A VIETNAMESE entrepreneur and American financier have broken ground on a suite of classic French-style villas in a former colonial hill station on the site of the famous Dalat Palace Golf Club in Vietnam.
Photo by: Image Supplied
An artist's rendering of a Vallee de Dalat villa.
The Vallee de Dalat project will include seven 600-square-metre villas, the owners of which will also receive family membership at the golf club.
"At present, golf is the principal recreational driver in Dalat," said Barry Israel, one of the project's major financiers and former owner of the Sofitel Dalat Palace Hotel and the Dalat Palace Golf Club.
"The club won the No 1 ranking in the last four Planet Golf surveys, and Asian Golf Monthly called the course one of the Top 10 in Asia, bar none. We expect a wave of golfers to come in on the initial investment."
The clubhouse was built by Harry S Colt in the early 1930s for the last Emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai.
Dalat is located on the Lang Bian Plateau in Vietnam's Southern Highlands. The city's airport has just opened a new runway, and a new terminal is scheduled to open in July, just 30 minutes from the development via a new four-lane highway.
Constructors began preparing the privately owned hilltop site for the first phase of construction in early October.
Le Ngoc Khanh Tam, Israel's wife and general director of the developer, Khanh Tam Development Co, said the villas would serve as a respite from the rococo building that has beset Vietnamese development in recent years.
"The French built Dalat and bequeathed to the city a wonderful urban design and a fascinating collection of villas," she said. "We're building these new residences as an aesthetic complement to what's already there."
Designed by Asiatique, a prominent Ho Chi Minh City firm, the villas echo the colloquial French architecture that was a hallmark of Dalat's development in the 1920s and 1930s. Each features hipped roofs, arches and stone cladding.
The spacious, four-bedroom villas are each located on an individual lot of 800 to 1,100 square metres in a gated compound with unobstructed mountain views overlooking Dalat.
They will retail for US$1.3 million to $1.5 million and include a jacuzzi, three fireplaces, seven to eight bathrooms, and wrap-around verandahs.
They will be finished with hardwood floors of teak or cherry, granite kitchens, marble bathrooms and plaster walls crowned by moldings.
Khanh Tam Development has obtained "red paper" title to the setting and has structured ownership rights to ensure the integrity of the buyer's investment, Le Tam said. She and her husband, Barry Israel, will retain one of the villas as their own home.