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“Indifference & Underwhelmed”

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Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 74 Hotels in Da Lat
Certificate of Excellence
Bali, Indonesia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Indifference & Underwhelmed”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 11, 2007

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.

Enjoy Dalat.

  • Liked — serenity
  • Disliked — service,failure to follow-up/follow-through, absence of "hospitality" benefits
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank mackay33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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593 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2007

The Evason Ana Mandara Villas at Dalat is the great retreat for anyone looking for a QUIET vacation in Vietnam.

The resort is located in a secluded residential neighborhood in western Dalat. The 17 French villas that make up the resort are spread out among a small pine forest that overlooks Dalat’s rolling hills. Each villa and guest room has a distinct design which adds to the charm of the resort. Each villa also has a common living room and kitchen which would be especially nice if you were with a group that rented out the entire villa.

The rooms have a rustic feel to them but they are clean and have all the necessary amenities (toiletries, tv, dvd/cd, safe, internet access, mosquito net, etc). Each villa comes with a private butler although he/she is not actually based in your villa. I’m not sure a specific butler is actually assigned to your villa but there is somebody on-call 24 hours a day.

Villa 9 houses the resort’s one restaurant along with a wine bar and a few shops. The menu selection includes western and Vietnamese dishes and incorporates local organic fruits and vegetables in many of the dishes. The resort advertises that the chef will design a custom menu for anyone who has special dietary needs. The restaurant offers both indoor- and outdoor-seating along with two private group dining rooms and one romantic table for two on the wine bar balcony. Restaurant prices are average for a resort of this quality ($8-25 USD for mains).

The villa neighboring Villa 9 houses the temporary spa. Also neighboring Villa 9 is the resort’s fabulous heated pool. The pool area is the perfect place to read a book or fall asleep to the sounds of nature.

The Dalat market and Xuan Hoang Lake can be reached in 5 minutes by car or 30 minutes by foot. From the airport to the resort, it will take 30-45 minutes depending on the traffic going over the mountain pass.

Besides the peace and quiet, the best thing about this hotel is the quality of service. Customer service is usually horrendous in Vietnam, even at “4- and 5-star hotels” but the Evason Ana Mandara is a true exception. By no means is it perfect but the service is by far some of the best I’ve experienced in Vietnam.

I know foreign tourists come to Vietnam to experience the people and culture but if you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle, this is the place to stay.

  • Liked — Peace and quiet.
  • Disliked — No stand up shower
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank KoreanKing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 14, 2007

A friend and I spent six days and five nights in this mountain resort this past May. It was an excellent, relaxing holiday resort, with cocktails and massages at our beck and call, excellent food, our own personal butler and a 1940's convertible roadster to take us touring around town whenever we liked.

The Evason resort is still pretty new; it opened in the later half of 2006. We had some minor issues which were probably linked to the newness. Even still, the resort is very well managed. From the handmade soap in the bathrooms to the eco-friendly resort policies, all of the little details of our stay were well thought out. The food was excellent, and we took a great private cooking class which was quite memorable.

We took three excursions during the week - a scenic Dalat tour, a picnic lunch by a lake and the coffee lover experience. My friend and I were more into being driven around than being active ourselves, but they do also have whitewater rafting, mountain biking and rock climbing. In addition to the hotel, the town of Dalat itself was really charming.

  • Liked — Comfort and the decor
  • Disliked — Fireplace exploded - too new
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank frankieboodog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 9, 2007

Stayed at the Evason for 2 nights in July. The hotel is very original and atmospheric, comprising 16 original 1920s-30s French country villas, each restored after years of neglect. The setting is a pine forest on a hillside just outside Dalat town and the vegetation and scent of the forest is amazing.

The villas themselves each comprise around 4-5 rooms/suites and each house has a common living room which can be used for private dining. Restoration is pretty basic and the villas are somewhat bare with minimal furniture and not really adequate llighting (for reading). But the overall effect is charming, and if you like original hotels and a very European feeling then you will like this hotel.

Sevice at the hotel was, however, woefully inadequate. First, the hotel car pickup reserved from Dalat airport was not there to meet us. We took a taxi and the hotel paid for this but it was a bad start to the stay. Service at dinner in the restaurant ('Nine') was also a shambles with orders forgotten and mixed up. We waited about 20 minutes for our aperitifs and had to remind the serving staff twice. Quality of the food was mixed - some dishes were well executed/fusion cuisine but some basics (e.g. sausage and bacon at breakfast swimming in oil and inedible) were inexcusable. It was my birthday and the hotel spotted this and gave me a cake (a nice gesture) however this failed to make up for all the other lapses.

Hopefully the service standards can improve with more training. A big problem is language since the staff still have problems in communication. The hotel is about 9 months old so I thought teething problems should be sorted out by now. Management should address these issues since the hotel has a lot of potential - if it can get the basics right.

Note - you must try dinner at Le Rabelais restaurant in the Dalat Palace hotel. Michelin star standard cooking and service/ambience in the classsical French manner which I have never seen before in Asia.

  • Liked — Charm, setting, originality
  • Disliked — Service
  • Stayed May 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Questor88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
194 reviews
183 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 349 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2007

After staying the last week end at Evason Ana Mandara Dalat, I'd like to give 4.5 pts but there isn't this option and consequently, i think it's understandable to give 5 points because this resort is newly opened and i'm pretty sure it will become one of the most amazing retreat.
Perched high on the hill, the villas are in a very peaceful area full of pine trees and other plants and flowers. At night, the feeling you can have is simply magical: just the sounds of the birds and the wind and the incredible and fantastic smell of the trees.
This resort is very original because the bedrooms and suites are divised into 8 villas (but the management expects to open some more in the near future). For now, you'll have the choice between four categories: Villa rooms, Villa studios, Villa suites and the amazing Bellevue suite. Depending of the villa where you'll have your room or suite, the decoration is a bit different but always extremly pure and in the beige and white scheme of colours.
All of the rooms and suites are spacious enough and some have the advantage to have an open fireplace and a balcony but if you can, don't hesitate to choose the Bellevue Suite just fantastic and ideal for a romantic week end with a large bathtub in front of the fireplace and the most beautiful view.
Evason Ana Mandara at Dalat is also an ideal place for the best spa experience and a vietnamese massage is something not to be misses. The therapists are ultra professional and you'll feel so good after being pampered.
Food in the resort is really really good. "A la carte" breakfast is delicious with a choice of vietnamese or occidental delights and everything is from the best quality. For dinner, the "hot pot" is something to try in Vietnam and it's just exquisite.
In this case, why to hesitate to give 5 points? Because even if the service is very nice and helpful, i think the management has to recruit more staff because you'll feel probably very lonely in the villa. We haven't seen any butler or waiter in the villa except during check in and out times. At the restaurant, it's a bit slow but with a little improvement, everything will be ok soon. More "atmosphere" or "ambiance" would be great but i'd like to give to this resort a little bit of time to improve the little bad details because i'm sure it will be soon one of the nicest place to go around the globe...

  • Liked — to be different and the amazing spa treatment
  • Disliked — the little details which have to be improved...
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank RCBLHKG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort & Spa

Property: Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort & Spa
Address: Le Lai Street, Ward 5, Da Lat 61000, Vietnam
Phone Number:
Location: Vietnam > Lam Dong Province > Da Lat
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Da Lat
#1 Luxury Hotel in Da Lat
#2 Spa Hotel in Da Lat
#2 Family Hotel in Da Lat
#3 Romantic Hotel in Da Lat
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 65
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

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