The striking French colonial façade of the Cua Dai Hotel sits well back from Hoi An’s busy Cua Dai Road, sheltered by a beautifully manicured, walled tropical garden which gives a tantalising hint of the hotel’s stylishly designed interior. Set a good 10-minute walk from the old town on the road to Cua Dai beach, the hotel’s location is far from isolated, with tiny family-run restaurants and tailors lining the road alongside stalls offering bike hire and laundry services as well as one or two fairly decent spas.
The hotel was built in 2004 but the classic art deco design and elegant sweeping staircase make you feel a little like you have been transported to a different era; step out to the pool and it almost impossible to believe you are still on one of the busiest streets in Hoi An. The pool is magnificent, with a jacuzzi at one end and stunning grounds in which to relax and enjoy a light bite from the poolside dining area. The WiFi is good throughout the hotel, although I did feel aggrieved to pull out a modern device to check it in such a tranquil environment. The hotel do not offer bike hire, but it is available across the road and they don’t have a tour desk, but I’m quite certain the staff at reception can help with any requests.
Each of the Cua Dai’s 24 rooms are cleverly designed to make the most of the outlook over the pool while keeping disturbance from road noise to a minimum. Rooms work on the usual three-tiered standard, superior and deluxe offerings (I was quoted $39, $49 and $59, with rates flexible for walk-ins). I didn’t get to see a standard on my visit but both superior and deluxe rooms offer spacious, airy accommodation, beautifully accessorised and with a very comfortable bed. The deluxe rooms also have a separate living room, which is most certainly worth splashing out the extra for.
The only disappointing feature I felt were the bathrooms, which were showing a little wear and tear, with the showers above the bath tubs ready to benefit from an upgrade. As for value for money, the Cua Dai Hotel is one of the few hotels in this price range in town and I’d happily pay their rates to stay for the boutique experience. Alternatives would be the larger and less personal Hoi An Trails Resort, located on the same road but nearer the beach, which if you can grab one of their better “themed” rooms is of similar value, nearer to town; the Long Life River Resort on An Hoi is worth checking out if there are no rooms available at the Cua Dai.
The Cua Dai attracts the boutique crowd; it’s owned by Ms Vy, who also happens to own the top three restaurants in town – Cargo, Mermaid and Morning Glory. Many of the guests are drawn here by the culinary temptations offered and quite a few I met were returning customers, which says a lot about the genuinely warm service of the staff and the consistency of the hotel – along with the breakfasts, which are apparently divine and served in the tropical garden surrounding the pool. As an aside, Cargo is without competition my favourite breakfast spot in town — the freshly baked bread and eggs Benedict are so good I adamantly refuse to order them anywhere else. It’s a popular hotel and one that should be booked ahead.
Don’t be put off by the busy roadside location; the Cua Dai has it licked picking the best views for each room so as you are practising tottering around on your new Hollywood heels feeling like a 50s movie star the last thing you will see as you hit the beautiful tiled floor is an art deco pool surrounded by lush gardens — not a tour bus full of frightened looking backpackers speeding past your window.
When I stay here, which I will even though I live just down the road, I’ll be torn between a ground floor deluxe garden view room and the second floor deluxe balcony for the sweeping stairs. At a push I’d be happy with a superior, but this is one of those hotels that makes you come over a bit decadent. A boutique treat… and just in case you were wondering, this hotel does sit on the very edge of the flood zone, so best call ahead and check if you stay during the flood season.
By Caroline Mills
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.