HUE, Vietnam — Vietnamese hospitality turned a corner last month as a hotel led by a Vietnamese executive team landed one of the most prestigious honors in the travel industry for the first time.
Well-heeled travellers from around the globe elevated La Residence Hotel & Spa in Hue into the ‘T+L 500’ list of top international hotels in a recent survey by Travel + Leisure magazine.
The highest circulating travel magazine in the world and one of the most recognized arbiters of taste in travel, Travel + Leisure boasts 972,000 monthly readers with an average monthly income of two billion VND.
The magazine invited subscribers to participate in its annual travel survey by answering a questionnaire and rating hotel candidates in five categories: rooms/facilities, location, service, restaurants and value.
La Residence’s inclusion in the ‘T+L 500’ list for 2014, the hotel’s first accolade from Travel + Leisure, is more remarkable for its arrival in the hotel’s first year under the leadership of a Vietnamese general manager.
"The enthusiasm that we feel for this city, and this hotel, is enormous,” said Phan Trong Minh, the hotel’s general manager. “Not only are the GM, the Executive Chef and the Director of Sales and Marketing all Vietnamese, we're also all Hue natives."
Minh took over as general manager in January 2013 after a succession of four previous foreign managers. He has worked at the hotel since 2007.
"This is a milestone in the development of the Vietnamese hospitality industry,” said Kurt Walter, group general manager for Apple Tree Asia. “I'm not saying that foreign managers don't do a great job of running hotels in Vietnam. They do. What I am saying is that there's a whole extra dimension of appeal when the people who run the hotel have a deep and abiding attachment to the destination."
The property was also lauded in the Conde Nast Traveler’s Hot List in 2007, and won a place among the top 20 Asian resorts in the same magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards in 2012. In 2011, the hotel joined Accor’s exclusive MGallery Collection of outstanding hotels worldwide.