by Vo Le Hong
Happy Christmas: Underprivileged children received Christmas treats, including decorated gingerbread houses, at the Sheraton Hotel's Christmas tree lighting ceremony last week. — VNS Coutersy Photos by Sunny Rose.
Tree of life: The children of the Hy Vong 1 School for Deaf Children and Gia Dinh Disabled Children School sang and danced at the Equatorial Hotel to celebrate the festive season.
HCM CITY — December marks the beginning of the world's leading festive season as people prepare to celebrate Christmas and welcome the New Year.
Streets, homes and malls are bedecked with lights and decorations, and all businesses prepare to do something special for their customers. Luxury hotels in HCM City are in the forefront of such preparations.
The Sheraton Saigon Hotel-&Towers greeted the festive season with a Christmas tree lighting ceremony last week.
The hotel organised the event in collaboration with Saigon Children's Charity, inviting underprivileged kids to join the event along with the hotel's guests. The children were treated to favorite Christmas treats including decorated gingerbread houses which will be showcased at the hotel's Saigon Cafe.
The Equatorial Hotel in District 5 has also reached out to the local community in welcoming the season by inviting disadvantaged children from the city's Gia Dinh Disabled Children School and Hy Vong 1 School for Deaf Children. Children of the two schools and their teachers enjoyed delicious food and received plenty of gifts including chocolates, cakes and candy.
The hotel's lobby has been transformed into a place of festive cheer with live carol singing and a special Toys Become Alive performance by young dancers from the Kitty Dancing Group of the Ben Thanh Theatre.
An exhibition of Christmas Wreaths named Doll's Paradise aiming to depict the joy and happiness of children will be displayed at the lobby of the hotel throughout this month.
The wreaths are made by fashion design students of the Minh Tri Fashion and University of Technology HCM City to raise funds for disadvantaged children. Half the proceeds will go to the schools mentioned abov while the other half will be used to re-produce and teach disabled children to make Christmas wreaths next year.
The Rex Hotel in District 1 is going "Red and White" for this year's festive season with a slew of entertainment programmes. From the Rooftop Garden on the fifth floor of the hotel, guests can not only watch downtown HCM City from a vantage point, but also enjoy performances by talented singers and models, not to mention win one or more of the attractive prizes on offer through lucky draws.
The hotel plans to step up the entertainment with concerts, fashion shows and other programmes in an exciting atmosphere on New Year Eve with a lavish banquet.
At the Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon, panoramic views of the city and the river never fail to impress those who get to the 21st storey open air pool bar. A BBQ dinner with live music rounds off a perfect evening outing for the family.
The Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Sofitel Saigon Plaza on Wednesday had the Sofitel ambassador chorus performing, and the hotel's award winning pastry team pitched in with new log cakes. The log cakes, hampers and special home-made goodies for the festive season can be ordered at the Gourmand Shop throughout this month.
At the Legend Hotel Saigon, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve will be celebrated with a Gala Dinner buffet full of novelties, free flow of beverages, variety entertainment, and live performance by the Essence Band in a yuletide atmosphere. The four-member band will play a medley of Latino rhythms, popular hits, and festival favourites.
The hotel's Atrium Cafe will lay out an impressive buffet throughout December with traditional festive delicacies. Christmas and New Year's Eve gala buffets will be extra special. On Christmas Eve, Santa will give gifts to children. Join a mid-night toast with a glass of sparkling wine after enjoying a New Year's Eve countdown with a balloon drop. A guitar&violin duo will serenade brunch buffet customers.
Vagabond troubadours will roam the land as minstrels playing music for the masses from 7pm onwards in the lobby of the Caravelle Hotel every day this month. Think of a broad line of men in capes, strumming guitars, bandurria, lutes and double-bass and singing. The nine musicians, known as Cuarentuna de Derecho, not only play 1,000-year-old favourites, their repertoire also includes boleros, flamenco and rumba.
At the New World Hotel, the Parkview restaurant invites guests to celebrate Christmans Eve with friends and family with a sumptuous buffet of seafood specialties and Christmas delicacies like roast turkey or duck breast with braised red cabbage and caramelised peaches.
For seafood lovers, the Movenpick Hotel Saigon has for long been the place to try the snow crab, with its sweet and delicate flavor, and the hotel's Lotus Court reintroduces this treat in a new setting. The culinary team here takes great pride in finding creative ways to cook the snow crab and ensure a memorable dining experience.
Meanwhile, the Annual Gala Dinners are a well-established tradition at Hotel Majestic Saigon with a plethora of entertainment options including the clarinet&drum duo, Christmas carols, Xmas dances and live Flamenco music. At the hotel's popular discotheque, prizes can be won for the best dance performances, so go prepared to dine and dance.
You can also celebrate Christmas and/or the New Year with a special set dinner at the Serenade Restaurant on the seventh floor. For folks craving an old time ambience, the Serenade Restaurant is an ideal place with its repertoire of classic and live piano&guitar tunes.
Yet another option to celebrate the two occasions is a gala dinner at the Prima Ballroom – Breeze Sky Bar on the fifth floor. — VNS