Vietnam Opens World’s ‘First’ Gold-Plated Hotel

Staff wait to welcome guests in the lobby of the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake hotel, the world's first gold-plated hotel, in Hanoi on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)
Staff wait to welcome guests in the lobby of the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake hotel, the world’s first gold-plated hotel, in Hanoi on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

 

For guests at the “Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake” coffee comes in a gold cup and bath time is taken in gilded splendour.

The world’s first self-proclaimed gold-plated hotel is open for business — and the Vietnamese owners insist they have the Midas touch despite the cramping of global travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

The hotel cost $200 million to construct with a 24-carat plating across lobbies, an infinity pool and rooms with even cutlery, cups, shower heads and toilet seats receiving the golden treatment.

 

The sink and toilet bowl are seen in one of the rooms of the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake hotel, the world’s first gold-plated hotel, in Hanoi on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

While expensive for Vietnam, at $250 a night it is not prohibitive for wealthy locals craving a few nights living like Donald Trump, the US President renowned for his love of all things that glitter.

The hotel wants “ordinary people to the super rich… to check-in” both physically and on social media, said Nguyen Huu Duong, chairman of Hoa Binh group that owns the hotel.

A gold-plated infinity pool overlooks the city, while meals at the 25-storey hotel in downtown Hanoi may be mixed with a mysterious “gold substance”, according to the owners.

So far, the smattering of customers appear to be delighted with Hanoi’s flashiest new digs.

Staff wait to welcome guests in the lobby of the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake hotel, the world's first gold-plated hotel, in Hanoi on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)
Staff wait to welcome guests in the lobby of the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake hotel, the world’s first gold-plated hotel, in Hanoi on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

“When I arrived here… I felt like a king, you know, the Pharaoh… the king of Egypt,” joked Phillip Park, a South Korean guest.

“I really enjoyed the luxury atmosphere,” added Vietnamese guest Luong Van Thuan, saying he felt his status had automatically been “raised”.

The relatively modest construction price tag was achieved by sourcing the gold plating locally — significantly reducing costs.

“Our group has a factory that can do gold-plated stuff, so the cost for our equipment and furniture here is quite cheap,” Duong said.

A staff member poses for a photograph inside the 1,000 USD per night executive two bedroom suite of the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake hotel, the world's first gold-plated hotel, in Hanoi on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)
A staff member poses for a photograph inside the 1,000 USD per night executive two bedroom suite of the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake hotel, the world’s first gold-plated hotel, in Hanoi on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

 

And the pandemic which has strafed global tourism has not put him off opening, with Vietnam winning praise for its swift lockdown which has contained the coronavirus spread.

“For sure next year, we will make money,” he added.

 

 

 

-AFP

 China Opens Luxury Hotel In Formerly Abandoned Quarry

This picture taken on November 13, 2018, shows the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland, built inside a formerly abandoned quarry, about 32 kms (20 miles) southwest of Shanghai. PHOTO: Johannes EISELE / AFP

 

A hotel development sunk into a disused quarry in China opened its doors on Thursday to deep-pocketed clientele.

Preventing the 88-metre-deep (290 feet) pit from flooding was among the chief challenges for engineers working on the swanky 336-room InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland — part of a $288 million development that also includes a theme park.

The hotel, which is one of a growing number of bold architectural designs springing up in China, hugs one side of the pit wall, with a waterfall cascading down the opposite face.

The subterranean 17-floor hotel is about an hour’s drive from the centre of Shanghai, with room charges starting at 3,394 yuan ($490) a night.

There is a floor of suites below the water level, but don’t expect to gaze directly into the depths of Shenkeng Quarry — the windows are instead buffered by large fish tanks.

“Why do we say there is nothing in the world that compares to the quarry hotel project?” Chen Xiaoxiang, chief engineer with the real estate giant, Shimao Property, said to AFP.

“It’s a project that’s completely new, a project we have never encountered before.

“There were no references, cases or experience we could learn from to solve all the difficulties,” he said.

That meant engineers were met with unexpected problems.

Before construction started in 2013, for example, heavy rainfall caused a nearby river to overflow into the quarry, filling half of it.

“If something like that had happened after construction was complete, it would have been a devastating blow,” Chen said.

Designers built an embankment around the edge of the pit to prevent that happening in future, when hundreds of well-heeled guests are sipping cocktails on the deck far below.

A pump house is used to help regulate water levels.

‘Totally unique’

The waterfall is one of the development’s most eye-catching features. Adventurous guests can also indulge in rock climbing.

The project’s masterminds talk up its environmental bona fides, saying abandoned quarries often become landfills.

“This was a totally unique idea, to really do something special with a site that was forgotten and nobody knew what to do with, and to give it new life,” said Martin Jochman, a British architect with the project since it started 12 years ago.

“I never lost my belief that it would be done one day, but it is here now, and I am really excited and amazed by the whole thing,” he said.

China’s rapid economic growth has been accompanied by a construction boom that often throws up outlandish designs.

The Beijing headquarters of state broadcaster China Central Television has been nicknamed “The Big Underpants” because it resembles a giant pelvis.

A skyscraper built this year in southwestern China features a 108-metre waterfall tumbling down one side.

AFP

Hillary Clinton Slips, Fractures Hand In India Hotel 

This photo taken on March 15, 2018 shows former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, with her right hand covered under a shawl, at the airport as she leaves Jodhpur in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. PHOTO: AFP

 

Hillary Clinton has fractured her hand during a tour of India, reportedly slipping in a bathtub at a luxury hotel in a former palace.

A doctor at the private Goyal Hospital told AFP Friday that Clinton had undergone screening after suffering pain in her right hand following a fall.

The 70-year-old former presidential candidate was staying at Umaid Bhawan, the palace of the former royal family of Jodhpur in western Rajasthan state, now a spectacular heritage hotel.

“We did a CT scan and X-ray and found a hairline fracture around the wrist area. She was advised to take rest for few days and use a crepe bandage for support,” said the doctor on condition of anonymity.

Local and international media quoted unnamed sources as saying Clinton had slipped in the bath in an accident that comes just five months after she broke her toe in London.

She is in India to promote her book, “What Happened”, which tells the story of her losing the 2016 presidential elections to Donald Trump.

A few days earlier, video footage emerged showing Clinton stumbling on the uneven stairway of a 13th-century Indian monument while holding the arm of an aide for support.

AFP

Nine Dead As Gunmen Storm Luxury Hotel In Libya

Security forces surround Corinthia hotel after a car bomb in TripoliHeavily armed gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Tripoli favoured by Libyan officials and visiting delegations on Tuesday, killing at least nine people, including foreigners, before blowing themselves up with a grenade.

Several gunmen stormed the Corinthia Hotel and opened fire in the reception area. A car bomb also exploded nearby.

It was one of the worst assaults targeting foreigners since the 2011 civil war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi and fractured the oil-producing North African state into fiefdoms of rival armed groups with two national governments, both claiming legitimacy.

Militants claiming ties with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria said in a Twitter message they were responsible for the attack, which they said was revenge for the death in the United States of a suspected Libyan al Qaeda operative, according to the SITE monitoring service.

The Twitter account linked to IS said the group had carried out the attack in revenge for the death of Abu Anas al-Liby, a Libyan jihadist who was suspected of involvement in the bombings of two US embassies in East Africa in 1998.

Liby died in a US hospital on 2 January, days before he was due to stand trial.

A civilian who witnessed the attack told the BBC: “I suddenly heard shots and saw people running towards me, and we all escaped from the back [of the hotel] through the underground garage. The hotel did a lockdown after that.”

Two U.S. officials earlier said they were investigating whether an American was killed in the attack. A security officer was also killed in the clashes and three guards died when the attackers set off a car bomb in the car park outside the hotel.

Most foreign governments closed their embassies and pulled staff out of Tripoli after factional fighting erupted in the capital last summer. But some diplomats, business and trade delegations still visit the capital.

Envoys from the United Nations, which is holding talks in Geneva with some of Libya’s warring parties to try to end hostilities, have also been in Tripoli.

The Corinthia Hotel is used by foreign diplomats and government officials. The UN Support Mission in Libya (Unsmil) has hosted several workshops at the hotel.

Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni condemned the attack and pledged that those responsible for it would be brought to justice.

Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign affairs chief, also condemned the attack which took place as a second round of peace talks between Libya’s warring factions ended in Geneva in what the UN described as a “positive atmosphere”.

Libya has been hit by instability since the overthrow of long-time ruler Col Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011.