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Between Ho Chi Minh City and Danang in Vietnam is a coastline that runs for over 1,000km. Along this stretch are vast peninsulas, tranquil bays, pristine beaches and cities crammed with history. Robb Report stops by three hotels on this coast to find out what makes them special.
If you’re less a resort junkie and more a die-hard urban explorer, we’d recommend The Reverie Saigon in the bustling metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City.
1. Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai
Taken over by the Four Seasons group in December 2016 as its first property in Vietnam, The Nam Hai retains that same leisurely private village feel that it did when it opened in 2006. The presence of Four Seasons injects the property with new levels of pampering and care. Each of the 60 villas and 40 private residences has been refurbished extensively – all crisp linen, rich woods and tropical glamour. Three infinity pools, stacked perpendicularly, frame a view that is nothing short of stunning.
Life at The Nam Hai is decadently indulgent, with rewarding sessions at the The Heart of Earth Spa and refined dishes at Cafe Nam Hai and La Sen. For more local flavour, the charming town of Hoi An is just beyond the resort. Explore the unique food of Hoi An – including white rose dumplings and lyewater Cao Lau noodles found only here – in between immersing yourself in the long history of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As an obverse of the charismatic Hoi An, the vibrant city of Danang is just a 20-minute drive away, home to some of the best seafood and banh mi in Vietnam.
2. Avani Quy Nhon
At the breezy lobby of the Avani Quy Nhon (pronounced kwee-nyon), check-in is accompanied by a head-and-shoulder massage. It’s a little preview of things to come at the AvaniSpa, where wellness treatments take place within a shaded tropical grove overlooking the South China Sea.
In three tiered layers, all rooms at the resort face the sea from an elevated angle, revealing waters that twinkle at night with lobster pods and greet the sun every morning. Space is generous, with shades of purple and orange, as well as exposed brick walls, to add character. It’s a design choice that aims to cheer instead of being quietly minimalist, and it succeeds.
Past the enticing blue of the swimming pool, just behind the restaurant Tre (which serves a delicate balance of Vietnamese and international dishes) is a picturesque rocky outcrop – the best place to appreciate the sweeping curve of the beach. At sunset, the mood here smoulders with romance – which is why the resort seats honeymooning couples here for private dinners.
3. La Residence Hue
It isn’t often that one can claim to stay in the same hotel, much less the same floor, that hosted the Emperor of Japan, the Queen of Denmark, the King of Thailand and the Grand Duc of Luxembourg.
The royal connection is not accidental. Hue, some 100km from Danang through the Hai Van Pass, was the last imperial capital of Vietnam. From the hotel’s terraces, the walls and ramparts of a vast citadel are visible. Within this is the Imperial City and the Purple Forbidden Palace – a complex of remarkable beauty and resilience damaged during the Tet Offensive and slowly being restored.
La Residence Hue was the former residence of the colonial French envoy. It became La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa in 2005. Handsome art deco touches were retained and new ones built. The two room wings are new, expertly built to mimic the original’s lavish atmosphere. The 122 rooms range from river-view dens to themed suites. Most have views of the citadel, underscoring the royal connection that only La Residence Hue can boast of. At Le Parfum, the menu has roots in Hue’s imperial cuisine along with more international fare.