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Sunday, April 14, 2024

“Made in Vietnam”: Wink Hotels Weaves Local Travel Memories

Wink Hotels, Vietnam’s revolutionary lifestyle brand, is reimagining sustainable tourism that creates lasting travel memories while reducing guests’ environmental footprint and increasing social impact.

The flagship Wink Hotel Saigon Centre @ 75 Nguyen Binh Khiem is a showcase of local Vietnamese craftsmanship and hospitality backed by the country’s highest certification for globally-recognized Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, Gold v4.

“Wink Hotels is unapologetic in our distinctive ‘Made in Vietnam’ approach to reimagining the travel experience in Vietnam at our international-standard hotels, and that includes building a chain of hotels that envisions a Vietnam for future generations. Discerning travelers will appreciate the lack of cookie-cutter services they’re used to with other international brands and our relentless support of local artisans, farmers and the workforce. And we are proud to deliver our unique brand of Vietnamese hospitality without compromising on essentials like a satisfying power shower and a good night’s sleep,” said Michael Piro, chief executive officer of Wink Hotels.

Strategically located within a sustainably built development within Ho Chi Minh City’s vibrant downtown Dakao District, Wink Hotel Saigon Centre is a living art gallery filled with local artworks, installations and music. Wink also celebrates the best of Vietnam’s harvests and creative pursuits by working with local food suppliers, farmers and entrepreneurs.

Catching 40 Winks at an Art Gallery

Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a spellbinding laser-cut photo collage in relief above the check-in pods produced by art photographer, Nyugen The Son. The Hanoi-based artist and academic has been commissioned to create a series of artworks that combine old and new images, in alignment with Wink’s pillar of ‘modern traditions’, that reflect every Wink destination across Vietnam. His first work for Wink, at Wink Hotel Saigon Centre, features the communal house across the street in its main panel. Surrounding it are tube houses, the vertiginous local style of construction seen across the city. In front, are images of commuters, some taken by the photographer, and others sourced from vintage photographs of the streets in the 60s and 70s.

Each guestroom features an illustration on the blinds produced by Saigon-based artist Richie Fawcett, who has been sketching the seismic shifts the fast-growing city has gone through over more than ten years. Prior to the opening each Wink hotel, Richie produces a series of sketches from the hotel’s rooftop, one of which will be picked for the blinds.

On Wink Hotel Saigon Centre’s M Floor, over the Earth Day weekend, local graffiti legend Danny Daos created a mural of the hotel surrounded by the green shoots of nature. The wall is beside the Wink team’s office, and the mural acts as a reminder of the hotel’s commitment to sustainability every time the hotel team walks past.

Adorning every floor are song lyrics by local artists, such as Den, Binz, and Suboi. Each chosen lyric fits one of Wink’s typologies – Lovers, Entrepreneurs, Explorers and Creatives. For example, ‘CHO TÔI ĐI THEO’ by NGỌT is a wistful ode to love and life, for the lovers.

For retail therapy, Wink’s gift stall, in a cart which references traditional street food stalls, presents products from cool local concept store OHQUAO, which curate merchandise for locals and foreigners alike, such as Nguyen t-shirts by Deadend and bags by Dong Dong, upcycled using tarpaulins. The Saigon Oi corner curates artworks and objects such as vinyl records. A QR code links to the store so guests can go out and explore. There are handmade artisan boardgames by Maztermind, local spirits like Song Cai and Rhum Bellami, books by Luke Nguyen and Alexandre Garel as well as artworks by Vietnam’s leading contemporary artist UuDam Tran Nguyen. The works are a series of light boxes and a pair of flip flops which feature the artist’s exploration of Vietnamese culture, myths and sustainability.

Eat like a Local

Wink has partnered with Lacàph, who makes ‘coffee for the curious’. They are passionate about Vietnamese coffee and source theirs from small hold farmers across four different provinces, offering experiential sessions at their nearby Lacàph Space.

Wink also serves local craft beer from one of Vietnam’s first microbreweries East West Brewing Co. The Grab & Go at Wink Hotel Saigon Centre @ 75 Nguyen Binh Khiem stock products from local brands like Marou Chocolate and Pizza 4Ps. Both brands source their ingredients from the Vietnamese highlands and countryside.

The Wink Space, which is the hotel’s open-plan lobby where guests connect, collaborate and chill, features pops of colour. The space has hosted events like the Poppin’ Corks party. The first installment of Vietnam’s best wine festival had seven wine suppliers, including suppliers of natural, organic and biodynamic wine like Vinobeer, and restaurants like Ngoc Suong and Habibi Kitchen, who set up in camper vans in the Wink Space and out on the terrace, with DJs and rappers, in their version of a wine meets music festival matched with local musicians like Mess and Hustlang Robber.

Wink is more than just a hotel. It is a community hub, where guests can engage with Wink’s front of house team, their Wink Guides, online through a chat service or IRL 24/7, read The Dot Magazine or follow their curated Google Map to discover the best street food and more. From these sources, you can be introduced to places they love like Com Tam Nguyen Van Cu, one of the team’s favourite places to get the iconic local broken rice and pork chop dish.

The upcoming Wink Hotel Danang Riverside, which is slated to open by the end of 2022, will adopt the same commitment to its uniquely Vietnamese heritage and hospitality standards with a focus on sustainability. Together with Vietnam’s best artisans and local producers, Wink Hotel Danang Riverside is poised to reinforce the “Made in Vietnam” footprint. In advance of its launch, the hotel has been awarded “Best New Hotel Construction & Design, Vietnam” at the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2021-2022.

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