New experiences enhance Sa Pa’s timeless charm

By Phat Dat   April 21, 2019 | 08:05 pm PT
Besides its natural beauty and the charm of its indigenous highland communities, Sa Pa now boasts novel, irresistible travel experiences.
New experiences enhance Sa Pa’s timeless charm

One such experience is a sojourn at the Hotel de la Coupole - Mgallery, an architectural marvel that takes hospitality to unprecedented heights in the mountainous town.

Located in the misty heart of Sa Pa with stunning views of the Hoang Lien Son mountain range in the background, the hotel’s design is a fascinating creation conjured up by the award-winning architect Bill Bensley, once described as ‘the king of exotic, luxury resorts’ by Time magazine.

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After several survey trips to Sa Pa, Bensley was mesmerized by the rich culture of this mystical land. This is reflected in the gorgeous interiors that blend the lush textures of French haute couture with the vibrant colors and patterns of the indigenous ethnic minority communities who populate this mountainous realm.

The hotel’s interiors have a huge collection of the ethnic minority communities’ creations that tastefully adorn every corner of the hotel, from variousdresses hanging on the wall to the beautifully handcrafted jewelry seen in the hallway. There’s also a wonderful throwback feel throughout the hotel with antiques and vintage items embedded in the décor.

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Guests will surely be impressed by how Hotel de la Coupole manages to blend a classical European style with features that capture the essence of the mountainous landscape. For example, the heated, indoor pool, Le Grand Bassin boasts a stately air with large Romanesque pillars while the ceramic tiles are inspired by local patterns and colors.

Here and there you will see tributes to the stilt houses of the northwest as well as rich, lush colors that would not look out of place in a flamboyant runway show. In fact, both the design and the décor underscore Bensley’s flair for story telling through interior decor and design.

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There are now many wonderful ways for visitors to explore Sa Pa and experience its natural beauty and timeless charm. The Muong Hoa mountain train runs 2 km, connecting Hotel de la Coupole - MGallery by Sofitel to the cable-car station, which in turn can take visitors to the peak of Fansipan.

It’s a short, but spectacular journey. Sitting in charming carriages with classical European interiors and vintage fittings, passengers can look out at the misty, lush landscape of Sa Pa as the elegant train trundles through valleys and tunnels.

The two-carriage train, which can travel at a maximum speed of 10 metres per second and serve up to 2,000 guests per hour, was designed and produced by the Swiss company Garaventa. Each carriage is 20m long and 3m wide, weighs 25 tons and can carry 200 passengers at once.

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The breathtaking journey also leads visitors to Sun World Fansipan Legend, where they can experience the highland culture of the northwest in a space that hosts colorful festivals and events all year round.

From there, guests can head for the ‘Roof of Indochina’ by cable car. What was once a two-day trek can now be achieved in 15 minutes. The cable car ride is a truly unforgettable experience. The system holds two Guinness World Records: at 6.282-meters long it’s the world's longest three-cable system. Rising 1,410 meters during its journey, it’s also the cable car system with the greatest elevation in the world.

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Riding in the cabin is an exhilarating experience as you float through the clouds, high above the terraced fields, lush valleys, and villages with breathtaking views of the swirling clouds and the forested slopes of the Hoang Lien Son mountain range.

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And atop Fansipan, visitors won’t just be able to feast their eyes on 360 degrees of breathtaking views. Now they can enjoy a spiritually uplifting experience at a grand complex built by the Sun Group that includes a bell tower, the Great Amitabha Buddha Statue, the Kim Son Bao Thang Pagoda and the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Statue.

In a nutshell, the Hotel de la Coupole, the cable car-system, the Muong Hoa railway line to Sun World Fansipan Legend and the sacred pagoda and statues on the Fansipan mountain, Sa Pa has a new generation of icons heralding a new beginning for the land of timeless charm.

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