Women’s contributions to the business world cannot be overstated, but these achievements have too often gone unrequited. The new Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi has taken affirmative action on the accommodations front, with guest rooms conceived, furnished and situated especially with the female business traveller in mind.
“Travelling on business used to be a largely male-dominated activity,” noted Knuth Kiefer, general manager of the Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi, “and women have generally been treated accordingly. Part of our determination to be better than the rest lies in our greater sensitivity to guests’ needs, and the female business traveller — a segment of our customer base that’s increased tremendously — seems like the ideal expression of our approach to service.”
According to the most recent survey conducted by Business Traveler magazine, in fact, two of three female business travellers expressed dissatisfaction with levels of service encountered on the road. Current estimates peg the proportion of women among all business travellers at 40 percent, and growing with each passing fiscal year.
At the Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi, concessions to feminine sensibilities include both the tangible and the invisible. Indeed, the desire to remain inconspicuousness prompted the Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi to locate these new female business traveller rooms on the same floor as the health club and spa facilities, thus eliminating self-consciousness related to the back-and-forth commute in a robe or workout attire.
Décor in the rooms is understated but cheerful – an ambience more suited to the convergence of femininity and functionality. Features include an extra make-up mirror: In addition to the usual location, in the bathroom, another is placed at the working desk, for women who prefer applying make-up in natural light. Other gratis amenities conceived with women’s preferences in mind include ultra-high-powered hairdryers, padded hangers (for silk blouses), and make-up removal “kits.”
The welcoming acknowledgement of the female business traveller is also a simple extension of the 154-room Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi’s progressive attitude toward accommodating guests. That’s why it has become the place to stay downtown since opening in the Vietnamese capital last December. In an urban environment rich in history and landmark structures, the hotel has already managed to become an affectionately familiar presence.
That is by design, as the Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi’s exterior is a contemporary interpolation of the city’s dazzling stock of French colonial architecture – distinctive but deferential to its distinguished neighbors. Within easy strolling distance, for example, are Hanoi Tower and Quan Su Temple, two of Hanoi’s most beloved monuments. Directly next door to the freestanding hotel is a modern classic, Pacific Place, one of Hanoi’s most prominent business/residential buildings and home to local headquarters of IBM and HSBC. Also in close proximity are the Opera House, the Old Quarter shopping district, and the central train station.
Other touches at the Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi constitute New World refinements of an Old World devotion to personalized service. At check-in, guests can choose their preferred degree of mattress firmness. Special business-traveler promotions offer no-charge options, like limousine service or laundry, based on individual needs.
The hotel’s residential feel even extends to its conference facilities, which – in contrast to the usual cloistered spaces with demountable partitioning – have soundproof walls with daylight. From real windows.
“We like to think of our place – and have our guests think of our place – as a big, luxurious villa,” said Kiefer, “and it’s the scale of the hotel that makes this idea plausible. Naturally, the concept extends to our relationships with customers, too. Our insistence on addressing them by name isn’t a revolutionary idea; it’s just not practical in a huge mega-hotel. But it is here.”