Sapa’s Hotel de la Coupole has a story to tell
In the sleepy mountains of Sapa, Vietnam, stands a whimsical creation by Bill Kingsley. Kingsley is the mastermind behind some of Asia’s most stunning hotels, all of which resemble 19th -century European palaces. His latest Hotel de la Coupole on the hills of Sapa, is no exception.
In the 1880s, the French marched into Sapa. Colonial administrators began to frequent the hills as a retreat to hide from the heat of the Mekong Delta. The region became a French envision, with colonial buildings one against another that overtook the tribal villages. As the wars raged on in the 40s, both the French and locals fled the area. It was not until the 1960s when the locals returned and transformed this sleepy town into today’s mystical destination.
The mustard walls and framed windows of Hotel de la Coupole collectively capture the essence of European palaces. Domed entrances and turrets, associated with the heavens, refine the location of the hotel perched atop of Sapa, once called the ‘Roof of Indochina.’ Stripped rooftops in black and white and the mix of orange shades add mid-century modern. The top floor with a double height ceiling is lined with giant windows across a continuous balcony. Iron finishing and columns that stretch over several floors resemble intricate Parisian architecture from the industrial age.
Travelers are greeted by a colorful assemblage at the lobby. The large shelve and mannequins dressed in half finished tuxedos atop is a classic visual. The lobby, with a white ceiling and moldings, is decked with tiered red lamps, velvet green chairs, and classic French tiling. Giant tassels dangle from the wall lamps lighting the lobby. And a spiral iron staircase twists its way to the second floor at the Café. The lobby is already a whimsical play on colors, shapes and textiles.
Hotel de la Coupole’s pool is a remake of an 18th-century bathhouse. Under a double height ceiling, travelers can gently glide through the pool under its red chandeliers. A handful of reclining chairs behind leafy patterned curtains can allow plenty of time to relax after exploring the hills and valleys of Sapa. The town’s timeless charm is reflected in every corner of the hotel. The Absinthe Bar hosts a spectacular view above the clouds. An open fireplace and a rotunda seating establish an intimate evening for guests to watch the clouds of Sapa move by, while we can confirm that it is not a hallucinogenic effect.
Surrounded by misty mountains and rice terraces, half of the rooms at Hotel de la Coupole open to this spectacular view through their balconies. The rooms are painted in different shades: standard rooms in mustard, deluxe rooms in dark green while suites in red. The bold colors and the intoxicating use of velvet furniture and flamboyant lamps speak French style design. To add, traditional folklore fabrics and textiles dominate the bed linens and cushions. All rooms come with a free-standing bathtub cemented on some intricate tiling work.
As the new icon of Vietnam’s mountainous north, Hotel de la Coupole is there to tell the forgotten story of Sapa.