Carmen Marienberg has been named general manager at La Residence Hotel & Spa, a refurbished, art-deco property on the fabled Perfume River that opened in the summer of 2005.
Marienberg, who replaced Nicolas Josi at the hotel’s helm on Sept. 15, hails from Germany and most recently worked as executive assistant manager at the five-star Central Samui Beach Resort at Koh Samui in Thailand.
After 20 years in the hospitality industry, including stints as food and beverage manager on cruise lines, in the Middle East and the Caribbean, Marienberg is keen for the move from a locale already fixed on the tourist map to one of ‘the next great destinations’ in Southeast Asia.
“I’m naturally drawn beyond the pale, to the next great place coming on-line, so to speak,” said Marienberg. “Vietnam surely ranks as one of the most enticing, new destinations, and within the country itself, Hue is itself up-and coming.”
In its first full year of operation, La Residence quickly buttoned up a reputation as the city’s premier hotel and, in Le Parfum, as host to the best restaurant within a radius of hundreds of kilometers.
“Here you have one of the most exquisite cities in Southeast Asia,” said Eric Merlin, managing director of Ho Chi Minh City-based Apple Tree Group and part-owner of La Residence, “that is itself a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a storied reputation as the country’s heart and soul, with a treasure trove of palaces, imperial tombs, and garden homes. Our aim was to open a hotel that was equal to the city’s reputation as a cultural gem.”
La Residence Hotel was built in 1930 as part of the colonial governor’s residence in the former French colony of Annam. The hotel’s bowed façade, its long horizontal lines and nautical flourishes are hallmarks of the Streamline Moderne School of art deco architecture.
“With this hotel, it’s very easy to fall in love at first sight,” said Marienberg. “The architecture and the landscaping exude a warmth, and a remarkable feeling of déjà vu.”
Since its debut in the summer of 2005, the 122-room hotel has opened a fitness center and the Comfort Zone spa. In the summer of 2006, Le Parfum completely revised its menu under the guidance of the executive chef from France, Stephane Leforestier.