First published February 2014 | Words, photos and film by Vietnam Coracle
Surrounded by coffee farms, tea plantations, rice paddies and fruit trees, Juliet’s Villa Resort is a quiet, secluded and peaceful place to stay in the Central Highlands. Eighty kilometres southwest of Dalat, this small, family-run resort has tasteful bungalows, a pool, fireside barbeques, good views, and even its own waterfall. Located on the Di Linh Plateau, Juliet’s Villa Resort opens up a part of the Central Highlands most visitors overlook. A couple of nights here makes a great stopover for anyone travelling by motorbike on the Southeast Loop, or Saigon expats looking to escape the big city, or travellers wanting to break the journey between Saigon and Dalat. Check availability and rates for this resort for this hotel HERE
JULIET’S VILLA RESORT
Address: 13B Hàng Hải, Gung Ré Village, Di Linh Town, Lâm Đồng Province [MAP]
Website: www.1ajulietsvillaresort.com | Tel: 0633 765 041 | Average rate: $20-$30 per night
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When looking for accommodation in Vietnam’s mountainous regions, travellers usually have to choose between comfort and proximity to nature: the former are mid-range hotels in highland cities; the latter are rustic homestays in the middle of the countryside. Juliet’s Villa Resort offers the best of both these options. The comfortable brick bungalows are many steps up from sleeping on the floor at a homestay, but the secluded, rural location, and the fact that it’s a family-run resort, means that it retains the intimacy and attachment to nature that homestays offer. It’s not yet a perfect synthesis, but it’s a great example of the kind of accommodation that I’d like to see a lot more of in the Central Highlands.
The resort is located down a dirt track, off a rural road, just a few kilmotres south of Di Linh town, on the main Saigon to Dalat highway. There are only four bungalows (or ‘villas’), each of which can sleep 2 or 3 guests (the latter with an extra bed). Dotted around the lovely gardens and a medium-sized swimming pool, all the bungalows face south or west, so that they make the most of the warm highland sun, (unlike lowland Vietnam, the Central Highlands can be cold, especially at night). Rooms are simple but clean and tasteful. There are satellite TVs, large patios, mosquito nets, outside cooking facilities, and en-suite bathrooms. However, water pressure is a bit weak, and hot water erratic – a cold shower can be quite unpleasant in the chilly highland temperatures.
There are loungers with parasols around the pool, a large children’s play area, and plenty of wooden furniture in the garden, where you can sit listening to birdsong, looking at the colourful plants, flowers and pine-forested mountains in the distance. A steep stone staircase (with very rickety metal handrails!) leads down to the resort’s very own natural waterfall. Some 15-20 metres high, the picturesque waterfall has a steady flow, even in the dry season. Coffee plants, jackfruit, avocado, papaya and banana trees grow up around the cascade. At dusk, the sun sets in the wide, fertile valley, making silhouettes of the buffalo ploughing the rice fields. The only thing disturbing the peace is pop music, which is played all day, and audible throughout the resort. This seems a strange thing to do in such a peaceful environment.
The owners, Renaud and Hiên, are husband and wife. Hiên grew up locally, and Renaud is from Belgium. Together, they speak English, Vietnamese and French, and they work hard to make sure their guests are cared for. The small restaurant and bar is where breakfast (included in the price) is served, and, in front of this, is a large yard, where a nightly campfire and barbeque is offered for 80,000VNĐ ($4) per person. Hiên prepares meat and vegetables, while Renaud takes hot coals from the bonfire and puts them on tabletop stoves, so that guests can grill their own food at their tables. This excellent-value dinner includes huge portions of marinated meats – chicken, wild boar, venison – vegetables, bread, rice and noodles. The campfire and dinner is a great chance to meet other travellers, especially if you’re on a motorbike trip and want to compare routes. Hiên and Renaud also offer boat tours of a nearby lake for around $50 per person.
If you want to spend some time here, make sure you book at least a couple of days in advance. It’s a small resort and the Easy Riders (motorbike tour guides) have a contract with the owners, so it’s often full. There are plans to expand the resort, which is good news, but I hope Juliet’s Villa Resort won’t expand to the extent that it loses its primary appeal: a local, intimate resort; peaceful, spacious, tasteful, and above all, perfect mid-range value.
Check Availability & Rates for Juliet’s Villa Resort
- Camping in Dalat: Sleeping in the open among pine forests
- Eat & Drink in Dalat: Where to eat in the former French colonial hill station
- Dalat’s Waterfalls: The ultimate guide to the region’s best cascades
- The Southeast Motorbike Loop: Quiet, scenic back-roads between Saigon, Dalat & Mui Ne
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Juliet’s Villa Resort
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