Thursday, July 13, 2023
A project is underway to redefine preconceived ideas about Vietnamese food, drink and hospitality in central Vietnam’s heritage city of Hoi An.
Owners of the Wafaifo Resort, Hoi An, which is under construction, have appointed former international celebrity chef and food and beverage concept creator Andrew Joyce of B&B Ideas Group, and international Vietnamese designer Le Ha Hoang, of Shape Us, to create a unique series of contemporary food, beverage and lifestyle experiences for the 134-key boutique urban resort.
“The creative brief is to deliver a contemporary Vietnamese take that will make eating, drinking and relaxing at Wafaifo, not just the talk of the town, but of central Vietnam,” says Pieter van der Hoeven, Managing Director of Wafaifo Hospitality.
“We are a proud, modern Hoi An community brand that strongly believes in the de-commodification of the hotel sector. What Andrew and Le Ha are hatching is, I’d say, revolutionary in terms of hospitality in central Vietnam.”
Joyce and Le Ha will give central Vietnamese motifs, products, designs, menus and service standards a contemporary Vietnamese twist and place them at the forefront of the resort’s outlets. These include Swim City pool bar, the DJ booth and all-day dining long bar, the lobby coffee and retail area, the signature Vietnamese restaurant, plus meeting and event spaces.
“While Wafaifo’s restaurant and bars are technically in the hotel, they are being independently designed and attractively priced as unique standalone leisure experiences,” says Joyce.
His company, B&B Ideas, was established in Danang in 2020, drawing on his 18 years and six positions of international F&B leadership and creativity in the Middle East.
“The unique outlets at the Wafaifo will have a design and feel wow factor unlike anything else between Saigon and Hanoi,” he says.
In addition, local products and flavours from central Vietnam will be showcased, such as Vietnamese robusta and arabica coffees from supplier Folliet, chocolates and bonbonerie from Savall’s in Danang, Dong Gia chinaware, and locally-designed and made staff uniforms.
In Le Ha Hoang, Joyce is collaborating with one of Vietnam’s most acclaimed architects. Le Ha will combine over 15 years of lighting design, architectural study and practice in Germany and UK with homegrown experience in Vietnam. His recent projects include interior design for the Vietage Vietnamese luxury train carriage, and the Yugen Japanese cocktail bar and Hanoia concept store, both in Saigon.
“While Hoi An as a heritage city looks backwards,” says Le Ha, “at Wafaifo we are reinterpreting its history in a bold, modern way.”
The Wafaifo Resort, Hoi An, is due to open in July 2024. The resort is a five-minute walk from the UNESCO heritage attractions in the city. Danang international airport is 30 minutes away by car.
Vietnam attracted 3.6 million international tourists in 2022, which is 20% of 2019’s levels. The government is expecting at least eight million international visitors by the end of 2023.