La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa

Hue - Danang - Nha Trang, Vietnam Book from US$124

Reviewed by Samantha Coomber
A glorious Indochine-era residence on the banks of Hué’s Perfume River, with magnificent Citadel views, high-end spa and Art Deco rooms
Built in 1930 as the French Governor’s official residence, this 3-storey riverside mansion underwent a dramatic makeover in 2005, gaining 2 new wings in the glorious Art Deco style of the original. Oozing history and class, yet still convivial and informal, the 5-star hotel is now almost certainly the finest accommodation option in Hué.

A heady Indochine ambiance fills the high-ceilinged interiors and 122 colonial-inspired guest rooms and suites, with tasteful Art Deco furnishings ranging from claw-foot tubs in the suites to a wraparound mural in the Agatha Christie-style lobby bar. Modern day comforts - such as WiFi and Hué’s first high-end spa - are subtly interwoven. Best of all, you can feast your eyes on outstanding river views towards Hué’s landmark Citadel and Flag Tower. Weary culture-vultures will be soothed by the luscious gardens on the banks of the Perfume River, the huge river-hugging pool, and the finest dining in town. This is more than just a charming place to rest your head: it's a historic destination in its own right.

Highs

  • The perfect base to explore ancient treasures of this former Imperial City
  • A heavenly retreat after a day's sightseeing, with an outdoor pool, leafy gardens and a top-notch spa
  • The riverside location is only 100m away from a dragon boat pier to the pagodas
  • We thought the food was the best - and most beautifully presented - on our recent 3-week Vietnam trip
  • Families welcomed with a complimentary Kids Club (open 10-10 daily), children's menu, interconnecting rooms and babysitting

Lows

  • Hué has notoriously high rainfall!
  • All those tiled and wood hallways create noisy echoes
  • With 122 rooms, it's much larger than most i-escape hotels
  • It's a 15-minute walk to the nearest restaurant, and you’ll need to take a cyclo or boat to reach shops and sights (or borrow a bicycle from the hotel)

Best time to go

The best time to visit is from February to May; temperatures can soar from April to August. The rainy season falls between November and February - be prepared for some flooding - but Hué suffers from the highest rainfall in Vietnam, so downpours can occur at any time of year. Between August and November, typhoons bring more torrential rain.

The biggest national holiday, Lunar New Year (Tet), runs over several days in either January or February (dates vary annually), with some services and sights limited or closed.

Our top tips

If time is tight, do the half-day guided tour with a boat to Thien Mu Pagoda, a car to the Citadel, and finally a visit to Tu Duc tomb (the loveliest of all).

Bring waterproofs (including a jacket and shoes) for those rainy days, plus sunscreen and a sunhat for blistering hot summers. From December to February, evening temperatures can be cool, so bring a pullover or fleece - and don't count on using the pool.

Great for...

City Style
Family
Foodie
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 122
  • Restaurant and bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Tennis Court
  • Bicycles Available
  • Laundry service
  • Kids Club
Room: Themed Resident Suite

Rooms

The hotel has 122 rooms and suites: 10 in the original mansion (including the Deluxe Colonials and Colonial Suites) and the remainder in the new wings. The former retain the different character and sizes of the French architect’s 1950s blueprints, while the 2 new annexes faithfully mimic the original building (you can hardly tell them apart), but some Superior Rooms are on the small side.

Decor is a beautiful blend of colonial charm and Asian opulence. Classic furnishings from the French-Indochina era include timbered floors, vintage ceramic-tiled bathrooms and cocoa-brown wood furniture; and there are elegant touches like pedestal sinks, Art Deco glass lamps and 1930s-style vanity mirrors. Flatscreen satellite TVs, safes, voicemail, bathrobes, hairdryers are there, and every room has a balcony or terrace of some sort.

It's worth requesting a room (Superior or Deluxe) with those river views and wondrous sunsets - ideally on the 3rd floor in the riverside wing. Deluxe rooms have a small sitting area which can house a rollaway bed.

Or, if your budget can stretch and you don't mind garden views instead, we loved some of the suites in the main building. One glorious first-floor Colonial Suite has a long curved wall of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the pool gardens, and a romantic netted four-poster.

The Signature Suites get claw-foot bathtubs, colonial-style ceiling fans and four-poster beds, as well as artfully tiled bathrooms. Some are themed (such as ‘Monuments d’Egypte’ and ‘Voyage en Chine’ in the main building), with appropriate decorations like sphinx heads.

Commanding the entire upper-storey of the original building, the Resident Suite is spectacular and vast (76 sq.m.), with 2 high-ceilinged, curved-wall rooms and a palatial rounded terrace (the largest in the house) offering panoramic river and garden views.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

Le Parfum has to be the best dining venue in Hué. Successive chefs from as far afield as Germany and South Africa have been consistently innovative and passionate about their cuisine: a mouth-watering mix of local, regional and international dishes which has justifiably won rave reviews. Like the rest of the hotel, food is remarkably well priced.

The à la carte menu features international dishes with Mediterranean and French overtones, such as caramelised veal medallion capped with seared foie gras on black mushroom risotto. But local cuisine is also represented, in dishes such as goi cuon tom thit (fresh pork and prawn rolls with sweet and sour sauce). There are wines from both the Old and New World.

The extensive breakfast buffet should keep you fuelled up for sightseeing: pastries and breads are freshly baked on-site, pancakes and eggs are cooked à la minute and there's a typical Vietnamese selection.

Weather permitting, opt for the delightful Art Deco riverside terrace, for maximum sunlight and garden views. At breakfast, before the heat gets up, watch the early morning traffic chug-chug along the river; in the cool of the evening, with only a canopy of twinkling stars, you can pick out a chorus of frogs or a distant sampan.

There's also a seasonal riverside bar next to the saltwater pool, offering light snacks and sandwiches; and a wonderful Art Deco-infused lobby bar dubbed Le Gouverneur. Cooking classes are also hosted (see Activities).

Hué is home to some of Vietnam's tastiest cuisine, so if you’re game, it’s worth trying out local dishes at the small street-side stalls or family-run eateries in town.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cooking classes
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating: Le Parfum Restaurant
Activity: Nguyen Kings Alta of Worship

Activities

  • Take in Hué’s vast cultural heritage: walk, bicycle or hire a cyclo to the Citadel and Forbidden City, then take a dragon boat on the Perfume River to the Emperor’s tombs and mausoleums; the beach is only 15km away too
  • Other must-sees include the central market, the pagodas (especially iconic Thien Mu Pagoda) and the lovely garden houses
  • The huge riverside saltwater pool is heaven after a hard day’s sightseeing. Armed with a mojito from the bar, you can watch dusk-time bats flitting overhead and the sun sinking into the Perfume River
  • If that's not enough pampering, book one of the spa treatments delivered by industrious Vietnamese therapists using products (and training) from the Italian brand Comfort Zone; the signature 'Javanese Lulur' will leave you with deliciously smooth skin
  • Or try a cooking class with the restaurant chef, bookable the night before: you start by riding a cyclo to Ben Ngu Market to learn all about Vietnamese ingredients and spices; back at La Résidence, you cook 3 dishes under Chef's supervision, and then tuck into them in the restaurant, before getting a souvenir cap, recipes and a certificate
  • Charter a traditional wooden boat for dinner, breakfast or sundowner cruises
  • La Résidence organises exclusive Royal Theatre Dinners in the citadel’s old theatre (pre-booked in advance for private groups)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome at this quiet mini-resort, set in large gardens overlooking the Perfume River. There's a wealth of activities on offer at the complimentary Kids Club (some activities cost extra) plus a small shallow swimming pool for kids, note that the main outdoor pool is big and deep; both are unheated. Some parents may feel inhibited by the hotel’s elegant interiors, but we (with three under-10s) found the staff very welcoming, especially at breakfast. Children up to 12 years old stay free of charge (including breakfast) when sharing their parents' room. Babysitting and cots are provided.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Deluxe, Deluxe River and Suite rooms can comfortably take one rollaway bed. If you have 2 or 3 children you'll need 2 adjacent Superior or Superior River rooms (and note that twin-bedded rooms are limited).

Babysitting:

Available by arrangement

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Creche/Kid's Club:

The Kids Club is open 10am-10pm 7 days a week and offers fun and games such as board games, video games, traditional craft activities, cooking classes, embroidery, incense stick making and kite making

Children's meals:

Kids menu available

Kids Activities on site:

  • Free tennis court (charge applied after sun down)
  • Kids swimming pool (unheated)
  • Bicycles to borrow
  • Table tennis
  • Half-court basketball
  • Boules
  • Billiards
  • Tours arranged by the hotel

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Sightseeing and shopping
  • River cruise
  • National park
  • Beach
  • Hot springs
  • Zip-line

Families Should Know:

The adult pool is deep and located next to the kids pool

Distances:

  • Airport: 20 minutes
  • Hospital: 5 minutes
  • Shops: 8 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

{{ review.firstName }}{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},
Feedback is only from guests who have booked and stayed through i-escape

Rates for La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa