I had the privilege of visiting Azerai La Residence in Hue, Vietnam with my two children. The hotel is a majestic, colonial resort set on the iconic Perfume River, named by the scent of flowers falling into the water from local orchards.

Azerai is specially located on the French side of the Perfume River opposite the ancient Vietnamese palace which housed the last emperor. A tour of this ancient citadel was informative and worthwhile and easily accessible from the hotel.

The Imperial city of Hue
The Imperial city of Hue

The original art deco mansion was built in the 1930s and was home to the French Governor of Indochina. It was a popular centre for political and social events before being converted into a resort.

Azerai is a stately, charming residence insinuating royalty, and has been accommodated by many dignitaries including the Princess of Sweden and the Japanese emperor and his wife.

Entering the majestic driveway set the tone for early last century opulence.

High ceilings, native timber wooden floors, ambient lighting, colonial furniture and regal décor created an experience of stepping back in time to aristocratic lavishness.

There were many regions to explore – a lounge area providing complimentary all-day tea, coffee, juices, cakes and fresh fruits; a bar area; a gallery featuring paintings of each Vietnamese emperor; and a classy restaurant that served delicious meals, including a buffet breakfast of fresh pastries, fruits, and international and local cuisine.

The hotel grounds are expansive, encompassing 2.5 hectares of natural vegetation surrounding manicured, tropical gardens.

Overlooking the Perfume River, the saltwater swimming pool was magnificent and the deepest in Vietnam, offering red sunsets through the riverside palm trees.

The hotel was expanded in 2005 to include two additional wings housing 122 rooms and suites.

We stayed in a Deluxe River View room which featured a large private balcony overlooking the lush grounds, swimming pool and river.

It was spacious and the tasteful art deco furnishings were in keeping with the exquisiteness of the hotel. The main bedroom area comprised twin beds, a large TV and adequate wardrobe space including luxurious robes and slippers. There was a separate sitting area with a coffee machine, high-quality teas, fresh fruits and a minibar. A single bed was provided for my son in place of the couch.

The hotel felt very serene and private, a peaceful sanctuary away from the active city, yet was in close proximity to the lively nightlife and local tourist attractions.

The former, imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue is a special place to visit, rich with Vietnamese history and French influence. The French colonial architecture throughout the city provided a romantic backdrop to modern, bustling contemporary living.

The restaurants were amazing, offering a fusion of Vietnamese and French cuisine.

The city has a thriving artistic community, with museums, historical tours and artisans showcasing their music and wares at evening markets. There were great opportunities to purchase original paintings, crafts and jewellery. The street food at the markets was sensational! Everything was on offer from frog legs to prawn and chicken kebabs freshly cooked on demand before our eyes, as well as the infamous Vietnamese rolled ice cream.

The hotel staff was amazing and very helpful. They arranged for a locum doctor to visit my room to inspect a wound and remove stitches I encountered while traveling.

I was also accompanied by the hotel accountant to the local bank where she helped translate and arrange funds transfer after I’d lost my credit card.

Azerai La Residence is a unique representation of the richness of the colonial and imperial history of Hue.






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