Rising in the middle of the Hanoi capital city, in its milestone of the 1,000th anniversary, is the Hanoi Landmark72 building. The skyscraper held the record for the tallest building in Vietnam for 8 years and has become an unmistakable icon of the country.
Atop the tower is InterContinental Hanoi Landmark72 – Hanoi’s highest hotel and a flagship property managed by InterContinental Hotels Group, which has established itself as the city’s new destination to stay, work, dine and explore, an award-winning hotel and a trusted business partner in the South East Asia region.
We sit down with Robbert Manussen - the General Manager of InterContinental Hanoi Landmark72 to discuss the hotel's recent successes and most notably, its nomination for Vietnam's Best Hotels and Resorts at the Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards 2020.
Mr. Robbert Manussen, what makes your hotel a destination within itself?
Our location already makes us our own destination, since nowhere in Hanoi can you find such a beautiful panoramic view of the city. The hotel commencing from the 62nd Floor is a retreat where our guests can find for themselves a reservoir of experiences to enjoy, at any point of the day, alone or with company. When the guests are not in the rooms or for any visitors to the hotel, we always recommend taking a complete culinary journey through our 5 restaurants and bars.
Robbert Manussen – General Manager
So from any experience at InterContinental Hanoi Landmark72, what will guests rave about to their colleagues, friends and family?
We take great pride in the personal attention and connection with our guests. Our team really puts a lot of emphasis on engaging with them and telling stories behind their experiences to create unforgettable memories. Guests having access to the Club InterContinental Lounge can expect a wealth of insider knowledge, tailored itineraries and “rare finds” recommendations from our local experts there.
A visit to any of our restaurants and bars will also be a mesmerizing experience; the team at 3 Spoons will love to share with you about all the creative dishes on their menu – imagine traditional “Pho” noodle soup with roast duck and foie gras; while walking through the premium meat collection with the Stellar Steakhouse team and our resident butcher, can already be a journey in itself.
Even with Convention and Events, meeting planners and delegates can enjoy a lot of personal touches or customizations to make the experiences come to life. We have dedicated Convention specialists working round the clock to ensure a seamless, well-organized event. The creative culinary team is also ready to introduce their progressive banquet menus with more than 200 options, or will assist the event organizers in creating special themed dinners, catering to their own preferences.
We make sure our clients are aware that by working with us, they are also partaking in meaningful activities that benefit the environment and the community that we operate in. All plastic water bottles have been phased out of our Convention Centre, as part of our effort to remove all plastic wastes from the operations by 2021.
All banquet menus have a green, no-waste options, which are actively promoted to the meeting planners, to add a meaningful touch to their event. Our guests in the rooms are also encouraged to be environmentally friendly by not changing towels and bed linens every day, which I am sure they appreciate and gladly take part in.
You mentioned a lot of projects that benefit the local community. Do you have any other CSR activities going on also?
Definitely. Since 2018, our hotel maintains a great partnership with YCI and REACH to provide orientation and employment opportunities to their interns and graduates, who are disadvantaged or vulnerable youths looking for a career in hospitality. I am very proud that we have been able to train and retain many of them as long-term casuals or even full-time employees. We collaborate with Diversey Vietnam to recycle and reuse our soaps in the rooms and linen discards, turning them into daily necessities for families in the rural areas.
The team and I also aim to incorporate social meaning into many special campaigns of the hotel. Last Festive Season in December 2019, we built a giant Polar Bear Christmas Tree that raised funds and collected polar bears as gifts for children from orphanages and hospitals in Hanoi. It was a really successful project a few months ago, and a shining example of how we can create so much more meaning, happiness and of course, unforgettable memories when our team and our guests come together.
Polar Bear Christmas Tree in December 2019
I see that in 2019, the hotel was recognized as Asia's Best Business Hotel, Meetings & Conference Centre and several other luxury restaurant awards. What does this recognition mean to you and the team, and what’s your secret to keeping a well-oiled machine?
As a leader, it’s important to understand the dynamic between individuals and create a culture of passion and pride that inspires people to work together towards the common belief. This goes hand in hand with building a learning culture where everyone is encouraged to learn on a daily basis and grow their knowledge, skills and contribution to the business.
Like in any business we encounter difficulties; however, I prefer to call them opportunities. With every sector developing at a rapid pace, change is inevitable. With the change, opportunities arise for us to look at the business with a fresh eye and challenge the status quo to come up with better ways of working whilst doing the right thing.
The awards that we achieved in 2019, as well as the nomination that just came in for the Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards 2020 meant a lot to us as a team, as a testament to our continuous efforts to be a best-in-class hotel in Vietnam and Asia. We look forward to receiving more support from our guests, our clients; and being able to share more good news in the future.
Last one. The hotel is known for having fantastic restaurants and bars. Do you have a favourite meal there?
A very good question! On most days, I’d recommend without any hesitation, the salad bar buffet for lunch that we have at 3 Spoons every Monday to Friday. It has a great variety of organic vegetables, cheese, cold cuts, soups, pasta – all the essentials for your healthy appetizers. The options for main courses and desserts refresh every day, all at a fantastic price from VND299,000++, so definitely check it out there.
Butchery Experience at Stellar Steakhouse
But for days when you really want to treat yourself, I’d say that a dinner at Stellar Steakhouse is a must. It is voted Asia’s Best Steakhouse for a reason! There is a huge selection of premium meat there, all at top quality – and no worries, our team is there to introduce and help you find find your most suitable cut. My personal favourite is either the Kamichiku Kobe beef, or the Meat Lovers’ Board where you can sample a little bit of everything.