NHA TRANG, Vietnam (26 June 2009) "” Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa has brought on a Norwegian chef and a Dutch food and beverage manager to spearhead development of the most versatile collection of restaurant concepts between Ho Chi Minh City and Danang.
The 30-storey, 284-room hotel is scheduled to open in October.
Tom Drange, 40, who most recently served as executive chef at the Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa, will take command of the Sheraton's three main kitchens "” Feast, Steam n' Spice and Toastina. And Michiel de Kleer, 31, who formerly spent three-and-a-half years in Vietnam as an assistant director of food and beverage (f&b) and most recently worked as director of f&b at the Sofitel Silom Bangkok, will coordinate all f&b activities.
"There's a diversity of dining experience to be had in Nha Trang, but it's all on the same level," said Scott Hodgetts, general manager of the Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel & Spa. "There's little diversity on the level where ambiance matters, and where diners expect the finest wines, ambitious cuisine and inspired service. With all of these items on our punch list, there will be a whole new way to relishNha Trang."
The hotel's flagship restaurant is Feast, a 180-seat international concept that celebrates the foods of Japan, China, Vietnam, India and the West. The 102-seat Steam n' Spice revels in the glories of dim sum, Asia's favorite comfort food. And Toastina will stand as a vibrant, retail food venue that will emphasize fresh and healthy fare.
The hotel will also unveil a purpose-built culinary academy with five cooking stations.
One of the chef's priorities in Nha Trang will be on the seafood, for which the seaside resort town is justly renown.
"Saigon is not on the ocean, and neither is Hanoi," said Drange, "but Nha Trang is. Our proximity to the catch, and our ability to meet the catch, inspect the catch and work with the fishermen to ensure the freshest, possible product will result in meals that should resonate from Auckland to Antwerp."
Drange is no stranger to the ways and means of pre-opening activities. He opened the 250-room Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa and groomed a reputation there as someone who could marry his hotel's branded concepts to local culinary attributes for a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Within a year, the hotel's flagship restaurant was hailed as one of the best 100 in the country by Tatler.
Prior to his stint in Hua Hin, Drange opened five-star restaurants in Krabi and Phuket. He's also worked as an executive chef in Omanand Cairo. Earlier posts include Norway, the United States, France and Italy.
As a complement to Drange, de Kleer is a seasoned Vietnam hand with a wealth of experience handling the most discerning travelers to Vietnam. At the Sofitel Metropole Hanoi, he led a staff of 110 as acting director of food and beverage for 18 months.
"Michiel knows how to make teams function like clockwork in Vietnam," said Hodgetts. "That's a skill not to be underestimated. With Michiel, we'll be running a fully mature operation from the get-go."
With towers in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the Sheraton Nha Trang will stand as the brand's third property in Vietnam. Its eight categories of accommodation range from deluxe rooms to 70 square-meter executive suites and a single, stunning 182-square-meter presidential suite. Its food-and-beverage outlets also include the Wine Bar.
For business and leisure travelers alike, the hotel's full-service spa offers nine treatment rooms, as well as separate locker rooms for men and women, each with steam, sauna and whirlpool. The 21-meter lap pool on the hotel's 6th floor provides an infinity effect, blending with the bay of Nha Trang beyond. On either side of the main pool, deck chairs sit in the shallow waters of a reflection pool, tempting guests who want to be both in and out of the water simultaneously.
The main pool will be complemented by a children's pool. And a state-of-the-art health club is shaping up as Nha Trang's most ambitious fitness center by far.
Given the proximity to Ho Chi Minh City by air (45 minutes), the hotel anticipates robust business traffic. The Sheraton's nine meetings rooms "” including a ballroom and an equally large function room "” open up to 1,600 square meters. The Executive Club Lounge will offer spectacular ocean views.
Upon opening, Sheraton will be rolling out its Link@Sheraton environment, a lobby lounge space that provides comfortable work stations, free Wi-Fi access and Internet-enabled computer stations to guests. The new cafÃ© concept also provides ready access to plasma televisions, daily newspapers and a variety of food and beverages. The product debuted at Sheraton hotels worldwide in September.
About Sheraton Hotels & Resorts
Helping guests make connections at more than 400 hotels in 75 countries around the world, Sheraton is revitalizing its iconic brand while continuing its aggressive international expansion by adding 54 hotels and 20,000 guestrooms by 2009. Sheraton Hotels is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. and is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 900 properties in more than 100 countries and 155,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with the following internationally renowned brands: St. RegisÂ®, The Luxury CollectionÂ®, SheratonÂ®, WestinÂ®, Four PointsÂ® by Sheraton, WÂ®, Le MÃ©ridienÂ® and the recently announced AloftSM and ElementSM Hotels. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.
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