Sunday 14 September 2008

Vietnam's world-renowned Ha Long Bay gets its first international hotel

Vietnam's world-renowned resort destination, Ha Long Bay, is set to enter a new tourism era when Accor opens the Novotel Ha Long Bay on 1 October 2008.

Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO-listed World Heritage area, is 165 km from Hanoi in the Gulf of Tonkin and is one of the world's most spectacular destinations. The area offers a series of more than 3000 islands with many beaches and grottos. There are hundreds of caves set into the limestone rocks. The rocks (more like small mountains) rise straight out of the ocean, sometimes rising over 500 metres in the sky.

Two special launch offers are available and valid till 31 December 2008. Opening rates start from US$110++ per room per night, inclusive of buffet breakfast. A Stay & Cruise package that includes a four hour cruise on the Bay is available from just US$145++ for two, also including breakfast. Both packages include a complimentary in-room drink so that guests can make the most of the spectacular views from their private balcony.

Ha Long Bay has a remarkable international reputation and provided a backdrop for many films including the renowned French film Indochine. Since then, tourists have flocked to the site but the lack of suitable accommodation has meant that many tours have been restricted to day visits. The potential to grow the international leisure and incentive business prompted the decision to develop the region's first internationally branded hotel.

The Novotel overlooks Ha Long Bay and offers stunning views from rooms and public areas. The hotel features a harmonious blend of modern European architecture and authentic Asian interior design, with extensive use of polished stone, glass and marble set against delicate Asian silk, wickerwork and carved wood, and accentuated by splashes of bright colors and elaborate design centerpieces.

The Novotel is within easy walking distance of local markets, the beach, and the pier where tourists board sightseeing cruises. The 214-room hotel features an outdoor swimming pool overlooking the idyllic Ha Long Bay, a spa with an extensive menu of treatments to suit all needs, a fully equipped fitness center, the Square restaurant that serves an extensive array of Asian and Western dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, an executive lounge on the 12th floor, which offers an exclusive environment, and a contemporary style lobby lounge bar, where guests can simultaneously enjoy tropical cocktails and the sunset at Ha Long Bay.

In addition to the leisure facilities, Novotel Ha Long Bay has conference facilities capable of hosting up to 300 delegates, supported by the latest in audio and visual equipment.

"Inbound tourism has increasingly become important to Vietnam's economy and Ha Long Bay is one of the major tourist destinations due to its uniquely beautiful scenery and its close proximity to Hanoi. With such a potential, we are delighted to be the first branded international hotel to open in the Ha Long Bay area. Novotel Ha Long Bay is expected to appeal to the leisure travelers because of its location and also be very popular with conference and incentive groups wanting a world-renowned destination backed by excellent conference facilities," said Patrick Basset, Accor Vice President, East & North East Asia.

Reservations can now be made via Accor reservations centres, travel agents and via

Novotel Ha Long Bay is the third addition to the Novotel network in Vietnam; Novotel Dalat and Novotel Ocean Dunes and Golf Resort, and the ninth hotel currently managed by Accor in the country. Four other Novotels in Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An and Hanoi are under development and expected to join the network in Vietnam by 2011.

Novotel – Designed for Natural Living

Novotel offers nearly 400 hotels and resorts located in the heart of major international cities, business districts and tourist destinations. Everywhere, the brand upholds its fundamental values of modernity, good design, simplicity and efficiency so that today's travelers feel naturally at home.

Through a consistent top quality offer, Novotel contributes to the well-being of business and leisure travelers alike. Guests will always find spacious rooms with flexible features adapted to both work and relaxation, a balanced choice of food and beverages available around the clock, and friendly, attentive staff, plus children's play areas, fitness centers and places to relax.

Novotel has long been committed to promoting sustainable development through its active involvement in the Accor Group's Earth Guest program. Today, it reaffirms this position by pledging to achieve Green Globe environmental certification for its entire network by 2010.

In 2008, the Novotel network includes 382 hotels and resorts, representing a total of more than 66,000 rooms, in 59 countries. By 2010 it will have an additional 20,000 rooms and be present in 70 countries.

Accor, a major global group and the European leader in hotels, as well as the global leader in services to corporate clients and public institutions, operates in nearly 100 countries with 150,000 employees. It offers to its clients over 40 years of expertise in its two core businesses:

- Hotels, with the Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, Mercure, Suitehotel, Ibis, all seasons, Etap Hotel, Formule 1 and Motel 6 brands, representing 4,000 hotels and nearly 500,000 rooms in 90 countries, as well as strategically related activities, such as LenĂ´tre.

- Services, with 30 million people in 40 countries benefiting from Accor Services products in human resources, marketing services and expense management.

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