Guests pose for selfies at the infinity pool of the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake hotel, the world’s first gold-plated hotel, in Hanoi.—AFP pho

For guests at the “Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake” coffee comes in a gold cup and bath time is taken in gilded splendour. The world’s first self-proclaimed gold-plated hotel is open for business—and the Vietnamese owners insist they have the Midas touch despite the cramping of global travel during the coronavirus pandemic. The hotel cost $200 million to construct with a 24-carat plating across lobbies, an infinity pool and rooms with even cutlery, cups, shower heads and toilet seats receiving the golden treatment. While expensive for Vietnam, at $250 a night it is not prohibitive for wealthy locals craving a few nights living like Donald Trump, the US President renowned for his love of all things that glitter. 

The hotel wants “ordinary people to the super rich... to check-in” both physically and on social media, said Nguyen Huu Duong, chairman of Hoa Binh group that owns the hotel. A gold-plated infinity pool overlooks the city, while meals at the 25-storey hotel in downtown Hanoi may be mixed with a mysterious “gold substance”, according to the owners. So far, the smattering of customers appear to be delighted with Hanoi’s flashiest new digs.  “When I arrived here... I felt like a king, you know, the Pharaoh... the king of Egypt,” joked Phillip Park, a South Korean guest. “I really enjoyed the luxury atmosphere,” added Vietnamese guest Luong Van Thuan, saying he felt his status had automatically been “raised”.

The relatively modest construction price tag was achieved by sourcing the gold plating locally—significantly reducing costs. “Our group has a factory that can do gold-plated stuff, so the cost for our equipment and furniture here is quite cheap,” Duong said. And the pandemic which has strafed global tourism has not put him off opening, with Vietnam winning praise for its swift lockdown which has contained the coronavirus spread. “For sure next year, we will make money,” he added.—AFP