Dalat Palace Hotel, Dalat - review by Rusty Compass
Dalat | hotels guide

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Dalat Palace Hotel, Dalat

| 17 Oct 2012

Map

Map
Dalat Palace Hotel, Dalat
12 Tran Phu Street, Dalat City
+84 63 3825 444

Map

Price guide: Lead in rooms more than US$150

Our rating
Location
Design
Ambience
People
Facilities
17 Oct 2012

Among Vietnam's nicest colonial era hotels, the Dalat Palace was built in the 1920s when the hill station's popularity was growing with French colonials seeking an escape from the heat of Saigon. On our most recent visit in early 2017, a large and alarming extension to the property was under way. This will likely diminish the vast green grounds that were a highlight of the property.

Note: The information provided in this review was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service

Location

In expansive grounds on a hill in the centre of Dalat overlooking the lake. Easy access to downtown / market area on foot - around 10 minutes walk.


Review

Dalat Palace Hotel (formerly Sofitel Dalat Palace) is one of Vietnam's nicest and most historic colonial hotels. It's something of a destination in its own right.

The hotel features 43 very spacious rooms elegantly decorated in French colonial style.

The hotel is now locally owned and managed after being managed by the Accor chain for many years. The style of the property seems to be changing with more gaudy features and the addition of karaoke rooms that seem out of place. An extension under construction in mid-2017 looks likely to further erode the property's charm.

In a sense the Dalat Palace is going the way of Dalat itself - more bling and less simple old world luxury.  But if you're looking to relax and enjoy some golf in a pleasant cool environment, the Dalat Palace will make a good base.

Lead in Superior rooms are spacious and very adequate. Try and get a room in the front of the building where the views are better. This might be a good place to lash out and book a suite.


History

Dalat Palace  opened in 1922 when interest in the newly established hill station of Dalat was gathering momentum.  The initial design was significantly modified in the 1940s and this is when the hotel acquired its current art-deco style.

The hotel was used by occupying Japanese forces during World War II.

Vo Nguyen Giap, the man who went on to become the most celebrated general of Vietnam's struggle against the French and the US stayed in room 101 during failed post World War II negotiations.

Before Vietnam's last king, Bao Dai, took up exile in France in 1955, he spent plenty of time at his lovely nearby Dalat residence accommodating  many of his guests at the Dalat Palace Hotel.

The hotel continued to operate throughout the war and after 1975.

In the early 1990s, billionaire investor Larry Hillblom, the "H" in DHL, fell in love with Dalat - and allegedly, quite a few very young Vietnamese women as well.

Hillblom died in a mysterious plane crash in 1995 after committing millions to the refurbishment of the Dalat Palace Hotel, the Du Parc Hotel, Dalat Golf Club and several villas.

The bar in the hotel basement, Larry's bar, remembered Hillblom who never saw his vision realised. Larry's bar was renamed in 2016 and it seems likely his vision is fading too. It now includes a karaoke lounge.


Brief
Spa, no pool, wifi and cable internet, vast grounds, tennis courts.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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