HUE, Vietnam — La Residence Hotel & Spa, twelve years after opening as one of the hottest new hotels in Asia, is wrapping up work on the first phase of a two-step renovation that will stand as the most dramatic pivot in its short history.
While the canvas of the hotel’s art deco appeal will remain unchanged, its brush strokes will paint a dramatically different picture. Every one of the hotel’s 122 rooms is on the verge of an extreme makeover, and with a decided move toward an understated aesthetic.
Its spa stays in the same place but consumes more of its ground floor location, and will feature new facilities, furnishings and equipment. The rooftop fitness center will relocate to a new venue beside the spa, and likewise come back online with a new line of fitness equipment.
The swimming pool will be nudged from its present location to a new spot outside the hotel’s flagship restaurant, Le Parfum, and lure swimmers with a new pool bar. A new 3-bedroom pool villa with a private heated pool will open on the banks of the fabled Perfume River as a complement to the hotel’s historic mansion and two annexes.
“In true Hue fashion, we’ve been very conservative about changing the formula that’s worked so well for so long,” said Phan Trong Minh, the hotel’s general manager. “But the changes in the works now are only going to enhance the experience.”
Minh said the hotel has pursued a compartmentalized approach to the first series of changes, and will pursue the same subtle approach to the second phase so that the redevelopments will be as invisible as possible to guests.
Already, the hotel has realized notable departures from its first dozen years. The hotels’ distinguishing all white facade is now ash-beige. The bar has been removed from the rotunda lobby and rebuilt in one of the mansion’s wings, providing guests with a more dedicated lounge experience.
There’s a more elaborate breakfast buffet, featuring a new array of fresh juices and detox drinks. The walls, curtains, blinds and upholstery throughout Le Parfum cultivate a more muted ambiance in pearl gray, complemented by a new lighting system that sets different moods for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
There’s a new menu to match the new mood, with lobster from the Mekong and salmon from Sapa. Outside, the gardens are in the midst of subtle changes, with the hedging curtailed and new lights installed.
Three months ago, La Residence Hotel & Spa climbed into the upper echelon of one of the world’s most prestigious hotel awards list, claiming the No. 8 spot on Condé Nast Traveler’s list of Asia’s top hotels.