Arrival/Check-In: Located next to one of Hue’s busiest streets, this jewel box of a building seems delightfully out of place. Its graceful lines and surrounding gardens, reminiscent of a private country estate, invite you to ignore the motorcycle-clogged traffic outside the gates and step inside where gentler times prevail.We were happy to do so. The manager greeted and escorted us immediately into the stylish Le Gouverneur Bar where we sank into comfy club chairs and drank our complimentary cool drinks while filling out our registration forms. Our designated bellman waited patiently until we were finished. (19/20)
Guest Quarters: Each of this boutique hotel’s 122 guestrooms differs in size and set-up. Ours (No. 703), which had plenty of Deco pizzazz, also had a disappointing view (the parking lot and street), and was barely wide enough to accommodate the king-size bed. We hadn’t known in advance that other rooms and suites in a similar price range are larger and come with great views overlooking the extensive gardens and pool, the Perfume River and — across the water — Hue’s ancient moated fortress and Forbidden City, dating to the Emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. Note: Request, in advance, a room facing the river. (10/15)
Services/Amenities: Although all guestrooms have IDD telephone and fax and high-speed Internet access, there’s also La Résidence’s informal business center, with nine high-speed computers available for guest use at no charge. The restaurant, Le Parfum, morphs throughout the day: Mornings it’s a sunny space with an abundant buffet; at dinner it offers a pleasingly formal ambience. We were initially dismayed by the dinner menu’s uninspired Western choices (roast beef, Dover sole, and the like) until we turned to the very back pages and discovered dozens of wonderful Vietnamese selections, some adapted to spice-shy palates, some not. To escape the overzealous air conditioning we dined outdoors on the river-view terrace. La Résidence also offers a fitness center and spa, tennis court, library, art gallery and well-edited gift boutique. But the real star is the tropical garden surrounding the huge saltwater pool — and, of course, the proximity to the river and the historical allure of Imperial Hue. (44/45)
The Experience: In the 1920s this building was the residence of the French Colonial governor. More recently, Accor Hotels brilliantly restored the original Art Deco detailing. The time-capsule evocation of Vietnam’s legendary French Colonial ambiance makes this hotel a must-visit. (19/20)
Total Score: (92/100)
LA RÉSIDENCE HÔTEL & SPA
5 Le Loi St. Hue City, Vietnam
tel 84 54 837 475
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