The luxury Dalat Palace Hotel is owned by a teenage Filipino boy - really! Under the heading truth is stranger than fiction, wealthy American Larry Hilblom (the "H" in DHL) bummed around Asia and the South Pacific for a decade. (Of course bumming is a relative term when you have a $600 Million fortune!) Apparently Larry couldn't find a place to play golf in Vietnam, so he restored the 1920s vintage Dalat Palace hotel and the adjoining Dalat Palace Golf Club at a reported cost of $40 Million (nearly $1 Million per room!). When he met his tragic demise in a 1995 sea plane crash, he left behind his fortune and a string of children from Vietnam to the Philippines. The courts recently awarded those children $50 million apiece in cash and property, including 3 hotels and two golf course in Vietnam.
Larry's misfortune is your opportunity. The Palace's lobby and 43 rooms and suites are decorated in sheer 19th-century French elegance. The suites are particularly impressive, larger than most peoples' homes, bedecked with antique-style furniture, sculptures, clocks, carpets and oil paintings. Most of the hotel's rooms and suites have their own fireplace, and you can expect all the modern amenities that come with such yesteryear, old-money taste: direct dial phone, satellite TV, minibar, safe deposit box and hair dryers in the large, elaborately-fixtured-and-tiled bathrooms. The staff couldn't be friendlier, but far more reserved (as they've been trained to be) than their extroverted, cheery competitors over at the Empress.
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