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HO CHI MINH CITY — Chalk another one up for the Caravelle Hotel.

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HO CHI MINH CITY — Chalk another one up for the Caravelle Hotel. The city’s downtown landmark proved that its appeal is as fresh as its history is long and storied by winning the #1 spot in the Vietnam Tourism Association’s assessment of the top hotels in Vietnam.

In an awards ceremony held Friday, the association lauded the hotel for impressive accomplishments across a range of categories, including a 75% average occupancy rate, its average room rate, total revenue, total profit and employee wages among other criteria. The hotel was also cited for its training programs and charitable activities.

“Last year, after we took fourth place in this same competition, we really buckled down on total quality improvement,” said John Gardner, general manager of the Caravelle. “We set our sights on across the board improvements, so we could win more satisfied guests and more repeat guests. This award is a testament to those efforts.”

Earlier this year, as the Caravelle prepared to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its dramatic 1998 refurbishment, the hotel started work on a number of initiatives to ensure its vibrancy and sensitivity to worldwide trends.

Foremost among these was a commitment to a set of green initiatives — ‘Going Green’ — that would reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint. In an initial step, the hotel has appointed a company to conduct an energy audit and set benchmarks.

The hotel is also set to appoint an “Environmental Champion” who will head up the project and lay both foundation and framework for an Environmental Charter.

“We’ll be working with all departments to reduce waste, recycle items and generally become more environmentally conscious,” said Gardner. “We’re also designing a staff training program and sourcing recycled products wherever and whenever possible.”

The hotel is also in the planning stages of a major interior refurbishment that is part and parcel of every hotel’s lifecycle. In preparation for the celebration of its 50th anniversary next year, the Caravelle has commissioned a history of the hotel.

“Few hotels have stood at the center of so much,” said Pham Thanh Ha, deputy general manager of the Caravelle. “From its very conception in the late 1950s, it’s attracted no small amount of attention from journalists, ambassadors, presidents, Nobel laureates and so many other illustrious personages. A story of a hotel is, collectively, the story of its guests and what happened within its walls. We have a great story, and we can’t wait to tell it.”

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