30 Mar 2015   |   Hotels

Drinking in a Rotunda

When visiting the former Imperial city of Hue, one expects to encounter crumbling citadels, peaceful pagodas and picturesque streets; one does not expect to find a well-preserved sanctum to the glorious art-deco years, stocked with first-rate spirits and Cuban cigars, no less.

Oozing with 1920s elegance, Bar 'Le Gouverneur' at La Residence Hotel and Spa greets visitors in from the humid streets with refreshing airiness and comfy, red-cushioned armchairs crafted from dark wood in the low Vietnamese style.

Natural light pours into the crescent-shaped space from floor-to-ceiling windows, opening up enticing views of the resort's tropical gardens and beyond, the tranquil waters of Hue's Perfume River. 

Overhead, an extraordinary mural by French artist Roland Renaud arcs across the room in a full semicircle. Inspired by well-known frescoes in Paris and Lyon, it took Renaud as long as three months to finish painting a single sheet of fabric for each portion of the mural. On close inspection of Renaud's work, visitors are able to discern detailed scenes of everyday life in a Vietnamese community. 

When evening arrives, tall lamps and subtle lighting cast Le Gouverneur's curved polished-wood bar and lofty ceilings in an inviting glow. 

French-colonial style doors open onto a raised terrace with tables overlooking the illuminated gardens and saltwater pool. The sounds of a last boat motoring down the river and the calls of wild birds filter through to guests sipping sundowners in the evening air.

Aside from a full list of premium cocktails, spirits, wines and cigars, Le Gouverneur also offers patrons a handsome billiards table, flat screen television, and wireless internet.