Ana Mandara Villa Dalat: Vietnam

Vietnam - GlobalLiving

Ana Mandara Villa Dalat: Vietnam

Written by Nga Hoang

Photography by Liem Tran

Global Living – Issue 8 | September/October 2013

With its French colonial villa complex, hillside location and year-round crisp air, Ana Mandara Villa Dalat is a one-of-a-kind hideaway in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

Ana Mandara Villa Dalat is perched strategically on a small, forested hill dotted with towering pine trees and grassy, flower-speckled slopes. It has 15 villas all spread out over manicured terrain. Originally built by French colonists between the 1920s and 1930s, these old villas were later lovingly renovated into contemporary accommodation for those who hanker after history and style.

My experience began after a quick check-in, when a buggy was sent to take me to Villa 11, a two-storey chalet that includes two villa rooms, one villa suite and a room tailored towards honeymooners. As soon as I stepped inside, I felt as if I was in a stand-alone villa instead of merely a room. There is a communal area adjoining the individual rooms in which you can kick back on the sofa and read or play chess. The room is styled after a French chateau, with polished timber dominating the space. It is outfitted in shades of cream and is replete with antique furniture. The room comes equipped with an open, central fireplace, a canopied king-size four-poster bed with a choice of pillows, and a period bathroom complete with double sinks and a large claw-foot tub with a separate showerhead. Little has changed since the villas were built. Everything – its electrical switches, concrete railings, old ceiling fans, shuttered windows and the few cracked floor tiles – screams authenticity. It felt every bit like stepping into a time warp.

The next morning, I loved waking up to the sound of birds and the smell of fresh air, wood and flowers.

Breakfast was served on a terrace overlooking the Dalat city with locally-sourced products on offer, such as yogurt and jam. Later, dinner was served in a beautifully designed restaurant with a staircase winding up to the attic, where a small winery is used for tasting sessions and intimate dining.

My stay at Ana Mandara Villa Data was truly topped off at the end, however, when I was offered a three-hour scenic ride around the city on a 1940’s convertible roadster, which gained some looks of amazement from assorted passers-by.

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