Ashleigh Mills stays at the luxurious five-star Hotel Royal Hoi An, located on the banks of the Thu Bon River.
The inspiration for the stunning Hotel Royal Hoi An by Sofitel began with a love story.
Rumour has it that Sotaro Araki, a wealthy merchant from Nagasaki, Japan, visited Hoi An in the 16th century. At the time Hoi An was a thriving trading town, frequented by Dutch, Japanese, and Indian merchants. Araki fell in love with Wa Ka Kue, a woman with a bloodline from the Vietnamese King and married her, becoming the first Japanese to break strict traditions. Hotel Royal, the latest addition to the MGallery by Sofitel collection, pays homage to this union, combining luxury with a Japanese and Vietnamese design.
The five-star hotel, located on the peaceful banks of the Thu Bon River in central Vietnam opened its doors in early 2015. The property features 120 guest rooms, a swimming pool, café, Japanese restaurant, gym and a spa. The hotel is an easy five-minute stroll from the UNESCO protected old town, a mecca for tourists, who come to view the architectural monuments, ancient houses and halls while sampling some of the best food, tailoring and shopping in Vietnam. We arrived somewhat dishevelled and exhausted from a long journey, at 10pm at night. The foyer breathes a sense of old world charm, offering us relief from the humidity, with traditional wooden furnishings and wicker chairs to relax in. The guest services manager assesses our mood perfectly, and after an effortless check in and a refreshing local pennywort juice, we are shown to our room for a good nights rest, leaving the details until the morning.
Each MGallery hotel is designed to stand as a gateway to another world, and Hotel Royal is no exception. Stepping into one of the guest rooms feels like stepping back in time. Our deluxe room is tastefully furnished, with dark wood, matched against bright oriental furnishings and red lanterns; similar to those you will find lighting up the streets of the ancient town in the evening. The rooms are a little on the smaller side (but one doesn’t come to Hoi An to sit still for long), and have all the trimmings; an LED 42 inch TV, a day bed, free WIFI, separate storage and dressing room, and a balcony with views over the Hoi An countryside. The bathroom is a treat in itself, with a standalone bath, Hansgrohe rain shower and L’occitane amenities.
On waking after a quiet and comfortable sleep, we explore the hotel in more detail, walking through the white tiled hallways with lanterns and mosaics to admire at every turn. The most stunning feature is perhaps the art-nouveau mosaic pool, which provides the centrepiece for all the activity, the Faifo Café, River Bar and foyer. Breakfast in the Faifo Café can be served indoor or poolside and includes a wide selection of decadent pastries, muesli and Vietnamese fare, including traditional noodle soup or Pho’, a breakfast staple for the locals. Heading into town from Hotel Royal is an easy walk, but visitors need to prepare for the heat. Bikes are also on offer from reception, should you wish to take this option, as cars are banned in the old town. A taxi can drop you just outside.