The Dalat Palace Hotel and Du Parc Hotel Dalat have been open since the early 1920s and 1930s, with the Dalat Palace Golf Club joining the fray in 1956. Sporting a rich history, the Dalat Palace luxury hotel went through multiple owners and restorations, at one point ending up in DHL investor Larry Hillblom’s hands, who in 1995 died in a mysterious plane crash while flying his vintage aircraft from Pagan Island.
A mere 18 years after Dalat was founded by Doctor Alexandre Yersin, a decision was made in 1905 to build a “sanatorium,” as the French called it – a hotel will all the latest luxuries of the time. It was to be called The Langbian Palace.
By 1913, the blueprints were ready, but the onset of the First World War delayed construction to 1916. In 1922, the 30-room hotel was complete. By this time, Art Deco loomed onto the scene as a strong reaction against Art Nouveau. The pre-WWI Victorian look of Langbian Palace was already considered outdated.
At the time, the Palace was host to a number of wealthy and famous guests, who retreated to Dalat for the abundant hunting opportunities and cool highland climate. In the evenings, the ballroom would be filled with dance parties.
With demand growing and capacity limited to 30 rooms, Hotel du Parc (now Du Parc Hotel Dalat) was opened in 1932, adding another 70 rooms to meet increasing demand.
In 1941, the Palace was fully refurbished to fit the lauded Art Deco style, adding additional rooms to the building.
The Palace served host to Fontainebleau conference negotiators in 1946, and the national hero General Vo Nguyen Giap stayed in Suite 101 from April to May the same year. Other famous guests include Robert de Niro, the Lord Mayor of London, the Queen and Prince of Denmark, and many heads of state who were personal guests of Emperor Bao Dai.
The Palace changed hands once again after the war, the French Administration taking control until 1958. That year the South Vietnamese government got hold of the hotel and renamed it the Dalat Palace Hotel. The hotel would later change hands several more times throughout the decades.
The famous Dalat Palace Golf Club, originally Emperor Bao Dai’s personal 9-hole course, was later extended in 1991 to a championship 18-hole course by the joint venture company comprising of the Lam Dong Tourist Company and Danao International Holdings Limited.
Today, the Dalat Palace Hotel and Du Parc Hotel Dalat boast 43 and 140 rooms respectfully. Over 2,000 pieces of art hang in the Dalat Palace, which was renovated in 1991 and reopened in 1995. During the renovation, the hotel briefly lay in the hands of billionaire investor Larry Hillblom (The “H” in “DHL”), who died in a puzzling plane crash in 1995. Larry was flying from Pagan Island in a vintage plane when the aircraft crashed. Rescuers found the bodies of his business partner and his pilot, but Larry’s was never recovered. He had already at that point put in $40 million to restore the Palace and golf course.
Both hotels are running to this day with updated amenities. The Dalat Palace Hotel includes the Le Rabelais restaurant, specializing in French cuisine; the historic Rose Library reading room; Larry’s Bar in the basement; and hotel facilities including tennis courts, gym room, boutique shops and a spa.
The Dalat Palace Golf Club is accessible via shuttle bus from the hotel.