Sri Lankan hotelier Roshan Fernando has been appointed group General Manager of Vina Properties Hotels and Resorts, which gives him substantial responsibility for important heritage building in Dalat, the former French hill station and imperial headquarters in the southern-central highlands of Vietnam.
Roshan’s appointment, from early July, coincides with the purchase by the Vietnamese company Vina Properties Development of the Sofitel Dalat Palace Hotel (a five star Boutique hotel), the Mercure Dalat du Parc Hotel (150 rooms, 4 Star) and the Dalat Palace Golf Course (18 holes), which were owned by the United States-based Danao International Holdings Limited.
The Sofitel Dalat Palace, built in 1916, is a grand landmark of central Dalat and trove of French architecture and decor. The Mercure Dalat du Parc, built in 1922, nearby, is not as extraordinary as the SDP but still an acknowledged part of Vietnam’s built heritage. The golf course, a few kilometres off, is regarded as one of the best in Vietnam and noted for its temperate-climate grass.
The two hotels in Dalat are part of a remarkable string of French and modern imperial buildings on pine-clad hills that complement the architecture in a way that is undoubtedly romantic, as the tourist brochures say. Dalat is now a city and one of Vietnam’s major destinations for local and overseas tourists.
Mr. Fernando was Director of Operations of Aitken Spence Hotels in Sri Lanka before he was appointed to Vietnam for the first time in 2007 and Singapore in 2008/2009. In Singapore he was General Manager of the luxury, five-star Amara Sanctuary Resort, Sentosa, which position he held when appointed to Vietnam for the second time, in 2010.
|The Sofitel Dalat Palace, built in 1916, is a grand landmark of central Dalat and trove of French architecture and decor.
The experience implied in a 30-year career in hoteliery in South and Southeast Asia with the depth and breadth of Mr Fernando’s will be significant where the challenge is to demonstrate the full value of the priceless early-20th-century buildings to today’s economic development.
Beyond Dalat, Roshan is in charge of the other two hotels owned by Vina Properties Development, the Ramana Saigon (290 rooms, 4 star ) between Ho Chi Minh City’s international airport, Tan Son Nhat, and what is called ‘downtown’ Saigon, and the Hotel Royal ( 75 rooms), in Vung Tau, a seaside-resort city not far from HCMC.