Previous page: The Quang Trieu
(Cantonese) Assembly Hall, originally
built as a place for merchants to
gather, is now a mu...
Right: Buddhist monks worship in the citadel in Hue,
the former imperial capital
city of Vietnam previously restricted to ...
Above: A marble sculpture
on the central coast near Da
Nang. Much of the marble
and limestone mining in the
nearby mountai...
“WALK AS IF YOU ARE KISSING THE EARTH WITH YOUR FEET.”
you pointers on where to spend
the rest of your evening.
“People fr...
A lovely mention about La Residence Hotel & Spa in December 2013's issue of Du Jour Magazine
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

A lovely mention about La Residence Hotel & Spa in December 2013's issue of Du Jour Magazine

272 views

Published on

www.la-residence-hue.com

"Travelers pass through Hanoi and Saigon, but vacationers come to Central Vietnam," says Phan Trong Minh, the general manager of La Ré sidence Hôtel & Spa in Hue.

Published in: Travel, News & Politics
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
272
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
2
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
2
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

A lovely mention about La Residence Hotel & Spa in December 2013's issue of Du Jour Magazine

  1. 1. Previous page: The Quang Trieu (Cantonese) Assembly Hall, originally built as a place for merchants to gather, is now a must-visit attraction for visitors to Hoi An. Left: Marblestatue shops are prevalent in Da Nang, located on Vietnam’s central coast, south of the imperial city of Hue. Below: A home in Hoi An doubles as a porcelain showcase. 152 153 REDISCOVERING VIETNAM CULTURE RICH AND POSTCARD PERFECT, A REGAL COUNTRY GETS NEW LIFE WRITTEN BY BILL KEITH PHOTOGRAPHED BY DOUGLAS FRIEDMAN F ran Lebowitz once said, “You’re only as good as your last hairc ut .” I f t h at ’s t he c a s e, my l i fe’s br ig ht , sh i n i ng mome nt came cour tesy of a man named Vi n h on the f ront porch of his house on Han Thuyen Street in Hue, Viet nam, and it cost just $2 . 50. I’ve h a d ple nt y of b a d haircuts in cities where language barriers weren’t an issue and my practitioner had more than scissors and a st raight razor at his disposal. Still, when Vin h dug into my nearly shoulder-length hair without so much as wetting it, I was full of excitement instead of fear. Why? Because this experience felt authentic. My job has sent me to many of the world’s most far-f lung hot spots, and I’ve been presented with plenty of local customs and r it uals, i ndigenous delicacies, and site-specific spa treatments that too often feel like they were ginned up for wide-eyed honeymooners. Even exotic destinations like Thailand, Tahiti and Bali begin to lose their luster. Phrases l i ke “ t i me -honored t r a d it ion” start to sound meaningless. But throughout my few days in central Vietnam, whether I was at a historic landmark or contemporary crafts fair or roadside pho stand, not a moment felt par t icularly forced or hackneyed. I was happy to f ind out that Vietnam doesn’t subscribe to the “why on Earth would you leave “WHEN WE ARE NOT SURE, WE ARE ALIVE.” —GRAHAM GREENE
  2. 2. Right: Buddhist monks worship in the citadel in Hue, the former imperial capital city of Vietnam previously restricted to the ruling family. Opposite page: A look at a pagoda inside the grounds of the once-forbidden city, which is now undergoing an extensive renovation. 154 155 of vacationing. And eschewing the more obvious excursions to Hanoi in the north and Saigon in the south in favor of the central cities of Da Nang, Hoi An and Hue not only diminishes your chances of running into an ex-boss on the beach or getting stuck behind a school group in an ancient grotto, it also means you’re getting the best of both regions—without all of the congestion. “Travelers pass th rough Hanoi and Saigon, but vacationers come to central Vietnam,” says Phan Trong Minh, the general manager of La Résidence Hôtel and Spa in Hue. “We have the dy namism of Saigon i n Da Nang, the profound heritage of Hanoi in Hue and Hoi An, plus all the incredible leisure opportunities.” Ah yes, the leisure. While it’s true I passed serious time in pagodas, mingled with merchants and hiked along the Ho Chi Minh trail, I also clocked many hours spa-hopping in lagoon-side treatment rooms and sunbathing along untouched beaches. Once home to “China Beach,” the well-known camp for American GIs during the Vietnam War, the road f rom Da Na ng to Hue is no stranger to R & R. Also, in the past year, luxury brands A man and Banyan Tree have opened their first Vietnamese proper ties to great success, attracting a sophisticated guest who wants a singular experience. “The people we’re getting now aren’t really here for a taste of Vietnam; they’re here to indulge in the central coast,” says Anthony Gill, general manager of the Nam Hai resort in Hoi An, the ne plus ultra of luxur y proper ties, which opened in 2006 and won a Travel + Leisure Design Award for Best Resort and a Condé Nast Traveller Best Overseas Spa Hotel distinction. “They’re here to log hours on the beach and the golf cou rse, a nd t hen when t hey’re primed, they head out for a day’s adventure among Hue’s renowned palaces and tombs or out to see what t he a ncient Cha m people worked up in stone at My Son, t ravel up into the Highlands or explore the world-renowned cave system at Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.” W hat’s happening in cent ral Vietnam isn’t comparable to anything else. As Gill puts it: “If what you’re after is access to the ocean, then comparisons to Phuket are
  3. 3. Above: A marble sculpture on the central coast near Da Nang. Much of the marble and limestone mining in the nearby mountains has been stopped, but it continues elsewhere in the country. apt. But we’re more than a beach, the way Bali is more than a beach. There’s tremendous cultural depth here that resonates as deeply as 1,500 years. It’s this combination of culturally profound and fantastically f un—I thin k we’re on to something new here on the central coast, something the rest of the world is just waking up to now.” A journey typically begins in Da Nang, thanks to daily direct flights from Seoul and f lights four times a week from Singapore and Hong Kong. Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific offer fantastic service from the U.S. through Changi air- port, where you can grab a short flight on SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines. Besides being the area’s commercial capital, Da Nang is also home to the Marble Mountains, a cluster of five hills that have provided the raw material for many of Vietnam’s celebrated stone car vi ngs. W hile you may not need a life-size Jesus or a fivefoot-tall Buddha statue, a trip to the 500-year-old stonecutters’ village is worth a visit for sheer spectacle, as is the 156-step climb atop one of the peaks, which takes you into Huyen Khong, a jaw-dropping grotto that has served as both a place of worship and a hospital for the Vietcong during the American War. Just 18 miles down the beach f rom Da Na ng l ie s t he a ncie nt city of Hoi An, a merchant capital whose charm is as palpable as the 16th-cent ur y-st yle car vings ador ni ng hu nd reds of t wo - and three-stor y, Chinese-inf luenced structures that now do triple duty as residences, museums and commercial spaces. The cit y is also home turf for Saigon-born, Texastrained celebrity chef Duc Tran, whose cuisine at MangoRooms will force you to reconsider the phrase Asian fusion. But for me, Hue was the understated showstopper. The political, cult u ral and religious center of the country from 1802 t o 1945, it’s home t o the Ng uyen dy nast y’s For bidde n Cit y. Now you can spend all day getting lost among the square citadel’s striking gates, temples and palaces—but then you’d never make it to Emperor Tu Duc’s tomb, set inside a pine forest dotted with pagodas, pavilions and ponds just five miles outside the city. It was there I caught sight of mon k s per for m i ng their daily rituals (before working in a quick game of soccer). Hiring a local guide here — or any where in this par t of the cou nt r y — is a wor t hwh i le ex p e nd it u r e, a nd t he one reg ret I have is not a r r a ng i ng a me al at what’s called a fami ly r e s t au r a nt . For about $40 per person, a private chef will not on ly prepa re a feast fo r yo u r g r o u p , h e’l l a l s o e xplain how and why he’s prepared it and, more likely than not, give 157 156 Left: A view of the countryside at the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, where numerous grottoes and caves, including the largest one in the world, helped secure its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. Left: The Huyen Khong grotto, located in the Marble Mountains, is illuminated through the ceiling by sunlight. Top: The governor’s residence of Hue was renovated to become the boutique hotel La Résidence. Above: Along China Beach lies the Nam Hai resort, where guests dip into personal infinity pools.
  4. 4. “WALK AS IF YOU ARE KISSING THE EARTH WITH YOUR FEET.” you pointers on where to spend the rest of your evening. “People from the center of Vietnam are relatively new to international tourism,” says La Résidence’s Phan Trong Mi n h. “It’s all fresh to us, so we lack the jadedness that naturally comes from long ex p os u re t o i nt e r n at ion al peoples. There is an ear nestness to the people who work at my hotel. We feel this incredible responsibility to tell this city’s story to people who visit, and we know we only have a short time to make a deep impression.” And speaking of deep impressions, did I mention I’ve got a guy who gives a mean haircut and face massage for just $2.50? There were no lot us petals strewn about his porch and he didn’t offer me locally sourced lemongrass tea, but he did call me 007 when I left. And judging by the line of local guys who had gathered behind me to get the same treatment, I’d say I got the authenticity I was looking for. LE ARN MORE ABOUT VIETNAM’S HIDDEN TRE A SU RES ONLINE AT DUJOU R .COM Left: Outside of Hue, in the demilitarized zone of Vietnam, a reunification monument stands on the edge of the Ben Hai River, which once marked the border between north and south Vietnam. Above: The Marble Mountains, located in Da Nang, are named for the five elements: metal, water, wood, fire, and earth. 159 158 —ZEN MASTER THICH NHAT HANH

×