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La Residence Hotel & Spa, Hue 

See the Central Vietnam Guide ›
5 Le Loi Street
Tel: 84 54 837 475
view web site ›'s insider take:

La Résidence was the Jazz Age home of French envoys to the royal court, and the grandeur of the Art Deco building must have made the emperors feel their wooden palace was très frumpy. Today, the updated La Résidence is easily the poshest address in Hue, appealing to diplomats, independent travelers, and—say, isn't that Colin Farrell in the bar? The boutique property's 122 rooms and suites sustain the period glamour with hardwood floors, canopy beds, and porcelain washstands. The architects may have taken the retro realism a tad too far, however: The rooms are short on electrical outlets to power all the gadgetry that modern travelers require. Just steps from the Perfume River, an infinity swimming pool delivers wide-angle views of the Citadel. Le Parfum restaurant maintains a détente between classic Continental fare like veal Rossini and Vietnamese entrées like bo luc lac (marinated beef with peppers and onions baked in a bamboo tube). An in-house travel desk can arrange cooking classes, sunset dinner cruises on the Perfume River, or guided tours of the Citadel and royal tombs. Upon your return, the housekeeping elves will have rehung every towel and washcloth. It's good to be the king, or at least an envoy, for a day.

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:

Perched on the banks of the Perfume River just upstream from Hue's famous citadel, this 122-room hotel takes its identity from the former French colonial governor's mansion at its core. The same nautical moderne architecture that makes the villa so charming is reprised in the two modern wings, which were added during a thorough yet sensitive renovation of the original building so that the place is pure Indochine. The original villa includes a reception area decorated with framed photos of Old Hue and an adjacent bar with deep club chairs—and eight dreamy rooms, plus a presidential suite. These have a colonial feel, with ceiling fans, mosquito netting (for atmosphere more than necessity), and dark-stained wood furnishings. An additional 112 rooms are housed in the new wings, which frame a large pool overlooking the river.

—2007 Hot List

When to go: Avoid only central Vietnam's rainy season, which runs from November through January.

Which room to book: Spring for one of the rooms in the original villa, which are more atmospheric, or book a double with a river view.

Amenities: Bar/lounge, Gym, Pool, Spa

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