Dalat Palace

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This beautifully maintained grand colonial lakeside hotel was built in 1922 in the heart of Dalat, set on a hilly private 5-hectare park. It has fantastic views of Xuan Huong Lake and the golf course – the generous grounds are every bit as appealing as the generous rooms, the reverent service and the traditionally dressed maids in black & white frilly uniforms.

It is certainly among Vietnam’s nicest colonial era hotels, built in the 1920s when Dalat’s popularity was growing with French colonials seeking an escape from the heat of Saigon. In the early 1990s, billionaire investor Larry Hillblom, the “H” in DHL, fell in love with Dalat and when he died in a mysterious plane crash in 1995, he had already committed millions to the refurbishment of the Dalat Palace Hotel. The bar in the hotel basement, ‘Larry’s Bar’, remembers Hillblom, who regrettably never saw his vision realised.

There are 38 rooms and 5 suites with high ceilings, working fire places, wooden shutters, polished parquet floors, claw footed bath tubs and opulent chandeliers. The lead in ‘Superior’ rooms are spacious and adequate, but it is always better secure a room in the front of the building where the views are better. If ever a hotel warranted, this might be a good place to lash out and book a suite! There is easy access to the downtown and market area on foot – around a 10 minute walk – which is good news as reports for the restaurant have not been too good recently. There is no swimming pool – this is ‘chilly’ Dalat after all!

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