My Stay at “La Residence Hotel & Spa” in Hue

It was only an overnight stay, but it was a day and a night full of delightful surprises and wonderful memories!

In 2009, my husband Wayne and I spent a wonderful two week holiday in the north of Vietnam.

After a glorious three days sailing in a magnificent Indochina Junk on spectacular HaLong Bay, wereturned to Hanoi and caught the overnight train to Hue.

Just after 9am on the 16th June, my 57th Birthday, two very weary and disheveled travellers arrived in Hue after a long and uncomfortable night on the train.

Our driver and tour guide, Phong, met us at the Railway Station and took us to the beautiful five star Art Deco “La Residence Hotel and Spa” which was to be our accommodation for the night.

It was such a blissful oasis of calm after our crazy journey from Hanoi. Driving up to the main entrance we were struck by the elegance of the former French Governor’s Mansion which is now La Residence.

It is a magnificent white building which sits majestically amongst her beautifully manicured gardens.

We were warmly welcomed and shown to our beautifully appointed room for a much needed shower and change of clothes.

The first of many lovely surprises awaited us in our room, a deliciously large bowl full my favourite tropical fruits including Dragon fruit I fell in love with Dragon fruit during my stay in Vietnam and miss them here in South Australia!

Feeling refreshed after a lovely shower in our spacious bathroom, we went down to breakfast to find we were spoilt for choice with the extensive breakfast buffet on offer all fresh and delicious! My husband opted for a cooked breakfast but I preferred my fresh fruit and yoghurt with toast and coffee.

We laughed when we saw the huge jar of Vegemite on the buffet table because it reminded us of our brother-in-law Peter who carried tubes of Vegemite all around Greece, Turkey and Egypt on our trip there the previous year!

My second surprise came after breakfast when our tour guide Phong was waiting for us in the foyer with a beautiful boquet of roses and a chocolate cream birthday cake with my name on it from Buffalo Tours! I was very touched by their thoughtfulness as I’d not told anyone that it was my birthday!
He then took us on a memorable tour of the Imperial Palace, the Pagoda on the Perfumed River, the Citadel and the magnificent tombs of the Emperors before returning us to La Residence for an afternoon of relaxation.

After a very late lunch of tropical fruit, birthday cake and coffee on our balcony overlooking the Perfumed River, we set out to explore the hotel and it’s gardens.

I used the large media room to send and receive e mails from home and we bought some beautiful gifts for ourfamily from the hotel shop, then, what was left of our day was spent lazing by the pool and drinking Sangrias. Pure bliss!

Dinner that night was a superb meal in the tastefully decorated Art Deco dining room served by the mostdelightfully charming and friendly waitresses.

The place mats were copies of old “Le Journal De La Residence” which provided interesting reading and conversation while waiting for our meal to be served, and I still have mine amongst my souvenirs!

Much later that evening we returned to our room feeling very contented after a happy day and a delicious dinner only to discover yet another surprise awaiting us!

As well as the sweet treat on the pillow of our turned down bed wishing us The sweetest of dreams”, there was the most decadent, rich, chocolate mousse dessert cake with “Happy Birthday” written on it and a giant heart shaped biscuit made of gingerbread with “Happy Birthday” written on it in pink icing and tied with a “La Residence” ribbon and a charming Birthday card with best wishes from the manager, Carmen Marienberg!

I have never felt so spoilt .. It was a truly special end to one of my most memorable birthdays ever! Unfortunately we had to leave La Residence the next morning and continue on our journey to Hoi An, so after breakfast I gave my beautiful flowers to the lovely girls in the dining room and very reluctantly said goodbye to our hosts and the beautiful Ancient Imperial City of Hue,

(NB: My sister Sandra and her husband Peter were travelling to Vietnam with us, but she was diagnosed with breast cancer one month before we were to leave and it was with great sadness that they had to cancel their holiday. So we hope to return to Vietnam with them one day and spend more than just one night at La Residence as there is still so much to see in Hue)

Joylene Eckert