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32 J U L Y 7 , 2 0 1 4 W W W . T R A V E L W E E K L Y . C O M
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Travel Weekly Magazine Journalist Mark Edward Harris calls La Residence Hotel & Spa 'a world-class property' in Hue


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Travel Weekly Magazine Journalist Mark Edward Harris calls La Residence Hotel & Spa 'a world-class property' in Hue

  1. 1. ArnieWeissmann: AttheManhattanChatwal,‘distributedleader- ship’meantinvolvingagentsinhoteldesign. 12 mann: eaderrr---- gn. 12 INOTHERNEWS: Kenya tourism plots a path back after violence 6 Travel Corp. brands returning to Egypt 7 InCaribbean,newideasforsummerpromotions 8 [ CDC WARNS THAT CHIKUNGUNYA VIRUS IS SPREADING FROM CARIBBEAN ] Tourism vector: Mosquitos and travelers spread viral infection By Gay Nagle Myers A nasty bug with a big bite that infects victims with a painful and untreatable virus has been spread- ing rapidly through the Caribbean region and now is making its way into the U.S. and other countries. Although the disease is mosquito-borne, it is spread by travelers returning to their homes from countries where they have been infected by a bite of the Aedes mosquito, which transmits the chikungunya virus, or chik-V for short. (The name, pronounced chik-en-GUN-ya, translates from the Ki- makonde language of Mozambique as “that which bends up.”) The viral disease was discovered in Tanza- nia in 1952. Most people infected with chik-V become doubled over with severe joint pain, a fever, a rash and fatigue. The symptoms, while not fatal, can last for weeks. The current outbreak was first reported in St. Martin last December, then quickly spread to seven other Caribbean islands. It has now has been detected on 29 is- lands. More than 175,000 cases have been re- ported in the Caribbean, 5,000 of which have been confirmed. Within U.S. territory, 88 cases have been confirmed in 23 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). All Western Hemisphere cases reported outside of the region involved travelers who had recently returned from Caribbean islands. Disney’s ‘Frozen’ is sending tourists packing for Norway, operators report By Michelle Baran Not even Disney’s legendary marketing prow- ess could have produced (or anticipated) the overwhelming success of its animated film “Frozen” — or the subsequent surge in travel to Norway it has spurred. “We have seen buzz before resulting from a book or film, most notably the rush to Ever- est after [Jon] Krakauer’s ‘Into Thin Air’ was published, but never anything quite like this,” said Barbara Banks, director of marketing and new trip development for Wilderness Travel. Banks said that following the release of “Frozen” in November, the company’s Nor- way products were 90% sold out before spring even rolled in. She personally traveled to Norway in March to create three new itin- eraries to fill the demand, as well as to add more departures for the company’s existing fjords trips. Tour operators like Wilderness Travel have reported a 20% to 40% increase in sales to Norway for the 2014 season, according to VisitNorway, the country’s tourism market- ing organization. Virtuoso reported a 65% in increase of sales to Norway for this summer, and total arrivals from New York at the international airport in Oslo for the first quarter of 2014 were up 57% over last year, according to Vis- itNorway. While the uptick in business seems aston- ishing when tied to the success of a single See FROZEN on Page 50 See MOSQUITO on Page 52 T H E T R A V E L I N D U S T R Y ’ S T R U S T E D V O I C E W W W . T R A V E L W E E K L Y . C O M J U L Y 7 , 2 0 1 4 INTHEHOTSEAT FAMTRIPS DESTINATION:MEXICO EDITORIAL Two Air France-KLM executives discuss the carrier’s $1.3 billion cabin redesign effort. 4 Perillo Tours is offering six nights in Costa Rica in August, with a choice of excursions. 44 Cirque du Soleil is building a permanent base for the troupe near a Riviera Maya resort. 42 Common sense and the Constitution pre- vailed in a ruling on DHS’s no-fly list. 48 6 88 W W W . T R A V E L W E E K L Y . C O M J U L Y 7 , 2 0 1 4 With its idyllic beach resorts, championship-caliber golf cours- es and historical sites, the country has moved past the turmoil of the last century to make way for a thriving tourism industry. BY MARK EDWARD HARRIS PAGE 30 RichardTuren: Sometimes generalizations derived from our expertise can trump ‘big data.’ 48 PHOTOBYMARKEDWARDHARRIS 01T0707;14.indd 101T0707;14.indd 1 7/2/14 5:24 PM7/2/14 5:24 PM
  2. 2. 30 J U L Y 7 , 2 0 1 4 W W W . T R A V E L W E E K L Y . C O M Scan for digital version. Passengers from the Emeraude cruise ship navigate Halong Bay via kayak. 3034T0707;16.indd 303034T0707;16.indd 30 6/30/14 3:32 PM6/30/14 3:32 PM
  3. 3. There’s nothing unusual about cad- dies standing next to a bunker. Er- rant shots are a part of golf. But in this particular case, along the par- four sixth hole at the challenging Montgomerie Links located mid- way between Hoi An and Danang, the bunker is made of concrete. The massive French gun emplacement is a reminder of Vietnam’s turbulent 20th century. It would take far more than a sand wedge to blast out of this relic of the colonial years. As Vietnam celebrates the 60th anniversary of the de- feat of the French at Dien Bien Phu and prepares to mark the 40th anniversary of the unification of the country in 2015, the Colin Montgomerie-designed golf course and the nearby Nam Hai beach resort, which opened its doors in 2006, serve as shining examples of just how far the coun- try has evolved as a tourist destination since the end of the Vietnam War — or as it is known by the Vietnamese, the American War. The Nam Hai features 60 one-bedroom villas, 40 two- to five-bedroom residences with private infinity pools, a spa made up of eight pavilions built around a lotus pond and world-class eateries known simply as the Restaurant and the Beach Restaurant, all designed by Reda Amalou of AW2 Architects in Paris. All this, combined with a gleaming white-sand beach, makes it difficult to leave the property. Still, one must ven- ture forth in a land with so many extraordinary travel op- portunities. Near Nam Hai are the Unesco World Heritage sites of Hoi An, a canaled town retaining much of its French Co- lonial architecture, and 30 miles inland, the 1,500-year-old temple complex of My Son, Vietnam’s version of Cambo- dia’s Angkor, Myanmar’s Bagan and Thailand’s Ayuthaya. Dragonair’s new daily route from Hong Kong to Danang makes for easy access to this central area of Vietnam across the Pacific on Cathay Pacific Airways’ network. A leisurely three-hour drive to the northwest is Hue, a city that brought the Vietnam War into the living rooms of Americans in 1968, especially with the battle for the city during the Tet Offensive.Yet here, too, rising from the ashes of the conflict, is another world-class property, La Resi- dence Hotel & Spa. The main building of the resort dates to 1930, when it was part of the colonial governor’s residence. The Apple Tree Group led a refurbishment which maintained the interior’s art deco architecture, opening as La Residence in 2005. Once again,a world-class restaurant (Le Parfum) and treatments at Le Spa might tempt many a visitor to stay put, but there are too many must-dos in this city of 340,000. On the opposite bank of the Huong (Perfume) River from Le Residence is the Imperial City, dating to the early 19th century, when Hue was the capital of Vietnam. Cyclos arranged by the hotel take guests to the gates of this walled fortress and former palace. Bullet holes and shell craters in the stone walls, especially around the Cita- del, are unfortunate souvenirs of the Tet Offensive, which began in the wee hours of Jan. 31, 1968, when North Viet- namese army and Viet Cong soldiers launched a coordi- nated attack on Hue as part of a countrywide assault. An order for Allied forces to not bomb or shell the city due to its religious and cultural status was rescinded as the battle turned into house-to-house and building-to- building fighting. Out of 160 buildings in the Imperial City before the battle, only 10 major sites survived. The W W W . T R A V E L W E E K L Y . C O M J U L Y 7 , 2 0 1 4 31 Clockwise from top left: A woman in traditional Vietnamese garb explores Hue’s Tu Duc Tomb complex; the Sung Sot Grotto in Halong Bay; a painting of a Vietnamese child by Joan Baez in the Hotel Metropole Hanoi’s lobby; Vietnamese spring rolls served at the Beach Restaurant at the Nam Hai beach resort. See VIETNAM on Page 32 PHOTOSBYMARKEDWARDHARRIS 3034T0707;16.indd 313034T0707;16.indd 31 6/30/14 3:32 PM6/30/14 3:32 PM
  4. 4. 32 J U L Y 7 , 2 0 1 4 W W W . T R A V E L W E E K L Y . C O M remaining buildings have been restored and preserved. In 1993 the Imperial City was named a Unesco World Heri- tage Site. Spared the brunt of the fighting in Hue is the Tu Duc Tomb complex with beautiful temples, palaces, pavilions, courtyards, ponds and gardens. Built between 1814 and 1931, its seven tombs are laid out in accordance with phong thuy, the ancient Asian art of placement known in China and the West as feng shui. Hue remained the imperial capi- tal of the Nguyen Dynasty until 1945. Saigon, the former capital of South Vietnam, now offi- cially called Ho Chi Minh City, and Hanoi, former capital of North Vietnam and now capital of all the country, have both developed and prospered since 1995, when normal- ization of diplomatic relations with U.S. ushered in a wave of investment. In the tourism arena, two of the first benefactors were the legendary hotels Caravelle in Ho Chi Minh City and Metropole in Hanoi. Following the fall of Saigon in 1975, the Caravelle had been taken over and renamed the Doc Lap (Independence) Hotel by the government, and soon descended into an old Eastern Bloc-feeling property. But with the normalization of relations with the U.S. and an infusion of foreign investment, the Caravelle name was relaunched in 1998 following a complete overhaul. The renovated original 10-story hotel was joined to architect Nguyen Van Hoa’s 24-story tower rising into the Ho Chi Minh City sky, earning endless praise and a five-star rating. Its Saigon Bar, where so many journalists had swapped war stories over cocktails at the end of a day in the field, is once again a center for socializing, this time under much happier circumstances, with Prada and Vuitton replacing pens and reporter’s notebooks. The 364-room (including 22 suites) Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is one of Asia’s most iconic hotels, be- coming the first Sofitel property to acquire the status of a “Legend” hotel in 2009. Former guests at the hotel, which opened its doors in 1901, include Charlie Chaplin, Somerset Maugham, Gra- ham Greene and, during the war, Jane Fonda and Joan Baez. In fact, a painting of a Vietnamese child by Baez grac- es the Metropole’s lobby. Its restaurants Le Beaulieu, Spices Garden and Angelina are among the most elegant dining spots in the capital. During a renovation of the Metropole’s pool/garden area in 2011, workers unearthed a wartime concrete air raid shelter. Rather then burying their past, the hotel embraced it, offering a Path of History Tour into this time capsule led by a local historian. The festive poolside atmosphere and the clamor of the Bamboo Bar located directly above the bunker stand in stark contrast to this relic of the war. In addition to the standard stops on a tour of Hanoi,which include the Temple of Literature, the Ho Chi Minh Mauso- leum, the Presidential Palace, One Pillar Pagoda and the Hoa Lo Prison, an early morning stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake should be a part of any itinerary.No admission ticket is need- ed to watch the city come alive as its residents warm up for the day with games of badminton and tai chi routines. (Hoa Lo Prison was dubbed the “Hanoi Hilton” by American prisoners of war, including its more notable “guests”: future senator John McCain and Douglas Peter- son, the first postwar U.S. ambassador to Vietnam.) Many of the Metropole’s guests take an overnight train to Sapa, home to 30 mountain tribes in the northwest re- gion of the country and/or a cruise in Halong Bay, the top tourist attraction in Vietnam. To do the train journey to Sapa in style, the Victoria Ex- press departs Hanoi six days a week at 9:50 p.m., arriving in Lao Cai between 8 and 8:30 the following morning. The train accommodates up to 52 passengers in two luxurious, air-conditioned sleeping carriages, each with six superior cabins (four berths) and one deluxe cabin (two berths). The dining carriage, Le Tonkin, serves both Vietnamese and Western cuisine and has an excellent selection of wines. Upon arrival in Lao Cai, prearranged shuttle buses take visitors another 20 miles through winding roads to Sapa, which was originally a hill station settled by the French in 1922. At an altitude of 5,413 feet, the town has a cooler cli- mate than most of Vietnam. Among the top hotels in Sapa is the four-starVictoria Sapa Resort & Spa, which operates the Victoria Express. Built as a traditional mountain chalet, the 77-room property has dra- matic views of the town below. Due to its proximity to the Chinese border, hotel guests in Sapa are required to present their passport and Vietnamese visa upon check-in. The most popular excursions in Sapa are walking tours to visit hill-tribe villages such as Lao Chai and Ta Van, home to Hmong and Dzay people. The scenery itself is breathtaking, with terraced rice paddies being passed along the way and Mount Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest point, at 10,311 feet, in the distance. For the return journey, the Victoria Express departs from Lao Cai at 8:20 p.m., arriving in Hanoi at 4:45 the follow- ing morning. Among the ships that ply the waters of the Unesco World Heritage Site of Halong Bay is the Emeraude, a century-old converted paddle steamer celebrating its 10th anniversary as a well-appointed, three-suite, 34-cabin luxury ship of- fering overnight cruises. An exploration of Sung Sot (Sur- prise) Grotto and kayaking around the limestone karsts of Halong Bay are its top off-boat excursions. In the evening, a Vietnamese-French fusion buffet dinner is followed by a top deck open-air projection of the epic French film “In- dochine.” Nearby these tranquil waters is the Gulf of Tonkin, where 50 years ago an encounter between an American destroyer, the USS Maddox, and North Vietnamese torpedo boats prompted President Lyndon Johnson to ask Congress for a decree — the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution — to assist South- east Asian countries whose governments were considered to be jeopardized by “communist aggression.” U.S. conventional forces began landing en masse early in 1965 on China Beach near Danang for direct military ac- tion against the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. Five decades after the Gulf of Tonkin incident and antici- pating next year’s 40th anniversary of the guns falling silent with the reunification of the country, a united Vietnam, with a solid infrastructure and willing and able workforce, continues its march down the tourism path of glory. Its newest golf resort, the Bluffs Ho Tram Strip Golf Course designed by Greg Norman, located in the coastal town of Ho Tram 80 miles southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, VIETNAM Continued from Page 31 See VIETNAM on Page 34 Clockwise from left: La Terrasse at the Hotel Metropole Hanoi; caddies at the Montgomerie Links course; the pool area at the Nam Hai beach resort. MONTGOMERIELINKSPHOTOBYMARKEDWARDHARRIS 3034T0707;16.indd 323034T0707;16.indd 32 6/30/14 3:32 PM6/30/14 3:32 PM
  5. 5. is yet another major step forward. Norman also designed the Dunes Course at the Danang Golf Club. The Bluffs golf course, which opened in March, is one of the few championship-caliber links courses with significant elevation changes. An official grand opening with Greg Norman is scheduled for October. The course sits perched on coastal sand dune topogra- phy and is reminiscent of the great Scottish courses where the game began in the 15th century. Like the legendary St. Andrews course, the Bluffs is exposed to high winds and seasonal inclement weather, which creates the drama that serious golfers long for. Golfers and gamblers stay at the Grand Ho Tram Strip, which opened in July 2013 as Vietnam’s first international luxury casino resort. The continuing development already features a 541-room upscale hotel, more than 10 restau- rants and bars, a spa, nightclub, convention center and casi- no with 90 gaming tables and more than 600 slot machines. The miles of untouched beaches along this sunshine- drenched area of the East Sea make it yet another of Viet- nam’s travel industry treasures. hile it ranks as the seventh longest river in Asia, the Mekong is known as the “Mother River of South- east Asia,” sustaining civilizations throughout the centuries. As the Mekong descends from the Tibetan Pla- teau through China’s Yunnan province, Myanmar, Laos, Thai- land, Cambodia and Vietnam, it reveals itself as one of the richest areas of biodiversity on the planet. In 1995, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam created the Mekong River Commission to assist in the management and coordinated use of their shared vital artery. Among the international companies that have Mekong river cruise offerings are Avalon Waterways, Viking River Cruises and AmaWaterways. My Tho, 45 miles southwest of Ho Chi Minh City, is the eco- nomic heart of the Mekong Delta and the embarkation port for northbound cruises and the terminus on southbound itin- eraries that originate in Cambodia. Avalon Waterways offers a seven-night cruise between My Tho and Cambodia’s Siem Reap aboard the 36-passenger Siem Reap. Because of its intimate size and shallow draft, it is able to sail all the way to Siem Reap for at least half of the year, rather that embarking/disembarking passengers at Kampong Cham, Cambodia. Siem Reap is home to the Unesco World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat. Dating to the early 12th century, the temple com- plex was first Hindu, then Buddhist, and is the largest reli- gious monument in the world. Viking River Cruises, which operates the world’s largest fleet of river cruise ships, sails its Viking Mekong between My Tho and Kampong Cham. Refurbished in 2013, the Viking Mekong accommodates 56 guests with river views from every stateroom. Motorcoaches connect Siem Reap with Kampong Cham. AmaWaterways operates two Mekong ships: the 92-passen- ger La Marguerite and the 124-passenger AmaLotus. Both are operated between My Tho and Kampong Cham with motor- coaches connecting Siem Reap with Kampong Cham. The company recently announced that its new, state-of-the-art vessel, the AmaDara, will make its inaugural sailing on the Mekong on Aug. 17, 2015. Cathay Pacific Airways: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi: hanoi/en/ Emeraude Classic Cruises: The Press Club: La Residence Hotel & Spa: The Nam Hai: Caravelle: Montgomerie Links: Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa: sapa The Grand Ho Tram Strip: The Bluffs Ho Tram: Viking River Cruises: AmaWaterways: Avalon Waterways: Clockwise from top: A view from the second tee at the Bluffs golf course; a suite at the Hotel Metropole Hanoi; a cyclo ride through the streets of Hue; artwork and souvenirs for sale at a rest stop located between Hanoi and Halong Bay. The 124-passenger AmaLotus is one of AmaWaterways’ two Mekong vessels. The company will launch a third, the AmaDara, in August 2015. 34 J U L Y 7 , 2 0 1 4 W W W . T R A V E L W E E K L Y . C O M VIETNAM Continued from Page 32 CYCLO,RESTSTOPPHOTOSBYMARKEDWARDHARRIS 3034T0707;16.indd 343034T0707;16.indd 34 6/30/14 3:33 PM6/30/14 3:33 PM