month, in particular on the day of the first full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, falling on Monday, 8th September 2014.


There are various activities to celebrate. During the Mid-Autumn Festival, although the moon is then at its greatest distance from the earth, it appears larger than at any time of the year and takes on a reddish glow. In its partial phases, the moon represents the incompleteness of life and potential for completeness, fullness and prosperity. The Mid-Autumn celebration is then a celebration and a prayer for the fullness and completeness of life.

During the festival, Vietnamese parents have the custom of telling fairytales to children. One folkloric favorite is the story of the mythical cá hóa rồng, which is about a carp that wanted to become a dragon. The carp worked relentlessly at this dream and, with time, eventually achieved its aspiration. The lesson is one of diligence: parents use this story to explain that realizing goals requires hard work.

The dragon dance, an important aspect of the Mid-Autumn celebration, expresses dichotomies by reenacting the earth and sky, the yin and yang. The Earth God, Ông Đia, dances around the dragon, urging it to continue on. With his cheerful and moon-shaped face, Ông Đia represents wealth and the earth’s fullness.

At this time of year fruit is plentiful, especially watermelon and grapefruit. Grapefruit sections are cut into animal shapes, representing the fabled inhabitants of the moon: the three-legged toad, the moon maiden who stole an immortality elixir from her husband, and the old man who, as a punishment for displeasing a vengeful god, is perpetually forced to cut down cinnamon trees.

During the festival several types of mooncakes called Bánh Trung Thu are sold. Some cakes are round and white; others are square and golden brown; others are formed in the shape of a carp, an animal that traditionally represents the soul of the moon. Mooncakes are unleavened and filled with lotus seeds, orange peel, ground beans, egg and flavorful pork fat.

While the customs and meanings of the Mid-Autumn Festival have transformed over time, this is always a special time to visit Vietnam for it is a season of mild fall weather, rich culture and legends.

In recent years, mooncake filling has veered from the traditional as truly exotic ingredients have been introduced. In addition to traditional varieties such as lotus seed paste, green bean paste, and salted egg yolk, Hotel Metropole Hanoi has created the unique flavour of caramel walnut and red fruit with chocolate. All moon cakes are hand-baked (and preservative free) by Executive Sous Chef Nguyen Thanh Van and her team from authentic recipes and infused with the Metropole’s gourmet touch.

The legendary Metropole’s mooncakes are available for sale at L’Epicerie du Metropole
from August 4 to September 8, during the hours of 7:30 am to 9:30 pm, daily.

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May, 2014

FETE DE LA MUSIQUE

Hanoi (20 May 2014) - As the mercury rises and the days get longer, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi will welcome the season of sun with a very special music festival guaranteed to evoke the sounds of summer. Tuning up on June 21, French-infused La Fête de la Musique offers a celebration of all musical genres in a very special setting.


This popular street music festival was launched in France back in 1982 to see in the Summer Solstice, soon spreading across the globe to become an international phenomenon. As a French brand of international hotels, Sofitel naturally plays an active role in this unifying cultural event. Fête de la Musique is more than just a music festival, it is a celebration of all genres and tribute to the libertarian spirit of French-style street fêtes. It encourages both amateur and professional musicians to showcase their talents in public and on the street. This day of music allows the fullest expression of all musical styles in a carnival atmosphere, inspiring young and not so young people from all social backgrounds to embrace music at this very special time of year. Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi has been a French monument in Hanoi since the turn of the last century, and will host this year host an evening featuring a special Brazilian-themed party and a fashion show introducing new summer collections from Double Dose and Chula at the hotel’s poolside. In addition, our stylish French DJ GiGi Mix will make transform Bamboo Bar into the perfect destination for a soulful night of chilled out grooves. Influenced by many electronic musical movements, such as Electro Swing and Balkan Beat, GiGi Mix promises to take you on a melodic tour of musical genres.

Come and join us for an unforgettable evening!
Complimentary canapés from 5:00 – 6:00pm
Brazilian Happy Hour runs from 5:00-8:00pm

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May, 2014

LE PETIT PRINCE TO REIGN AT METROPOLE HANOI

HANOI, Vietnam (May 9, 2014) — Le Petit Prince, one of the most beloved children’s stories of all time, is coming to the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi next month. Starting June 1, Hanoi’s storied old hotel is mounting a month-long exhibition, called le Petit Prince’s Journey, of the storied old children’s tale about a little boy fallen to Earth who encounters the strangeness of the adult world for the first time.


The exhibit includes scans of original manuscript pages produced by the book’s, author, Antoine de Saint-Exupery; selections of artistic photograhy by Vincent Nguyen of locations around the world traveled by Saint-Exupéry; and a rare color film of Saint-Exupéry in Canada in 1942, at work on Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince.)

As one stop in a larger tour of Sofitel hotels worldwide, the Metropole will open its exhibit with a ceremony on June 1, International Children’s Day, in Le Club Bar at 5p.m. All of the imagery associated with the exhibit will be displayed in Le Club Bar and L’Orangerie.

Sofitel organized the traveling exhibit as an opportunity to expose its work with the Saint-Exupéry Foundation, a group that promotes initiatives to support children in difficult environments.

For every family that books a stay at the hotel on the Magnifique Family package, the hotel is donating €2 per night to the Saint-Exupéry Foundation. The package includes 50% off a second room for children, complimentary breakfast for children, and late check-out (4 p.m.) for families.

The amenities associated with Le Petit Prince include a travel diary with a picture of the child on the first page and table mats at breakfast.

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April, 2014

ACCOR’S PLANET 21 DAY - ‘FOR A BRIGHTER FUTURE’

Hanoi, 18th April 2014 - As an annual event, today more than 100 employees from seven Accor hotels in Northern Vietnam including Sofitel Metropole Legend, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, Pullman Hanoi, Hotel de l’Opera Hanoi - member of MGallery Collection, Novotel Halong Bay, Clubhouse Ciputra and Mercure Hanoi La Gare Hanoi participate in Planet 21 Day - a Corporate Social Responsibility event as part of Planet 21 sustainability program organized by Accor, the world leading hotel management company.


Staff from every department of these properties will together re-paint the dormitories walls and beds for disabled and underprivileged students, renovate their library and donate books, uniforms, clothes and other necessities.

PLANET 21, an innovative program to raise awareness and commitment

PLANET 21 is Accor’s worldwide sustainable development program which provides its member hotels with the tools and guidelines that cover all aspects of the properties operations, including our environmental impacts – such as reducing energy and carbon emissions, limiting the waste from the production and protecting the biodiversity of local ecosystems – as well as the way we interact with society.

Why do we support HOA SUA VOCATIONAL TRAINING SCHOOL?

Hoa Sua is a vocational training school specialized in hospitality. The establishment recruits students from the remote and poor areas of Vietnam, the ones who live under unfavourable conditions and the ones who are disabled or underprivileged. While working with Hoa Sua School, the participating hotels want to express their desire to support students in need, to improve their living conditions and give them hope for a brighter future. Supporting and contributing back to the local communities are among the key messages of Planet 21 program.

‘It is our mission to engage every person in social responsibility activity. With this event today, we hope to send a message to all the students ‘keep up with the study-hard & work-hard and a brighter future is awaiting them, especially the hospitality industry is one of the key sector for growth in Vietnam ’ - said Mr Pieter de Weerd – Area Accor General Manager – North of Vietnam (General Manager of Pullman Hanoi).

Mr. Vu Trieu Quan – Chairman of the Executive Board also said: ‘This is a very meaningful event toward our students. We highly appreciate the support from the seven Accor’s hotels and thank you for your gracious public work and the in-kind donation. This will encourage us in keeping up on our mission to bring a ‘future’ to our underprivileged students’.

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April, 2014

Legendary Getaway

Hanoi (14 April 2014) - On May 3rd & 4th this year at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, we are partnering with Elite Fitness Centre to launch a special event celebrating summer arrival. The programme will start from 9am at Le Balcon du Metropole, an open-air rooftop garden lounge serving as a tropical oasis of calm in the heart of our historic property.


Here, a one-hour Yoga class will be led by a professional teacher from Elite Fitness Centre, helping guests to balance their mind and body through physical postures, purification practices, controlled breathing, and the calming of the mind through relaxation and meditation – perfect for boosting both health and fitness.

This will then be followed by a 90-minute “So Exhilarating” Sofitel signature spa therapy at Le Spa du Metropole, offering guests the opportunity for fabulous indulgence. There is also the chance to experience the Metropole’s hammam steam room & Finnish sauna, as well as the offer of a foot massage.

To bring the event to a perfect conclusion, the Metropole is delighted to offer a three-course De-Light menu lunch at L’Orangerie. The De-Light menu provides healthy, sumptuous dining experiences to enliven the body and soul. A gastronomic adventure in healthy eating, De-Light reflects the unique skills of the Metropole’s chefs in creating an innovative array of well-balanced, low-calorie culinary delights to help guests meet their lifestyle goals.

Take a break from the crowds and chaos of Hanoi: find peace and tranquility at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.
Please reserve your seat early as the class will be limited to 8 persons.
Held on the first Saturday & Sunday of each month. 9:00am – 1:30pm Price: 2,900,000VND net/person.

Tickets are available at Le Spa du Metropole – 15 Ngo Quyen Hanoi, Tel 3826 6919 & Elite Fitness Centre – Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu Str., Tel 3718 6281, or Hoang Ha Tower, 25 Ly Thuong Kiet Str.

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April, 2014

Dream Designs at the Metropole’s Second Romance Fair

HANOI, Vietnam (April 7, 2014) – Passion and preparation go hand-in-hand as the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi’s second annual Romance Fair brings the finest in wedding trends and inspiration to couples in the Vietnamese capital.

Brides- and grooms-to-be are invited to the historic hotel from 10am to 5pm on May 31, for a wedding extravaganza featuring top designers and experts from across the country. The full-day fair will climax in a first dance performance and a wedding gown and cocktail dress fashion show. Two of the Metropole’s elegant venues, Thang Long Hall and La Veranda, will be dedicated as open galleries, with table and floral arrangements, backdrops, and photo studios showcasing wedding ideas and themes from Western and Vietnamese nuptial traditions.

The hotel’s lush inner courtyard and Le Balcon will be transformed into a wedding wonderland with more dazzling displays and a photo booth. In the afternoon, noted makeup artists will conduct a workshop with professional insight on bridal beauty and achieving the perfect look. Couples can consult the Metropole’s own Legendary Event Planner and experienced culinary team on stylish ways to personalise their big day. Those planning a destination honeymoon can take advantage of a travel agent desk to create a unique getaway.

All couples taking part in the fair have the chance to win coveted vouchers from all participating vendors in a special lucky draw at the close of the event. Entrance to the Metropole’s ‘Romance Fair’ on May 31, 2014 is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Assistant Marketing & Communications Manager, Ms. Le Ly, at ly.le@sofitel.com

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January, 2014

Hanoi’s Metropole Brings Back 2000-2005 GM for a Second Round

Franck LaFourcade returns to storied hotel after nearly nine years in China.
HANOI, Vietnam (Jan. 3, 2014) — As the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi celebrates the season, and its rising stature as one of the world’s most singular hospitality experiences, the hotel is also celebrating the return of Franck LaFourcade as its new general manager.




HANOI, Vietnam (Jan. 3, 2014) — As the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi celebrates the season, and its rising stature as one of the world’s most singular hospitality experiences, the hotel is also celebrating the return of Franck LaFourcade as its new general manager. General manager of the Metropole from 2000 to 2005, LaFourcade has come back to the hotel after nearly nine years in China, managing Sofitel properties in Shanghai as a general manager and as an area general manager. The hotel he has inherited from the previous general manager, Kai Speth, is good deal larger than the hotel he left in 2005, with 364 rooms in 2013 to the 232 rooms available in 2005. Moreover, the hotel has emboldened its standing on the world stage as Sofitel’s first Legend hotel, and with a series of deft moves that have won kudos for the hotel as it’s embraced its wartime heritage, upgraded Hanoi’s culinary appeal with Angelina, and re-envisioned and relaunched the Bamboo Bar, one of Hanoi’s most posh watering holes.

“Many people could look at the Metropole today and say, ‘Voilà, there’s no more to do,’” said LaFourcade. “But for a hotelier, the glass is always half full. We have endless opportunities in store, and a few surprises, too, as we work to build on the able accomplishments of my predecessors.”

A French national, LaFourcade is a 1980 graduate of the prestigious Lausanne Hotel School in Switzerland, who relocated to Asia in 1990 and has never looked back. He assumed his first stint as a general manager in Phnom Penh in 1993, and has moved on through the years to Singapore, Pusan (Korea) and Jakarta before his time in Hanoi and his long run in Shanghai.

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January, 2014

Metropole Hanoi Basks in the Light of Two Michelin Stars

Award-Winning Chef Bruno Oger from Cannes cooks a week at Le Beaulieu starting 25th February
HANOI, Vietnam (Jan. xx, 2014) – A shot of culinary star power is lighting up the kitchen at Le Beaulieu this February as Michelin-awarded chef Bruno Oger of ‘La Villa Archange’ fame arrives for his first-ever gastronomic showcase in the Vietnamese capital.




The renowned French chef will prepare standout dishes from his two-Michelin-star restaurant in Cannes for diners at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi’s flagship French brasserie from 26th February to 2nd March. Top billing over the week-long visit is a seven-course Gala Dinner on 28th February, beginning with an amuse bouche of baby squid cooked “a la Pancha”, and finishing with the chef’s lavender honey Madelines. On 26th – 27th February and 1st March, the chef will be offering an à la carte menu of appetizers at Le Beaulieu. Born in 1966 in northwestern France, Bruno Oger began cooking at the age of 12 and received his culinary certification from the Lycee Hotelier de Dinard in Brittany. The young chef earned his stripes working for two years at Georges Blanc’s legendary three-Michelin-star restaurant in Bresse. At the age of 23, Chef Oger uprooted to Thailand to lead Georges Blanc’s ‘Normandy’ restaurant at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok. Upon his return to France in 1993, he oversaw the opening of ‘La Villa des Lys’ in Cannes, which won its first Michelin star in 1997. In 2003, Chef Oger received the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres medal, and earned ‘La Villa des Lys’ its second star in 2005. His own restaurant, La Villa Archange, was awarded two Michelin stars within 10 months of its debut in 2010. Chef Bruno Oger’s Gala Dinner at Le Beaulieu is priced at VND 2,950,000 per person.

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December, 2013

Four Vietnamese Hotels Counted Among World’s Best in ‘T+L 500’

NEW YORK (Dec. 17, 2013) — Seasoned travellers from around the globe lauded four Vietnamese hotels among the best worldwide, according to the latest survey by Travel + Leisure magazine. Announced last week, the ‘T+L 500’ compendium of top international hotels listed five-star properties Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Park Hyatt Saigon, The Nam Hai in Hoi An, and for the first time, La Residence Hotel & Spa in Hue.




Travel + Leisure, one of the globe’s highest circulating travel magazine, invited its readers to participate in the annual survey by answering a questionnaire and rating hotel candidates in five categories: rooms/facilities, location, service, restaurants and value. A minimum number of responses was required for a hotel to be eligible for inclusion in the World’s Best awards, considered one of the most important in the industry. The 112-year-old Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi once again earned the highest marks among Vietnamese contenders, while all-villa resort The Nam Hai made its second appearance on the prestigious list, and art-deco hotel La Residence claimed its first win from Travel + Leisure readers. Mombo Camp and Little Mombo Camp in Botswana led the winners with an average score of 96.60.

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October, 2013

SOFITEL LEGEND METROPOLE HANOI LIGHTING UP HOPE

As the winter winds chill the streets of Hanoi, the mercury drops, but excitement levels soar. This can mean only one thing: it’s the festive season and Christmas is coming fast.
In the cultural heart of the city, the Metropole will host a series of Yuletide activities.


To create the authentic feel of Christmas, the Metropole’s halls are annually strewn with ornaments and decoration, while each of the hotel’s restaurants feature a special menu, with gourmet delicacies tailored to the season. The most outstanding and memorable event at the Metropole, however, is the official launch of the holiday season: the Lighting Ceremony on 28 November.

The Lighting Ceremony centres on the Metropole’s famous Christmas tree, a 15-metre pine displayed on Le Balcon du Metropole, as well as over 5,000 glittering lights bringing the building to life. When these magical decorations begin to twinkle in the heart of the city, Hanoians know the festive season is finally upon us. Adjacent to the trees, a stage is set for puppetry and Christmas carols performed by a chorus of blind vocalists.

Each year the Metropole embraces the true Christmas values of giving and this year sees the tradition continue. Continuing the theme of giving, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi will showcase its social responsibility by inviting children in need to come and enjoy the ceremony. The youngsters from Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam will enjoy a wonderful Christmas feast, watch a puppet show and sing along with the carolers in what promises to be an unforgettable evening for all. Then, for the main event, Mr. Clive Scott General Manager, children and guests will be invited onstage to push the button together – and voila! The tree will be illuminated and the magic can begin. The courtyard will be full of merriment and gasps, as golden light washes over the smiling, radiant faces of onlookers.

In the weeks that follow, Metropole guests will be invited to pluck a red wishing card from the Tree of Hope and help make the children’s wishes come true through their donations. For the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, the holiday is a time for generosity and kindness. When gifts come from the heart, the warmth of Christmas brings joy and unity to all who are blessed by it.

To further support Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam, we will team up with Art Vietnam Gallery for a stunning and worthwhile collaboration. Ten leading Vietnamese artists will showcase their creativity by decorating Christmas trees commissioned by selected partners of Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi: Standard Chartered Bank; Moet Hennessy, Master Card, Thai Airways, Euro Auto - BMW, Deloitte Vietnam, Murphy Oil, Manulife and Coca Cola. The ten fabulous Christmas trees will be displayed in the Metropole courtyard from 25 November to 28 December for public viewing. To give the event an extra edge, members of the public will get the chance to vote for their favourite Christmas tree, with an award then presented to the winning company and artist. Framed by thousands of white lights strung along the hotel’s façade and interior gardens, the view promises to be breathtaking.

Happy holidays from the entire Metropole team!

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October, 2013

METROPOLE CELEBRATES FOIE GRAS WITH GALA DINNER BY MICHELIN-STAR CHEF

HANOI (Oct. 17, 2013) - The Lyon-born chef who conquered Paris and Tokyo is making a guest appearance in Hanoi that may prove to be the capital’s culinary opportunity of the year.


The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is presenting the cuisine of Michelin-starred chef Christophe Paucod in a one-time Foie Gras Rougie Gala Dinner on the evening of October 24. Promising a taste of the genius that’s made Restaurant Lugdunum a Tokyo sensation, Chef Paucod’s menu will be made available at VND 990,000++ per person.

Raised in Lyon and trained in the Michelin-starred kitchens of French culinary masters Gilles Tournedre and Gerard Salle, Chef Paucod’s flair for cooking took him at a young age to some of the most renowned restaurants in Paris and Normandy.

After rolling up his sleeves in four-star hotels and Michelin-awarded restaurants La Tour d’Argent and Maison Prunier in Paris, in 1998 Chef Paucod relocated to Japan. In Tokyo he taught at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu culinary school and won recognition as chef of restaurant Provence at the Sofitel Toyko.

In 2007 Chef Paucod opened his own Lyonnais bouchon in Tokyo’s historic Kagurazaka district. Lugdunum earned its first star in the Michelin Guide 2011, and has maintained its Michelin status every year since. On the morning and afternoon of October 23, chefs and food enthusiasts are invited to join foie gras cooking classes at the Metropole, free of charge.

To sign up for the classes or reserve a table at the gala dinner, call 04 38 266 919 or email the Metropole’s Ms. Anh at H1555-fb3@sofitel.com.

The Metropole’s Foie Gras Rougie dinner by Chef Christophe Paucod is presented in partnership with Tan Khoa Wine & Spirits.

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October, 2013

LOST BOMB SHELTER OF THE SOFITEL LEGEND METROPOLE, AN HONOURABLE MENTION IN 2013 UNESCO HERITAGE AWARDS

UNESCO will recognize the conservation achievements of the Lost Bomb Shelter of the Sofitel Legend Metropole at an award ceremony on Monday, 14 October 2013 at 3:00 p.m.at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Viet Nam.


UNESCO recognized the restoration of The Lost Bomb Shelter, which has revealed yet another layer in the rich history of the Metropole Hotel, one of Hanoi’s most notable heritage buildings. The project received an Honourable Mention in the 2013 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

In its assessment the jury praised the thoughtful approach taken in the restoration, “Forgotten for decades until its rediscovery in 2011, the bomb shelter has been preserved in its original condition, with the unobtrusive addition of new mechanical and electrical installations to allow the space to be accessible and safe for public viewing. Through its sensitive approach and thoughtful interpretation, the project provides a rare glimpse into an important chapter of Vietnamese contemporary history.”

Dr. Tim Curtis, Chief of Culture of UNESCO Bangkok office and Chair of the Heritage Awards Jury Panel will present the official plaque to Mr. Clive Scott (General Manager of Sofitel Legend Metropole). Certificates of recognition will also be presented to the core members of the project team. The ceremony shall also be attended by Ms. Pratibha Mehta (UN Resident coordinator), Ms. Katherine Müller-Marin (Director, UNESCO Hanoi), Ms. Duong Bich Hanh (UNESCO Hanoi) as well as representatives from the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism, the Hanoi Department of Tourism, local historians and hotel management staff.

A total of 47 entries from 16 countries in the region were submitted for consideration to 2013’s UNESCO Heritage Awards programme. The entries included museums, hotels, offices, cultural institutions, educational institutions, religious sites, industrial sites, public institutions, residential buildings and urban districts.

In addition to the Lost Bomb Shelter of the Sofitel Legend Metropole, eleven other projects were also celebrated in 2013. The restoration of the principal chedi (reliquary stupa) in Wat Prayurawongsawas Worawihan temple in Bangkok, Thailand was honoured with the Award of Excellence in the 2013 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

Three Award of Distinctions went to The Great Serai, Kabul, Afghanistan, Lal Chimney Compound, Mumbai, India and Khaplu Palace, Baltistan, Pakistan.

Six Awards of Merit were given to the Maryborough Railway Station, Victoria, Australia; Enjoying Snow Yard, Beijing, China; Tai O Heritage Hotel, Hong Kong SAR, China; Royal Bombay Yacht Club Residential Chambers, Mumbai, India; Otaki Town Hall, Chiba Prefecture, Japan; and the Historic Buildings in Duong Lam Village, Son Tay, Hanoi, Viet Nam.

The Sail Maker’s Shed in Broome, Western Australia also received an Honourable Mention along with the the Sofitel Legend Metropole.

Viet Nam has participated in the Awards programme since 2000. In addition to the Lost Bomb Shelter of the Sofitel Legend Metropole and the Historic Buildings of Duong Lam 3 other projects from Viet Nam have received UNESCO Heritage Awards, these are the Hoi An Town Preservation Cooperation project (2000 Excellent project), Vietnamese Traditional Folk Houses (2004 Award of Merit) and the Tang Family Chapel (2009 Honourable Mention).

The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards recognize the efforts of private individuals and organizations that have successfully restored and conserved structures and buildings of heritage value in the region.

Eligible projects must be more than 50 years old and the restoration must have been completed within the past 10 years. Buildings must have also been in viable use for at least one year from the date of the Awards announcement. UNESCO believes that recognizing private efforts to restore and adapt historic structures will encourage other property owners to undertake conservation projects within the community, either independently or by seeking public-private partnerships.

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October, 2013

112-YEAR-OLD METROPOLE HANOI WELCOMES NEW FRENCH CHEF DE CUISINE: OLIVER GENIQUE

Swapping a spot at the forefront of Paris’ culinary scene for the kitchen of Vietnam’s longest-running fine dining restaurant, Olivier Genique took over as Chef de Cuisine at Le Beaulieu last week.


The 30-year-old French native donned his chef whites at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi’s 80-seat contemporary haute brasserie on September 1. Together with his knives, classically trained Genique wields 10 years of cutting-edge experience with some of the world’s most renowned chefs; and a culinary career that traces a constellation of eight Michelin-starred restaurants in France and Europe.

Before coming to the Metropole, Genique worked as head chef of Paris’ Le Citrus Etoile under Gilles Epie, the youngest chef to ever be awarded a Michelin star. Genique spent two years as a sous chef at Le Jules Verne--Alain Ducasse’s Michelin-awarded gastronomic restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. Outside of France, Genique has done stints at the Michelin-starred Palais Coburg in Austria and Zum Adler in Switzerland.

Genique got an early start in the kitchen, coming from a family of restaurateurs. After training at the Ecole Hotelier D’Avignon and CFA Des Metiers De Bouches in Montpellier, the young chef promptly worked his way up from apprentice to chef de partie at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Le Jardin des Sens.

No stranger to historical establishments, Genique spent a year as sous chef at Paris’ legendary Lasserre, awarded two Michelin stars. Notable clientele at Lasserre have included the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Marc Chagall and Salvador Dali; Le Beaulieu has cooked for figures such as Catherine Deneuve, Graham Greene and Charlie Chaplin and continues to be a favourite for the local well heeled discerning Hanoians and expatriates.

In operation since 1901, Le Beaulieu reigns as the Metropole’s flagship restaurant. The restaurant is well-known for its social Sunday brunches, authentic seasonal menus, and an impressive wine cellar stocked with more than 100 Grand Crus. In 2012, judges from TheDailyMeal.com singled out Le Beaulieu as one of the ‘101 Best Hotel Restaurants Around the World’.

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September, 2013

SOFITEL BRINGS FRENCH JOIE-DE-VIVRE TO ASIA WITH « FRENCH WINE WEEK »

Hanoi (5 September 2013) – In line with its position as an ambassador of French culture and joie de vivre, Sofitel Luxury Hotels across Asia will come together to celebrate this year’s grape harvest in France through a dedicated French Wine Week 2013 from 23 – 30 September.



Sofitel aims to bring the very best of French culinary culture to the East through a wide variety of activities and events held across the region. Inviting guests to revel in a bounty of magnifique experiences, Sofitel hotels will feature a range of unique wine-related spa treatments, wine tastings and other dining privileges across its world-renowned luxury hotels.

Ten Sofitel hotels across Southeast Asia and India will take part in this year’s celebration. From specially crafted dinners paired with some of the world’s most renowned wines to appreciation classes designed to enlighten guests, Sofitel will provide a unique insight into the world of France’s gastronomic and wine culture. Highlights from hotels around the region include:

Thailand Sofitel So Bangkok – Sofitel So Bangkok invites guests to partake in a week-long feast boasting events such as a sumptuous four-course dinner with wine pairings by Master Sommelier Gilles Faelens and complimentary trays of canapés with every bottle of Champagne ordered. The hotel will also offer a special menu of exquisite wines throughout the week specifically chosen to highlight the quality and versatility of French grapes as well as an exclusive discussion on wine pairings led by local and international wine connoisseurs.

Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit – Designed to tickle guests’ taste buds and sense of adventure, Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit is serving up a week of fine wines and cuisine. Guests are invited to explore the hotel’s various dining outlets showcasing specialties from the different regions in France. Le Bar de l’Hotel will serve Chablis and Bordeaux, the Voila! Cheese Room will have Burgundy, Loire, and Alsace while L’Appart will uncork vintages from the Rhone, Champagne and Bordeaux regions. The hotel will also offer guests artisan cheese and wine tastings, a selection of premium wines at enticing prices and the unique opportunity to learn how to identify wines by their aroma.

Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort – Wine connoisseurs and food fanatics, mark your calendars for an unforgettable week of epicurean delights. Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort is offering a week’s feast of wine-themed events across the hotel’s different dining outlets. The highlight of a wine and dine festival is the amount of sampling available. Guests can look forward to not only a great deal of wine sampling, but also tasting from the very best of restaurants that Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort has to offer, ranging from Champagne and sparkling wine at Koh Poda and Burgundy wines at Explorer Bar to Bordeaux wines at Venezia and Alsace wines at White Lotus.

Cambodia Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort – Encouraging guests to explore the world of French wine, Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort will offer exclusive deals on wines produced in different regions every evening of the week. Complimentary for all hotel guests, a wine tasting station will also be set up on the Royal Court Terrace. Guests can also indulge in an evening of epicurean delight feasting on the specially created four-course set dinner with specially selected wine pairings to delight the senses.

Cambodia Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra – Enthralling guests with an exciting quest, Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra will set up five stations across the hotel, each designed to represent a key wine producing region in France. Guests will be able to explore each of these areas led by knowledgeable sommeliers and have the opportunity to test their knowledge at each location by answering questions related to the region. Those who complete this quest by answering all questions correctly will enter a lucky draw for the chance to win a complimentary dinner for two at La Coupole.

Vietnam Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi – Throughout the week, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi will indulge guests with a myriad of special promotions including exclusive pairing menus at Spices Garden & Le Beaulieu, a wine fair at L’Epicerie & Bamboo Bar as well as specialty wine treatments at Le Spa. Along with free-flow wine promotions at a variety of outlets and a complimentary glass of wine offered with desserts at key restaurants, the hotel will also be hosting a Wine Cocktail Discovery evening where unique concoctions developed by an award winning mixologist will entice and excite guests’ senses.

Vietnam Sofitel Plaza Hanoi – Indulge yourself at Sofitel Plaza Hanoi with a luxury Bonsoir Bacchus French Wine buffet and a free-flow of the most sought-after French wines. The hotel will also hold a “Blind Tasting” where guests are challenged to identify a specific wine using only their sense of smell. Alternately, they can choose to challenge the resident sommelier to identify the vintage. If the guest succeeds in the individual task or if the sommelier fails the challenge, they will be eligible for a 50% discount on any wine from the hotel’s specially developed wine menu. In line with Sofitel’s commitment to crafting experiences that integrate the best of local cultures with the finest in French luxury, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi will also be hosting an exclusive multi-course Asian Fusion dinner as well as a fine Cordier wine tasting.

Vietnam Sofitel Saigon Plaza – Highlighting a wide variety of wines hailing from the six most noted wine producing regions of France - Bordeaux, Loire Valley, South West, Rhone, Burgundy and Alsace, Sofitel Saigon Plaza will celebrate France’s rich history of wine production with special offers throughout the week. Guests will be able to purchase bottles of French wines at near cost price at Gourmand Shop, or two bottles of champagne for the price of one from the hotel’s champagne list at Boudoir Lounge. The hotel will also host a special Wine & Cheese Pairing evening featuring specially selected wines and a showcase of farmhouse cheeses.

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September, 2013

MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL

The Mid-Autumn Festival (Tết Trung Thu) is a colorful time of year. The Mid-Autumn Festival or Tết Trung Thu is celebrated throughout the eighth lunar month, in particular on the day of the first full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, falling on September 19th, 2013.

 



There are various activities to celebrate. During the Mid-Autumn Festival, although the moon is then at its greatest distance from the earth, it appears larger than at any time of the year and takes on a reddish glow. In its partial phases, the moon represents the incompleteness of life and potential for completeness, fullness and prosperity. The Mid-Autumn celebration is then a celebration and a prayer for the fullness and completeness of life.

During the festival, Vietnamese parents have the custom of telling fairytales to children. One folkloric favorite is the story of the mythical cá hóa rồng, which is about a carp that wanted to become a dragon. The carp worked relentlessly at this dream and, with time, eventually achieved its aspiration. The lesson is one of diligence: parents use this story to explain that realizing goals requires hard work.

The dragon dance, an important aspect of the Mid-Autumn celebration, expresses dichotomies by reenacting the earth and sky, the yin and yang. The Earth God, Ông Địa, dances around the dragon, urging it to continue on. With his cheerful and moon-shaped face, Ông Địa represents wealth and the earth’s fullness.

At this time of year fruit is plentiful, especially watermelon and grapefruit. Grapefruit sections are cut into animal shapes, representing the fabled inhabitants of the moon: the three-legged toad, the moon maiden who stole an immortality elixir from her husband, and the old man who, as a punishment for displeasing a vengeful god, is perpetually forced to cut down cinnamon trees.

During the festival several types of mooncakes called Bánh Trung Thu are sold. Some cakes are round and white; others are square and golden brown; others are formed in the shape of a carp, an animal that traditionally represents the soul of the moon. Mooncakes are unleavened and filled with lotus seeds, orange peel, ground beans, egg and flavorful pork fat.

While the customs and meanings of the Mid-Autumn Festival have transformed over time, this is always a special time to visit Vietnam for it is a season of mild fall weather, rich culture and legends.

In recent years, mooncake filling has veered from the traditional as truly exotic ingredients have been introduced. In addition to traditional varieties such as lotus seed paste, green bean paste, and salted egg yolk, new flavours such as green bean, apricot, sunflower seed with salted egg; red bean, chest nut with salted egg; lotus, Da Lat red kaki comfit with salted egg and also durian, pumpkin seed and black sesame, candied coconut have been created by Executive Sous Chef Nguyen Thanh Van and her team from authentic recipes and infused with the Metropole’s gourmet touch.

The legendary Metropole’s mooncakes are available for sale at L’Epicerie du Metropole from August 14 to September 19, during the hours of 7:30 am to 9:30 pm, daily.

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August, 2013

TURNS TO WASHINGTON, D.C. FOR FOOD & BEVERAGE MANAGEMENT

HANOI (July 31st, 2013) – The bonds between Hanoi and Washington. D.C. just keep getting stronger.

 



In July, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi reached halfway around the world to the U.S. capital and the award-winning Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square for its new director of food and beverage, Vincent Gernigon.

Gernigon succeeds Thibault Souchon who joined the Metropole as Food and Beverage Manager in July 2010. Also joining is Manh-Cuong Nguyen in the hotel’s restaurants and its kitchens. Nguyen was appointed assistant food and beverage manager in July.

In D.C., Gernigon led an F&B team that won renown as the top F&B and top restaurant team in the Sofitel’s North American portfolio. Personally, he achieved recognition as Manager of the Year.

While Gernigon’s primary focus in Washington was the hotel’s French fare, he’ll broaden his culinary responsibilities in Hanoi. The hotel’s restaurants include Spices Garden (Vietnamese), Angelina (Italian) and Le Beaulieu (French), which was hailed as one of the one of the ‘101 Best Hotel Restaurants Around the World’ in 2012 by TheDailyMeal.com (USA).

Prior to his work in Washington, Gernigon has held positions at Sofitel Thalassa Quiberon in France and at restaurants and bars in France and England. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, UK and his master’s degree at the Normandy Business School in Caen, France.

While Gernigon honed his skills in D.C., Nguyen was at the Hôtel Kyriad Paris, managing the hotel’s food and beverage operations from 2010 to 2013. Previously, he worked for five years in the Disneyland Resort Paris.

Nguyen took his bachelor’s degree at the Tietgen Business School in Denmark, and his master’s in business administration at CMH Paris.

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July, 2013

A WARM WELCOME TO OUR NEW AMERICAN JAZZ DIVA – LAURA BRUNNER

Hanoi (25 July 2013) - Le Club is the musical hub of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, where jazz enthusiasts have been enjoying cocktails and live performances for decades. With its stylish French décor, Le Club is Hanoi’s classiest house of jazz and the perfect venue for music lovers who are living in or visiting Hanoi.

 



On 1st August, 2013, Le Club will take on a distinctly international style with the introduction of American Jazz Diva Laura Brunner, a glamorous woman with a distinctive voice, perfect intonation, and ineffable swing.

With a velvety-smooth voice and bold, vibrant musicality, vocalist and composer Laura Brunner is one of the most exciting creative voices in modern music. She carries an eclectic blend of jazz harmony, electric grooves and unapologetic lyrics, mixing popular song, jazz standards and strong original compositions for a refreshing take on the challenging genre.

Laura proves herself as a singer and musician by using her extensive vocal capabilities and incredible ear for phrasing and harmony to put her own stamp on every song. Laura is perhaps best known for her rare talent of vocal improvisation – also known as scat singing. Channeling a multi-instrumental background, Laura approaches improvisation with a rhythmic sophistication and vocal dexterity unmatched by many of her contemporaries. Her versatility and unusual style consistently leave audiences asking for more. Laura has shared stages around the world with an extraordinary array of musicians including Kurt Elling, Ellis Marsalis, Sheila E., Esperanza Spalding, Bryan Baker and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Past performances include gigs at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Beantown Jazz Festival, Boston Pops Jazz Festival, the International Association of Jazz Educators Convention and the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Arts in Residence Program at the John F. Kennedy National Center for the Performing Arts. Laura was also named first runner-up at the prestigious 2012 Jazz mobile Vocal Competition in Harlem. In addition to live performances, Laura has been a featured artist on Boston‘s 89.7 WGBH National Public Radio and on Break Thru Radio‘s “The Jazz Hole”. The starlet has performed at top venues in New York City and all over North America while completing preparations for the recording of her debut album.

From August 1st to December 10th, 2013, visit Le Club - “Hanoi’s very own house of Jazz” to savour Laura’s distinctive vocals every night Tuesday to Sunday from 8.45pm onwards.

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May, 2013

HEALTHIER CHOICE ‘DE-LIGHT’ MENU CONCEPT ACROSS ASIA PACIFIC

Hanoi, April 14, 2013 – Sofitel Luxury Hotels announces the launch of its De-Light concept in Asia-Pacific offering guests a new menu of fresh and well-balanced food options.

 



Going beyond the creation of low-calorie dishes, De-Light is a wholesome, holistic approach to healthy eating for guests. Eliminating processed food, each carefully portioned dish is well-balanced with the right amount of fresh ingredients from the key food groups to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Developed by Thalassa Sea & Spa, recognized nutrition and wellness experts in France for over 40 years, De-Light offers a menu that combines the freshest ingredients with innovative cooking techniques and tempting flavours to help travellers meet their health goals in delicious style. The new menu of balanced low-calorie items is prepared à la minute (prepared to order) and will be introduced in restaurants, breakfast, banquet and event options, as well as room service menus at Sofitel properties across the region.

“Eating healthy is more than just counting calories. To have a truly healthy diet, all dishes must be freshly prepared and well-balanced with essential nutrients in the right proportions, this is exactly what the De-Light menu offers guests” said Fabrice Blondeau, Vice President Guest Experience & Operations Sofitel Asia Pacific “Choice is key for today's savvy and health-conscious travellers. Being on the road can be tough and our guests want to be given options to eat as they would at home. De-Light revolves around the simple yet sometimes neglected concept of providing convenient, well-balanced and low-calorie menu options without compromising on taste.”

The De-Light menu provides healthy, sumptuous dining experiences to liven the body and soul. A gastronomic adventure in healthy eating, De-Light reflects the unique skills of Sofitel’s chefs in creating an innovative array of well-balanced, low-calorie culinary delights to help guests meet their lifestyle goals. The De-Light menu offering Asian and Western cuisine places an emphasis on fresh, whole ingredients and highlight the relationship between food and culture.

Continually innovating to meet and exceed guest expectations through its three strategic brand pillars of culture, design and gastronomy, this new menu strengthens Sofitel’s culinary offerings and provides increased variety for guests. Sofitel De-Light dining will be rolled out at all hotels across Asia Pacific, including key cities such as Bangkok, Mumbai, Manila, Hanoi, Sydney, Auckland, Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong/Macau. For more information on this new programme, please visit www.sofitel.com.

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April, 2013

METROPOLE 12TH ANNUAL LE GRAND CHEESE BUFFET

Hanoi (15 March 2013) - Since the dawn of time, cheese has been hailed for its versatility as a heavenly treat and an excellent source of energy. During Roman times, soldiers received cheese as part of their daily rations, while mariners always took cheese on long journeys to ensure a balanced diet.

 



Thereafter saw somewhat of a quiet period for the dairy delicacy, but it wasn’t too long before cheese regained its status as a food giant, thanks to its loving patrons in l’Hexagon. France became the world’s biggest cheese producer with an assortment of more than 400 types and a wealth of prestigious brands. Many French people are known to celebrate each and every day with a different type of cheese – flitting between soft, fresh, pressed, blue and many other varieties.

Throughout the year, there are cheeses to suit every season, but the spring months are known as the best time to indulge and this tradition is being brought to Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi for the 12th year in succession. Once again, The Metropole offers its legendary cheese buffet from April 1-10, embracing the epitome of French culinary excellence.

With the finest varieties of cheese from across the world plus an amazing dessert buffet, this is a wonderful way to sample the richness and sophistication of world-renowned delicacies such as Bleu d’Auvergne, Epoisse, Mont d’or, Raclette, Reblochon, La Sainte Maure de Touraine, Valençay, Appenzeller, Chimay, Gorgonzola, Gruyère and many others. And as an extra treat, guests can experience the surprising freshness of the biological cheese, made by Metropole chefs from Ba Vi mountain goat milk, guaranteed to charm with its unique taste and aroma.

Dinner buffet from April 1-10, 2013, Le Beaulieu brasserie, VND 1,250,000++ per person.

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March, 2013

HANOI’S METROPOLE WELCOMES NEW EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT MANAGER

HANOI, Vietnam (Feb. 18, 2013) — The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi appointed a new executive assistant manager this month, hiring Julie Marie-Anne Bruley to head up its rooms division.

 



Bruley’s post at the Metropole comes after a two year sabbatical during which she achieved her Executive MBA from the European School ESCP and complemented those studies with additional coursework at the University of Texas in Austin and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Prior to these studies, she most recently worked from 2006 as director of operations at Hôtel Fouquet's Barrière, a 107-room hotel in Paris.

Prior to that appointment, Bruley spent several years in management at the Conrad Bangkok, a 392-room property in the Thai capital, and did a stint as well at the Sukhothai Bangkok hotel.

“We’re continuing to note higher and higher expectations for a stay at the Metropole. Which is a great thing,” said Kai Speth, the Metropole’s general manager. “For every new plateau we achieve, our guests have an eye on the next plateau. Julie, and her management of our rooms, will be part of our attempt to set new and higher benchmarks for the guest experience.”

A native of France, Bruley started her career in Paris in 1997 and moved on to London before her first trip to Asia. She speaks French, English, some Spanish and some Thai.

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February, 2013

SOFITEL CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY ACROSS THE REGION IN STYLE

Singapore, 28 January 2013 – A global celebration of respect, appreciation and love, International Women’s Day on March 8th was created to honour the achievements of women.

 



This year, Sofitel hotels around the region are inspiring women to take a break from their daily life and celebrate with an indulgent treat. In honour of this special day, Sofitel hotels have launched a ‘So Relaxing’ pampering package to commemorate the occasion.

“Women are constantly fulfilling endless responsibilities of being a mother, a daughter and a wife among many other roles. Celebrated for more than a century, International Women’s Day gives us a chance to reflect and show gratitude towards these inspirational women in our lives. At Sofitel, we aim to make all ladies feel extra special that week and came up with this pampering treat to encourage women to take a rejuvenating ‘me time’ break and treat themselves in style,” said Sirinate Meenakul, Director of Marketing Communication Sofitel South East Asia & India.

With the ‘So Relaxing’ package, guests will be able to enjoy a rejuvenating Sofitel stay enhanced with a daily luxury spa treatment for up to two guests for each day. Select from a tempting menu of one-hour massages, body scrubs and beauty treatments by expert Sofitel spa therapists. Ladies travelling on this package will also receive a special gift from Sofitel in celebration of International Women’s Day. Whether it’s to pamper that special lady or to unwind after a hectic workweek, Sofitel wants to help make the most of your vacation with the ‘So Relaxing’ package which will be available for booking across 13 beach and city destinations in Asia Pacific including Sofitel So Bangkok, Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra, Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, Sofitel Saigon Plaza, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, Sofitel Mumbai BKC, Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, Sofitel Brisbane Hotel, Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Spa and Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa.

The ‘So Relaxing” package is available for booking from now and valid for stays till 31 March 2013.

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January, 2013

HANOI’S METROPOLE WINS ACCOLADES FROM USA’S TOP TWO TRAVEL MAGAZINES

HANOI, Vietnam (Jan. 4, 2013) — The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi found favor last month with the two most prestigious travel magazines in North America, winning spots on Travel + Leisure’s and Condé Nast Traveler’s top hotel awards list - the T+L 500 and the Gold List, respectively.

 



The awards capped a year of winning ways for the hotel, firming up the storied property’s standing as one of Asia’s premier hotels. In all, the Metropole garnered 21 awards in 2012, including:
• Best Hotel in Hanoi, Business Traveller Asia-Pacific
• Readers' Choice Awards, Condé Nast Traveler
• Top Ten City Hotels, Travel + Leisure
• 101 Best Hotel Restaurants Around the World (Le Beaulieu), The Daily Meal

“It used to be we were simply trying to satisfy our guests’ expectations,” said Kai Speth, the hotel’s general manager. “Now we’re trying to satisfy their dreams.”

In December, Condé Nast Traveler announced its 2013 Gold List. Only two hotels in Vietnam, the Metropole and the Park Hyatt, made the grade on that list.

The Gold List is similar to the magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards, in which more than 47,000 readers rate favorite hotels across a number of metrics from the food and dining experience to location, design, rooms and service.

Also in December, Travel + Leisure elevated the Metropole onto the T+L 500 (there were 510 hotels on Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List). Only three hotels from Vietnam earned spots on this list: the Metropole, The Nam Hai and the Park Hyatt.

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December, 2012

A WARM WELCOME TO OUR NEW AMERICAN JAZZ DIVA - TABITHA KING

Le Club is the musical hub of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, where jazz enthusiasts have been enjoying cocktails and live performances for decades. With its stylish French décor, Le Club is Hanoi’s classiest house of jazz and the perfect venue for music lovers who are living in or visiting Hanoi.

 



On 1st January, 2013, Le Club will take on a distinctly international style with the introduction of American Jazz Diva Tabitha King, a glamorous woman with a distinctive voice, perfect intonation, and ineffable swing.

Tabitha King is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina but now resides in the Atlanta area. Her soothing, sultry sound has mesmerised audiences around the world. Entertaining and performing has always been her passion as well as her desire. Tabitha naturally turned to singing at a very early age by joining a church choir, performing at weddings, and taking part in various talent showcases and competitions throughout the years. In 1994 Tabitha relocated to Atlanta to pursue her singing career. Upon the recommendation of friends, she sat in on an open mic performance with an accomplished trumpet player known as "Milkshake", and afterwards her vocal ability quickly became known throughout the Atlanta area both among music enthusiasts and established artists. Tabitha was a member of the "Milkshake Quintet” for more than five years before she joined the hottest show band in city, "Fahrenheit". The group consisted of four very talented lead vocalists but it quickly became apparent that Tabitha was the true showstopper and crowd-pleaser. From that time she began to be known to her admirers as "Lady T".

In 1996, Tabitha signed on with LaFace records, and performed as a background vocalist for artists such as Outcast, The Goodie Mob, and Society of Soul, which landed her a performance on Soul Train. In spring of 1997, she toured the Island of Mallorca, then Barcelona and Madrid while singing with the Fifth Dimensions review. Upon returning to the States, Tabitha received a call from none other than Keith Sweat asking her to assist him on stage at the Atlanta Civic Center to sing his smash hit duet entitled "Nobody". R&B recording star Ann Nesby of the Sounds of Blackness joined her on stage at the Club 20 Grand in College Park, Ga and Keith Washington requested her soothing vocals for "Candlelight and You " in the absence of Chante Moore. Ollie Woodson (Temptations), Pebo Bryson, and Usher are a few others that Tabitha has had the pleasure of singing with.

Tabitha King is an amazing, accomplished vocalist that has earned her right to stardom. Her ability to enrapture audiences, be it in the States or in Europe, shows that she has a very rare gift that only a few can claim. Tabitha has now become one of the most highly sought after female vocalists in Atlanta and is very quickly gaining herself a solid reputation throughout the US as well as internationally since the release of her album “Mind Games”.

From 1st January to 30th April 2013, Tabitha will be on stage from Tuesday to Sunday at Le Club at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi. Her performances start at 8:45 pm and finish late. Come and indulge yourself in sensual pleasures, fine drinks, food and music along with Tabitha and her soulful voice.

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November, 2012

VIETNAM GAINS GROUND IN INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL AWARDS

Five Vietnamese hotels/resorts awarded, Hoi An ranked one of Asia’s best cities
NEW YORK (Oct. 2012) – Vietnam can now lay claim to one of the top-three hotels in Southeast Asia, two of Asia’s top 15 resorts and one of Asia's top 10 cities, according to the Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2012.

 



Announced in New York on Oct. 16, the results of Conde Nast Traveler’s 25th annual survey places five Vietnamese hotels and resorts on the prestigious travel magazine’s list of top hospitality properties.

The 111-year-old Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi ranked 3rd among the Top 20 Hotels in Southeast Asia. The Park Hyatt Saigon and the Sheraton Saigon also scored top-20 finishes on the same list.

Life Heritage Resort Hoi An and The Nam Hai were chosen by voters as two of the Top 15 Resorts in Asia, placing 9th and 14th on the list, respectively.

The Old Town of Hoi An made its first appearance as one of Asia’s Top 10 Cities, joining the ranks of destinations such as Bangkok, Hong Kong and Kyoto.

The Readers’ Choice Awards polled responses from 46,476 readers who rated resorts and hotels on a five-point scale across five categories via a secure website. Only the properties that garnered a minimum number of responses were eligible, with awards given for candidates with the highest rankings by voters.

— 30 —

“Every year we look for ways to elevate the guest experience while respecting and highlighting the hotel’s history,” said Kai Speth, the general manager at the Metropole. “Knowing the level of competition out there, a third-place finish in Southeast Asia is a testament to the Metropole’s undying appeal with today’s travelers.”

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October, 2012

YOUR LEGENDARY WEDDING CELEBRATION AT SOFITEL LEGEND METROPOLE HANOI

Let this be the beginning of a lifetime of trust
And of caring that’s just now begun…
Let today be a day that you’ll always remember
The day when your hearts are entwined as one
(Marriage Glow - Joanna Fuchs)

 



The wedding season has begun… Tis' the season to be married, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi - the celebrated landmark in the city of Hanoi, the oldest continuously operating hotel in Vietnam, and one of favourite wedding photo spots in Hanoi, is offering the perfect venue for your wedding ceremony, reception or honeymoon. Your wedding will be remembered forever for the delightful ambiance and our unique bespoke touches. Organizing the biggest day of your life is no small matter. At the Metropole, we will help you make sure everything runs like clockwork. Our staffs are renowned for excellence and attention to detail, they will guide you seamlessly through all preparations. From flowers to finishing touches, canapés to Champagne, place cards to perfection, all will be in place. In addition, our famous classic Citroen or BMW 7 series car will be available to provide the bride and groom some personal time and to tour Hanoi for 2 hours on the day. Throughout the coordination and on the special day itself, you will be guided by your very own Legendary Wedding Planner!

You will be able to tailor a location serving suit your wishes, including the Metropole’s rooftop garden balcony, Le Balcon du Metropole as an oasis in the heart of the historic property. In step with the French colonial aesthetic of the Metropole, Le Balcon is positioned to be an ideal venue for your wedding. In addition to splendid architecture, luxurious furnishing with fine décor, the hotel is also famous for its sumptuous culinary style. Highly talented Vietnamese and European chefs will satisfy your guests with a menu offering originality and freshness to suit your wishes. Dishes are arranges aesthetically and with an eye for detail, arousing the curiosity of guests and will be a valuable contribution to the party and day celebration.

Moreover, enhance your wedding celebrations with Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi’s outside catering service, offering tailor-made themes, selection of gourmet delicacies and drinks prepared by hotel’s culinary team. Personalised international and Vietnamese menus are available and presented artistically to compliment your day.

Metropole’s wedding packages starts from VND1,200,000 net per person Please contact Ms. Thu, Legendary Wedding Planner at H1555-SM8@sofitel.com or (+84 4) 3826 6919 – extension 8515 to tailor your celebration and day to remember.
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September, 2012

KATHRYN FARMER – NEW YORK JAZZ DIVA

Following the fantastic success of previous jazz performances and in response to jazz-lovers’ demands in the capital, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi warmly welcomes back Kathryn Farmer to Le Club: a classy, romantic refuge, where smooth jazz constantly inspires and entertains our esteemed guests. Her sultry and mesmeric renditions of jazz favourites will echo throughout the lower halls of the Metropole, where guests can wine and dine over candlelight and listen to her lyrical tones.

 



With a lifetime of experience behind her, Kathryn Farmer is living proof that jazz takes dedication. Born in New York City, Kathryn is the daughter of a legendary jazz trumpeter. She did not have to find the jazz world—she was born right into it.

Kathryn graduated from the New England Conservatory, earning a BA in Music. “I was very lucky to be taught by Mary Lou Williams, one of the most important female Jazz pianists of the last century,” says Kathryn. “She took me under her wings and trained me passionately in the early days of my career.” After college, Kathryn was embraced by the early eighties jazz community in New York City.

As a pianist and organist, Kathryn’s talents are numerous, but she is revered most as a sultry vocalist. Her velvety voice has taken her on worldwide tours and to international jazz festivals throughout the United States, as well as France, Spain, German, England, Turkey, Holland, and Japan. In 2006, Kathryn was the featured vocalist at Villa La Pretra in Florence, Italy, in the “Gershwin & More” concert with pianist Isaac Ben Ayala. When she is not travelling the world, she has local gigs at prestigious New York City venues. In the jazz encyclopaedia, Kathryn is listed as “Madame Jazz” and “one of the great pianists, vocalists and organists in New York City today.”

From 31st August to 1st January 2013, experience Kathryn’s live jazz performance every night from Tuesday to Sunday, 8:45 pm onwards.
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August, 2012

MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL – Tết Trung Thu

The Mid-Autumn Festival (Tết Trung Thu) is a colorful time of year. The Mid-Autumn Festival or Tết Trung Thu is celebrated throughout the eighth lunar month, in particular on the day of the first full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, falling on September 30th, 2012.

 



There are various activities to celebrate. During the Mid-Autumn Festival, although the moon is then at its greatest distance from the earth, it appears larger than at any time of the year and takes on a reddish glow. In its partial phases, the moon represents the incompleteness of life and potential for completeness, fullness and prosperity. The Mid-Autumn celebration is then a celebration and a prayer for the fullness and completeness of life.

During the festival, Vietnamese parents have the custom of telling fairytales to children. One folkloric favorite is the story of the mythical cá hóa rồng, which is about a carp that wanted to become a dragon. The carp worked relentlessly at this dream and, with time, eventually achieved its aspiration. The lesson is one of diligence: parents use this story to explain that realizing goals requires hard work.

The dragon dance, an important aspect of the Mid-Autumn celebration, expresses dichotomies by reenacting the earth and sky, the yin and yang. The Earth God, Ông Địa, dances around the dragon, urging it to continue on. With his cheerful and moon-shaped face, Ông Địa represents wealth and the earth’s fullness.

At this time of year fruit is plentiful, especially watermelon and grapefruit. Grapefruit sections are cut into animal shapes, representing the fabled inhabitants of the moon: the three-legged toad, the moon maiden who stole an immortality elixir from her husband, and the old man who, as a punishment for displeasing a vengeful god, is perpetually forced to cut down cinnamon trees. During the festival several types of mooncakes called Bánh Trung Thu are sold. Some cakes are round and white; others are square and golden brown; others are formed in the shape of a carp, an animal that traditionally represents the soul of the moon. Mooncakes are unleavened and filled with lotus seeds, orange peel, ground beans, egg and flavorful pork fat.

While the customs and meanings of the Mid-Autumn Festival have transformed over time, this is always a special time to visit Vietnam for it is a season of mild fall weather, rich culture and legends.

In recent years, mooncake filling has veered from the traditional as truly exotic ingredients have been introduced. In addition to traditional varieties such as lotus seed paste, green bean paste, and salted egg yolk, new flavours such as green bean, apricot with salted egg; red bean, chest nut with salted egg; lotus coconut with salted egg and also berries, chocolate and praline have been created by Executive Sous Chef Nguyen Thanh Van and her team from authentic recipes and infused with the Metropole’s gourmet touch.

The legendary Metropole’s mooncakes are available for sale at L’Epicerie du Metropole from August 24 to September 30, during the hours of 7.30 am to 9.30 pm, daily.
Learn more

July 10, 2012

FROM THE MALDIVES TO HANOI

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi secures new Italian Chef for Angelina. An Italian chef who recently exhausted opportunities for exploration in the Maldives has relocated to Vietnam, and the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi’s kitchens as the new head chef at Angelina, the landmark hotel’s three-year-old Italian restaurant. Ivan Negro’s appointment as Angelina Chef is a next generation move by the hotel as it builds on Angelina’s reputation as the most chic Italian dining opportunity in the country.

 



Located on the ground floor of the historic hotel’s Opera Wing, the 120-seat restaurant opened in October 2008 as a venue for discreet liaison and high-brow association, cultivating a social and culinary scene in a destination where sophistication is developing as fast as a Polaroid. “Ivan’s mission is evolution, not revolution,” said Kai Speth, the hotel’s general manager. “He’s inheriting a menu that was established in 2009 but is about to acquire subtle shades of difference as Ivan brings his own creativity into our recipes for sauces, and as he re-imagines what we’re doing with everything from lobsters and prawns to dessert. A new chef is almost always an incredible new opportunity.” Prior to his move to Hanoi, Negro, 30, worked as a sous chef in the kitchens of two Four Seasons restaurants in the Maldives, where the restaurant business catered to waves of guests coming in seasonally from China, Russia, Arabia and other destinations. “We were constantly changing, preparing foods differently for each group,” said Negro. “I’m really looking forward to bearing down now on the priorities of Italian cuisine, as opposed to the tastes of revolving demographics!” His first foreign post was in London, where he worked for separate stints in the early and mid 2000s. A native of Aosta, Italy, he graduated from the Istituto Alberghiero Catering School in Châtillon at Aosta, Italy.
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June 2012

THE FIRST VIETNAMESE CANDIDATE TO JOIN "BOCUSE D'OR ASIA" IN SHANGHAI

In a press conference to be held on 5th June, 2012, Bocuse d'Or Vietnam will be announcing the first Vietnamese candidate to join Bocuse d'Or Asia, the world's most prestigious cooking competition in Shanghai. In June 2011, Do Chi Cong, chef de partie at Sofitel Legend Metropole, beat 11 other competitors from elite restaurants,....


hotels and resorts nationwide (including Caravelle Ho Chi Minh City, Sofitel Saigon Plaza, and Ana Mandara Nha Trang), to go through to the semi-final of the first Bocuse d'Or Vietnam contest, which was held in Nha Trang. The jury, including international chefs and presided over by French master chef Marc Foucher, made evaluations based on taste, level of perfection in presentation, technical skill, cooking sophistication, creativity, and visual beauty. Cong's preeminent creations, which are rolled sturgeon fillets with shrimps in fragrant herbs, young rice crust and stuffed chicken with prawns, pumpkin, and light curry natural juice won the top prize.

 

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May 2012

ZOEY JONES AT « THE HOUSE OF JAZZ »

As part of our ongoing jazz series, this June, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi warmly welcomes Zoey Jones to our Le Club: a classy, romantic refuge, where smooth jazz constantly inspires and entertains our esteemed guests. Hailing from Lancaster, United Kingdom, Zoey is known for her glamour and diversity of talents in ballet, song and drama.



During her career, her hilarious perform participating in different events, fashion shows and internationals tours, alongside many great artists such as Elton John, Muse, Leona Lewis,… In 1999, she auditioned for, and won, a full scholarship to study ballet and all other aspects of dance, theatre and song at the famous Doreen Bird Performing Arts College in London. On graduating from college, she felt the need to discover further forms of performing arts other than theatrical work. She then joined a pop band called Near Say and toured the UK for 18 months playing at top venues such as London Astoria, including performing at summer festivals and University balls, supporting artists such as Blue, Sonique and Chezney Hawks. During that tour, Zoey (known as Callandria back then) took part in the first ever POP IDOL competition, with Pete Waterman and Simon Cowell. She was a finalist and appeared on many major UK TV channels and shows, including This morning, liquid News, watchdog and ITV 1 and 2. Resulting from this, Zoey was asked to do recording and session work for artists such as Victoria Beckham and Soul Shaker, and also toured the country on a Kiss FM tour.

 

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April 2012

METROPOLE OPENS WARTIME AIR RAID SHELTER AS MEMORIAL

HANOI (April 2012) — Forty years after the bombs stopped falling on Hanoi, and less than one year after a chance discovery of an air raid shelter in its back garden, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is cutting a red ribbon on the excavated bunker May 21 as the anchor attraction in a new Path of History tour. "Hotels are always opening new outlets," said Kai Speth, the hotel's general manager. "New restaurants, new bars, new spas. But it's not everyday that a hotel opens an old bomb shelter as a new memorial."

 

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14 March 2012

METROPOLE'S SPETH TAKES OVER VIETNAM

Hotel GM embraces responsibilities for additional hotels in Hanoi and Saigon

HANOI (14 March 2012) — Sofitel has promoted the current general manager of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Kai Speth, to a new position as area general manager for Vietnam. Now, in addition to ongoing responsibilities at the landmark Hanoi property, Speth will have oversight responsibilities for Sofitel Plaza Hanoi and Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

General Manager at the Metropole since 2008, Speth has amplified that hotel's stature on the international stage in recent years. Mileposts of his tenure at the Metropole thus far include: • Renovation. With an investment of more than $30 million, Speth has managed the most thorough refitting of the hotel since its rebirth as a contemporary property in 1990.

Changes to the hotel include the launch of a new Italian restaurant, Angelina, a completely rebuilt Bamboo Bar, a new outdoor garden at Le Balcon, as well as technology and amenity refurbishments throughout.

• Legend. With the renovations complete, Sofitel relaunched the Metropole as the brand's first Legend hotel. • Spa. A major development during the recent renovation, Speth unveiled Le Spa du Metropole in 2010, the first spa in its then 109-year history. The hotel won immediate acclaim, including recognition on the Conde Nast Traveler Hot List for spas. • Awards. In addition to recognition for the spa, Conde Nast Traveler elevated the hotel to its Hot List after the renovation.
That recognition was a harbinger to a spate of subsequent awards, including accolades from Travel + Leisure, PATA, AsiaSpa, Cigar Aficionado and many others.

• Air Raid Shelter. After rediscovery of the hotel's wartime air raid shelter in the summer of 2011, the hotel has launched an excavation and restoration project for the shelter, exciting worldwide media attention in October 2011.

"The writer, Ernest Hemingway, once said that when he was writing really well, he was writing better than he could," said Speth. "With the Metropole, I've felt the same way: I've had the assistance of a muse all the way through these discoveries and developments." Prior to his work at the Metropole, Speth managed Hyatt properties in Korea, Los Angeles and Colorado. He worked for much of the 1990s in New York City after graduating from Heidelberg's Hotel Management School in his native Germany in 1989.

 

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February 2012

DIANE SERENADES LE CLUB

Jazz lovers in Hanoi flock to Le Club at the Metropole, a popular rendezvous that features jazz music in the elegant, lively ambience of 15 Ngo Quyen. Famous vocalists from around the world convene here, sharing their velvety riffs with jazz connoisseurs and enthusiasts. This February, talented singer, composer and producer Diane Witherspoon will grace Le Club with her new renditions of classic favorites. A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Diane Witherspoon began singing as a child in a Baptist church choir.

Diane studied voice at Saint Olaf's College in Minnesota, and piano and fundamental music at Laney College in Oakland, California. Diane also directed the choir at Camp Cazedero, CA and taught music at Charnock Elementary School in Los Angeles, CA. Diane is a cousin to the late "Blues great" Jimmy Witherspoon and sister to Shirley Witherspoon, former Duke Ellington vocalist.

In addition to performing with her own jazz ensembles (from duos to quintets), Diane has performed with the Cedar Walton Trio; Calvin Keyes Band; John Handy Band; Teddy Edwards Quartet; Ghasem Batamuntu's "Nova Ghost Sect-Tet" with guest artists including: Steve Turre, Bobby Hutcherson, Julian Priester, Eddie Henderson, Johnny Coles & Julius Hemphill; and also Rasul Siddik & The NOW! Artet. She has also made special live or recording appearances with Bobby McFerrin, Cedar Walton, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Odean Pope, Woody Shaw, Frank Morgan, Pharoah Sanders, Arsenio Hall, Red Holloway, John Clayton, Abe Most, Frankie Randell, Jeff Chambers, Roy McCurdy and many more world renowned artists.

Diane's smooth crooning has skyrocketed her career, bringing her to sing in many countries at famous luxury hotels and high-end bars such as New York Bar in Park Hyatt Tokyo, Bamboo Bar, The Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok, Emirates Towers Hotel in Dubai, Okura Hotel, Guam… Le Club welcomes Diane Witherspoon to our venue: a classy, romantic refuge, where jazz music is a constant source of inspiration and diversion for our esteemed guests. From 1st February 2012 to the end of May, enjoy Diane's fantastic vocals at Le Club every Tuesday to Sunday, from 8:45 pm onwards.

 

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February 2012

Business Community Picks Metropole GM for Top Recognition

HO CHI MINH CITY (Feb. 2012) – Vietnam's business community took a moment to applaud Metropole GM Kai Speth for his efforts to uphold the country's heritage during the Top 100 Business Style Awards 2011, held Jan. 9 in Ho Chi Minh City. Speth was singled out by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry to receive the annual recognition for preservation of the Vietnam's culture, history and traditions -- one of the top ten awards of the night.



"Managing a historic and iconic hotel that has played an integral role in the history and local life of Hanoi for more than 110 years now, I very much appreciate what history and tradition mean and bring to my enterprise," Speth told the audience in his acceptance speech at White Palace. "I feel it is my responsibility to preserve what has made this country so great," he said.

The trophy was the second of the night for Speth, who also took home a Mark of Respect Award from Business Style Magazine as one of the Top 100 Businessmen in Vietnam. Created to honour Vietnamese and foreign entrepreneurs working and living in Vietnam, the recipients of the Mark of Respect Award are handpicked by a judging panel from among thousands of candidates nominated by associations and organizations worldwide.

 

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January 2012

LE SPA REVIVES FRENCH CONNECTIONS WITH NEW SPA MANAGER

Le Spa du Metropole is infusing its French touch with a fresh pair of hands in 2012

Spa culture in the Vietnamese capital took a step forward last week, as the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi named Paris native Aurore Brahami manager of its multi-awarded Le Spa facility.


A graduate of the Francoise Morice School of Aesthetics, Brahami spent seven years as a spa therapist in France and the United States before going on to lead spa operations at Bali's Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa, and Le Meridien Barbaron in Seychelles.

Brahami will draw on 11 years of immersion in the international hotel and spa industry and her knowledge of advanced French cosmetology and therapeutic techniques to enhance the wellness experience for spa-goers at the Metropole.

"Brahami's background and approach to the spa are a natural fit with the hotel's heritage and our goal to cultivate a world-class spa sanctuary," said Kai Speth, general manager of the Metropole."Already it's impossible to confuse a treatment at Le Spa with a treatment anywhere else; but with Brahami's arrival we want to go a new level -- we want to redefine how the spa is appreciated in Hanoi," said Speth.

On top of her diploma in Aesthetic Cosmetology, Brahmani also carries a degree in Economics and Sociology from Gutenberg College. Since opening in 2009, Le Spa has garnered numerous top awards from industry experts and travel magazines worldwide. Its Indochine-era spaces and seven themed treatment rooms were named 'Asia's Best Urban Spa' by AsiaSpa Magazine in 2011.

 

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13 December 2011

Metropole Lends Historic Charms to 2012 Nuptials

HANOI (xx Feb. 2012) -- You won't find Indochine-era romance more alive anywhere else. The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, one of Vietnam's most celebrated landmarks, is opening its doors to newlyweds from all over the globe with three new packages showcasing the 110-year-old hotel's distinctive blend of French savor faire and Vietnamese tradition. Located in Hanoi's scenic French Quarter near Hoan Kiem Lake, the hotel where Charlie Chaplin spent his honeymoon has long been a prime venue for Hanoian nuptials and photo shoots.

Named "One of the World's 50 Most Romantic Hotels" by Travel + Leisure Magazine in 2011, this year the Metropole is hoping to entice couples and culture-lovers with a set of customizable wedding packages, an overnight photo package, and a honeymoon escape. The Metropole's 'Legendary Wedding Package' bundles a range of customizable packages and the services of a personal wedding planner.

Three venues within the hotel – La Veranda, Le Balcon and Thang Long Hall – can be tailored to the bride and groom's wishes, as can a French or Vietnamese menu for the dinner reception. The use of the hotel's classic Citroen, a jazz band, spa vouchers, bespoke gifts for guests and other options are incorporated into the various packages, including accommodation in the hotel's most luxurious quarters for the couple on their wedding night.

The 'Legendary Wedding Photo Package' features a night's stay in a Grand Premium Room, a three-course lunch with champagne at any of the hotel's French, Italian or Vietnamese restaurants, chocolates and the use of the hotel's colonial-style spaces and two vintage Citroen cars for professional picture taking.

Styled as a distinguished honeymoon escape, the Metropole's honeymoon package includes two nights' stay in either a Grand Premium Room or Legendary Suite with in-room breakfast, personal butler, champagne and chocolate gifts, personalized candlelit dinner, city tour in the hotel's Citroen, private spa suite and treatment, airport transfers by limousine, VIP access to the Club Lounge; and, should it be needed, a special rate for an extended stay.

 

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13 December 2011

SOFITEL LEGEND METROPOLE HANOI AN EDDY OF CALM IN A DYNAMIC CAPITAL

Urban spa-goers enthralled by colonial charms of Metropole spa

HANOI (13 Dec. 2011) — There is something irresistible about the French colonial architecture, the tropical light on the wood floors, and the utter luxury crafted into every corner of the Metropole Hanoi, so much so that one questions how the hotel's sensory experience could possibly be improved.

The answer came, of course, to the gradual awareness of Hanoi's residents and visitors following the debut of Le Spa du Metropole midway through 2009. Comprising three levels and 400 square metres of Indochine-era elegance, the spa enticed jetlagged tourists and well-heeled locals with the promise of a world-class wellness experience in an exceptional setting. With floors of dark hardwood, gilt-framed mirrors, paneled doors and double-slipper tubs, Le Spa is a vibrant echo of the hotel's well-established charm. Facilities include wet areas, a middle- eastern sauna or Hammam, relaxation lounges, a spacious foyer and an outdoor heated pool.

Nestled within seven private treatment rooms, including five distinctly themed suites, Le Spa's team performs signature body and beauty treatments using French skin-care product line Clarins, and Ytsara, a high-end spa product line from Thailand focused on body care treatments. A year after its soft opening, the spa in the 110-year-old Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi scooped up its first award – a spot on the 2010 Hot Spa list from prestigious Conde Nast Traveler magazine. "The spa feels like an elegant friend's residence, with grand staircases leading to candlelit havens for Eastern-themed massages and facials," wrote one of the editors at Conde Nast Traveler.
Le Spa's menu opens with a suite of wet bath treatments and segues to a la carte spa journeys. Several of the spa's treatments are singular to Hanoi's urban situation and its storied appeal as a shopping destination.

After walking the '36 Streets' of the city's Old Quarter, Le Spa lures the weary with an 'After Shopping Leg Reviver.' Its 'Jetlag Recovery Massage' employs a Kansu bowl to ease muscle tension, while 'aromantic' treatments for two are followed by luxurious baths, chocolates and dinner. Touted by guests as an "oasis of tranquility" in the heart of busy Hanoi, Le Spa du Metropole celebrated its second major recognition from industry experts last month, when it went home from the 2011 AsiaSpa Awards with the trophy for Best Urban Spa of the Year. The win underscored the spa's unique appeal among regional competitors.

"There are certain expectations and traditions that must be honored at the Metropole," said Kai Speth, the hotel's general manager. "Part of the allure to this spa is the allure of the hotel itself, and the delight that comes from being in that space, and having a treatment at the Hotel Metropole Hanoi."

 

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01 December 2011

Oyster Bar @ Bamboo

The Sofitel Legend Metropole introduces for the Festive season and beyond the newest cuisine "must visit" in Hanoi - the Oyster Bar @ Bamboo.

Come savour the flavours of our imported Oysters and combine with a tailored Metropole Splash or a glass or two of bubbles.


Daily from 5pm to 9pm
Price: 65,000 VND per oyster or 700,000 VND per dozen

 

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01 November 2011

Hanoi's Metropole hotel excavates wartime air aid shelter in garden

Yesterday a matter of hearsay, tomorrow a museum? a gallery? a memorial?

Construction workers laying the foundation of a new garden bar at the landmark Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi this summer struck the roof of a long-buried air raid shelter, initiating a fevered disinterment and rediscovery of an all but forgotten piece of the hotel's wartime history.

After excavating more than two metres of earth and reinforced concrete and then jack-hammering through a 278 -millimetre ceiling, the hotel opened the hatch on a warren of flooded corridors, chambers and stairways. In August, the hotel's general manager, Kai Speth, and his chief engineer dropped through a square metre-wide hole bored into the ceiling, illuminating a subterranean space of nearly 40 square metres.

They found an old wine bottle, a still-intact light bulb, air ducts, graffiti and eerie echoes of a war that ended almost four decades ago and that raged all about this shelter during the Christmas Bombings in 1972.

"In the hotel's history, we have a story of the American folk singer, Joan Baez, who sought shelter in this bunker during the Christmas Bombings, and who sang some songs beside a Vietnamese guitarist," said Speth. "We've always known a bunker was here, somewhere in the garden between the pool and the Club Bar, but looking for this wasn't even on our radar screen until my chief engineer tried to sink pilings for the new Bamboo Bar."

The hotel is still undecided about how best to utilise the underground space, but Speth is determined to make something of this novel asset, if only as a museum that shines a light on the ways and means of Vietnamese resistance during the war.

Today, in a traveler's destination that still reverberates with 'Good Morning, Vietnam,' some of the country's most compelling attractions involve underground exploration. In Cu Chi outside Ho Chi Minh City, tourists burrow through short passageways of an underground tunnel complex that sent tentacles through 200 kilometres of earth. Further north near the old Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), travellers explore the tunnels at Vinh Moc, where an entire village relocated as a hedge against American bombs.

The Metropole's shelter, though far less ambitious than either of those wartime developments, is nevertheless bound to stand among them as an emblem of Vietnam's travails. "We don't know of any other hotels, in Vietnam or anywhere else for that matter, that maintained shelters for guests and staff," said Speth.

The Metropole's standing as a hotel in a war zone garnered feature play on the cover of Life magazine, April 7, 1967. The magazine features a row of manholes, about 1.5 metres deep that line a sidewalk outside the hotel. Those manholes did not connect to the hotel's more spacious shelter but testify to life in a city under siege by American aircraft.

Otherwise, the hotel's connections to its most spartan chambers are thin. If there were records kept of the hotel's activities during the war, they're gone now. Speth recalls speaking once to a Canadian diplomat who told him he'd spent time in the shelter during the war.

Otherwise, references to the shelter have been shrouded by speculation. To wit, the hotel's somewhat foreshortened swimming pool has long been thought to be a consequence of an underground shelter.

The questions, now that that shelter has been opened, are only deepening. For example, who exactly was Bob Devereaux, who inscribed his name in cement on the wall of the shelter on Aug. 17, 1975? Is that when the shelter was sealed up?

Before that first trip underground, it took one full week of non-stop pumping before the water level could be brought down to 20 centimetres. Speth waded in then, wearing shorts, rubber boots and an old t-shirt, an outfit he's donned several times now as he's made additional excursions. "I've worn a suit and tie for thirty years in my day-to-day as a hotelier, and I expect I probably will for the next 15 or 20 years, as well," he said. "But now, there's this chance to work some like Indiana Jones, and who can resist that?"

 

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01 October 2011

Kate Bowen at Le Club

From 1st October 2011 to 29th February 2012, as part of our ongoing Jazz series, the Metropole Hanoi proudly present Jazz singer Kate Bowen – one of the most in demand vocalists in Toronto.

Sultry and alluring, Kate Bowen's voice never ceases to captivate her audience. Often called an old soul, the depth and fullness of her voice as well as her vocal maturity constantly surprise people, instantly making them new fans.

She flawlessly translates the passion of the song, taking the listener on an emotional journey. Her melodies are memorable, as is her stage presence and her ability to connect with her audience. A master of soul, R&B, funk, blues, folk and pop, Kate's voice is unbelievably adaptable to each genre, sometimes intimate and inviting, while other times, powerful and commanding.

Kate and her voice are a rare find. Kate's passion for music and singing was nurtured at a very young age. In her early 20's, she was signed to a record label in the United States, where she worked on her own album and wrote songs for other singers. During her time living in the US, she regularly worked for OmnyPro, and through them she performed at the famous Apache Club in Atlanta, Georgia & Sugar Bar in New York.

Back in Toronto, she was a regular act in several of the most popular live venues in the city, performing with her band in places such as, Joe Mamas, Revival Club, Supermarket, Lounge, Li'ly, Lava Lounge, Dazzling, N'Awlins.

With a maturity belying her youth, an outstanding charisma and poise on stage, Kate Bowen started to be a sought-after vocalist in her hometown of Canada, doing recording sessions with the best musicians and producers and receiving international work offers from the most prestigious brands.

In 2010, Miss Bowen was invited to perform for several months at the iconic luxury Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong.

Come to Le Club - "Hanoi's very own house of Jazz" and savour Kate's distinctive vocals every night from Tuesday to Sunday, 8.45 pm onwards.

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26 September 2011

Metropole debuts Le Balcon and redesigned Bamboo Bar

In time for its 110th anniversary, the landmark Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is on the verge of two significant debuts. The first is a complete reconstruction of the Bamboo Bar, and the other is a 300-square-metre rooftop garden, Le Balcon.

The Sept. 17 re-opening of the popular Bamboo Bar follows an extensive makeover to enhance the poolside watering hole. Patrons can now gather around a central island bar or pair up in cozy corners that have been recently revamped to accommodate 20 additional seats, bringing the bar's total seating capacity to 52.

A redesigned drink menu features a new ice tea and fruit juice mocktail selection, as well as the "Metropole Splash," a mix of fresh fruit, syrup, and soda water with a wine base. Bartenders will prepare beverages using state-of-the-art bar equipment from Gamko.

Aside from raising the ceiling to create a brighter, more expansive atmosphere, the Metropole has also created a new covered entrance leading to the bar, and installed a mist system for summer days, so patrons can enjoy their Graham Greene cocktails in any weather.

The Metropole spent more than three months on the makeover of the Bamboo Bar, working carefully to enhance the bar's facilities while retaining the original rustic, tropical design and ambience that has made it a favourite rendezvous in the city.

At the same time, the Metropole unveiled its brand-new rooftop garden lounge, Le Balcon that serves as a tropical oasis of calm in the heart of the historic property. In step with the French colonial aesthetic of the Metropole, Le Balcon is positioned to be an ideal venue for weddings, fashion shows, intimate dinners and private events.

The 300-square-metre open-air garden is furnished with classic park benches, inviting guests to relax with a novel or catch up with friends while enjoying sweeping views of the hotel's green inner courtyard. Le Balcon will also double as peaceful venue for the Metropole's morning Pilates and yoga classes.

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01 September 2011

Voters Cite Metropole Hanoi and Nam Hai as #1 Hotel / Resort in Asia

Recent Smart Travel Asia poll elevates six Vietnam properties to annual list

The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi and The Nam Hai in Hoi An share top billing as Asia's best leisure properties for 2011, according to an online poll by Smart Travel Asia, a leading authority on the regional travel industry.

Tying for first place in the Leisure Hotels and Resorts category, Vietnam's top contenders trumped upscale brands from more established destinations, such as the Peninsula in Hong Kong and Amanpuri in Phuket.

The results of the three-month Best in Travel Poll 2011 were culled from votes cast by the readers of SmartTravelAsia.com, a dedicated online travel magazine with more than a million readers worldwide. Based on actual experiences, word-of-mouth and exposure in the media, voters submit their own nominations from thousands of possible choices in Asia.

Following the Metropole and Nam Hai, the Peninsula in Hong Kong and the Amandari in Bali won 2nd and 3rd in the Top Leisure Hotels and Resorts category, respectively. The Caravelle Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City claimed 23rd on the list of top business hotels in Asia.

Aside from being named Asia's Top Leisure Hotel and Resort, voters also ranked the Metropole 18th on the list of Asia's Top 25 Business Hotels and 8th among Asia's Top 25 Conference Hotels. The Nam Hai collected an additional award as one of Asia's three Top Spa Hotels and Resorts.

Editor and director of Smart Travel Asia, Vijay Verghese noted that the placement of two Vietnam properties at the peak of the leisure list of 'aspirational brands' underscores the country's increasing appeal as a holiday destination.

"Vietnam has ranked equally with Hong Kong as the top destination on the Smart Travel Asia magazine site based on page visits over 2010 and 2011," said Verghese. "The country remains one of Asia's less trodden destinations and this is perhaps its greatest appeal. Vietnam presents visitors with a sense of history and romance, a largely unspoiled coastline, and great food. And then there are the people."

Verghese believes Vietnam's properties benefit from a 'feel-good' factor that is amplified by hotel staff. "There is a certain innocence about Vietnam that is hard to find elsewhere in Asia," he says, "this is what discerning travellers seek today."

A total of six Vietnam properties made the poll's lists, including the Park Hyatt Saigon, Furama Resort Danang and Princess d'Annam Resort and Spa.

According to the poll, voters deem Bali to be the number one holiday destination in Asia, followed by Phuket and Hong Kong.

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14 Juli 2011

Academia Barilla hand-picks chef Egidio Latorraca for overseas recognition

Metropole Hanoi's chef earns outstanding achievement award from Italian culinary institution

After serving as intermediary between traditional Italian cuisine and Hanoi diners for almost two years, Academia Barilla awarded Angelina's Chef Egidio Latorraca a Certified Master Chef of Italian Cuisine (CMIC) last week.

The CMIC degree from the Academia Barilla in Parma, Italy is dedicated to chefs who have distinguished themselves over the years by preserving and developing authentic Italian cuisine and professionalism around the world.

Among the requirements for the honorary degree, candidates must demonstrate a proven commitment to Italian cooking and maintain constant connection with Italy while working outside the country for no less than five years.

Since October 2009, Chef Egidio has brought regional Italian cuisine and his personal creativity to the kitchen at Angelina, a chic restaurant and lounge at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi. In December 2010, HOTELS magazine hailed Angelina as one of its select 'Great Hotel Restaurants.'

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14 Juli 2011

Metropole Hanoi cited as one of Asia's top 3 city hotels by Travel + Leisure

Hotel also ranks as one of the top 100 hotels in world; only entry from Vietnam

After a year of phenomenal accolades in 2010, the Sofitel Legend Metropole scored its most prestigious award yet, moving into the ranks of the world's most rarified hotels.

In its August issue, the world's highest circulating travel magazine, Travel + Leisure, called out the Metropole as one of the top three city hotels in Asia, bested only by the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok and the Ritz-Carlton in Beijing. Last year, the Metropole ranked #14 on the same list, determined by Travel + Leisure readers.

"Until recently, all of the acclaim went to the big hotels in Tokyo and Hong Kong, to the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok, the Peninsulas - but this seems to be changing," said Kai Speth, general manager of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi. "Vietnam is at last a world-class player when it comes to hotels."

No other hotel from Vietnam made T+L's list of top 100 hotels in the world, officially known as the World's Best Awards 2011. The Park Hyatt in Saigon did make the magazine's list of Top 25 Hotels in Asia, coming in at #10.

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06 Juli 2011

Fête de la Musique

Launched in 1982 by the French Ministry for culture, the Fête de la Musique is held in more than a hundred countries in Europe and over the world. It takes place every June 21st, the day of the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere.

Fête de la Musique is more than just a music festival, it is a celebration of all styles and a tribute to the custom of free French-style street fêtes. It encourages both amateur and

professional musicians to perform in public and on the street. This day of music allows the expression of all styles of music in a cheerful atmosphere. It will appeal to a large audience, and intends to inspire young and not so young people from all social backgrounds to perform music. It presents an opportunity to communicate and share through music at this very special time.

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi has been a French monument in Hanoi since the turn of the last century, and is ready to play its part in this special musical event. Jazz Diva Charmagne Tripp will serenade Le Club with her fantastic vocals. Sit back, sip the best French cocktails in town and listen. At the French restaurant Le Beaulieu, guests can listen to French masterpieces performed by special guest violinist Nguyen Manh Hai. At the hotel's Vietnamese restaurant Spices Garden, you can enjoy a musical dinner in the presence of Phong Lan Band, comprised of four traditional Vietnamese musical instruments (monochord zither, long zither, bamboo xylophone, and bamboo flute). In addition, at Angelina, Italian restaurant & lounge, DJ Cache will play the most fashionable selection of music from all over the world. Come to enjoy yourself and share the music!

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20 June 2011

Metropole lands antipodean Carl Sladen as new head of Sales & Marketing

On the heels of the recent state visit by the Australian Governor-General, another figure is journeying from 'down under' to the historic halls of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.

The newest face at one of the most established hospitality addresses in country, New Zealand native Carl Sladen started work as the hotel's new Director of Sales and Marketing last week. From sophisticated Sydney to the up-and-coming Vietnamese capital, Sladen brings more than a decade of sales experience with premier names in the industry, to the marketing and reservations team at the 110-year-old Metropole.

Sladen most recently served as director of sales for the acclaimed Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts' property in Sydney, the largest in the Four Seasons' portfolio. He had previously worked at Four Seasons' properties in Toyko and Bangkok.

Aside from Sydney, Tokyo and Bangkok, Sladen has international exposure with Four Seasons and Regent properties in Mexico and his hometown of Auckland. He has traveled and lectured widely in China.

Sladen said his time in Asia has given him a unique understanding of the region's energy and culture, which he is eager to expand during his time in Hanoi.

"Carl Sladen's long years of experience and his fantastic attitude will, without a doubt, be a strength to the Metropole's position locally and internationally," said Kai Speth, the general manager of the hotel. "The knowledge he's accumulated from working with names that are the epitome of luxury hospitality operations will be invaluable to the team at the Metropole."

Sladen takes over from the hotel's former director of sales and marketing, Andrew Hartley, under whom the Metropole has garnered numerous accolades, including 22 awards in the past year alone.

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06 June 2011

Metropole remembers Australia

Australian Governor-general Presides over Plaque Ceremony in Hanoi

The tale of two countries officially began in a room famous for stories. Australia's Governor-General Quentin Bryce AC called on the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi in early May to unveil a commemorative plaque beside Room 228, the suite where Graham Greene resided and one of five rooms which housed the first Australian Embassy in Vietnam.

The event, attended by Ms. Quentin Bryce AC, her husband Mr. Michael Bryce AM AE, and the Australian Ambassador, Mr. Allaster Cox, marked the first state visit by an Australian Governor-General to Vietnam.

The Metropole designed the plaque to honor the work done on site by pioneering diplomats, and to celebrate the long relationship between Australia and Vietnam, said Kai Speth, the hotel's general manager.

"For three years, embassy officials fostered ties between the two nations, working out of rooms that we identify today as #225 to # 229," said Speth. "The plaque outside Room 228 is a link between countries, between friendships past and present, between the hotel and history."

While in Hanoi, the Australian Governor-General put up in Room 228, also known as the Graham Greene Suite, located on the second floor of the historic 110-year-old Metropole Wing.

The elegant 70 square meter suite is decorated in classical French style with Vietnamese touches, evocative of the Indochine era. Two balconies open onto scenic views of Paul Bert Park and the colonial-style Government Guesthouse.

After the unveiling ceremony, Ms. Quentin Bryce AC, who is said to be a fan of Graham Greene, enjoyed a reception at the Metropole with members of Hanoi's business community and Australian volunteers.

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30 April 2011

Vietnam's capital cultivates its taste for the grape

Metropole hotel pioneers exclusive club for hanoi wine enthousiast

On an ordinary day, Hanoi's wine lovers can be found searching cellars, scrutinizing labels and sniffing corks across the capital. May 28th 2011 is not an ordinary day.

 

A handful of the city's most dedicated wine drinkers and the planet's most extraordinary wines will converge at one table in the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi for the launch of the hotel's Connoisseur Club on May 28th.

Angelina, the Metropole's trendy Italian restaurant and lounge is the stage for the first of the Connoisseur Club's signature events, designed to introduce Hanoi's wine enthusiasts to vintages rated 90 points and above by world-acclaimed wine writer and critic, Robert Parker.

Thibault Souchon, the hotel's director of food and beverage, says the club was created to recognize the Metropole's most loyal wine customers.

"We built the Connoisseur Club on the concepts of sharing and discovery," said Souchon. "Wine tastings are not new to Vietnam, but the Metropole always aims for a more selective and memorable experience. A Connoisseur Club event is a one-of-a-kind affair that gathers members for the best wine tasting in the country."

In collaboration with supporting wine suppliers, the Metropole plans to present a different rare wine every two months, complemented by tailored menus from visiting and resident star chefs.

Old world and new, on and off-site, the Metropole is switching things up to present a distinctive experience at each event. On May 28th, attendees at the club's opening event will savor vintages from a high-end Italian winery, Massolino. Dinner will be prepared by celebrated Michelin-star Chef Dell' Aquilla of the Hotel Altira in Macao. On a cool evening in October, club members will gather in the ancient Temple of Literature, one of Hanoi's most culturally-significant sites, for another premium wine and dinner pairing.

As a gesture of appreciation, there is no fee for joining the country's most elite wine club. Members are selected by the Metropole, and are given a 50 percent discount to be used at one event of their choice. Depending on the availability of wine, events may include 20 to 40 members.

"The Metropole will continue to host bi-monthly wine dinners open to hotel guests and residents," said Souchon. "But we feel it's our duty to introduce new opportunities for customers who we see are thirsty to learn more. The Connoisseur Club is about enjoying outstanding wines, expanding knowledge and developing a passion. We want them to come away feeling they have shared in something unforgettable."

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01 July 2011

The Metropole - a century of traditions at your service!

Bonjour!

This month our in-house chefs serve up an array of mouth-watering specials. At Le Beaulieu, Chef Denis Groison presents a delicious summer grill promotion; and at Angelina, Chef Egidio Latorraca delicately matches champagne and tartare.

 

Head to Spices Garden this month for an exquisite selection of Vietnamese flower dishes, a fragrant local delicacy. La Terrasse finds its sweet tooth with a delectable fruit carpaccio and sorbet special.

In addition to indulging in our tantalising culinary creations, guests are invited to spend their summer holidays in style with our exclusive wellness package.

Finally, at Le Spa du Metropole, guests can experience soothing sounds, rejuvenating aromas, and relaxing body therapy. This sanctuary is perfect for recharging the mind, body and soul, and escaping from the outside world.

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16 Mar. 2011

Latest edition of Metropole sheds new light on life in old Hanoi

Every now and then, a hotel goes beyond making up rooms, and goes on to make history

HANOI (16 March 2011) — Newly-uncovered pieces of Vietnam's past have been stitched together and showcased for the first time in an updated edition of Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, published last month by the Most Famous Hotels of the World.

The book, which chronicles the Metropole's 110-year story, is brimming with compelling characters and stories set in one of Asia's most illustrious hotels. The 5th edition of Metropole Hanoi presents historically important anecdotes, excerpts and photographs freshly mined by author Andreas Augustin, who founded Most Famous Hotels. "With our findings we were able to establish a solid picture of this hotel, which was the center of social activity in Hanoi at a crucial time, from 1901 to the 1950s," said Augustin. Considered the most prestigious address in Northern Vietnam since its opening, the Metropole has seen the likes of Graham Greene, Somerset Maugham and Charlie Chaplin walk through its doors. The hotel also witnessed two wars, the first public film showing in the country, and some of Hanoi's most progressive and dramatic years. Midway through the century, the country entered a period of turmoil.

The hotel was turned over to the Vietnamese government and gradually fell into neglect. Then in 1987, negotiations were made to renovate the hotel, and after five years the Metropole reopened under new management. Today the Metropole has regained its reputation as the social hub of modern Hanoi. Augustin's book is the first to shed light on its exceptional history. With a lengthy VIP list and more than 300 striking photographs and illustrations, the book's 109 pages are a sensory feast. The cover features a retouched image of the hotel's distinctive French colonial façade, which was known to sweep away visitors with its grandeur.

Yet all Augustin had to go on when he began research for the book was a faded postcard. "There was no information, no archive," he said. "It seemed that nobody had ever written about the hotel." Researchers scrutinized forgotten photographs, advertisements and records scattered across the globe. Journals and biographies yielded detailed descriptions of life in Hanoi at the turn of the century. More than two years were needed to compile the first history. The result is a sharp, elegant portrait of one of Asia's most iconic hotels. In the past year alone, the Metropole has reaped more than 20 prestigious, international accolades, including the gold award in the Pacific-Asia Travel Association's Heritage category for preserving one of Asia's most treasured properties. Kai Speth, general manager of the Metropole, said keeping the hotel's ties to the past strong is not a burden, it's a responsibility.

"The Metropole is more than just a historical hotel -- it is an integral part of the city and a landmark where many historical events took place," he said. "Hopefully it will be here for future generations to enjoy, as well." A copy of the 5th edition of Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is available at the hotel and for purchase online at famoushotels.org. An interview with Andreas Augustin, detailing the book's production may be found at themetropoleblog.com.

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15 Mar. 2011

Travel + Leisure: Three of the world's 20 best hotel values call Vietnam home

NEW YORK (XX Mar. 2011) – Vietnam continues to accrue accolades for its hotels as Travel + Leisure named three to its list of 'World's Best Hotel Values' in the March 2011 issue.

The Caravelle Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi and the Hilton Hanoi Opera all won spots on the 'Top 20 Hotels for Value Overall' list in Travel + Leisure, itself one of North America's top two highest circulating travel magazines. Vietnam was second only to the United States in the number of hotels among the top 20. "Value is one of the hottest travel trends of 2011," said John Gardner, general manager of the Caravelle.

"Given the recent global slump, and uncertainty over the kind of rebound the economy has actually made, we expect this trend to continue through the year."

The winners, chosen by Travel + Leisure readers in the magazine's World's Best Awards Survey, each offer rooms for USD 300 a night or less. The Caravelle and the Metropole recently won placement on Travel + Leisure's list of the top 500 hotels in the world. The Metropole also won placement on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List, as well as more than 20 other prestigious lists in 2010. In the same issue of Travel + Leisure, Sheraton Nha Trang was included in a lengthy feature on the 'Best Affordable Beach Resorts' in the world. The Sheraton was the only Vietnam resort in this list. The T+L honor comes on the heels of recognition of Nha Trang by Expedia.com.au, which called the city one of the 10 'Best Beach Destinations' internationally in a December press release.

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3 Mar. 2011

BMW Euro Auto delivers 08 units of BMW 730LI to Sofitel Legend MEtropole Hanoi

(3 rd March 2011) – BMW Euro Auto, the official importer of BMW cars in Vietnam, officially handed over eight brand new units of BMW 7 Series Sedan 730Li to Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi on 3rd March, 2011.

This is the second time Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel has chosen BMWs for its premium limousine service. The hotel purchased eight BMW cars for the first time in 2007. The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is committed to matching premium customers with premium services, and for this reason has selected BMW as its premium limousine service. At the ceremony, Mr. Horst Herdtle, CEO of BMW Euro Auto, thanked the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi for choosing BMW as its premium limousine service. BMW hopes to be the preferred choice of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi and other premium partners in the future.

"The services that we extend to our guests have to got to be commensurate with the integrity of our hotel," said Kai Speth, general manager of the Metropole. "The engineering in the BMW, its commitment to the smoothest possible ride and the finest possible driving experience, ensure seamless transfers from our finest rooms to their finest seats."

The fleet policy of BMW Euro Auto BMW 730Li is the newest member in BMW 7 Series family, a fifth generation in BMW's luxury segment where innovative technologies engender outstanding performance and sheer driving pleasure. BMW 7 Series is ideal car for both personal and premium limousine services which equipped with comfortable, safety and advanced features with an excellent price. No wonder when BMW 7 Series was chosen as the official vehicle for top leaders and esteemed events around the globe such as the APEC 2005 Summit, 2006 World Bank meetings and 13th ASEAN summit in 2007, among others. BMW Euro Auto focuses to serve the corporate partner, luxury hotels and resorts. According to this policy, fleet customers will be entitled to receive attractive preferential treatments such as brand promoting, after-sales customers service, training for drivers, free valet parking services at HCMC and Hanoi.

In 2010, BMW Euro Auto has been continuously selected as the official fleet provider for large corporations. Meanwhile, other luxury hotels including Sheraton Saigon Hotel, Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel, Moevenpick Hotel and Hilton Hotel and other large partners such as Bayer Vietnam and Samsung Vietnam have also being used BMW cars for their business operation and promotion activities, which has since contributed to its overall sales increase by 26%, compared to 2009. This rising trend has further consolidated BMW's position as the leading premium automotive brand in Vietnam, and highlights Euro Auto's commitment in expanding its fleet policy outreach to both large corporations and luxurious hotels and resorts. Also, in 2010, BMW is the most valuable car brand in Vietnam, according to the latest survey on "Top 10 brands" by Nielsen and Singapore Campaign. More information Information of BMW 730 Li handed over to Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel The BMW 730Li is equipped with the six-cylinder engine producing a capacity of 2,996 cc and a max output of 190 kw at 6600 rpm. BMW 730Li can reach the top speed of 245 kilometers per hour and accelerate in 7.8 seconds. BMW 730Li continues to demonstrate its environmental responsibility thanks to BMW EfficientDynamics technology encompassing many innovations to offer a reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions but remains outstanding performance.

This technology helps BMW 730Li to consume just 9.8 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers*. *Fuel consumption is made up of approximately one-third urban and two-thirds extra-urban driving according to the European standard. Product highlights New Integral Active Steering - unique combination of active and rear axle steering – which clearly sets us apart from all other manufacturers – offers a unique symbiosis of agility at low speeds and supremacy at high speeds. Safety is always the top priority of customer and car manufacturers in luxury segment. BMW 730Li is equipped with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) that ensures the highest possible levels of stability when driving and optimizes the traction from all wheels upon acceleration or deceleration. Moreover, Break Energy Regeneration can help to save fuel because electricity can be generated without drawing power from the engine.

BMW 730Li is also equipped with innovative driver assistance systems consisting of side/rear view camera with parking assistance, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function (optional), Lane Departure Warning (optional). The latest generation of BMW iDrive control system, the simplest and most user friendly control system in its class, features a 10.2 inch display with a high-resolution graphic presentation, enabling easy control of the car's entertainment, information, navigation and telecommunication functions. New safety and comfort features have been integrated into the range to improve manoeuvrability and safety for driver. BMW 7 Series brings to customers many choices in entertainment with a capacity of hard disc memory of 80 GB, HiFi audio, a USB port, multi-channel audio system. Moreover, there are some optional choices for driver such as rear-seat entertainment, four-zone automatic air conditioning and massage for rear seats, etc.

All things create perfect combination to meet BMW's objective of being leader in luxury segment.

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18 Feb. 2011

International Inspiration Swirls at Hotel Metropole Hanoi

F&B staff journey into history and craft of baking and bartending with seasoned hands

Hanoi (18 Feb. 2011) - The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi has stirred up Hanoi's food scene in recent years by inaugurating a New Wave of nightlife at its avant-garde Italian restaurant and lounge, Angelina, and introducing haute brasserie dining at Le Beaulieu.

Now, the venerable hotel is fostering international exchange at the patisserie station and behind the bar by recruiting European experts to mentor its F&B staff. Earlier this month, Anton Bjuhr of the 3-star Michelin Pierre Gagnaire Seoul began a two-month residency during which the New York-trained Swedish pastry chef will guide the Metropole's mission to refine its approach to creating breads, chocolates, and pastries. That doesn't just entail handing down recipes. Whether the lesson is glazing with ganache or creating custards, the aim is to impart the processes and practices that elevate a kitchen to the next level.

"The name Pierre Gagnaire inspires awe," said Thibault Souchon, Director of Food and Beverage at Hotel Metropole Hanoi. "But what Anton will demonstrate is that great baking is not a mystery, but the product of discipline, professionalism, and know-how. These are the pillars that maintain a reputation for excellence."

Alessandro Boneschi will likewise employ his experience as a globetrotting bar manager to summon the muse at Hotel Metropole Hanoi. Over ten days, Boneschi will cover the nuances of catering to an international clientele and immerse the staff in the history and mythology of cocktails and spirits. Southeast Asia's contributions to the annals of libation are not lost on the Metropole, which opened its doors in 1901, at the dawn of a golden age of the cocktail.

"Almost 100 years ago the Singapore Sling was first mixed at the Raffles Singapore, and by a staff bartender," said Souchon. "We want our bartenders to feel connected to that history, to believe that their own bespoke cocktail could one day become an international classic too." The residencies underscore the Metropole's continuing endeavor to raise the bar at every stage of the gastronomic experience and earn Hanoi a seat at the table with regional culinary capitals. "This is how a great food city develops," said Souchon. "Bite by bite. Tipple by tipple. Every new flavor we introduce to our customers contributes to a culture eager for the next course."

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8 Feb. 2011

Le Beaulieu finds inspiration in simple comforts

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi re-imagines its French fine dining stalwart as a haute brasserie

HANOI (8 Feb. 2011) – This Year of the Cat, Le Beaulieu at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is dispensing with the formalities and embracing a more casual and lively expression of French culinary heritage—that of the brasserie.

The volte-face comes at a time when Hanoi itself is turning a corner. On the back of an economic boom, Le Beaulieu's Vietnamese customer base is burgeoning and its business and leisure travelers are no longer starved for options. In today's ancient city, the restaurant believes the tastes of its clientele are better satiated by the brasserie. "Fine dining can be quite intimidating when you are courting a new cuisine," said Thibault Souchon, director of food and beverage at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel.

"We wanted to create a space where French food is liberated from ostentation to fulfill its raison d'etre—to nourish the body and soul and fortify friendship." To that end, Le Beaulieu has reworked every aspect of its operation, with the exception of its wood-furnished, chandelier-lit dining room. Beginning this month, guests are encountering a totally new experience, from the manner in which meals are served to the level of interactivity. "The brasserie is not yet a part of the culture in Hanoi," said Souchon. "We realize we must create the atmosphere, every day and at every table."

Chef Denis Groison has contributed to this endeavor by crafting a menu that promotes the French philosophy of shared experience at the table. Henceforth, many entrees will arrive on dinner tables in steaming cocottes, the cast iron baking dishes that hark back to family meals in France's culinary heartlands. Out on the dining room floor, cooks and waiters have been appointed ambassadors of brasserie culture, dispatched to the tableside with cast iron, steel and flame to deliver those iconic cocottes, carve succulent slow-cooked meat and poultry, and flambé delicacies like crepe suzette. The chef de cuisine himself will be a regular fixture in the dining room.

"In this atmosphere, it's much easier for guests to acquire a foundation of knowledge in French food," said Souchon. "They develop a relationship with the waiters and the chef and feel comfortable asking questions. They can share cocottes and try three items rather than one. The education is interwoven with the experience."

Seasonal menus span the canon of France's diverse culinary legacy, featuring regional classics like stewed Brittany cod, traditional bouillabaisse and rouille, and Arabica roasted lamb fillet. La Brasserie will also unveil new dishes regularly, giving Chef Groison ample opportunity to experiment in the kitchen and establish the restaurant as a modern haute brasserie—an amenity that any international city should boast.

"The food we are serving is the kind of food that families eat around tables throughout France," says Souchon. "But the commitment to creating new expressions of old classics and the elegance that the storied setting imparts, that is what makes Le Beaulieu a true haute brasserie."

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24 Nov. 2010

Vietnam on the up down under

Australians represent largest non-Eastern growth segment in Vietnam

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam (24 Nov. 2010) — Vietnam's status as Southeast Asia's fastest growing tourism destination is reflected in new statistics that illustrate Australian visitors are flocking to the country like never before.
Perhaps due to their own country's relative isolation, Aussies have cultivated a reputation for being voracious travelers. Traditionally, however, they have looked to Indonesia — particularly Bali — Fiji and Thailand when making plans to explore other parts of the Asia-Pacific region. While these locations retain a potent pull, data from some of Vietnam's top hotels, as well as Vietnam's National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the country's own tourism authority, show that a growing contingent are choosing to spend their vacation in Indochina's most populated nation.

Ho Chi Minh City's iconic Caravelle Hotel has seen a twofold increase in visitors from Australia this year while the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital's most prestigious address, has reported a 48% rise over the past 12 months. On the fledgling central coast, the award-winning Nam Hai resort has witnessed a significant upsurge in visitors from Down Under, too.

The property, recently voted among Asia's 20 best resorts by readers of travel bible Conde Nast Traveler, reported a 69% increase in Australian occupants through the first eight months of the year. The phenomena is reinforced by VNAT, which has reported a 128% rise in Australian visitor numbers in 2010 — the greatest percentage increase of inbound arrivals from non-Asian countries.

The trend appears unlikely to be a flash in the pan either. The results of the Asia-Pacific Travel Intentions Survey, a major poll conducted by Visa and the Pacific-Asia Travel Association, were announced in November. They showed that an impressive 16% of Australians canvassed plan to visit Vietnam in the coming two years. "Australia escaped the worst of the global downturn and its dollar is relatively robust, which means Aussies are traveling as much as they have ever done," says Kai Speth, general manager of the Metropole Hanoi. "What's more, Australia has been one of our priority markets in recent years. We have representation at all the big travel trade shows there and I think it's fair to say that our efforts in marketing the hotel are really starting to reap rewards." John Gardner, the Caravelle's general manager, concurs with the view that an increased focus on the Australian market is paying dividends.
He also believes Vietnam is finally beginning to rival traditional regional heavyweights such as Thailand and Indonesia in the eyes of holidaymakers.

"Thailand is beginning to recover after the recent turmoil," Gardner says. "But throughout that stumble, and troubles elsewhere, Vietnam has sharpened its profile as the region's most safe and secure destination. Safety and security is far more top of mind for travelers today than it was 10 long years ago." Gardner also points to other factors that are boosting the country's reputation Down Under — its solidifying infrastructure and its value for money. "As well, Vietnam is catering to a wide variety of customers from business visitors to traditional sun-seekers who are steering toward an array of resorts opening throughout the country." Also significant in the opinion of travel industry insiders is the improvement in air links between Vietnam and Australia. Low-cost carrier Jetstar operates regular flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Australia's major conurbations, while competition between other airlines means that traveling to Vietnam has never been more cost effective.

"I think Australian interest in Vietnam has grown for a number of reasons," says Damien Van Eyk, Australasian Sales Manager for Exotissimo Travel, a company that specializes in individually tailored trips within Southeast Asia. "The country's relative proximity to Australia makes traveling to Vietnam very easy. "I also think that word of mouth is a very important factor. As more Australians experience the sights, sounds and cuisine of Vietnam, they come home and share these experiences with their family and friends."

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4 Nov. 2010

Sofitel's Metropole Closes 2010 on a high note

Landmark hotel garners 21 awards that redefines the property's world standing

HANOI (1 Dec. 2010) — The fireworks that recently erupted over Hanoi in celebration of the capital's 1000th anniversary may well have served to herald the coronation of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.
Renowned as the country's foremost hotel since Vietnam opened its doors to world travelers less than 20 years ago, the hotel in 2010 won a record-breaking 21 awards, one of which identifies the hotel as one of the four best urban hotels in the world.

"Really, in the hotel's long history, this year has been unprecedented," said Kai Speth, general manager of the hotel. "With recent accolades from such prestigious publications as Conde Nast Traveler and from organizations like PATA, we've been moved to a new echelon entirely." The most recent of these awards, conferred in November by a prestigious North American lifestyle magazine, Cigar Aficionado, trumpets the hotel as one of the top four city hotels on the international stage.

In the same issue, the hotel won recognition as one of Southeast Asia's top three hotels, together with the Peninsula in Hong Kong and Oriental in Bangkok. Earlier in the year, Travel + Leisure called out the hotel on three of its most prestigious lists. And the hotel made the grade on Conde Nast Traveler's Gold List and its Hot List, a remarkable achievement for a 109-year-old hotel and a testament to changes made over the past several years.
Why all the acclaim, all of a sudden for the Metropole? Speth credits two deciding factors. The hotel's owners recently concluded a $25 million refurbishment that balanced the hotel's storied heritage with room enhancements, an avant-garde new restaurant, Angelina, and a spa, the first in its history. The hotel's management company, Sofitel, selected the property as the first in its portfolio to be classified as a Legend hotel.
This status, and the operational changes necessitated by the status, have redefined the hotel's image. "Is there room in Southeast Asia for another hotel to be mentioned in the same breath as the Oriental and the Peninsula?" said Speth. "Apparently, there is.
This is great news for Hanoi, and for Vietnam."

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4Nov. 2010

Vietnam's Top Hotels dreaming of a bright Christmas

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam (4 Nov. 2010) — Britain's straitened finances may have caused the Queen to cancel her annual festive bash, but Christmas 2010 is colonizing new ground in the Far East, so much so that ol' St. Nick's usual haunts are being put to shame.
Look no further than Vietnam, where a communist government is no impediment to making merry at Christmas.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the Caravelle Hotel is planning the grandest festive celebrations in its storied 51-year-history.
Further north, The Sheraton Nha Trang will be marking its first Noel in the country's top beach resort with a $10,000 extravaganza.
Meanwhile, up in Hanoi, the Metropole will be marking the season with Francophone flair – a cornucopia of lights and the capital's tallest Christmas tree counting among the hotel's array of uplifting attractions.

We are well aware that some people find it hard to get their head around the concept of celebrating Christmas in Vietnam," says John Gardner, the general manager of the Caravelle Hotel, "but, in fact, weather-wise, it's one of the best times of the year to be in Saigon. And more than that, the holiday is remarkably well suited to the festive nature of the country's culture. The Western traditions of illumination, especially, are really popular in Vietnam, so when the international calendar licenses a light-up, it's go go go."

Not so back in the Old World. The UK is one of many European countries to have implemented harsh austerity measures in an attempt to cut its huge budget deficit. And with many of her subjects facing up to a long, hard winter, the British monarch has vetoed the $75,000 shindig at Buckingham Palace as a way of showing empathy. Meanwhile, some of the most desirable addresses in Vietnam are pulling out the stops to ensure that Christmas in eastern Indochina goes off with a bang. Guests at the Caravelle are unlikely to complain about any half-heartedness on the part of their host. The hotel has given a renowned local interior decorations company carte blanche to transform the property into a glittering winter wonderland.

Utilizing the biggest budget ever made available for festive decoration at the hotel, the firm is set to produce a lavish display of violet and silver lights and Christmas balls. The extravaganza is due to be unveiled on 3rd December at the hotel's annual Christmas light-up which will also feature a performance of festive favorites by a 30-strong children's choir from Thang Long School in Saigon.

On the south-central coast, the new Sheraton Nha Trang is also pushing the boat out for the season of goodwill. The hotel, which held its grand opening last month, is dishing up all the trimmings in its first Christmas as the resort town's only internationally renown five-star property. In addition to its 6-metre high tree, there will be a gingerbread house to entertain youngsters while Director of Rooms Nick Lee will be moonlighting as Santa Claus on 18th December when the hotel turns on its Christmas lights. A little farther up shore, the acclaimed Nam Hai is trucking in a pair of 2-metre high evergreens down from nearby Hai Van Pass for guests to decorate while sipping Christmas concoctions in the bar, whose combination of white lights and dark woods make for one of the coziest watering holes in the country. Nevertheless, no expense has been spared to ensure that guests at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel don't miss out on the festivities.

The halls of the legendary hotel – a landmark in Vietnam's capital since 1901 – will be strewn with ornaments and decorations while approximately 5,000 lights will be strung along the façade and the interior gardens. On December 1st, the country's biggest Christmas tree, a 15-meter pine imported from Hong Kong, will be displayed in the Metropole courtyard. Over the course of December, the tree will be hung with 'wishing cards' – hopeful notes written by local orphans. Guests will be invited to pluck a red wishing card from the tree and to make an orphan's dream come true. "It's completely in keeping with the overarching message of Christmas," says Kai Speth, the hotel's general manager.

"Yes, there are the lights, there is the music, there is Santa Claus, but it's also a time to give, whether you are in New York, in Bethlehem, or in Hanoi."

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10 Sept. 2010

TTG Awards singles out Vietnam Hotel

HANOI (10 Sept. 2010) — Vietnam's airlines, hotels, operators and agents scored but a single victory in TTG's annual Travel Awards Oct. 7.

In the 21st annual awards presentation Oct. 7, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi took home the top spot in the 'Best City Hotel – Hanoi' category. Only the capital cities of countries across the region were evaluated.

The criteria for the Best Hotel award included an appraisal of services, facilities, value-added benefits and most professional sales and marketing team. None of the other 77 awards went to an organization based in Vietnam. More than 48,000 readers of TTG across the Asia-Pacific contributed assessments across four main categories. The awards are widely recognized as one of the most prestigious in Southeast Asia.

"There's something immensely satisfying about this title – Best City Hotel," said Kai Speth, general manager of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi. "We have a reputation as a great heritage hotel, and we've worked hard to sharpen our credentials as a destination for business travelers and as a destination for sophisticated night life. There's a well-roundedness to Best City Hotel that we plan to savor."

In the past year, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi has scooped a number of coveted awards from around the globe, including a spot on the Conde Nast Hot List and, most recently, PATA's top award in the Heritage category. In the 2010 TTG awards program, the trade publication conferred 53 awards to travel suppliers (airlines, hotels, MICE, travel service), 15 awards to travel agents, four awards for oustanding achievement, such as destination of the year, and seven awards in the Travel Hall of Fame. The voting process spanned three months, from early June to early August, and was completed online or through printed forms.

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7 Sept. 2010

Hanoi's Metropole to escort guest through millenium

‘Hanoi 1000’ celebrates 1010 founding of capital and recent UNESCO designation

HANOI (7 Sept. 2010) — As Hanoi gears up for a celebration of its 1000th anniversary next month, the landmark Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is set to usher visitors through 1,000 years of the capital’s history, century by century.


In coordination with Exotissimo, a leading inbound tour operator, the excursion begins in the 1000s with a visit to the Temple of Literature, founded in 1070, and concludes in the 1900s with a visit to Ba Dinh Square, where Ho Chi Minh declared the nation’s independence on Sept. 2, 1945.

The three-night, four-day package includes a three-night stay at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, four guided tours and multiple dining opportunities.

“A thousand years ago, when Emperor Ly Thai To spotted a dragon flying over the river, he founded this city as Thăng Long (Ascending Dragon)” said Kai Speth, general manager of the Metropole. “I’m not so sure about that dragon, but there’s no question today that Hanoi’s star is rising.”

The ‘Hanoi 1000’ initiative won additional impetus for development last month after UNESCO put Hanoi’s imperial assets on its World Heritage List. The Thanh Long Royal Citadel is Vietnam’s sixth World Heritage Site, joining Hue, Hoi An, Halong Bay, My Son and Phong Nha.

In a Nov. 2009 Outlook Report, PricewaterhouseCoopers identified Hanoi as the developing world’s fastest growing city.

The Hanoi 1000 tours reference the past not merely through sight, but through taste and sound. Pho, for example, the nation’s flagship dish owes its origins, in part, to the introduction of beef to Vietnam by the Mongols during incursions in the 1200s.

The whimsy of a water puppet show and concert reference the 1100s when Thay (Teacher’s) Pagoda was founded and where water puppetry earned its stripes as a cultural instituion.

“Every one of the past centuries is a remarkable showcase for a significant Vietnamese development,” said George Ehrlich-Adams. “And with Hanoi 1000, we expect to embed in visitors’ memories a collection of unforgettable references to Vietnam’s past.”

One of Hanoi 1000’s most compelling surveys will investigate the architectural legacy of the colonial French in Vietnam, from the Long Bien Bridge (designed by Gustave Eiffel’s firm) to the History Museum (the country’s foremost example of architecture from the Indochinese School) to the 1901-built Metropole, the country’s most iconic hotel.

Referencing the 1400s, when the city’s Old Quarter emerged from the ruins of Chinese occupation, Hanoi 1000 shepherds visitors through a warren of streets that established themselves as the ’36 Streets,’ with one specific guild doing business on each street.

The three-night, four-day package will be in effect for three months, starting Oct. 1. The cost is US $821 per person, based on double occupancy in the Metropole’s historic old wing. The cost includes guiding services by a professor of history.

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3 August 2010

PATA Gold Awards 2010 winner in the heritage category

HANOI (3 August 2010) — The Sofitel Legend Metropole will glitter again at the PATA Gold Awards 2010 ceremony, taking place on 17th September in Macau, accepting the gold award in the Heritage category.

The award lauds the hotel for its refurbishment of one of Southeast Asia’s most treasured properties. Sofitel relaunched the Metropole in 2009 as the hotel group’s first Legend property.

“The challenge for any hotel in the Heritage category is achievement of a very delicate balance between celebration of historical charm, and satisfaction of tomorrow’s expectation,” said Kai Speth, General Manager of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi. “Where so many hotels are only thinking about today and tomorrow, we have an obligation to think about today, tomorrow and yesterday. The PATA Award persuades us that we’re on the right track.”

The legendary Metropole’s refurbishment maintained the original architecture since 1901, enhanced with the development of new facilities, the creation of themed suites and a range of guest’s experience according to the way of living heritage within the spirit of centennial establishment. The restoration began in 2004 and was revealed as a “fait accompli” last year with the Legend launch.

The new facilities at the Metropole include, Angelina, a chic Italian restaurant that raised the bar on sophisticated nightlife in Hanoi. The hotel also opened Le Spa du Metropole last year. Remarkably, this was the first spa to be opened in the hotel’s 108-year history.

The Metropole’s themed suites indulge the property’s connections to legendary people like Charlie Chaplin, Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene, each of whom stayed at the hotel. Located in the historic, 1901-built wing, each of these suites is imbued with colonial-era aesthetics.

“When you’re in the Graham Greene suite, it’s not that difficult to imagine him sitting here, churning out the 500 words he was reputed to do every day like clockwork,” said Speth. “Being able to imagine that – to fall into that time warp, if you will — is exactly the kind of spell we’re trying to cast.” Kai added.

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16 June 2010

Metropole completes landmark restoration with legendary events

New M.I.C.E concept does for events organizers what butler does for individual

HANOI (16 June 2010) — The last building block of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi’s re-emergence as Sofitel’s first ‘Legend’ hotel was levered into place this month when the hotel debuted its ‘Legendary Events’ initiative.

A complement to Sofitel’s recently introduced InspiredMeetings™ program, Legendary Events is a turnkey events management solution that delivers the same individualized attention to groups that a butler provides to an individual.

The Metropole is Sofitel’s first Legend hotel (designated as such in 2009), and its Legendary Events concept is the first of its kind to be rolled out worldwide.

Standard menus and set itineraries are bygone. Personalized attention and one-of-a-kind functions are in. Forget about blasé coffee breaks. Legendary Events brews coffee breaks, and dinners with panache. To wit: The Hanoi Night Market, the Splendid Night, the Belle Epoque.

“Meetings in hotels can all too often be merely functional,” said Kai Speth, the hotel’s general manager. “But there’s no reason they cannot be functional and memorable and stylish and singular in a destination as remarkable as Hanoi.”

Off-site, Legendary Events can usher guests to some of Hanoi’s grandest landmarks — the 1925-built History Museum, the 1,000-year-old Temple of Literature — and to golf outings at several of greater Hanoi’s top courses.

Sofitel launched its InspiredMeetings™ Concept last September, setting the stage throughout the Asia-Pacific for events that coordinate dedicated personnel and technology and that deliver one-of-a-kind affairs, from intimate parties to large scale conferences.

Legendary Events steps up the bespoke appeal, albeit with an emphasis on the heritage of a particular Sofitel property. The Metropole launched the new M.I.C.E. (meetings, incentives, conferences, events) concept in June. The hotel has hired additional staff – events planners and concierges – to shepherd each event from initial inquiry to last goodbye.

Where a number of hotel staff previously commanded various aspects of an event, now two individuals within the hotel will manage the entire production from start to finish, liberating the client group’s leadership of the stress that naturally attends such events.

“Reducing the event organizer’s stress level is at the heart and soul of this new Legendary Events concept,” said Andrew Hartley, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. “Our Planner and Concierge will organize, execute and follow a particular event from beginning to end, providing the utmost in personalized service and singular appeal.”

There’s much that’s new about the 109-year-old hotel. In April, Conde Nast Traveler found cause in a $20 million refurbishment to elevate the hotel to its Hot List, which is generally reserved for just-opened properties.

Le Spa – the first spa in the Metropole’s 109-year history – celebrated its grand opening this spring. And late last year, the hotel debuted Angelina, an Italian steak house that immediately redefined the cutting edge of Hanoi’s upscale night scene.

Le Spa and Angelina will be integral to the Legendary Events. So will the hotel’s older assets, like Le Beaulieu, the oldest continually operated restaurant in Vietnam, albeit with the country’s newest French chef, Denis Groison.

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27 April 2010

Refurbished Metropole Hanoi gains spot on conde nast ‘hot list’

Le Spa du Metropole earns separate listing as Vietnam’s only new ‘Hot Spa’

HANOI (27 April 2010) – Every year, Conde Nast Traveler surveys thousands of hotels, checks into all the best new places and elevates the cream of the new crop to its prestigious Hot List. But thanks to a four-year, $20 million restoration, a 109-year-old hotel — the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi — has won a spot on the magazine’s 14th annual look at the world’s hottest new properties.

“The re-do merits thunderous applause,” wrote editors of one of the world’s most renowned travel magazines

Le Spa du Metropole, which debuted at the hotel last year and celebrated its grand opening this month, also won a spot on the magazine’s 2010 Hot Spa list. In a separate listing, Le Spa ranks as the only inclusion from Vietnam this year.

Said Conde Nast Traveler: The “spa feels like an elegant friend's residence, with grand staircases leading to candlelit havens for Eastern-themed massages and facials with Clarins and Ytsara products.”

The hotel’s refurbishment culminated last year in a rebranding initiative that introduced the hotel as Sofitel’s first Legend property. The French hotel group established the Legend brand to distinguish its legendary addresses around the world. The Hotel Metropole Hanoi was the first property to win distinction as one of Sofitel’s Legend hotels.

The four-year makeover delivered a host of compelling new reasons to view the Grand Dame of Vietnamese Hospitality as a debutante.

The hotel opened a new restaurant and lounge, Angelina, that immediately set a new standard for contemporary chic in this 1,000-year-old city.

Le Spa’s seven treatment rooms evoke old World elegance, and its Hammam offers a singular experience in Vietnam.

All of the hotel’s public areas took on a new sheen. The retail outlets were completely revisited, and a new gourmet shop and boutique were integrated into the mix.

Awards are nothing new to the Hotel Metropole Hanoi. Indeed, the hotel has made the grade on Conde Nast’s Gold List in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009. The hotel has always enjoyed a reputation as a classic. Now it’s garnering acclaim as a great new opportunity for travelers who revel in contemporary appeal.

“As one of Asia’s classic hotels, we’re obliged to honor the past and our guests’ expectations of a stay in the Hotel Metropole Hanoi,” said Kai Speth, general manager of the hotel. “But we also have a responsibility to provide accommodation that is as fresh and stimulating as it is venerable. Nobody wants to check into a museum.”

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22 April 2010

Guests of the earth

In the whole universe there is only one place we can call news: Earth. Life on our planet is a fragile balance - around the globe people breathe the same air, share the same oceans, and live on the same land. Yet the grave dangers of pollution are pervasive, making it increasingly critical to set environmental checks to global development. Every year on April 22, Earth Day is observed to raise awareness about protecting the environment.

In 1970 a U.S. senator founded Earth Day as an environmental teach-in. In 1971 UN Secretary-General U Thant supported the global initiative to celebrate Earth Day, famously stating “may there be only peaceful and cheerful Earth Days to come for our beautiful Spaceship Earth as it continues to spin and circle in frigid space with its warm and fragile cargo of animate life.“ The day is now celebrated in many countries around the world.

Accor, the Metropole Hotel’s management group, has made Earth Day an important event for its hotels in Vietnam. In 2006 Accor launched the Earth Guest Program with the motto: “the Earth is our host; we host the world.” The program’s goal is to provide guests with superior comfort and service while simultaneously benefiting society and the environment. In 2005 Accor deployed a global network of correspondents focused on sustainable development, which made it feasible for the Earth Guest Program to achieve its short-term objectives. By leveraging its presence on six continents and its regular contact with 120 million customers, Accor makes an effort to spread the principles of sustainable development.

This Earth Day staff members from the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi will collaborate with colleagues at the Sofitel Plaza Hanoi and Mercure La Gare Hotel to volunteer for Earth Day by cleaning local parks. On April 22, 2010 over 200 staff members and managers from these Accor hotels will participate in cleaning up Con Coc, Co Tan and Ly Thai To parks. This annual environmental event is well known for its contribution to the community.

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2 April 2010

Le spa du Metropole (Hanoi) celebrates grand opening april 1

A 109-year-old-hotel, in a 1,000-year-old-city, lures the leadership of two top cosmetics companies welcoming one luxurious new spa.

HANOI (2 April 2010) — When a legendary 109-year-old hotel opens its first spa, the industry is sure to notice – so much so, in fact, that the leadership of two world-renowned cosmetics companies were in attendance.

The general manager of Clarins, Olivier Courtin-Clarins, and Florence Jaffre, the CEO of Ytsara, flew to Hanoi and the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi to officially launch Le Spa du Metropole April 1.

For Kai Speth, the hotel’s general manager, the journey to Hanoi by this leadership represents a real coup and an early high point in what is already shaping up to be quite a year.

“As Hanoi gets ready to celebrate its 1,000th anniversary later this year, Le Spa du Metropole will continue to gain inspiration from its own rich past,” said Speth.“This is an important moment in a long proud history - a history that we continue to celebrate in Le Spa with Old World Elegance and vibrant Asian overtones.”

Clarins is the Number One skin care company in Europe and is active in 150 companies worldwide. Ytsara harvests a range of Asian plants for its creams, cleansers, moisturizers and other spa products.

The Clarins and Ytsara spa products at Le Spa are complemented by exclusive oil blends created by the French perfumer, Laurent Severac.

Le Spa du Metropole mirrors the hotel’s well-established charm, seducing guests with an indulgent 400- square meters split into two treatment rooms, two themed spa suites for couples and three for individuals.

There’s an additional treatment room dedicated to foot reflexology while the spa’s wet areas feature a Hammam, a Middle Eastern sauna /cold water treatment, as well as a Finnish-style sauna that heats to 80C.

Le Spa’s treatments combine ancient beauty secrets and holistic rituals from the East, artfully blended with contemporary methods of the West.

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06 March 2010

Vietnam's oldest restaurant welcomes its newest chef

Le Beaulieu at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi updates intellectual capital

HANOI (06 Mar. 2010) — A Parisian chef who cut his first teeth in Asia at the Raffles Hotel Singapore joined the kitchen crew this week at Le Beaulieu, the oldest continuously operated restaurant in Vietnam.

Denis Groison’s appointment as Chef de cuisine is part of a larger effort by the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi to enhance its standing as one of Asia’s greatest French restaurants.

In operation since 1901, in the exact same place within the iconic hotel, Le Beaulieu reigns as the hotel’s flagship restaurant and as complement to Spices Garden, a traditional Vietnamese eatery, and Angelina, a recently launched Italian restaurant that cultivates 21st Century chic.

“As Hanoi celebrates its 1,000-year history, we’re making investments in our own substantial history,” said Kai Speth, General Manager of Hotel Metropole Hanoi. “Le Beaulieu is a great French restaurant. We’re now wondering why we shouldn’t be known as the greatest French restaurant in all Asia.”

Groison is likely to help the cause. Prior to his year-long stint as chef de cuisines at the Raffles Grill, Groison was chef de cuisine at Le Dôme du Marais in Paris. He also served as sous chef at an establishment awarded two stars by the Michelin Guide, the Restaurant Guy Lassausaie.

He was chef at a brasserie in Paris, Le Café Doucet, and he grew up working in his family’s pâtisserie-confiserie, L’Arlequin.

All this was but preparation, says Groison, for the assignment he embarks upon this week.

“For as long as I’ve been cooking, I have been steering toward Vietnam,” said Groison. “Perhaps it’s the country’s association with France. Perhaps it’s the enormously rich culinary heritage. I’m not sure. But I am sure Le Beaulieu is exactly the place to be.”

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29 January 2010

Risotto shooters hit the bar at Angelina

February promotion propels Happy Hour fare to a new level of sophistication

HANOI (29 Jan. 2010) — What do you get when you cross a martini glass, an Italian chef, a wet rice culture and a legendary hotel? A grand excuse for a risotto promotion.


Come Feb. 2, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi will start lining up the shots for a month-long Risotto Martini promotion. The novel celebration at Angelina positions these inventive morsels as an answer to tapas, and other bartop snack foods.

Angelina’s Chef de Cuisine, Egidio Latorraca, has concocted nine distinct presentations, including shots featuring foie gras, Japanese scallops and crispy wild mushrooms. Look for risotto dressed up by Classic Saffron veal, Chantarelle mushrooms and Italian sushi.

The shots are expected to win diners looking for a light lunch, and for Happy Hour patrons looking for a little more sophistication. Consumption of the treats should enable business people with clients to close bigger deals faster.

ABOUT ANGELINA
Located on the ground-floor of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi’s Opera Wing, Angelina opened in October 2008 as the country’s most distinctive new dining venue. Part lounge, part nightclub, part venue for trendy Italian dining, the space seats 120 on three levels and 16 more in a discreet, upper level suite.

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8 January 2010

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi greets city's next millenium with new spa

After 108 years in incubation, Le Spa du Metropole opens up to all Hanoi

HANOI (8 Jan. 2010) — As Hanoi struts upon the world stage, celebrating its 1,000th anniversary and its status as the world’s fastest growing city, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is fronting the new year, and the city’s second millennium, with something it’s never had before — a spa.

Four months after its soft debut, Le Spa du Metropole has fully opened to hotel guests, to locals and expatriate residents alike, and to other travelers who want to experience the country’s most iconic hotel even if he or she isn’t staying there.

“2010 is the Year of the Spa for the Metropole,” said Kai Speth, the hotel’s general manager. “We waited 108 years before opening a spa. With an incubation that long, we knew we had an obligation to make it worth the wait.”

Like the hotel itself, Le Spa trades on the hotel’s stature as one of the venerable grand dames of Asian hospitality. Its seven treatment rooms evoke Old World elegance and the spirits of such former guests as Charlie Chaplin, Graham Greene and Somerset Maugham.

With floors of dark hardwood, gilt-framed mirrors, paneled doors and double-slipper tubs, Le Spa is a vibrant echo of the hotel’s well-established charm.

“There are certain expectations and traditions that must be honored at the Metropole,” said Speth. “Part of the allure to this spa is the allure of the hotel itself, and the delight that comes from being in that space, and having a treatment at the Hotel Metropole Hanoi.”

Housed in a wing of the old hotel that abuts the interior courtyard, Le Spa takes in 400 square meters comprised of two treatment rooms, two themed spa suites for couples and three themed individual suites: the Vietnam Suite, the Retro Suite and Thailand Suite. As well, a separate treatment room is dedicated to foot reflexology.

Beyond the treatment rooms, the spa’s wet areas feature a Hammam, a Middle Eastern sauna /cold water treatment that was first popularized during the Victorian era, and a Finnish sauna that heats up to 80C.

The spa’s product line is anchored by Clarins, a line of French skin-care products, and complemented by Ytsara, a high-end spa product line from Thailand focused on body care treatments. Laurent Severac, a renowned French perfumer, is the spa’s tertiary line.

The spa’s menu opens with a suite of wet bath treatments and segues to a la carte spa journeys. Several of the spa’s treatments are singular to Hanoi’s urban situation and its storied appeal as a shopping destination.

With the new year, the spa is also the beneficiary of a new manager, Arie Sunia, an Indonesian from Bali who began her career in Bali and who later managed the spa at Le Meridien in Siem Reap.

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Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi - Awards from 2007

2011

  • "Gold List" of Condé Nast Traveler
  • "The world's best hotel values " - Travel & Leisure
  • "The world's top 50 Most Romantic Hotel" - Travel & Leisure
  • "The best hotels in Hanoi" - DestinAsia


  • “Best hotel in Hanoi” – Reader’s Choice Award by DestinAsian Magazine
  • “Best 500 Hotels 2010”, US Magazine Travel & Leisure
  • “Expedia Insiders’ Select™ Hotel 2010” - annual Expedia’s global marketplace award

2010

  • "Hot list Spas 2010" of Condé Nast Traveler
  • "Hot list 2010" of Condé Nast Traveller
  • "Gold list 2010" of Condé Nast Traveller


  • "Best hotel in Hanoi" – Reader's Choice Award by DestinAsian Magazine
  • "Best 500 Hotels 2010", US Magazine Travel & Leisure
  • "Expedia Insiders' Select™ Hotel 2010" - annual Expedia's global marketplace award

2009

  • “Most Outstanding Hotel General Manager” for Mr. Kai Speth at Worldwide hospitality awards 2009, organized by French trade magazine HTR
  • “Top 500 best hotels”, Condé Nast Traveller
  • “Gold list 2009” of Condé Nast Traveller
  • “Best 500 Hotels 2009”, US magazine Travel & Leisure
  • “Best hotel in Hanoi”, Hong Kong financial magazine Asia Money
  • “Best hotel in Hanoi”, Hong Kong based magazine Destin Asian
  • “Best business hotel in Hanoi”, Business Traveler Asia Pacific Magazine
  • “Top ten Best Leisure hotels & Resorts” and “Best Conference Hotel in Asia”, Smart Travel Asia Magazine
  • “Top 400 best hotel”, US Forbes Magazine
  • “Best luxury hotel in Hanoi”, Vietnam Economic Times

2008

  • “Gold list 2008”, Condé Nast Traveller
  • “Best 500 Hotels 2008”, US magazine Travel & Leisure
  • “Best Hotel in Hanoi”, Hong Kong financial magazine Asia Money
  • “Best Hotel in Hanoi”, Hong Kong based magazine Destin Asian
  • “Top ten Best Leisure hotels & Resorts” and “Best Conference Hotel in Asia”, Smart Travel Asia Magazine
  • “Best Business Hotel in Hanoi”, Business Traveler Asia Pacific magazine
  • “Best luxury hotel in Hanoi”, Vietnam Economic Times

2007

  • “Best Leisure and Best Conference Hotel in Asia”, Smart Travel Asia Magazine
  • “Best Business Hotel in Hanoi”, Business Traveler Asia Pacific magazine
  • “Best Luxury, Tradition and Creativity in Hanoi”, Vietnam Economic Times
  • “Top ten hotels in Vietnam in 2007”, Vietnam’s Tourism Association
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Marketing & Communications Department
Le Phuong Ly - Assistant Marketing & Communications Manager
Email: h1555-mk@sofitel.com
Tel: (84) 43826 6919
Fax: (84) 43826 6920

Sofitel Legend