“Part of a French-run 4-star chain in Vietnam, the Victoria is far and away the most comfortable hotel in the mountain town of Sapa”
Guest rooms - a total of 73 rooms, 2 suites and 2 family studios - are in a separate block from the main wing, set around an immaculately manicured garden. All radiate a cosy mountain-chalet feel, with warm, earthy tones and varnished wood floors and panelling. Colonial touches - ceiling fans, rattan chairs, brass fixtures - blend with ethnic décor of bright embroidered hemp wall hangings and bedspreads. You'll find a sitting area with sofa and writing desk, plus tea and coffee making facilities, as well as radiators in both bedroom and bathroom. Beds are firm, with soft pillows.
Ensuite bathrooms come with bathtubs and oodles of hot water, though some fittings could do with updating. Private wooden balconies or terraces, featuring sofas and quaint window boxes of geraniums, look out over the garden, mountains or town.
Garden View Rooms, with queensize or twin beds, come in 'Superior' or higher-priced 'Deluxe' guises, the former on garden level with a terrace, the latter on the upper floors with a balcony. The Family Garden View Studios are spacious with queensize and 3 single beds and large balcony ideal for families of 4-5. The same-sized Garden View Suites feature a kingsize four-poster bed draped with mosquito nets, a large living room and a balcony. Up to an additional 2 small children are welcome in all rooms, free of charge, if sharing a bed with their parents.
This is one of the highlights of the resort, especially if you feel like a change from classic Vietnamese coastal fare. With its lofty beamed ceiling, old hunting implements on the walls and grand, centrepiece fireplace, the Ta Van restaurant feels almost like a hunting lodge. In the summer months, you can dine out on the terrace overlooking the pristine lawns.
An all-day a la carte menu offers local and international dishes using fresh seasonal produce, but with some distinctly European dishes thrown in. Among the spring rolls and grilled beef in bamboo, you'll find Alpine specialities like cheese fondues and raclette; and a fine wine list including the Victoria group’s own collection. It's certainly the closest you'll come to fine dining in Sapa; come on a Saturday evening and you'll coincide with one of the weekly dances performed by hill people. The bar, Ta Fin has a large fireplace and is perfect to cosy up in, with a glass of mulled wine, at the end of a long day exploring.
If you prefer to eat out, options in town include ,Camellia (unpretentious local food including grilled deer and apple wine), La Petite Bouffe in The Gecko hotel on Ham Rong Street (passable French-style food, including duck breast and boeuf bourguignon) and the English-owned Red Dragon Pub at 21 Muong Hoa Street (warming Western-style dishes and cold beers).
The European-style buffet breakfast is exceptional - a veritable smorgasbord of homemade jams, breads and pastries, plus yoghurts, mueslis, freshly squeezed exotic juices, cheeses and cold cuts, as well as cooked western and Asian dishes. Whatever your plans for the day, it will keep you fuelled up.
This is a great hotel for families - as long as you can cope with a long overnight train transfer after your international flight. With wide lawns to play on, a kids club and babysitting, not to mention plenty of things to do both nearby and in the hotel, it has got a lot to recommend it to an intrepid travelling family.
No additional charge for one or two children under 12 sharing the same room and the existing bedding
The pick of the bunch is the Family Garden View Studio, a spacious set of rooms with a double bed and 3 singles, sleeping a family of 4-5 comfortably.
Available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The Kids Club is located near the lobby, facing the rabbit garden, and is equipped with TV, cartoon DVDs and kids toys. The Kids Club is open from 7.00 am-9.00 pm for those aged 2 and up. Children under 2 must be accompanied by a parent or babysitter.
There's an all day a la carte menu, so you don't have to worry about being difficult about mealtimes. While food is generally Asian, there are some recognisably European items on the menu. Baby food may be hard to come by so bring it with you or consult with the hotel prior to visiting.
It's a long trek to get here - so kids need to be good travellers.