One of Vietnam’s best deals for luxury and quiet, the dreamy ten-villa, 57-room resort – soon expanding to 17 – is a thoughtful modern make-over of 1920s French villas on a hill-side location a couple kilometers west of Dalat center. Guests reach their villas on cobbled sidewalks through the forest. Part of the Evason/Six Seasons chain, each villa here holds onto its original (sometimes quirky) design. I enjoyed Villa 13, with views to the north, a great common area (with WiFi access), ‘rustic’ untreated wood floors, balconies looking to the northern valley of Dalat, TV with DVD player, an electronic click-on furnace for chilly nights, huge beds, and a claw-foot tub in the bathroom. Breakfast’s included in Nine, probably Dalat’s best restaurant – it’s ideal on the deck in morning. Nearby is a heated pool and a spa. The hotel arranges Dalat tours in vintage French cars, or very authentic walking tours of ‘street food’ spots around Dalat, including Chinese wonton soup, Dalat’s version of banh beo, and heated che pudding desserts – well worth signing up for. Similar conditions elsewhere – like Six Senses’ Hideaway Resort off Nha Trang go for much more.
Tel 063-555-888; Le Lai St; [email protected],; rooms from US$155
Book Evason’s villas online

Built in 1922 – and eyeing the 19th century – the massive Dalat Palace looks over a rolling lawn leading down towards Dalat lake. It served as the center of Dalat’s mountain retreat in colonial times, and – after reopening in 1995 – it’s again a wonderfully elegant spot. Its 43, ultra-luxurious rooms are filled with antiques and convincing knock-offs that make your stay in the wood-floor room feel closer to Versailles than Indochina retreat. Reminders of the time are everywhere – area rugs, tubs (only) in most bathrooms, glass chandeliers. Songs from the ‘20s are piped into the lobby, where stairs (only) lead up to broad hallways and L’Apothiquaire spa tucked (a bit claustrophobically) into one end of the third floor. Of the three restaurants, nonguests and guests tend to opt for the formal Le Rabelais or the cozy basement Larry’s Bar and play golf anyway. Guests can use the nearby Novotel’s small fitness center (see $20 to $100 listings). The tennis court could use more love.
Tel 063-825-444; 12 Tran Phu St; [email protected],; rooms from US$315 (promotions from US$168)
Book Sofitel Dalat Palace online