Once we’re out of this period of social distancing, some will jump on a plane in an attempt to put as many time zones between doldrum and excitement as possible. Others still will come out of home isolation with a bigger appreciation of what’s around them, and choose to travel closer to home.
If like us you can’t wait to revisit the beaches and swimming pools in our backyard, here is a round-up of Vietnam’s hotels and resorts we will be hitting as soon as making travel arrangements becomes de rigueur again.
From private aqua yoga sessions to healthy lifestyle coaching, they’ve got it down to science. Amanoi, in Ninh Thuan Province, delivers all this and more thanks to their Asia’s first wellness villa concept. | Source: Amanoi.
No one does wellness quite like Aman Resorts. From private aqua yoga sessions to healthy lifestyle coaching, they’ve got it down to science. Amanoi, in Ninh Thuan Province, delivers all this and more thanks to their Asia’s first wellness villa concept. In a nutshell, it’s a private spa facility with a double treatment room, steam room and outdoor pool, as well as a hammam or timber-clad Russian banya. You read it right — inside your private villa. Oh and a dedicated spa therapist is on hand to curate personalized spa treatments, of course.
Six Senses Ninh Van Bay
Six Senses Ninh Van Bay sits on a dramatic bay looking out to the East Vietnam Sea so it can only be approached by water.| Source: IVIVU
Six Senses Ninh Van Bay sits on a dramatic bay looking out to the East Vietnam Sea so it can only be approached by water. Despite the illusion of being surrounded by water, technically the resort isn’t an island, meaning cute black-shanked douc monkeys from the nearby reservoir come and go as they please. Unlike the marauding gangs of macaques, douc monkeys are naturally quite shy (the best kind of monkey, in our opinion) and if you are set on having a close encounter, you will probably have to ask the resort to arrange a hike into the hills.
Hôtel des Arts Saigon
Social Club | Source: Hôtel des Arts Saigon
After weeks of enduring a forced staycation in our own homes, it’s only natural to want to flee the city. But hear us out. If it’s socializing and a change of scene you’re after, Saigon offers plenty of both. At the Social Club Rooftop Bar, martinis and conversations flow as locals mix with tourists against the backdrop of a glittering skyline. During the day, the rooftop infinity pool is reserved for the use of Hôtel des Arts Saigon guests but everyone is welcome to stop by for a casual drink. The vibe changes from laid-back to glitzy when the sun sets and resident DJ takes to the deck.
Hotel de la Coupole
The vibe is French haute couture blended with vibrant hill tribe ethnic colors. | Source: MGallery Hotels.
Someone described Hotel de la Coupole as “Versailles in the clouds” and it’s only a mild exaggeration. A heady mix of Wes Anderson-esque interiors and spectacular views of Sa Pa mountains, the vibe is French haute couture blended with vibrant hill tribe ethnic colors. The indoor, heated swimming pool distills the essence of the resort: marble columns, bronze statues, pink chandeliers, velvet-covered pool-side loungers and a cathedral-like ceiling. Anxious to take a piece of that splendor home? Shop for colorful textiles by H’Mong, Thai, Red Dzao and other ethnic minority communities at the bustling Sa Pa market, a short walk from the hotel.
JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort
A study in sophistication. | Source: JW Marriott Phu Quoc
When you have a naturally stunning destination like Phu Quoc’s Khem Beach, you really don’t have to try all that hard to woo guests. But taking the easy road is not JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort’s style.
To create a stand-out concept, the team behind the resort focused on imaginative storytelling. As a result, guests get to inhabit a story of a mythical academy of learning, honoring French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck who laid the groundwork for Darwin’s theory of evolution.
The attention to detail is extraordinary (the property boasts 5,000 original antiques and artefacts carefully woven into the narrative as a fictional former university). The efforts paid off with the resort landing the No.1 spot in Travel and Leisure’s most recent ranking of the top resorts in Southeast Asia, among other accolades.
InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort
Living the high life. | Source: Booking.com
Bill Bensley-designed InterContinental Danang is spread over four levels linked by a funicular train climbing its way through the forested slopes. The setting is breathtaking, but for the die-hard InterContinental Club members this is not the main attraction. Known as “a resort within a resort”, the Club makes the world revolve around you. In addition to a host of VIP privileges and butler services, Sun Peninsula Club InterContinental Lounge offers members separate areas for relaxation, light dining and drinks, and business discussions. Best part? Access to a members-only beach and to Domestic Terminal’s Arrival & Departure Lounge at Danang International airport.
Park Hyatt Saigon
Sunday brunch done right. | Source: Park Hyatt Saigon
We could never turn down a chance to gorge ourselves on a hotel breakfast buffet. Unless, of course, the hotel in question is the Park Hyatt Saigon and breakfast can be upgraded to brunch. Start your Sunday by waking up a little (or a lot) late, go for a swim or a walk and present yourself at Opera Restaurant good and hungry. Italian cuisine is given center stage, so expect pasta dishes, roasted meats, seafood and classic desserts. Washed down with iced cold Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut champagne it makes for a very enjoyable hotel breakfast substitute indeed.
An Lam Retreats Saigon River
Romance on the river. | Source: Booking.com
A boutique resort comprised of just a handful of villas, An Lam Retreat in Binh Duong is only a 20-minute boat ride from downtown Saigon but seems worlds away. Their suites and villas are generously sized but to sweep away the last vestiges of quarantine-induced cabin fever once and for all, opt for the largest two-bedroom riverfront pool villa. Lounge under the lime tree with only birds for company, float in your private plunge pool or have a private sundowner experience.
The Nam Hai
Rocking chairs on the beach? Yes, please. | Source: The Nam Hai
A great base from which to explore central Vietnam’s UNESCO heritage sites of Hoi An, Hue and My Son, the uber luxurious The Nam Hai is your classic beach resort with exceptional leisure facilities. From singing bowl rituals (“earth music” played on no fewer than eight synchronized, quartz-crystal alchemy bowls) to decadent kids’ wellness experiences and everything in between, the pond-facing spa is a destination in its own right. If day trips to nearby attractions sound like too much work, your time can be well spent alternating between The Nam Hai’s gorgeous swimming pool and its pristine beach.
Mango Bay Resort
Eco living in Phu Quoc. | Source: Booking.com
Rustic and unpretentious, Mango Bay positions itself as the antithesis of luxury. Well before international hotel chains took over Phu Quoc beaches, Mango Bay had made a name for itself as a popular bolthole for the Saigonese. Guests come here to be close to nature and away from air conditioning (sea breeze and ceiling fans do the job just fine) and television. Located on ten hectares of beachfront land 10km north of Duong Dong, the island’s main town, there are only 44 rooms and villas, each unique and each hidden away from the beach.
The Lake House Da Lat
Bed, breakfast and hammock. | Source: Booking.com
A humble bed and breakfast, The Lake House Dalat features free WiFi and breakfast but little else in terms of the usual hotel amenities. What it possesses in bucketfuls is attentive service, warm hospitality and tranquil lakeside setting. Situated in Da Lat, near Tuyen Lam Lake and Truc Lam Temple, the guest house comes with a garden and a deck overlooking the water. The nuns and monks at the monastery next door usually don’t mind an occasional guest joining them for a meditation session.