Da Lat is not for everyone, certainly not for high end travellers. As a wedding destination, it would appeal to adventurous couples who are looking for a less expensive and less commercialised venue with European-inspired architecture in a countryside location. Tucked away in the south central highlands, Da Lat is the cooler (pun intended) yet lesser known destination internationally compared to Vietnam’s seaside spots. However, with its cool weather that ranges between 14°C – 24°C, this City of Eternal Spring has always been the go-to holiday spot for domestic honeymooners, wellness seekers and outdoor enthusiasts all year long.
I took a short 3-day working vacay to experience the destination and stayed at Mercure Da Lat Resort after doing some research. It was an easy decision as there weren’t any other resorts, farm stay properties or boutique hotels that piqued my interest. Owned by Nova Land Investment Group Corporation, this adults-only, 4-star Accor property was completed in 2021 with 131 rooms. So it came as a surprise when I arrived and realised that the resort is not as big as I’d expected. The design aesthetics and landscaping of the resort are inspired by Monet’s impressionist paintings. The shabby chic rooms are well-appointed with basic amenities and they are grouped in 12 blocks resembling old French villas.
Nicknamed ‘Little Paris’, Da Lat was once a summer getaway for the French who left their mark with Victorian bungalows and villas.
As I strolled through the beautifully manicured pathways from my room to the main building, I sensed that the architect and designer were reviving and imitating that romanticism of a distant past. A good imitation that is consistent throughout the property.
Edith Piaf ballads wafted softly in the air through the outdoor sound system but I’d imagine Yiruma’s Sometime Someone to be a more fitting tune. The atmosphere was pleasant. The weather was perfect. I felt like Cinderella waking up to the melody of chirping birds as the jazzy tunes instantly uplifted my 8am walk to the breakfast place.
The main building reminded me of wedding halls in Korea and Japan. It definitely has a lot of potential as a wedding venue if only the service is just as polished as the ‘packaging’. Alas, it has been 1.5 weeks since I sent an enquiry email but I have yet to hear back from the General Manager nor anyone from the resort. I can’t be sure if it is due to their proficiency in English or they are simply inefficient.
Outside of Vietnam, Da Lat is virtually unknown to many, which gives this destination a unique charm that is raw and untarnished by international tourists. I can’t quite put a word to it but it felt like I time-travelled to a distant land that is still stuck in the 80s. It will be interesting for guests to travel to Da Lat for your wedding. Don’t get me wrong, it is a self-sustained thriving city on its own rights; exceptionally clean with modern technologies that you probably wouldn’t be able to find in many other mountain towns in Europe. To top it off, its internet service is exceptionally fast and well connected! Grab rides are cheap and easily available anywhere within Da Lat so you don’t actually need to hire a tour company/tour guide to bring you around or pick your guests up from airport.
Majority of locals here cannot speak English so be prepared to use gestures/sign language and translate app to speak to locals. Food in Da Lat is highly localised so it is a great destination for adventurous foodies. Lower your expectations on western cuisine including desserts. Go with the local food. Dalat’s must-try dishes include Bread Shumai, Dalat Pizza, Nem Noung, Beef Noodles, Grilled Chicken with Bamboo-cooked Rice, Can Cake, Chicken stuffed Pancake, Stuffed Snail with Meat, Grilled Corn and Grilled Sweet Potatoes.
One has to appreciate Da Lat for its anachronistic atmosphere to see the beauty and discover the adventure that this mountain resort town has to offer.
BEST MONTHS FOR WEDDINGS IN DA LAT
“The best time to visit Da Lat is from December to March. This time is the dry season, the weather is cool and sunny, suitable for all kinds of outdoor activities and is also the time when the city puts on a brilliant coat of various flowers such as white canola flowers (blooming from October to December), pink grass (from November to December) or yellow wild sunflowers (blooming from November to January).” – Dalat TIPC Gov –
GET IN BY PLANE
There are daily flights from Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hanoi, Vinh and Hue which are served by Viet Jet, Vietnam Airlines, VASCO and Jetstar Pacific. It took us 55 mins to get in from Ho Chi Minh on Viet Jet.