Vietnam, in the form of an S is located along the eastern coast of the Indochinese peninsula. Two thirds of its territory is covered with mountains and high plateaus, and its two extremities open onto rich and fertile plains irrigated by the Red River to the north and the Mekong to the south. In the north, the Bac Bô mountain chain runs from the Chinese border to Annam at varying altitudes of 2,000 to 3,000 meters.
In the Trung Bô, literally, the center, the Annam mountain range culminates at 2,598 meters. It’s in this Trung Bô that we find Dalat, the jewel of the high plateaus, at an altitude of 1,500 meters. Often called the city of eternal springtime as its mean temperature in winter never falls below 10 degrees Celsius, it was home to a number of Europeans during the colonial era attracted by the climate. From this period in history, Dalat has preserved its 1930s architecture with half timbered Normandy style houses, Basque and Savoyard chalets and a slightly old fashioned atmosphere. In the center of the city, we find the entirely pink cathedral with stained glass windows made in France. The architecture of the yellow train station is an imitation of the Deauville station in Normandy. It’s also not uncommon to see an old Peugeot 403 four-wheel drive on the streets of the city.
In addition to its historical heritage, Dalat is also known for its waterfalls, lakes and high plateaus covered with exceptional flora. Numerous roses, camellias, rhododendrons and xac phao flowers are grown in the region, as well as an incredible variety of fruits and vegetables which can be found in the centrally located market. In addition to tea of course, the market is filled with persimmon fruit, plums, apples, peaches, strawberries and even grapes, imported from France.
If Dalat is a little Paris, then Ana Mandara is a little Dalat. In the heart of a lush park, the resort’s 17 villas built by the French, for the French in the 1920s have been transformed into a luxurious resort. In 1954, when the French left Indochina, they abandoned their homes. Initially occupied by members of the Vietnamese bourgeoisie, the houses were shared by several families after the American evacuation of the country in 1975. They lived in these cramped quarters as well as they could, with the addition of partitions, mezzanines and makeshift heat and water conduits.
After being purchased by Bernhard Bohnenberger, president of the Six Senses Resort group, the villas were restored by French interior architect, Brigitte Dumont de Chassart, in their original style with certain design touches. Today, although this peaceful pine grove is no longer a Six Senses resort, it remains a hotel complex worthy of its past owners.
In the rooms whose numbers range from three to five depending on the villa, the majority of the furniture, made in Vietnam, are exact reproductions of the French colonial style. The canopy bed, the piece of furniture designed to hide the TV set, the 1950s bathroom sinks, the sabot bathtubs and wooden planks, the old frying pans, the ceiling fans and even the light switches recall the French colonial period. Each detail contributes to taking guests back in time. Guests are transported within the property in a vintage Peugeot 403 or Citroën. The villas each have names invoking personalities who contributed to the history of Vietnam, like the Scientific Villa named in honor of the French doctor, Alexander Yersin. Wherever one looks, the French influence is omnipresent.
To complete the idyllic picture of the resort, there’s a superb swimming pool made of slate, a spa, and a restaurant with a fireplace and terraces, and, as one would expect, a wine cellar proposing the finest French vintage wines.
Four stars / Palace hotel / Charm / Restaurant with Vietnamese & fusion cuisine / In-villa dining / Indoor bar & Poolside bar / Outdoor swimming pool / La Cochinchine Spa / Gym / Boutique / Cooking classes / Babysitting service
Open all year
70 rooms spread over 17 villas
Double occupancy from 100 euros
Lien Khuong Airport (DLI) - Dalat
ANA MANDARA VILLAS DALAT RESORT & SPA
Le Lai Street, Ward 5
Lam Dong Province
Approximately 11 hours
+ 5 hours in summer/ + 6 hours in winter
Hot, humid climate from the north to the south
Passport valid six months after return date.
Visa required (about 60 or 70 euros) available by correspondence. Allow for a two week delay
The dong (VND)
French and English at tourist sites
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+33 1 75 43 70 26 *Our reservation department is always happy to assist you via phone or via email. We are open Monday to Friday 9am to 18pm (GMT +1).