DALAT, Vietnam — La Vallee de Dalat, a new collection of million-dollar villas in Dalat reminiscent of those built there more than 75 years ago, has been named 'Best Residential Development Vietnam' by judges on the Asia Pacific Property Awards panel.
Located on a piney slope that overlooks miles of bucolic terrain surrounding the former French hill station, the eight-villa project was the only property in that category to earn ‘5-Star’ status.
The accolade comes less than a year after Dai Phuc Development Co., Ltd. (DPDC) finished construction of La Vallee de Dalat’s first villa, a 600-square-metre, single-family home featuring contemporary stone and wood flourishes, spacious terraces and spectacular mile-high views of an area that emerged in the 1930s as a leading candidate for the capital of Indochina.
Construction on the second and third villas gets underway this month, said DPDC’s general director, Le Ngoc Khanh Tam.
"There's a reason the French fell in love with this plateau, and it's the same reason people are expressing such an interest in La Vallee de Dalat: You just can't find places in Southeast Asia with this kind of appeal," said the well-traveled Dalat native. "It's long been called the City of Eternal Spring, and rightfully so — the weather is comfortable year-round."
Not until La Vallee de Dalat came along, however, did second-home buyers begin looking seriously in Dalat's direction.
It's the city's only private, gated residential compound, and it's set next to Bai Dao Palace II, one of several grand palaces in Dalat erected for the last emperor of Vietnam.
"The second I laid eyes on the property, I was captivated," said a Canadian buyer who purchased two villas in May. "Then when I had a walk through Tam’s villa, and saw how beautifully designed it was, I was sold."
La Vallee de Dalat was conceived by Asiatique Design, a Ho Chi Minh City-based firm whose principals studied Dalat's rich architectural history for months before developing a masterplan.
"We've done other projects that had an Indochine style to them, but with La Vallee de Dalat, it's just ... more French," said Asiatique Design founder Aline Ho, who was born in Vietnam but lived in France for 12 years. "It just goes that extra step, which gives the development an enormous amount of character."
DPDC expects to realize additional sales from both domestic buyers — for whom Dalat’s climate is an antidote to the swelter of Vietnam’s coastline and lowlands — and foreigners from the likes of Singapore and Hong Kong who want to travel no more than a couple of hours for a second home in a temperate climate.
Indeed, DPDC has worked assiduously to ensure the rights of foreign buyers.
“Our agreement with a foreign buyer will include the provision that if at any time during the 50-year lease period the government permits actual ownership, the buyer will be entitled to take whatever form of ownership is allowed without paying anything additional to us,” Le Tam said. “I will sign whatever papers are required to convert the lease document to a property title.”
That time could come sooner rather than later. In recent months, local news outlets have reported that the government continues to consider new rules that would allow any foreigner with a three-month visa and foreign companies doing business in Vietnam to purchase developed housing lots.
La Vallee de Dalat's five remaining villas for sale range in size from 464 to 600 square meters and start at $1.2 million.