Hanoi hotel's six floors completely off limits during Kim Jong-un visit

By Moc Mien   March 7, 2019 | 05:21 pm PT
Hanoi hotel's six floors completely off limits during Kim Jong-un visit
North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un waves goodbye as he is about to board a train back to Pyongyang at Dong Dang station in northern Vietnam on March 2, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa
During Kim Jong-un’s five-day stay at Hanoi’s Melia Hotel, no staff was allowed to approach six of its floors.

North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un arrived in Hanoi on February 26 and stayed for five days at the Melia Hotel for the second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, which was followed by an official visit to Vietnam. The delegation occupied six of the hotel's 22 stories, but their specific floors were not revealed.

All activities of Kim and his entourage at the hotel also remained top secret.

Guillermo Pantoja, the hotel’s CEO, said the North Korean delegation requested a separate area for their cooks in the hotel’s kitchen, where no hotel staff was allowed.

The delegation brought all the food from North Korea for Kim and did not use any ingredients in Vietnam.

They booked the floor from February 22 onwards, and ensured tight security since.

Ha Thi Ngoc Minh, deputy head of the room service department, said the delegation did not have any additional requests for room service and all furniture was kept almost intact when they left.

North Korean security agents joined the hotel’s buffet for lunch and dinner like other guests, but they isolated themselves from the crowd.

Erick Garcia, the hotel’s head chef, said kimchi was the dish most favored by the North Korean guests. During their stay, the hotel provided more than 100 kilos of the famous Korean spicy pickle.

Nguyen Thi Chau Dung, sales and marketing director, said when he left the hotel on March 2, Chairman Kim shook hands with the hotel’s director and thanked the hotel for the consideration shown to him and his entourage.

Kim Jong-un arrived in North Korea Tuesday after a train ride of more than 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) from Vietnam.

After the Trump-Kim summit ended abruptly without a deal, due to disagreements over the lifting of sanctions, the North Korean leader paid an official visit to Vietnam. He met with Vietnamese leaders of the Party, executive and legislature branches and paid tribute to Vietnam's late revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh.

Kim Jong-un's trip to Vietnam marked a milestone in the long-standing elationship between both countries. It was the first visit by a North Korean leader to Vietnam in 55 years. Kim’s grandfather Kim Il-sung had visited the country in 1964.

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