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Ana Mandara resort Dalat: Amid pines in the tropical country

No 11, Vol.5, December 2015 – January 2016


An open terrace fenced with trimmed agave trees and domed with slim-bodied pines circled the French colonial building of Le Petit restaurant in Ana Mandara Dalat Resort & Spa and lost its edge in the verdant hedgerow. It felt thrilling to find oneself watching the charming landscape with old villas scattered along the juicy green slopes, a chilling wind gently brushing pine tops as backdrop music and to breathe in a clear and crispy mountainous air.
An ancient brick wall left from a sumptuous French villa serves as a gateway to an impressive property comprising 17 fully-restored, elegant villas in the 1920’s and 30’s, all hidden in the lush and redolent conifer parc on the smoothly rolling hill. A quick ride on a buggy down zigzagging cobblestone pathways and I am at the butterfly door of my Villa room with a separate entrance surrounded by a wall of blooming hibiscus. Its interiors are yet more impressive, with a four-poster domed bed, eye-catching antique furniture, a fireplace and ornate, iron-cast heater. The impression is enhanced with a bathtub under the massive candelabrum of hanging curtain holders.

Two and three-storeyed villas, full of color and old French flair are scattered along the premises on different levels, ranging from these on the descending slope overlooking a picturesque valley to the hilltop villas with stunning panoramas of charming surroundings with a mysterious silhouette of old and ruined arc, all lit by the glaring sun at the distance. Once inside, one finds himself completely lost in time for a moment amid the bedazzling atmosphere of the past: a spacious living room in the bay window, shared by guests, is a full reproduction of a French salon from the beginning of XX century. Interior outlay with skillfully restored French furnishing, huge arcs of windows with cushions and bookshelves, old paintings and pictures on the wall along attached kitchen, butteries, butlery and backdoors hidden in the labyrinths of pass ways and stairs fill the air with mystery.

Each of the villas boast different eye-catching design, with curious interior solutions and fine touches featuring mansard suits with two levels, art deco- inspired studio rooms with bathtubs standing in the middle of the room, antique ceiling fans, sash windows, separate closets and study corners, balconies and spacious sunrooms. The resort premises embrace 36 hectares of parkland and feature amazingly aesthetic sites and corners to please the eye; alcoves and cozy garden seating areas, winding stone paths and a “stunner” of a heated outdoor swimming pool under the shade of towering pines which could easily win a prize. The long and greatly enjoyable day and night swims in its warm and garland illuminated waters has highlighted my stay.
As for in-house facilities, Ana Mandara Resort & Spa offers a lot of options for pleasantly surprising experiences to pamper all the senses with style and chic: fine gastronomy sessions with buffet breakfasts conducted on the terrace of the restaurant with Brie cheese, homemade bread, strawberry yogurt and juicy organic salads freshly cut and a la carte dining in noble indoor interiors featuring artichokes and local salmon. An atmospheric wine bar nestled in the restaurant‘s mansard has an extensive wine collection and offers captivating local wines.

La Cochinchine Spa, housed in one of the villas downhill, features truly relaxing and harmonious interiors with spacious lounge on wooden floor, wall-to-ceiling windows and gallery passages leading to secluded massage rooms luring enough to be lost in for several days in a row. Among la Cochinchine spa signature treatments are Vietnamese and Asian blended massage, Jet Lag recovery, Chakra balancing and Ayurvedic Shirodhara oil treatment. The Spa center features a well-equipped gym to work out the bountiful meals off against the backdrop of stunning views of verdant gardens.
This scenic high-hill city has a lot to offer to those keen on aesthetics. Ana Mandara Dalat resort & spa, along with an array of facilities and activities meant for utter comfort and memorable stay, boasts a lot of beauty and character and the peculiar festive atmosphere of Christmas at any season. If Dalat with its climate and architecture is considered “the least Vietnamese city” in the country, then Ana Mandara is one of “the most Dalat institutions,” which gives one an excellent chance to feel and experience its fascinating atmosphere.n

By Nathalie Sokolovskaya
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