The Edensee resort
I was lucky to stay in this beautful hotel on two occasions in January.
The situation is phenomenal, right by an enormous man made lake with barely anything in sight other than the lake, and pine tree covered rolling hills. There is a small resort on the opposite side of the lake which does not intrude.
The hotel itself is a short ride from Dalat, about $7 - $8 in a taxi if you cannot catch one of the shuttle buses run by the hotel. BTW the shuttle bus driver is great and he will take you within reason to any destination in and around Dalat, not just to the market.
The first time I stayed was on 1 January and I arrived on the (very) early morning flight from Saigon. New Year there with the streets completely packed by revelers on motorbikes and choking exhaust fumes was something else. But the contrast arriving in Dalat which is around 5000 feet above sea level could not have been greater. Wonderful cool fresh morning air, the city is called the City of Eternal Spring due to the lovely contrasting climate from Saigon. The City itself was a hill station in the colonial era and there is still a strong French influence in the villas in certain parts of town. It looked a little bit like Le Touqet Paris Plage in parts !
The main building of the hotel is rather palatial and exremely comfortable and well appointed. The staff were welcoming and friendl y throughout my stay. I often stay in hotels and form a good first impression and then find that on a return visit something is lacking. On this occasion I found the reverse and even though suffering from a broken arm on my second stay, found the hotel even better and the staff even friendlier. They were kind and did not seem to mind me playing the piano in the large reception area in spite of the broken arm ! There is a well equipped business centre.
On the second visit there had been a muddle with Agoda.com booking and the cheaper room we had booked for three days was fully occupied as a result of a large conference taking place. Instead of making a fuss the staff sensibly and calmly upgraded us to a palatial suite and we though we had died and gone to heaven. The bath for two cushions at each end was quite something LOL.
We went out and about during the day but found this a delightlfully calm quite place in which to enjoy the countryside and lake. There was quite a lot of bird life and it would be a great place for “twitchers”.
We ate in the room each evening and the staff kindly organised for the normal restaurant dinner menu a la carte to be brough to the room. The food was delicious and very reasonably priced by western standards. The rooms have gas fires to keep them warm as it is cool at night in January.
There is an indoor swimming pool and this was a spectacular arrangment of pools of different depths and sizes and felt like something out of a James Bond movie ! This was connected to the spa, which we did not use.
There was a hotel shop with lovely local goods, especially embroidered silk items which would make great presents for people back at home.
So really no complaint about the hotel whatsoever. Charming smiling staff for whom nothing was really too much trouble. I would stay here again without hesitation and it is tremendous value for money. I would not be put off by the distance from Dalat. It is a very pretty drive into the town along the lake side and certainly calm and quiet in contrast to the inevitable motorbike hubub of Dalat itself.
Turning to activities in and around Dalat….
The town has a wonderful market and due to the climate the area is famous for flowers, fruit, vegetables of every conceivable variety and coffee. I think there are also vinyards but did not see them. Upstairs in the market there is a traditional Asian style eating area and we ate our lunches there very well and very cheaply. (and quite deliciously too)
There is a silk shop where you can see the local ladies embrodering spectacular silk screens and all manner of goods are available. Lots of present opportuities. I cannot remember the name. Dalat itself has a large lake in the centre of town and this adds an attractive feature. The place does not feel oppressive and as it is set on a series of rolling hills it feels very open and airy.
Around Dalat itself there are many potential activities. We went on a trip that was well organised by the hotel with a safe driver and good English speaking guide to the Elephant Waterfalls, about 30 km to the west of the town. This took us through spectacular countryside and before reaching the falls we stopped at a coffee plantation where we drank coffee that had recently been growing on the plants around us. You can see the acitivy of drying and shelling the beans under the warm sun.
The falls themselves are amazing though stout shoes are needed and it would be a diifficult walk down for a child under the age of 7 or 8. However the treck down is worth it and there are wonderful views back up the valley to the falls through the mist or spray that is thrown up by the water.
On our return to the hotel we went via an old fashioned silk factory where we saw the workers using old equipment to unravel the silk from the cocoons, washing it and then even weaving into cloth. I had always assimed the thread was dyed before weaving but in fact it is weaved then dyed.
We also went to a cricket farm where we saw the stages of development of the crickets before they are harvested for cooking. We tried some and they were quite crunchy ! An added entertainment at the cricket farm was the domesticated family pig wandered round the dining area and kitchen hoping for scraps of cricket for those who could not stand the taste ! Much fun.
All or these activities would be great for kids over the age of about 7-8.
There is a golf course for those who cannot withdraw. Fishing for those who cannot withdraw and trekking and mountain biking for those wanting more exercise.
There is a bit of an ex pat community in Dalat and a friendly network.
It is a popular place for the Vietnamese to visit in the summer months and apparently a well known honeymoon resort.
Rather than doing the standard route up the east coast of Vietnam I would strongly recommend Dalat as an contast to beach side of things at some point in a two to three week trip to Vietnam. One can also fly direct from Hanoi. Having travelled quite extensively in Vietnam I would strongly recommend a trip to Dalat and to the Edensee. In a time budget I would assign three times as much time to Dalat as to Saigon, but then I prefer small places and fresh air. Saigon did not get great points from me and I woud not go again.
Finally unless you want to break the journey at Cat Tien national park, which I am told is great, I would recommend you fly to Dalat. It takes 35 minutes as opposed to 8 hours in bus. The airline is cheap and efficient and flown mainly by western pilots. It is a 25 minute ride from the airport to Dalat and the main road is good and the airport efficent and tiny.
Well done Edensee. I hope your enterprise is a success.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Resort offers 112 rooms which are set up in three distinct categories and villas. The European designed villas with all international standard amenities and equipment are situated within three different areas. Furthermore is each room category named after a flower from our local landscape.All villas are surrounded by natural landscaping; bursting with Dalat flowers and most offer a view of the beautiful Tuyen Lam Lake. ... more less
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