The Myst Emerges in Vietnam

OUR CREATIONS

The Myst Emerges in Vietnam

Last Updated
27 December 2019
Share

QUO Vietnam’s Country Manager, Ly Bao Yen,  interviews the husband-and-wife team behind one of Saigon’s newest and most evocative landmark hotels. 

Those frequenting Saigon’s trung tâm, or centre, would have noticed a new outline in their midst last year. Featuring walls that look half-finished with trees jutting out, The Myst Dong Khoi is one of the city’s next generation of boutique hotels, challenging the landscape and offering something to appeal to The New Collective, younger domestic travellers as well as those from across Asia and Europe.

The design makes reference to the forest and nature’s eventual triumph over created landscapes, but the spirit of the hotel takes inspiration from the alley, or hẻm, one of Saigon’s distinctive features. The Myst’s customers love more than the out-there aesthetic of the new hotel, which is tucked down a quiet alley but steps away from the city’s buzz. They enjoy experiencing Saigon’s hẻm in all its street-food-laden, shopping and local-café glory, a place where they can watch authentic city life unfold around them.

The hotel was founded by Vũ Hồng Nam and Nguyễn Thị Phúc, the husband-and-wife team behind Silverland Hotels & Spas, who wanted to offer something new to the landscape. Instead of opening another Silverland, they decided to take a riskcreating something that could propel them far into the future.

“I needed to build a brand to meet a new set of expectations, a place to make a different kind of memory, and tell a fresh brand story,” said Nam.

The story of local culture, deep comfort and contemporary design was told in conjunction with award-winning Vietnamese architect Nguyễn Hoà Hiệp–all without a blueprint in sight. Nam set his sights on Hoà Hiệp, with his reputation for wild creations and rebellion, after other architects called the concept for The Myst too bold.

Hoà Hiệp, of a21studĩo, accepted a meeting but said he’d only take the gig if he felt the two had a connection and shared similar ideas. He’d never designed a hotel before, instead making his name with community spaces and large-scale art installations that blend indoor and outdoor spaces in unusual ways.

“At that meeting,” said Nam, “we chose each other. And it was our ‘lương duyên’, a Vietnamese word for fate, that we would work together.”

A few weeks later, they met again, Nam expecting to see Hoà Hiệp’s blueprints.

“Instead, he pulled out a blank sheet of paper and coloured it green, leaving a white square in the centre.” The architect noted that all the buildings in the neighbourhood were glass and concrete and he wanted to create something different, something closer to a forest in the city.

Hoà Hiệp continued on the project with no formal plans or drawings, instead explaining his ideas to construction companies that, unsurprisingly, turned him down.

Though Hoà Hiệp lacked hotel experience, Nam believes it actually worked to the pair’s advantage, allowing them to completely step out of traditional hotel design thinking.

He likened the process to, at times, being lost in a forest, but in the end finding the light through the extraordinary design of The Myst. The new hotel quickly received acclaim and began turning a profit.

When asked about The Myst, Nam likes to say, “I did it all for money!” but that’s only partially a joke, he says, clarifying, “All that we did would be useless if people didn’t find it valuable enough to book it and enjoy it.”

Follow QUO
on Instagram

Millennial Brands Lead US Hotel Pipeline

QUICK READS

Millennial Brands Lead US Hotel Pipeline

Last Updated
27 December 2019
Share

There’s certainly no lack of hype surrounding millennial travel. And a quick glimpse at the US hotel development pipeline suggests it’s not just buzz.

TOPHOTELS reports that Aloft, the ‘hip’ hotel brand by Starwood aimed at millennials, currently has 40 properties planned for development –  more than any other brand. Not bad for a brand that launched in 2005 as “A Vision of W Hotels”.

A casual analysis of Aloft makes it clear why it’s a hit with younger travellers. This mid-range hotel taps into everything the modern, young-at-heart traveller desires: cool ‘industrial’ design, multi-functional communal spaces, a bar with good music, delicious ‘grab & go’ food, free WiFi and decent spa amenities – all for a reasonable price.

In terms of tech innovation, the SPG Keyless programme means guests can use their smartphone or Apple Watch to bypass check-in and go straight to their room, with all the info sent to their phone/watch to electronically open their door.

A robot butler – the Botlr – pushes the brand even further into the future, delivering towels and toiletries to guest rooms. A ChatBotlr, meanwhile, interacts with guests and give them info even when they’re not at the hotel. PLUS, there’s Aloft TiGi – the ‘Text it. Get it.’ service that allows guests to text designated emojis to the kitchen to order specific food and drinks items instead of calling for room service. Sounds like something we’d do just for the novelty of it.

It’s heartening to see some colour and innovation take the lead in the US. A sign perhaps of bigger, brighter hospitality things to come.

Other hotels that top the US pipeline list are Cambria Hotels & Suites and Hampton Inn. The full list is available over at the TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION database.

Want to Innovate? Change Your Attitude!

CLEVER STUFF

Want to Innovate? Change Your Attitude!

Last Updated
27 December 2019
Share

The hospitality industry is evolving, whether you like it or not. In order to stay at the vanguard of change, hotel operators must innovate. To do that, according to CEO David Keen, they must first change their attitude.

In a follow-up to his Brand Revolution Speech at THINC INNOVATE 2018, David has expanded on his four steps to innovation in a series of article in Hotels Mag.

You can read the first of four articles here.

Portrait of the Artist as an Engaged Citizen

OUR CREATIONS

Portrait of the Artist as an Engaged Citizen

Last Updated
27 December 2019
Share

The hospitality world’s favourite global citizen has done it again.

citizenM’s latest round of disruption is shaking things up in one of its newest neighbourhood’s – the ever-quirky, deeply historic Bowery in Manhattan. In preparation of welcoming guests next month, the citizenM New York Bowery recently played host to an unusual art installation.

Introducing ‘Citizens of the Bowery’. Like any good neighbour, citizenM is eager to insinuate itself into the Bowery’s eclectic circle. But that’s easier said than done in this centuries-old community with its legacy of post-prohibition poverty, borderline bawdy reputation and free-wheeling local citizenry comprising artists, writers and New Age gurus. Suffice it to say, the proverbial different drummer’s beat rings loud and clear in the Bowery. In an attempt to walk that fine line of pleasing the bees in the Bowery hive while staying on point with its brand messaging, citizenM commissioned an unorthodox work of art. A bold – dare we say risky – move in a bohemian neighbourhood like the Bowery. Of course, calculated risks of this sort are par for the course for the Dutch hotelier. citizenM commissioned local photographer Christelle de Castro to capture the fascinating blend of personalities comprising the Bowery. The artist’s canvas: the hotel property, itself. With this art installation created by a local, for locals, citizenM is paying unabashed tribute to its new ‘hood.

The Making of #citizensofthebowery

Before we opened citizenM New York Bowery, we wanted to celebrate the people of our newest neighbourhood. Bowery local Christelle de Castro spent weeks meeting and photographing the faces of this vibrant community, creating an exhibition that shows off its many sides. See how she captured each of the 62 locals whose portraits currently cover the windows of our newest hotel, then meet each of them here: https://www.citizenm.com/thebowery

Posted by citizenM hotels on Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Christelle produced 62 larger than life portraits of locals – including a canine or two – and citizenM boldly splashed them across the hotel’s windows. The black-and-white images simultaneously stand out and blend in, aesthetically and architecturally, perfectly expressing the citizenM brand and the Bowery’s diversity.

A double-win for citizenM, this initial installation provides a foundation for future expression, perhaps satiating the piqued curiosity about the stories behind the faces. And in the process of inspiring Bowery cohesiveness and pride, a little positive PR this way comes. Job well done, citizenM!

logo

PODCASTING
THE FUTURE
OF TRAVEL

Candid conversations with leaders
in hospitality and tourism

LISTEN NOW