La Residence Hotel & Spa is the pick of the hotels in Hue. It has a delightful location on the Perfume River, set in two hectares of lush gardens with the Citadel as its backdrop on the opposing bank. Formerly the French Governor’s residence (hence the name), this building also served as the centre of administration during the Ngo family’s reign in the early sixties and consequently was a prime communist target in the 1968 Tet Offensive. It then had several wilderness years as a mediocre government guest house, but now the art-deco building has been lovingly restored to create a property of considerable elegance. These recent renovations included the construction of two new buildings that sit harmoniously alongside the original structure.
Art-deco somehow suits Hue and La Residence is its finest example. There are 122 elegant rooms, many enjoying views over the fabled river, in which considerable care has been taken to preserve the authentic and chic style. The well-crafted interior design of both the rooms and the communal areas is pure opulence, combining dark woods, deep reds and Vietnamese silks with the art-deco motif. The hotel’s signature suites in the original mansion building are truly spectacular, each individually designed with four-poster beds, beautiful furniture and spacious terraces. There is free Wifi throughout, an expansive swimming pool, well-equipped gym, bicycles for hire and all the other facilities you would expect of a hotel which aspires to be amongst Vietnam’s best. It also has a tranquil spa.
Asian and Western food is served in ‘ Le Parfum’ and drinks are offered in the stylish ‘Le Gouvernuer’ bar, where the sumptuous red décor invites indulgence. Fortunately, La Residence is small enough and perhaps remote enough from the big cities of the north and south that the staff have retained a genuine warmth, but whilst showing all the professionalism you should expect of a luxury hotel. Together with the period decorations and the thoughtfully restrained use of the generous grounds, La Residence creates a uniquely appealing atmosphere.