Speech of Andreas Augustin / President and Founder of The Most Famous Hotels in the World®
Dear Guests of Honour.
Dear Mr Speth.
438 hotels in 319 cities and 88 countries bear the title “A Select Member of The Most Famous Hotels in the World”. Our mission is to research and to safeguard the history of these famous historic hotels.
This chain of historic hotels spans around the globe, its links are the legendary names of the hospitality industry. The Imperial in Tokyo, the Manila, from the Oriental in Bangkok to Raffles in Singapore, the Ritz in Paris, the Dorchester Hotel in London, the Plaza in New York, the Fairmont in San Francisco, to name but a few of these legendary names.
These hotels all surpassed the standards of EAT — SLEEP — BE MERRY in every respect. Each hotel was and ever since is the location of important historical events. For example at the Imperial in Vienna the international agreement between Prussia, Austria and Hungary was reinforced behind sealed doors. At the Savoy in London, Winston Churchill held secret war time meetings, at the Waldorf Astoria the legendary US General Mc Arthur resided for over ten years, knitting his network that almost divided the United States. And here – at the Metropole – Ho Chi Minh lead important talks in this room now known as the Club Bar.
I am indebted to the Metropole, its owners and its management, to have been invited to research its history. When we started this task in 1997, a farsighted chairlady gave green light to this project. Back then, for many of my Vietnamese friends, the history of the Metropole had started in the 1950s. The management suspected that the hotel had been opened in 1887.
Or in 1916.
They had no clue.
After two years of research we were able to confirm the opening date of August 1901 and we were able to tell a magic tale of one century of a wonderful hotel. It has all been published in the book HOTEL METROPOLE HANOI.
Since 1901 the Metropole is the hotel of choice, of trust and of affection for travelers from all over the world. During peaceful times people enjoyed its hospitality, during times of great danger and war they needed it as shelter and the only place to sleep.
The ink of the last chapter is still wet.
As historians we always say “it would be nice if these walls could talk”. Now we have made the walls talk. With the support of the owners of the hotel and the management, we have set up a permanent exhibition in the corridors of the shopping arcade, called THE PATH OF HISTORY.
It was an inspiring and thrilling affair. In combination with the reopening of the bomb shelter it had led to many touching moments. It is all about REMEMBERING FOREVER, and when it comes to the bomb shelter, it is also about FORGIVING. That’s why you find the words REMEMBER – FORGIVE – FOREVER at the entrance of the bomb shelter.
My dear guests – I do hope you enjoy the walk down memory lane in our Path Of History as much as we enjoyed putting it together. There has never been better proof that the Metropole is rightfully one of the The Most Famous Hotels in the World”. And today we open a new chapter in its history.