Azerai embarks on ambitious strategy to open one new hotel each year

Luxury hotelier Adrian Zecha is embarking on a new strategy to open one hotel each year, starting with a historic property in Vietnam.

This 122-room boutique hotel on the south bank of the Perfume River and just outside the gates of the imperial city of Hue has now officially re-emerged as Azerai La Residence, Hue, the second property in Zecha’s Azerai group in Vietnam.

Along with the rebranding, the hotel is currently undergoing the second phase of the most extensive renovation in its recent, 14-year history.

Following the launch of the 60-room Azerai Can Tho on the Mekong last spring, Azerai has now embarked on a strategy that calls for one hotel opening every year.


“In Hue, we wanted a hotel that would emerge as the quintessential hospitality experience in the city,” said Zecha.

La Residence first opened in 2005 after a French entrepreneur partnered with the local tourist authorities and renovated a 1930s mansion which once belonged to the colonial governor’s residence.

With the departure of the French in 1954, the mansion at 5 Le Loi Street served as a guest house for provincial authorities from the 1950s through the turn of the century.


In 2013, Hue-born Phan Trong Minh succeeded a run of foreign general managers to usher the hotel over the threshold of its 10th anniversary and into its second decade as one of the top five most-celebrated properties in Vietnam.

“In Hue, where the Nguyen kings believed fervently in the power of phong thuy, or feng shui, to create powerfully attractive experiences of place, La Residence is a beneficiary of some of that old imperial magic,” said Minh. “The place just feels right. With Adrian Zecha now stirring in a bit of his own magic, we expect to create one of the most compelling hospitality experiences in South-east Asia.”

The new hotel brand’s name is derived from Adrian Zecha’s initials and the latter part of the Persian word, caravanserai, which refers to the storied old inns of the Middle East.