As a treat for my parents who were visiting Vietnam ( I currently live in HCM) I flew them to Dalat for what was to have been an idyllic highland spa getaway from the hustle/bustle of the city. I'd read about Evason, and was familiar with their Nha Trang property as well as Maldives location and thus confident this 'unique' property would afford a special experience.
At $220++ USD/night given the market (Dalat) I was confident that Evason would deliver thoughtful value-added benefits worthy of the rate.
I was mistaken.
The staff's indifference was evident upon our arrival when greeted by a rather passive staff member who fumbled through her arrival sheet trying to find our names, I had to point it out to her before she would relax enough to give us a "welcome" smile. The foyer was dimly lighted when we arrived in early evening with chilly winds making the open-air reception foyer very uncomfortable, a suggestion to lower the blinds to block the winds was met with an indifferent stare. Shortly before taking a shuttle to the villa an out-of-breath and disheveled man appeared extending a rather awkward welcome: it was the hotel GM.
Looking past our unique welcome and toward the villa we arrived to find a cold and drafty villa ( at the bottom of a flight of stairs to a kitchen area a door to the outside had been left wide-open). We asked our assigned butler if she could start fires in the (3) fireplaces to help warm the villa. She assured us she would while we went to tour the facilities. Upon our return nearly an hour later expecting a warm villa we were very disappointed to find a cold dark villa. Upon phoning her response was a dismissive "I forgot about that". Mind you the property was only 50% occupied so it was not like she was spread thin.
The interior of these "rustic" villas were very spartan, the living rooms very poorly lighted, and the chairs/sofa were chipped,worn, and their ergonomics did not invite one to spend any time there. The walls are bereft of any wall hangings or artwork to enliven the interior. The outside aesthetics were equally worn: moldings cracked, chipped paint, scruffy yardwork.
Overall the interior aesthetic and ambience was a real let down.
Moreover, as the property sits just outside (2 km) the city center but the road goes through a rather disheveled and downtrodden neighborhood a complimentary shuttle to the city would have been a great value added service; no such service existed, though the butler offered to call us a taxi (note: upon arriving in Dalat the taxi driver when instructed to Evason had no idea as to it whereabouts and had to call his dispatch several times.)
And whereas the gorgeous, sublime, and sumptuous Sofitel Dalat property (though less expensive than Evason) offers free shuttle service from Dalat's airport, the Evason charges $10 per person for the same service. While I understand cost economics of the hotel business the complete absence of such "thoughtful" or benefit-added services does little to mitigate the feelings of being "nickle&dimed" and underwhelmed when an experience in other aspects of the stay disappoint.
One attraction of the Evason was it's outdoor "heated" pool that looked so inviting. However upon testing the waters "heated" became yet another source of feeling underwhelmed as in "under-heated". When we mentioned this to our butler she said she would request the "heat" be increased.
The next morning it remained "chilly" and it came as no surprise that not one soul was seen in the pool the balance of our stay.
And one final disappointment. Though we knew breakfast was not included (the Dalat Sofitel includes breakfast in their magnificent dining room) there was little to eat the following morning from the menu that inspired us to go back to the restaurant. We did eat dinner (and drinks in the wineroom) as we were too tired to go into town, and while the food was enjoyable it was not altogether memorable.
Needless to say, we checked out after one night and spent the balance at the Sofital Dalat enjoying the tennis courts, sumptuous tea in the grand dining room, the splendid views over the lake, regal rooms, the warmth and thoughtful amenities of the library, and the sumptuous buffet breakfast.
For someone who has extensive travel experience and has enjoyed many of the finest properties in SE Asia I was very underwhelmed by the Evason Dalat, and score it very low
vis-a-vis its overall relative value to similar properties, ie Sofital Dalat, in the Dalat market.
BTW, I left this opinion with the Evason with email attached and to date have never received a follow-up response.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The 72 rooms resort, restaurant and spa set in the rural highlands of Dalat, Vietnam comprises seventeen fully restored French colonial villas each originally constructed between the 1920's and 1930's. The villas retain the unique personalities of their original owners while being lovingly restored to their former glory, with all care taken to preserve original design, decor and charm. Of the seventeen villas on site, fifteen have been converted into fully serviced hotel accommodations with the remaining two villas being converted into our Restaurant and Six Senses Spa, respectively. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Hotel Dalat
- Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort And Spa
- Ana Mandara Hotel Dalat
- Ana Mandara Resort Dalat