Gilty pleasure: Vietnam opens world’s ‘first’ gold-plated hotel

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Gold plated toilets are seen at the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake hote. (Reuters)
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A gold plated bathtub and a gold plated bathroom sink are seen in the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake luxury hotel. (Reuters)
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A gold plated bathtub at the newly-inaugurated Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake luxury hotel. (Reuters)
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Updated 03 July 2020

Gilty pleasure: Vietnam opens world’s ‘first’ gold-plated hotel

  • Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake cost $200 million to construct
  • Vietnamese owners insist they have the Midas touch despite the cramping of global travel during the coronavirus pandemic

HANOI: For guests at the “Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake” coffee comes in a gold cup and bath time is taken in gilded splendor.
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-story hotel in downtown Hanoi may be mixed with a mysterious “gold substance,” according to the owners.
So far, the smattering of customers appears 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.

 


Tired of Zoom calls? Company offers at-home hologram machines

Updated 7 min 5 sec ago

Tired of Zoom calls? Company offers at-home hologram machines

  • ‘We say if you can’t be there, you can beam there’
  • Device made by PORTL lets users talk in real time with a life-sized hologram of another person
LOS ANGELES: Looking for a new way to communicate during the pandemic? A Los Angeles company has created phone booth-sized machines to beam live holograms into your living room.
The device made by PORTL Inc. lets users talk in real time with a life-sized hologram of another person.
The machines also can be equipped with technology to enable interaction with recorded holograms of historical figures or relatives who have passed away.
Each PORTL device is seven feet (2.1m) tall, five feet (1.5m) wide and two feet (0.6m) deep, and can be plugged into a standard wall outlet. Anyone with a camera and a white background can send a hologram to the machine in what Chief Executive David Nussbaum calls “holoportation.”
“We say if you can’t be there, you can beam there,” said Nussbaum, who previously worked at a company that developed a hologram of Ronald Reagan for the former president’s library and digitally resurrected rapper Tupac Shakur.
“We are able to connect military families that haven’t seen each other in months, people from opposite coasts,” or anyone who is social distancing to fight the coronavirus, Nussbaum added.
Prices for the machine start at $60,000, a cost that Nussbaum expects will drop over the next three to five years. The company also plans a smaller tabletop device with a lower price tag early next year.
The devices can be equipped with artificial intelligence technology from Los Angeles-based company StoryFile to produce hologram recordings that can be archived. Adding that to the current device brings the cost to at least $85,000.
The companies are promoting to museums, which could let visitors question a hologram of a historical figure, and to families to record information for future generations.
People can feel like they are having a conversation with a recorded hologram, said StoryFile Chief Executive Heather Smith.
“(You) feel their presence, see their body language, see all their non-verbal cues,” she said. “You feel like you’ve actually talked to that individual even though they were not there.”