by Santorini Dave • Updated: October 16, 2018
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Dalat Hotels – Tips and Advice
- There are a mind-boggling number of places to stay in Dalat – literally thousands of tiny hotels, so theres no need to book ahead unless you turn up late or are especially keen on a certain hotel.
- If there is a “downtown,” it is probably the short street that leads from the roundabout at the lake to the massive market. An area that meanders down several lanes from the market offers the best choice of cafés, bars, travel agencies etc catering for westerners.
- One particularly quiet and convenient place to stay are the row of hotels facing the gardens that feed into the lake.
- Public buses leave from the main terminal, not far the from town center, and may drop passengers off near the market in town. They leave regularly for Ho Chi Minh City and everywhere else in Vietnam.
- Most westerners use the more comfortable tourist buses and shuttlebuses. The main carriers are Hanh Café and Sinh Tourist, which have services throughout the country. They leave from their offices in downtown Dalat.
- Taxis are plentiful and very cheap, and use meters.
- The airport is an inconvenient 25km+ south of Dalat. A taxi may cost more than a hotel room, but Vietnam Airlines runs a shared minibus service to/from the airport that links with all flights.
- Be sure to have a map, even a photocopy of one from your hotel, or use a guidebook. The streets here are often steep, always winding, sometimes go around in circles.
- Located in the highlands, Dalat has a perfect climate, but it can get surprisingly chilly at night. No hotel offers air-conditioning or heating, as they’re simply not needed. Only two hotels have swimming pools for the same reason. And it can rain a lot, so come prepared.
- As Dalat is a favored holiday destination for Vietnamese (particularly from Ho Chi Minh City and especially for honeymooners), western tourists are often not well catered to – it’s common for restaurant menus to be only in Vietnamese, for example. Even some 3-4 star hotels seem unsure of how to cater to westerners. This friendly disregard of the locals can be refreshing to some travelers.
The 8 Best Luxury Hotels in Dalat
Serene forest, incomparably stylish and elegant villas, but far from town center. The vast hilltop grounds are reminiscent of a national park, with some villas located 500 meters from the lobby and accessible along steep paths (buggies are available). Each villa has a different layout and interior design, with between three and six bedrooms on two or three levels. Guests can book the entire villa or individual bedrooms; all bedrooms have attached bathrooms, and communal rooms (dining room, library, lounge, and kitchen – where staff can cook meals for guests) are substantial. This is one of the only hotels in Dalat with a pool – large, outdoors, heated – and facilities for children. Ana Mandara Villas are about 10 minutes from downtown and the lake by taxi; shuttle buses are also provided.
Hotel phone: +84 263 3555 888
Notes on Ana Mandara Villas
- Set in a big hillside of pines, agapanthus and English-style gardens; some villas up to 500m from the lobby and need a golf buggy as some paths steepish.
- Only 17 villas, each with 3 to 6 bedrooms, and 2 or 3 levels; guests can book out whole building, or book just one bedroom and share the magnificent communal lounge, kitchen, and dining areas.
- All villas are uniquely shaped with different layouts.
- Lovely open-air lobby; the whole setting is reminiscent of a national park with pines, lawns, and pristine vegetation; gardens dotted with chairs, umbrellas, and lovable rusting farmyard wrecks.
- Located along an expansive hillside in an upmarket residential suburb; is isolated (in a good way) and less than 10 mins by taxi from downtown and the lake.
- Shuttle bus for guests to lake area and other sites; cooking classes, tours arranged.
- Visitors not staying in the hotel can come for high tea in their lovely restaurant (converted villa).
- Unusual for Dalat, there’s a pool; large, heated, outdoor, and surrounded by gardens and cafe.
- Villas are old world-designed (though some newly built), with mustard walls and terracotta tiles; some feature wide, curved balconies.
- Each villa has a massive lounge area, with tons of seating. Dining tables often seat more than 6, and there’s a kitchen for staff to cook special meals for guests. Some villas have a dedicated library.
- Bedrooms are gorgeous, some on the small side but adorable – old-fashioned and thoughtful in decor and design. Some have fireplaces. More windows than walls, so they’re bright and airy with views in all directions of lovely gardens.
- This is the best (and really only) family-friendly option in Dalat; there’s a small but colorful kids club, suitable for 3-8 year olds – and plans to extend it in 2018. Lots of space to run around, modest mini-golf course, arts corner, cooking classes, sand art, painting.
- Bottom Line: Lovely, serene, park-like setting, isolated but in a good way; clean air, no traffic. Sharing communal areas with strangers may be uncomfortable for some. Spacious, gorgeous, elegant– so different from cramped hotels facing noisy roads.
World-class elegance, sublime setting, and remarkably convenient. Built in 1922, this magnificent hotel oozes classic grace and charm, with an English rhododendron garden, frilly-aproned maids, and extended hallways lined with old world art. This stylishness extends to the guest rooms, with dark-stained furniture and gorgeous colonial-style bathrooms. Suites are truly regal, and worth a splurge, featuring cast-iron taps, antique telephones, working fireplaces, chandeliers and distant views of the lake – the only downside is that they’re dark inside. The library and cigar lounge add to the ambience. It’s only a 10-minute stroll along the lake from downtown, and the hotel’s back entrance leads to the French Quarter, complete with a miniature Eiffel Tower. At least visit for the decadent High Tea in the glorious garden-side café.
Hotel phone: +84 263 3825 444
Notes on Dalat Palace
- Built in 1922, linked to Du Parc hotel and the golf course.
- Only 43 rooms, with another 30 rooms to be finished by mid-2018 in an adjacent building.
- Magnificent setting inside a huge garden (far from street noise); vast lawns and English gardens of roses and rhododendrons sloping up from the road, with a flight of regal steps to the front door.
- Everything is elegant beyond words: stairs with layered plush carpets, an internal courtyard with wooden railings, maids with frilly aprons and bellhop in 1920s New York hotel garb, long corridors lined with 19th century style art. Classically appointed library and cigar lounge.
- Located on the opposite side of the lake from most shops and cafes, but it’s an easy 10 minute stroll to all of that. The back entrance leads to the elegant French quarter with the cathedral and miniature Eiffel Tower.
- No pool, but almost no hotel in Dalat has or needs one.
- Definitely come for high tea in superb indoor and outdoor Le Rebelais restaurant – so elegant and swish.
- Suites – Regally appointed with sofa and 2 chairs, a corner sofa and desk area. Two windows but rather dark; superb outlook facing down the lawns and gardens towards the lake. Elegant draping curtains, Persian-style rugs scattered across polished floorboards, Vietnamese art. 3 chandeliers, old-world furnishings, even an antique phone. Claw foot tub and cast-iron pipes and taps in the bathroom. walk-in storage area is huge and contains a 2nd desk; old-style wooden shutters open to balcony with views. Working fireplace.
- Standard Superior Rooms – Compact, but still elegant. Dark-stained wooden furniture: 2 chairs and a table. Gorgeous old-fashioned tiled bathroom; cast-iron taps and pipes. No balcony. Double-glazed windows, fireplace.
- No amenities for families – but all this elegance would be wasted on the young, anyway.
- Bottom Line: Oozes elegance and old world sophistication from the bellhop to the chandeliers and everything in between. Epitomizes French Colonial style amid gorgeous gardens in a wonderful location.
Style, convenience, and affordable colonial-style luxury. Related to the lakeside golf club and magnificent Dalat Palace Hotel, the low-rise Du Parc is in the French Quarter, near the cathedral and miniature Eiffel Tower. The lobby resembles a Great Gatsby film set, with a uniformed bellhop, pull-across steel-gated elevator, and lounge bar with a billiard table. Standard rooms are undersized but well-decorated, with dark wood furnishings and matching curtains and pillowcases. Suites are much more spacious, though the furniture seems a little outdated, and with limited windows they are dark inside. Du Parc faces a noisy road, so traffic noise may be a problem in some rooms. Only a 15-minute stroll across the lake to downtown.
Hotel phone: +84 263 3825 777
Notes on Du Parc Hotel
- Sister to the Dalat Palace Heritage Hotel just up the road, and part of the Dalat Golf club; not as superbly furnished as these, but still surprisingly elegant for the price.
- Lobby sets a sophisticated scene with bar/lounge, impressionist-style art, billiard room, chandeliers and gigantic floral arrangement, and remarkable steel-gate lift with gleaming wood-panelled interior.
- Building was built in 1932 and is 5 levels, with a reasonably stylish design (but nothing compared to Dalat Palace).
- Located in the elegant French quarter, close to the cathedral, miniature Eiffel tower, and many stylish old and old-fashioned buildings. Faces a noisy street (but most streets in Dalat are noisy).
- 15 minute walk from the lake and downtown near the market.
- No pool, but no surprise: very few Dalat hotels have or need one.
- Standard Rooms – Too small, with only a double bed – ok if a single, but cramped for a couple; nice dark wooden furnishings; rooms face busy main road with traffic noise spilling into room; long draping curtains; overhead fan; decent enough bathroom with tub.
- Suites – Far better, but furniture seems outdated rather than nicely old-fashioned; space for round table and four chairs; luggage rack is as long as the desk; separate lounge area has a small window and poor lighting, so it’s a bit dark; decent bathroom attached to bedroom, which has a TV and is separated from lounge area by sliding door.
- No family amenities.
- Bottom Line: Surprisingly affordable luxury in elegant but noisy French quarter, a 15 minute walk from downtown and the lake. A good choice if your budget doesn’t stretch to the Dalat Palace.
4. Kings Hotel
Convenient, new, lake views, and more appealing than most. Within walking distance of downtown, but far enough to avoid the associated noise, this hotel backs onto a miniature offshoot of the city lake. Deluxe rooms feature a small sofa alongside a window with lake views, a huge bathroom with a jacuzzi and more lake views, and kitchen/dining facilities. With limited overall natural light, the bedroom may be dark, and none of the rooms have balconies. Standard rooms offer city views, which mostly overlook other hotels. Some rooms only have internal windows, or none at all.
Hotel phone: +84 263 3551 551
Notes about King Hotel
- One of the newest hotels in Dalat; only opened in 2016.
- Elegant (more so than most others) 5 story building with some shops on the ground floor.
- Located on a quieter street that leads up from the lake, unlike the main street to the market which is frantic, and the lakeshore road which is busy.
- Like most hotels in Dalat, no pool or air conditioning.
- Claims to have one of the best restaurants in Dalat, specializing in barbecue.
- Rooms have lake views (good), or city views (views of dozens of other hotels). Some windows in some rooms are frosted and interior facing, which means no views, no outside air or light, and cannot be opened, but this is common in Vietnam.
- Kings Deluxe Rooms – None have balconies but there are decent views of the lake. Quiet room with double-glazed windows. Small sofa/TV area with window to the lake; huge bathroom with jacuzzi also has window to the lake. Bedroom is dark as it has no window with outside light but does have 2nd TV and desk. Kitchen/dining area is comfortable and unexciting with a four-seater table and fully-equipped kitchen – but no windows.
- Deluxe Rooms– Similar to the Kings Deluxe, but without jacuzzi and kitchen. Also, views are city views and not that exciting. 2 comfortable chairs, bright Vietnamese paintings, somewhat garish wallpaper and, oddly, a column inside the room.
- Family Room – Has two double beds in main room with attached bathroom and another room accessible by connecting door; 2 TVs and 2 desks.
- Outside of the family-sized guest rooms, no added facilities for families. This is not surprising: Dalat mainly caters to Vietnamese families, who dont need kids clubs, or honeymooners/couples.
- Bottom Line: One of the better 3-star options, notable for position close enough to the lake for genuine views; on a quieter street, walkable to everywhere, including lakeside cafes; small and personal.
Central, likable and lake views. One of three within a nationwide chain in the downtown area, this was a cinema during the War, and its blue-and-lavender theme and potted plants on balconies render it more likable than most in the area. Deluxe Rooms are spacious, featuring polished floorboards, colorful purple décor, and photos of old Dalat. Junior Deluxe versions are even larger, with hat stands and Vietnamese wall hangings adding a little more elegance. Perched higher than other hotels, most front-facing rooms have a balcony offering partially-obstructed views of the lake – and of the noisy road below – but the city views are poor. Located in a prime spot 200 meters from the market and lake, Ngoc Lan also has a rooftop café/bar and underground parking.
Hotel phone: +84 263 3838 838
Notes about Ngoc Lan Hotel
- Has some history as a building as a cinema during the war, only to be demolished and rebuilt completely in 2007.
- Part of Viet-wide TTC hotel chain, and this is one of 3 within 500m of each other; the quietest and the best possible views.
- 91 rooms, and some suites; pretty, French colonial style with pale blue and lavender exterior, potted plants and balconies.
- Perfect downtown location, 200m from the lake and just up from the main street leading to the market (and distant from the traffic noise); raised above the frantic street one level below.
- Underground parking is a bonus for some, especially so close in downtown.
- Rooftop restaurant and bar.
- Like almost every hotel in Dalat, there is no pool or need for air-con.
- Most rooms have some views of the lake, as the hotel is raised above street level.
- Deluxe Rooms – Spacious; polished wooden floors, marble-style luggage rack and TV table in all rooms; colorful matching purple linens; sofa and chair; old photo of Dalat on wall; nice, functional bathroom.
- Junior Deluxe Rooms – Ideal; so much larger, large enough for queen and single bed; same furnishings and decor, hat stand adds a little elegance; purple linen, wall hanging, sofa and chair.
- If not views of the lake, then views from the side or the back are poor; huge shutter and windows allow some breezes; lake views are not uninterrupted, bushes and busy road in the way; some (but not all) facing the lake have a balcony.
- Amenities for families: Some adjoining rooms; ultra-tiny play area for toddlers on ground floor lobby.
- Bottom Line: Decent enough, comfortable, get the lake views, pay extra for location, which is perfect in downtown but not noisy; slightly odd decor, but functional and likable.
Quasi-colonial and affordable elegance. With whitewashed walls, arched windows, and wrought-iron balconies, its hard to believe this hotel is only a few years old. Standard rooms feature Vietnamese art, and furniture thats old-fashioned – bordering on outdated. The city views are not unpleasant. Superior Rooms are far nicer and larger, with the same décor, lovely views of the lake and distant hills, and balconies that are somewhat useless – created more for the exterior design than guest usability. Suites have better furnishings and layouts, but the balcony is still standing-room only. A little removed from downtown (about 15 minutes away on foot), Ngoc Phat overlooks the lake – and noisy lakeside road – and the double-glazing is not always fully effective.
Hotel phone: +84 263 3683 979
Notes about Ngoc Phat Dalat Hotel
- Elegant, 5-story building that is only a few years old, but looks like it’s been there for decades.
- Lovely white-washed exterior with balconies; French colonial style and design.
- Lobby features stylish marble (and tacky plastic tree).
- Located along a busy road, but elevated so most rooms facing the front overlook the lake (also the busy road).
- Hotel is home to the Vietnamese airlines office.
- Boutique-style hotel, with about 70 rooms.
- Standard Rooms – Don’t face lake, but rather other buildings (from a distance, though, so it’s not an unpleasant view). Bright inside, with carpeted floors, Vietnamese art and old-fashioned furnishings could use some modernization (including chest and desk). Interior window between bedroom and bathroom; bathroom is compact but with room for a tub.
- Superior Rooms – Far nicer and larger; same sort of furnishings as the standard, with space enough for 2 cushioned chairs. Facing the lake and main road; traffic noise is audible inside room. The balcony is barely ½ meter wide, and more for outside decoration/design than use by guests – but views of lake and hills are lovely.
- Suites – Obviously larger, with same style of decor but more thoughtful furnishings. Angled balcony with some decent views (standing-room only). There’s a large bathroom, and sofa in front of window for gazing at lake views. The VIP suite features a purple velvet lounge suite.
- No special amenities for families, nor a pool.
- Bottom Line: A popular hotel that’s decent enough, if a bit noisy along the road. Affordable elegance in a good location across the lake, but still within walking distance of downtown, shops, and the elegant French quarter.
7. Saigon Dalat
Alpine-style and motel-like, with a pool! Part of a countrywide chain of affordable hotels, the white walls, angled rooflines, and pine trees are reminiscent of a Swiss ski lodge – almost. It is elegant in some ways (corridors are laid with plush carpets and lined with photos of old Dalat) and absurd in others (the lobby is ridiculously oversized). But one unique attraction is the pool, which is sizeable and undercover. There’s also a tennis court. Superior Rooms feature a marble bathroom, stylish desk and pleasant city views. The Executive Suites are substantially different, with wood-paneled floors, lovely bedrooms, and massive walk-in closets. Located on a busy corner on the edge of the French Quarter, and removed from tacky parts of Dalat, downtown is about 15 minutes on foot.
Hotel phone: +84 263 3556 789
Notes on Saigon Dalat Hotel
- Part of a Viet-wide chain of government-run hotels; not designed for western tastes in design but priced for Vietnamese, making it surprisingly affordable.
- Tries (and mostly succeeds) at being elegant, with plushly-carpeted corridors, lined with faded photos of old Dalat – the oversized lobby is in dire need of some more furniture and things to fill it.
- Built in 2005, in a French style that’s not overly apparent, perhaps more appropriate in a European ski village.
- Located on a busy corner, just on the edge of the old French quarter, with its cathedral and miniature Eiffel tower. It’s a 12-15 min walk from the lake and a little further into Dalat’s market/downtown area.
- One of very very few hotels in Dalat that have a pool; quite large, indoor, and situated under a glass roof alongside part of the hotel’s cafe (so your swim is not that private at times).
- The tennis court is also unusual, also on the first floor and alongside the cafe.
- Superior Rooms – Large marble bathrooms; stylish desk and chair, likable matching linens, huge TV, and odd artwork that doesn’t seem to match. Views of old part of town, including the church.
- Executive Suite – Wood paneled floor; old-style and ornate furnishings (but still incongruous artwork); separate lounge area with sofa, table, and TV; huge walk-in closet; lovely bathroom; gorgeous bedroom with TV, desk, and old-style wooden headboard. Balcony has decent views of the old quarter, but is standing room only.
- Amenities for families: Some adjacent rooms with connecting doors; swimming pool, tennis court.
- Bottom Line: Sort of like an elegant historical motel; surprisingly affordable. Nowhere as good as the Dalat Palace or Du Parc. Location on a busy road is not the best, but walkable to sights and shops.
Motel-style, lovely lakeside location, but noisy and garish. Formerly known as the Empress, and now also called Bluewater, this is the only hotel in central Dalat to face the lake – and the busy lakeside road. Built up a sloping block of lofty pines and thriving rhododendrons, this hotel once resembled an alpine ski lodge, though the current owners have, inexcusably, retiled the roofs purple – to match the shade on top of the lakeside café opposite. This dominant color continues inside the rooms, with different shades that don’t always match and are not improved with grey cushions and black walls. But it’s all about the views (a few overlooking the lake, and standard rooms facing the pretty courtyard) and location: only 200 meters from the main street through downtown leading to the market. There are also two excellent cafés situated underneath, at ground level.
Hotel phone: +84 263 3833 888
Notes on Thanh Thuy Blue Water Hotel
- Also known as Bluewater Hotel, and formerly known as Empress Hotel.
- A small hotel that wouldn’t look out of place in a Swiss Alpine village (except for incongruous purple roof tiles). Surrounded by garden of lofty pines, rhododendrons and roses, that slopes down to the road alongside the lake.
- The only hotel in central Dalat that boasts lake frontage (albeit across a busy road.)
- Is connected to the lakeside restaurant just over the road, also unmissable with purple tiles.
- Superb location, only 200m from the main street that leads to the market and overlooks the lake.
- 2 lovely cafes are situated underneath the hotel alongside the road, and feature lake views.
- Only a few guest rooms have lake views; most have windows that face into a pretty courtyard.
- The purple decor continues inside with purple pillowcases, sofa and chair cushions. Walls are black wood. Nice bathroom with (wait for it) purple towels; attractive dark wood window frames, cupboard, and desk.
- No special amenities for families, aside from some connecting rooms.
- Bottom Line: It’s all about the setting and lakeside location, the only one of its kind in Dalat.
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