After a second jaunt to the lush city of Dalat, I can envision life in a villa during the French colonial period of Vietnam. The central highlands city of Dalat was discovered in the 1890s by explorers who petitioned the then French government to create a resort area. Dalat was founded in 1912 and the government endowed the city with Swiss-styled villas and wide boulevards. It quickly became a hot spot for royalty and high society looking for a retreat away from city. Over 2,500 of those charming villas remain today.
Dalat is roughly 200 miles from Saigon. As it sits at an altitude of about 5,000 feet above sea level, it enjoys a delightfully cool European-like climate which is ideal for harvests of produce, dairy products and stunning flowers. But, it is the natural beauty of Xuan Huong Lake and the architecture that are front and center of this breathtaking city of 192,441 residents. It is has become a very popular honeymoon destination for Vietnamese couples who can often be seen romancing by the pretty lake.
We stayed at the Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort and Spa, a seventy room resort that is nestled in the highlands of Dalat. This award winning hotel has seventeen fully restored villas that were built between the 1920s and 1930s. Each villa has been lovingly renovated to its former glory with touches of luxury while still preserving the original design and decor. Our three-story, four bedroom villa was located down a public cobblestone street and down a series of steep stone steps. The little trek was well worth it! Grand common areas adjoined each bedroom suite of multiple sitting areas and an expansive bathroom. Each bedroom also had its own fireplace which was lit at your request before retiring for the evening or for our impromptu slumber party! During my last trip, I visited many of the Dalat attractions. This time I concentrated on relaxing, villa style…the resort’s exquisite pool area, enticing food and rejuvenating spa helped in the cause! My travel companions also enjoyed a morning of golf at the handsome Dalat Palace course. Here’s a little taste of our villa weekend for you to savor:
Saigon AMOUR to all, Lisa