Victoria Hotels & Resorts are known for their genuine hospitality and friendliness. This is due largely to the General Managers who develop such a culture. In this series, we sit down with the General Managers of various Victoria properties to find out about their hotels and for insider tips on their locales. In this post, we chat with Ms. Xuan Thu, General Manager at Victoria Can Tho Resort.
How did you get started with Victoria?
I joined Victoria Can Tho in 2000. I started at the Front Desk and worked my way up. After 6 months, I was promoted to Front Office Supervisor, and 3 months later, Assistant Front Officer Manager. A year later, I was Front Office Manager, then Room Division Manager four years after that. In 2009, I was promoted to General Manager.
I don’t see many female GMs. But I think this job is great for women, because women tend to be affected by the laws of details. In this industry, we need to focus on the details. On the other hand, you need to spend a lot of time in the hotel, from early morning until late in the evening. Women, especially Asian women, need to take care of children, family, housework after working hours. I guess that means I’m not really a good woman at home [laughs]. In that respect, I’m more like a man. My husband and my mom help out with caring for my son.
Did you grow up in Can Tho?
No. I’m from Thoai Son, a very small town in An Giang Province, 90km north of Can Tho. I spent my childhood having picnics in the mountains there after school. But I studied in Can Tho. Most of my friends went to Ho Chi Minh City to attend big universities. Compared to Saigon or Hanoi, Can Tho is small. People call it the “Countryside City”. But for me, it was big… I was a country girl in the big city of Can Tho, the Western capital of Vietnam! But it wasn’t too hard to get used to. The food was the same, the people were the same. Just more of everything!
What do you like most about working at Victoria Can Tho Resort?
I love the location itself. It’s right where the Hau River and Can Tho River merge. Since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved water. Now, when I feel stressed, I just go walking along the riverbank. The resort itself is also very beautiful with colonial-style architecture. It’s also very open whereas most hotels here in Can Tho are like a box.
The resort also uses a lot of local materials to inspire our guests about the local culture of the Mekong Delta. For instance, we employ Cham weavers who make fabrics right here at the resort which are used in the rooms and as covers for the water bottles. We present guests with local gifts like conical hats. And our staff reflect the spirit of the Mekong Delta – courteous and friendly.
How would you describe the city of Can Tho?
The city is not so big, about 1,400 sq km, with only 1.4m people. It’s not busy like HCMC. Life here is slow, but not too slow. It’s the center of the Mekong Delta, so it’s easy to visit surrounding provinces. At the same time, it’s not too far from Saigon, just about 4.5 hours. People in this area are very friendly. That’s the best thing. Personally, I think it’s because they live near the water. There are lot of canals and rivers around, so you feel refreshed every day. You don’t feel rushed here.
Can Tho’s main attraction is the floating market. It’s a real market that’s existed for hundreds of years. It’s real trading, not like the one in Bangkok that was built for tourists. There are also lots of tropical fruit. I think we have more fruits compared to almost anywhere else in the country.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Can Tho?
I love going out to restaurants to try the local food. The variety of food in the Mekong Delta is great because it comes from many different places. I also love going out to the countryside by bicycle. There are fish ponds where you can feed the fish and just escape the city. Even if you’re Vietnamese, the kids are super happy to see visitors. And especially if you’re wearing a bicycle helmet or riding a mountain bike, you’ll be the star attraction!