Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Two Minutes with Wedding Venue | Ms Nguyen Hoang Cam Tu, the Sales & Marketing Support for the Palm Garden Resort in Hoi An, Vietnam

One of our most favourite location in Vietnam – Hoi An, which is recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage site. Hoi An Ancient Town’s buildings and street plans is an example of exceptionally well-preserved history and heritage influences dating back to the 15th century when Hoi An was one of the important trading harbour for South-East Asia. Today, visiting the Old City of Hoi An brings about a nostalgia of sorts, transporting you back to the days of street peddlers, quaint shops selling antiquities and curios and the non-existence of motorized vehicles (for the latter, there are certain times of the day where motorized vehicles are not permitted to enter the town, which adds to the old world charm this city still exudes).

To help you get more acquainted with venues in Hoi An for weddings, we speak to Ms Nguyen Hoang Cam Tu, the Sales & Marketing Support for the PalmGarden Resort in Hoi An, Vietnam about the resort, about weddings, Vietnamese culture & heritage and wedding clients.  

How long have you been with Palm Garden Resort?

I have been with the Palm Garden Resort for 5 years

Can you give us some background about the Palm Garden Resort to familiarize our readers who may not be acquainted with your property?

Influenced by Vietnam’s remarkable local culture and people, Palm Garden Beach Resort & Spa is the first five star resort offering a touch of Hoi An’s traditional architectural design combined with a taste of modern luxury. Set on five hectares of gorgeous tropical gardens, Palm Garden boasts over 400 palm trees and plants right along a 220-metre stretch of Cua Dai Beach near Hoi An Ancient Town, an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Elegant and spacious guest rooms which comprise 188 wooden-designed rooms and beachfront bungalows, have been constructed from and furnished with natural materials and all feature a private balcony and modern amenities. Resort facilities encompass a deluxe spa offering a new line of Pevonia Botanica spa products, a fitness centre complete with sauna, state of the art meeting facilities, water sports activities, a private beach with fine sand and a cozy 45-metre outdoor swimming pool surrounded by lush gardens. Guests are sure to enjoy the resort’s selection of cuisine, ranging from traditional Vietnamese to international specialties at the restaurants

The Palm Garden Beach Resort & Spa has been awarded The Green Hotel Standard 2010-2011 by ASEAN and for The Excellent Performance by Vietnam Economic Times and The Guide Magazine for the past six consecutive years since 2006. The resort takes great pride in serving international events such as APEC Summit in 2006, ASEAN Summit in 2007, Miss Universe in 2008, ASEAN Meeting in 2010 and Miss Earth in 2010.

These regional recognitions position the resort as one of the most glamorous retreat in Vietnam. Definitely ideal and appealing for soon-to-be-weds too!

I’m sure you would agree that Vietnam is becoming an increasingly popular destination for weddings despite the competition from Bali. Of course, I’m only referring to the potential clients from Malasia and Singapore. Can you elaborate more on this?    

Bali is definitely known for being a wedding paradise but if you would be surprise that Vietnam is also a wedding paradise. Vietnam has a long coast, stretching from the North to the South and naturally, there are many absolutely beautiful beaches along this coast. And then we have the highland areas as well with the luscious nature and cool weather. The hospitality, warmth and friendliness of the Vietnamese people and our culture are also the highlights. It all adds to a very unique experience for wedding couples looking to do destination weddings in Vietnam.  

Can you please share more information about Hoi An as the perfect wedding destination for couples?  

Hoi An is a thriving living museum that reflects the different cultures that have crossed path in the bustling trading port over the centuries. The town maintains a complex of architectural structures in excellent condition with the streets laid out in a chessboard pattern, a popular model of oriental mercantile cities in medieval times. This charming city is a sweet spot for wedding portraitures, for sure. A lot of local Vietnamese do take their pre-wedding photos here.

Hoi An is small enough that it can easily be explored on foot, which makes it a delight for visitors to wander aimlessly soaking up the old town atmosphere. You can explore the historic landmarks, laze away the hours in one of  many cafes, sample the local cuisine or take in a spot of tailoring or two in one of the towns many silk and tailor boutiques. Needless to say – for those wishing to have a simple wedding dress made at a very reasonable price, you have come to the perfect place. Although, I don’t believe many brides would take this option as they would prefer to have this made and well-ready before the big day! *smiles*

Geographically, Hoi An is blessed with both a river and the beach. So take your pick – as to whether you’d like the serene river view as your ceremony backdrop or do you prefer the romantic soft-sand beach which skyline is backed by stunning mountain ranges?  

Like most of our Asian cities, the climate in Hoi An is tropical. This means that the temperatures are warm throughout the year, and the year is distinctively broken up by the wet and dry seasons. So it’d be good to check out when is the non-raining season for your wedding to take place!

Celebrations and festivals are a unique custom of most Asian countries and Vietnam is no exception. The ancient town of Hoi An is deeply rooted in culture and tradition. And one of the prettiest sight to behold is during the Mooncake / Lantern Festivals in the 8th Month of the Lunar Calendar whereby the entire ancient town is transformed into pretty, blinking lights of all colours and shapes. For those who plan their wedding during this time period – this is an experience not to be missed. 

And lastly, if we talk about convenience, domestic flights operate to /from all major Vietnamese cities and currently international flights from Singapore on Silk Air are available. It is definitely convenient for weddings from overseas. Hoi An caters to a growing tourism industry and great accommodation options are available from small budget hotels to 5 star resorts. Any weddings will be a remarkable experience and memory – not just for the couple but for their guests as well.

I’m sure you have done many weddings at Palm Garden Resort. Share one which has been truly memorable for you.

It was a wedding back in 2007 and celebrated at the resort’s pool.  The couples ordered red rose petals to the amount of VND 100,000,000 (equivalent to USD 6,500) to be placed into the swimming pool.  The entire pool was transformed into the colour red. Now, red a lucky colour in Vietnam and roses for Vietnamese also symbolizes love. It was memorable because aside from the “red” swimming pool, the entire affair was very romantic, all celebrated around the love that the couple has for each other.

Oh….. that is really nice indeed. Well, how about difficult clients? Experienced any that are particularly trying?

At the resort, our wedding team understands that weddings are very special moments in life and we do expect high demands from our clients.

Well said *grins* Can you tell us a bit more about the Vietnamese culture and how these translates to how the resort is run, how the Vietnamese people are and how does this affect wedding tourism for Vietnam.

Vietnam is still mysterious and may not be all that known to most people globally. Vietnam is a country with a long history dating back thousands of years and there are many ethnic groups living together. As such, Vietnamese culture is very diverse. Each group, each region from the north to the south, from the east to the west has different cultures and traditions.

Palm Garden Resort has a distinctive style in terms of its unique architecture inspired by a stylized Hoi An, the design reflecting the characteristics of the the native culture, combined with green spaces that covers the entire resort. This unique architectural ensemble served to create harmony between resort and nature.

Vietnamese people are warm, friendly, casual but detailed and elaborate. This is actually observed from the traditional Vietnamese weddings which are often very elaborate, merry-boisterous and bold in colours and intricate Vietnamese details as shown in the traditional bridal wear.

I think as more and more people learn about Vietnam, our country, our people, our beauty and charms, then more people would seek to get to know us better. If you do any internet searches for Vietnam these days, you will see that many high-end resorts are in Vietnam and we truly boast of some of the most beautiful locations in the world.

Well, I’ve lived in Vietnam and I can vouch for what you just said. So besides Hoi An, what other locations would you recommend for destination weddings?

Besides Hoi An, there are a lot of locations in Vietnam that you can consider for the weddings such as beach destinations: Phu Quoc Island, Nha Trang, Danang, Phan Thiet, Ha Long Bay or highlands destinations: Dalat and Sapa. All are truly beautiful in their own manner.

Before we part – can you share 5 Top Tips when choosing a wedding venue for destination weddings?

Weddings are one of the biggest most important steps in our lives, so careful considerations need to be given to the choices we make.  In terms of venues, 

Think about the type of wedding you’d like to do :
There are many different destination wedding types to choose from – enjoying the blue ocean with the glimmering sun as your backdrop or opting for the cool highland weather or even choosing a historical site because it holds meaning for you……  once you decide on this, then you can start shortlisting your venues.  

Consider the weather at your  wedding destination :
You have to check carefully about the weather during the time you plan for your wedding because whilst rain may be seen as blessings from the skies, it could ruin a perfectly beautiful outdoor setting.

Check on your wedding budget :
Your wedding plans have be consistent with your budget. You should consider carefully the cost of the wedding in order to make sure that it is feasible. No point starting your marriage in debt!

Consider the convenience of the venue and location for your guests :  
Besides the wedding venue, you may have to look at other accommodation options for your guests with different budgets. And then you would also want to consider the convenience of transportation as well as if guests would like to travel a little to see the place, etc. You’d want to make this a great experience for your guests too.  

Finally, check several venues at the location to get the best choice and options :
There could be plenty of venue options at your selected location and as such, do your due research in order to get the best choices and options. Better yet – go for a site recce before making your decision.

Really good tips, Ms Tu! Thank you so much for your time! And of course, hope you guys have enjoyed the insights as much as we did ! :)