An Authentic Travel Experience Through Homestays

By: Tran Thi Minh Hieu

About a decade ago in Vietnam, the word “homestay” only appeared in discussions about Vietnamese students studying overseas. Very few people thought that they could start a business by offering their own house for tourists to stay.

Now, it’s becoming a growing trend in the country’s tourism industry, bringing changes to communities and new experiences for travelers.

Staying at a local house is not only cheaper, it also allows travelers to experience the daily life and culture of the local family. It’s like coming to a friend’s house, and having a friend to show you around their favorite places in town. You might get to try their favorite food, have meaningful conversations and do different things than tourists normally get to do.

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This is why many travelers, especially young people, are looking for homestay options when they travel around Vietnam. With the rising demand, homestay travel is becoming serious business, with a host of new homestays and new destinations regularly putting their names on the map.

Sapa, A Homestay Heaven

Sapa is one of the first destinations where homestay travel started gaining popularity. The small town lying on the edge of the highest peaks in Vietnam is full of ethnic minority groups, with a diverse and intriguing culture that adds to the amazing scenery. While the town is lined with big and small hotels, homestays are very popular, and even tour operators also include this in the itinerary.

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Lu Van Khuyen, Chief of the Department of Culture and Information of Sapa told Nhan Dan newspaper that within 10 kilometres from Sapa township, there are more than 1000 homestays. Some people come and stay for weeks or months.

Que Lan, a recent homestay traveller to Sapa, shared her experience on Instagram.

“Here everyday I can learn new things and meet new people. Everyday there’s a routine — after I’m done with my work, I’ll do the housework, and sometimes Nu takes me for a ride to her store so I can walk around the [Cat Cat] village. My Cat Cat is so beautiful.”

Community Changer

Following the footstep of their most famous cousin, other towns in Vietnam’s Northern mountains are offering homestays to gain more visitors. In the vast terrains where it’s too hard to grow crops, the life of local people is getting easier thanks to homestays.

Video source: City Pass Guide

Ha Giang province is known as the northernmost province of Vietnam, difficult to reach but full of pristine treasures: flower fields and forests, ethnic costumes and festivals, and traditional houses. In Nam Dam village, Quan Ba district, from 2012 to 2015, non-governmental organizations Caritas Switzerland and PanNature worked with local Dao people to build 30 houses and 18 homestays, and develop trekking routes to support tourism in the village.

The most prominent homestay in Nam Dam village is Dao Lodge. It was designed by architect Hoang Thuc Hao and his colleagues from 1+1>2 Architects, using the ancient techniques of the rammed earth house, which involves compressing a damp mixture of earth and clay into a wooden frame and then remove the frame to make a wall.

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In another remote part of Ha Giang, Hoang Su Phi district, Helvetas Vietnam and the Center for Rural Economy Development (CRED) supported local Dao people to build homestays. It was no easy job, as the Dao people here live in stilt houses, and traditionally raise livestock on the ground under the house.

As Ban Quay Chang, a homestay owner in Hoang Su Phi, told Vietnamnet, “It took us months to decide to move the cattles some hundred metres away from the house. We have been keeping cattles close to our home for generations, so we can’t change that overnight.”

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Language is also a challenge. Unlike in tourist-friendly towns like Sapa, people in Hoang Su Phi have never been exposed to English in their life, so initially they struggled to communicate with their international guests.

However, when there’s a will there’s a way. They bought smartphones and went to English classes in the district’s center.

A Countrywide Movement

Now with the help of travel booking sites and apps, you can find homestays almost anywhere you want to go in Vietnam, from popular destinations to remote areas. Here’s a list of homestays that will make you want to pack your bag and go there.

- RiceRoad Homestay (Sapa/ Pu Luong)

- Phơri’s House (Sapa/ Hanoi/ Saigon)

- Mr Linh’s Homestay (Bac Kan)

- Le Bleu Homestay (Hanoi/ Tam Dao/ Hoi An/ Da Lat/ Saigon)

- Old Yellow House (Hoi An)

- Countryside Homestay (Phu Yen)

- Mui Ne Connect (Phan Thiet)

- Kokoro Home (Nha Trang)

- The Dalat Old Home (Da Lat)

- Cocohut Homestay (Ben Tre)

Banner Image source:

Best Luxury Resorts in Vietnam

By: Brennan Lagman

Phu Quoc



Can Tho

Vung Tau

Con Dao

Hoi An

Mui Ne/Phan Thiet

Nha Trang


Halong Bay


Southeast Asia is the crown jewel of the world when it comes to luxury destination retreats and Vietnam has become a rising star within a sea of world-class resorts, thanks to the country’s diverse landscapes. From its beautiful island-dotted coastline and dramatic central highlands to jaw dropping rice steppe covered mountains and low-lying river delta floodplains

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source:

Vietnam boasts a plethora of unique resort options that combine world-class luxury and high-end facilities with modern and classical design elements to create memories and experiences that will leave you rejuvenated and inspired. Trying to make the right choice for you and your loved ones can be tiresome work and we know you’re just looking to relax. So get off google and start reading our list of The Very Best Luxury Resorts Vietnam has to offer! 


Fusion Resort Phu Quoc

Hamlet 4, Vung Bau Beach, Cua Can Ward, Phu Quoc, Kien Giang

Type: Beachside Wellness Resort

Stars: 5 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Couples, Families

Overview: Situated just one hour by air from HCMC, with golden sands, turquoise waters and fiery red sunsets, the island of Phu Quoc is one of the greatest Friday-night getaways for those of us living in Saigon. Fusion Resort Phu Quoc is home to a stunning beach, a large communal pool, three distinct dining destinations, a fully equipped fitness centre, plus daily yoga, tai chi and meditation sessions. Each of the accommodation options — ranging from one-bedroom Garden Villas to five-bedroom Grand Beach Villas — also comes with its own outdoor pool. If you can pry yourself away from the resort, your Fusionista can tailor-make excursions, tours and “locals-only” experiences, while guided hikes and bike rides into the countryside, plus complimentary on-site games and activities, means you can stay as active or as restful as you wish.

Highlights: Personally assigned Fusionistas cater to your every need, Private Gardens, Private Pools, ‘all-spa inclusive’ resort, oceanfront infinity pool, tennis court, fun kids’ club, beach games. 

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Fusion Resort Phu Quoc

What People Say:

“The villa is exquisite, and the pool is fabulous for cooling down, and just about big enough to swim in. The beach is clean and well kept, the spa treatments are well thought out and the staff that run them are knowledgeable. The breakfast choice is vast, although if you want the all day breakfast remember to book in advance. Otherwise the choice is very limited... wished we could’ve stayed longer.” (Adrian,

“Everything that people have been saying about Fusion is spot on, impossible to complain about anything. This place is a hidden gem. I got a superb private villa with pool, spacious room with all the equipment in the room that you could need for… nice staff, great hospitality.” (Thuy Nguyen,

What we say: The “all-spa inclusive” concept is the highlight of every Fusion Resort and is something you won’t find anywhere else, with a menu of massages, facials and all-natural body wraps and scrubs.

La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc - MGallery by Sofitel 

Tran Hung Dao Street, Duong Dong Beach, Phu Quoc, Kien Giang

Type: Luxury Beach Resort 

Stars: 4 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Couples, Families 

Overview: Set in a magical French colonial seaside mansion, La Veranda’s setting evokes posh garden parties and leisurely afternoons spent sipping wine and gazing at the sea from under a wide-brimmed hat. The saltwater swimming pool is surrounded by lush greenery and features a large children’s pool that is the perfect depth for little ones to splash in. The resort is part of AccorHotels group’s exclusive MGallery Heritage Collection, and is one of the best resorts in Phu Quoc and all of Vietnam.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc

Highlights: One of La Veranda’s main draws is its world-class The Peppertree restaurant, which is rated #1 on the island and #4 in all of Vietnam by TripAdvisor. The restaurant combines the techniques of gourmet French cuisine with the spirit and recipes of a traditional Vietnamese kitchen. La Veranda’s famous breakfast includes crowd favourites like the made-to-order waffle/pancake/crepe bar and fresh smoothies that change daily. Weekly F&B events spice up the evenings with special seafood beach barbecues, complimentary wine tastings and afternoon tea services. 

Each garden or ocean-view deluxe room, suite or villa at La Veranda has a story to tell. Madame Catherine, the resort’s creator, has added her own personal touch to each room with historically accurate paint colours, furnishings and artworks.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc

What People Say:

The weather wasn't amazing when we were there but the service and atmosphere was great. It feels like a tranquil and lush rainforest walking around the resort. Dinner at the restaurant was very good." (Andrew,

La Veranda is a beautiful Colonial style hotel with lush gardens, stunning ocean views and an all round relaxing feel to it. Coming back into the resort from the outside world feels like coming home. The staff are very attentive and nothing is too much." (Joanne,

What we say: La Veranda is deservedly one of the top rated resorts in Phu Quoc thanks to its stellar customer service, intricately designed colonial theme, world-class dining and recreation and access to untouched nature and wellness related activities. 

Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc 

Duong To, Phu Quoc, Kien Giang

Type: Beachfront Resort

Stars: 5 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Couples, Families

Overview: Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc is one of the newest luxury beach resorts on the island. Located around 10 minutes south of the airport and overlooking a lovely beachfront along Phu Quoc’s gorgeous western coast, this thoughtfully designed resort boasts excellent options for any traveller. The resort’s magnificent lagoon pool is Vietnam’s longest, at 300 metres, and is the gorgeous centrepiece of the resort. The perfect space for you to relax and float around in true luxury.

Highlights: Two main pools and two kids pools, fun beach activities, Thala spa service, Nemo kids club, complimentary bicycles, modern fitness centre, free airport transfer, excellent business and meeting facilities. 

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

What People Say:

The resort itself was lovely, nice food, room and pool." (Anonymous,

We had a very good time here in Phu Quoc. We loved the lagoon pool! It's like a real river with clear water, we could float on it the whole day... Will definitely recommend to others!(Anonymous,

What we say: The accommodation, from modern guestrooms and suites to entire three-to-five bedroom villas with their own private pools, all come with quality furnishings and luxurious amenities. For families with younger children there is an unmissable deal offered by the resort, where two kids (under 16) can stay for free in their parent’s room and includes access to the daily buffet breakfast!


Tran Hung Dao, Cua Lap, Phu Quoc, Kien Giang

Type: Luxury Beach Resort

Stars: 4 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Couples, Families

Overview: Salinda Resort epitomises tropical luxury. The resort is enclosed in a lush landscape featuring more than 100 types of trees and flowers, creating the atmosphere of an enchanted garden complete with butterflies and birds. There is a selection of deluxe rooms, suites and villas. From the private balconies, guests can take in the breathtaking sunsets, as the evening sky becomes filled with a spectacular array of vivid colours. Premium linens, bathrobes and luxury beauty products make the experience at Salinda Resort one of pure comfort. 

Highlights: Infinity pool, private gardens, private beach, spa and wellness centre, fitness center, five-star dining, bar, live entertainment, bikes & other recreation.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Salinda Resort

What People Say:

I would highly recommend the Salinda Resort to those who plan their trip to Phu Quoc! Facilities were literally awesome and well-cleaned all the time. And staff were very friendly and attentive. We really enjoyed the authentic breakfast with champagne. I would definitely come back to this resort for my next trip.” (Kyunghwa,

“I will definitely say that Salinda is the best! Very clean in the room, very delicious food, restaurants are very nice with top level service!” (Stanislav,

What we say: With world-class F&B options, impeccable tropical greenery surrounding the premises and a comprehensive five-star beach resort experience, it's no wonder Salinda is one of the highest rated resorts in the country, and easily makes our list of best resorts in Vietnam. 


Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort

Bai Bac, SonTra Peninsula, Danang City

Type: Luxury Beach Resort and Spa 

Stars: 5 Stars | Website :

Perfect For: Couples, Families, Adventurers

Overview: Internationally regarded as an iconic destination in itself, the Intercontinental Danang offers a truly world-class beachside experience with impeccable ocean views and a huge array of exquisitely designed rooms, villas, and amenities. 

Highlights: Cinema, onsite water recreation, airport shuttle, private beach, tennis courts, spa.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort

What People Say:

Fantastic Location! Totally secluded and a great getaway. The hotel provides a shuttle service twice a day to Da Nang city and Hoi An.” (Deepak,

This luxury resort is amazingly beautiful and the location is nestled in the hills of the peninsula. The landscape is breathtaking and every room has its own panoramic views (we had four rooms). The private beach has so many activities. We enjoyed playing volleyball and the water recreation. Although we only stayed two nights because of other destinations, we would definitely return for a longer visit because of the great experience here.” (Anonymous,

What we say: The Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort offers an unrivaled level of class and luxury for the hospitality industry in Vietnam. As one of Vietnam’s premier resorts, this location has so much to offer. There is no way you can go wrong with this choice for a true tropical beach vacation.

Pullman Danang Resort 

101 Vo Nguyen Giap, Da Nang

Type: Luxury Beach Resort and Spa 

Stars: 4.5 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Couples, Families, Adventurers

Overview: Only fifteen minutes from the city center, this stunning masterpiece of a luxury beach resort can’t be beat! In alignment with Pullman’s global brand of hospitality excellence, you’ll have world class facilities, modern interior design and endless entertainment at your fingertips. You can’t go wrong! 

Highlights: 2 pools, healthy Ayurvedic menu options, shuttle service, tennis court, golf course, lounge, bar, private beach. 

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Pullman Danang Resort

What People Say:

What a wonderful resort, we were very sad to leave! From the moment we arrived, tired and worn out, the staff at the Pullman went out of their way to make our stay as happy and comfortable as possible. ” (Anonymous, Trip Advisor)

My husband and I stayed for 2 was not enough - wished we had stayed longer. The resort is so beautiful, we did not want to leave. Staff were very friendly and helpful. Breakfast was amazing. Resort is a short cab ride to the city. Could not fault this place. You will not regret it!!” (Jennifer, Agoda)

What we say: Pullman Danang delivers an incomparable, world-class resort experience that meets and exceeds the standards of Danang’s infamous stretch of luxury resorts.

Mangala Zen Garden & Luxury Apartments

J02 The Ocean Villas, Ngu Hanh Son, Danang, Vietnam

Type: Specialty Beachside Luxury Villas & Apartments

Stars: 5 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Cultural Tourism, Families, Couples 

Overview: One of Danang’s large lineup of spectacular resorts, Mangala Zen offers unique Buddhist inspired Zen interiors that are sure to calm and rejuvenate even the most weary of travellers! 

Highlights: Healthy Ayurvedic menu options as well as Asian and European meals, stunning Japanese fusion style interiors, kid-friendly, outdoor activities.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Mangala Zen Garden

What People Say:

Great place for vacation to relax... Enjoyed the location, weather and wonderful sandy beach. Not crowded at all in April. ” (Harald,

We were looking for a quiet, beautiful resort with quality vegetarian food and Mangala perfectly fit the bill. The decor is lovely... We had a comfortable bed with a view of the ocean on one side and the garden on the other.” (Stephen, Trip Advisor)

What we say: Mangala Zen Gardens stands out as a truly unique resort experience in a sea of great options. With its unique Zen Buddhist inspired theme and world-class dining, lodging, and recreational options, Mangala is sure to provide a remarkable experience. 

Naman Retreat

Truong Sa Road, Hoa Hai, Da Nang

Type: Luxury Beach Resort 

Stars: 4.5 Stars | Website :

Perfect For: Couples, Families 

Overview: Naman Retreat delivers guests a high-class wellness retreat experience. In a secluded location, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the beautiful natural surroundings of Danang. The resort is close enough to many natural points of interest to keep your thirst for adventure alive. It is also fully equipped with childcare facilities, making it perfect for traveling families.

Highlights: Private beach, swimming pool, large villas, fitness centre.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Naman Retreat

What People Say:

“Rooms are gorgeous and I’m very fussy - pictures don’t do it justice. Service is impeccable. It’s one of the calmest hotels I’ve ever been to. The beach was also quiet and has waiter service if you want it. Amazing.” (Titania,

Really, really beautiful and nice resort. Everyone was friendly, helpful, and kind during our 5 day stay. We enjoyed renting a private driver to drive us for sightseeing and to check out local spots.” (Arthur,

What we say: Naman Retreat is a wellness-oasis alongside Vietnam’s central coast. With an incredible architectural design that fuses modern with traditional indochinese materials and styles, this resort delivers a superb hospitality experience.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Naman Retreat


Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort and Spa

Le Lai St., Ward 5, Dalat

Type: Mountain Luxury Resort and spa + golf course

Stars: Five | Website :

Perfect For: Couples, Families 

Overview: One of Dalat’s best luxury resorts, Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort and Spa offers guests a world class mountainside retreat. Nestled in the forest covered hillsides of Vietnam’s highlands, nature is only footsteps away. The historical French colonial style villas are elegantly decorated. 

Highlights: Large golf course, large french colonial style villas, full service spa, proximity to popular attractions.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort and Spa

What People Say:

“Friendly ,caring ,informative & attentive staff... Villa studio was spotless & maintained during my 3 night stay.” (Jenny,

“Have stayed at Dalat Palace and many other hotels in Dalat, but I really prefer this one. Why? 1. Location (1.2 km from town center) 2. Heated swimming pool 3. Great service 4. Wonderful atmosphere.... if possible, get room 702, good view, near the pool and restaurant.” (Ted, Trip Advisor)

What we say: Ana Mandaras is an exquisite retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life, perfect for couples and families. It is one of Dalat’s best luxury locations and integrates culture, history and nature in a seamless customer experience. 

Terracotta Hotel & Resort

Phan khu chuc nang 7.9, KDL Ho Tuyen Lam, Lam Dong

Type: Luxury Hotel and Resort

Stars: 4 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Couples, Business, Families

Overview: The Terracotta Hotel and Resort is a modern resort, spa and hotel that is centrally located in the hills of Dalat. It has an unparalleled view of Tuyền Lâm lake alongside top-notch amenities such as tennis courts, meeting rooms, a pool and spa. 

Highlights: Amazing views of Tuyền Lâm Lake, central location, great value, fitness centre, lounge.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Terracotta Hotel-Resort

What People Say:

“The resort is really big and beautiful, surrounded by the pine tree forest and Tuyen Lam lake. We felt relaxed when walking along the lake, everything is quiet and peaceful. All staff are very friendly and professional.” (Peter,

“This was my second visit to this property because of its beauty, set by a lake out of town, it’s a perfect tranquil location to relax. They have rooms, shared villas and private villas… Absolutely beautiful.” (Greg,

What we say: Terracotta Resort offers a fancy, modern alternative to others in the rustic scenery of the Central Highland town of Dalat. If you want a retreat surrounded by the silence of nature, with modern decor and amenities, this is a great option. 


Azerai Can Tho

Con Au, Cai Rang, Can Tho

Type: Luxury Eco Resort 

Stars: 5 | Website:

Perfect For: Eco-tourism, Cultural Tourism, Couples, Families

Overview: Located just a short ferry ride from Can Tho, this eco-friendly resort is perfect for people looking for an authentic resort experience in the heart of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. It is rated one of the top resorts in Can Tho thanks to its contemporary design and world-class facilities and customer experience.

Highlights: Gorgeous islet location, Yoga and Pilates studios, fitness centre, swimming pool, childcare services, spa facilities, picnic area. 

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Azerai Can Tho

What People Say:

The eco-friendly hotel was great, staff were very attentive and friendly.” (Anonymous,

From the moment we arrived Serge (GM) and his team made us feel at home and that nothing was too much trouble. Perfect setting on a small island just off Can Tho City, with great balance between the tranquility of the island and the lively small town just on the other side of the water.” (Ian, Trip Advisor)

What we say: Located on a small islet amidst local wetlands, Azerai Can Tho stands out as the ultimate Mekong Delta Resort. The retreat eloquently integrates eco-friendliness and luxury into a seamless and intimate experience among the captivating nature of the Mekong Delta. 


The Wind Boutique Resort Vung Tau

84-B10 Phan Chu Trinh, Ward 2, Vung Tau City, Ba Ria- Vung Tau

Type: Boutique Resort

Stars: 4 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Couples, Solo Travellers

Overview: This small resort on the edge of Vung Tau has unique personal amenities such as private cinemas, jacuzzis, and fully equipped kitchens. It is perfect for those looking for a central location in this Southern Vietnam Beach City. Don’t be fooled though, The Wind Boutique Resort Vung Tau still remains incredibly serene and quiet.

Highlights: Cinema, jacuzzis, central location, contemporary boutique style, spa, sauna, pools.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: The Wind Boutique Resort

What People Say:

This place is really nice and very suitable for families. There are several swimming pools and it is quiet. The food was also good. Most of all, the staff are incredibly helpful.” (Lynn,

Gorgeous resort with views to die for. Lots of attention to detail. Dung was very courteous and helpful. Jay Elliot, the owner, was always around to make sure the stay was pleasant. Breakfast was amazing and beautifully decorated. Lots of amenities comparable to 5 stars hotel.” (Tu, Agoda)

What we say: A unique boutique resort experience with an incredible reputation. With impeccable views, luxury amenities and so much to discover in such an intimate space, this is easily one of Vung Tau’s Best Boutique resorts. 

Marina Bay Vung Tau 

115 Tran Phu, Ward 5, Vung Tau City, Ba Ria- Vung Tau

Type: Luxury Beach Resort and Spa

Stars: 4 Stars | Website :

Perfect For: Couples, Families

Overview: One of the first beachfront resorts in Vung Tau, Ho Chi Minh City’s nearest beach town, this resort provides all the amenities, recreational activity, and spa treatments to cater to any of your needs.

Highlights: Beach front location, fitness centre, infinity pool, large rooms and villas.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Marina Bay Vung Tau

What People Say:

Marina Bay Vung Tau Resort & Spa is our pick for the best resort in Vung Tau. Located in front of the beach, this resort is somewhat away from it all while still being close to other places to eat and shop.” (Ruby, Trip Advisor)

Such a lovely resort with beautiful landscape, warm atmosphere and great hospitality. We stayed there for one night at the Premium room in the Bungalow, facing the ocean. Different from other hotel buildings in Vung Tau, coming here you can see and feel the "green" all over the resort, which shall make you feel relaxed and peaceful.” (Doan, Trip Advisor)

What we say: Marina Bay Vung Tau is one of the best quality beach resorts in Vung Tau thanks to its comprehensive amenities and services.


Six Senses

Dat Doc Beach, Con Dao Dist, Con Dao, Ba Ria- Vung Tau

Type: Luxury Island Beach Resort 

Stars: 5 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Couples, Families, Eco-tourism, Adventurers

Overview: Six Senses Con Dao is a perfect union between luxury and contemporary design. An exquisite island escape that gently screams relaxation and rejuvenation, with amenities and interior design that can't be beat. Located in the middle of a Vietnamese National and Marine Park, the resort offers a vast array of activities and amenities in a fishing village inspired design. 

Highlights: White sand private beaches, restaurants, water and beach sports, hiking, organic food from the garden, yoga classes, spa.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Six Senses

What People Say:

Incredible personalised service, hospitality and friendly staff - best service we've ever had. Beautiful resort, luxurious and every detail was taken care of. Stunning beachfront location with incredible views and infinity pools. Some of the best food we had in Vietnam.” (Hparkerash,

We had without doubt one of the most relaxing enjoyable vacations ever... Met at the airport by smiling helpful staff… which we then continued to experience every day for the next week… A beautiful, luxurious resort with first class service. Cannot recommend it enough.” (Bahamas_sunsets,

What we say: Six Senses is one of the top-rated resorts in Vietnam thanks to its unrivaled white-sand beaches and first class service. It has something for everyone, from child to adult, from adventurer to business people, this resort delivers high-class relaxation and wellness in a truly stunning setting that is nothing short of paradise. 


Anantara Hoi An Resort

1 Pham Hong Thai Street, Cam Chau, Hoi An, Quang Nam

Type: Luxury Heritage Resort

Stars: 5 | Website:

Perfect For: Couples, Families

Overview: Anantara is conveniently located in Hoi An’s old quarter. It is a historical resort experience with the convenience of location, and helpful staff. Though it is more compact than other options on our list, Anantara is still jam packed with many quality amenities, facilities, and services that are sure to make any traveller’s stay in Hoi An one to remember.

Highlights: Specialty spa treatments, convenient location, babysitting service, bar, pools.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Anantara Hoi An Resort

What People Say:

This hotel is very comfortable and provides lovely rooms at the edge of the river. The staff are very polite and attentive and provide a very warm experience. Breakfast buffet is excellent and well presented. Rooms are excellent and showers are good, with large sized bathroom. Well recommended.” (John,

This is a great place - colonial style, river side hotel with superb service and great rooms/bedding/showers etc. From the moment the friendly driver collected us to breakfast each morning, the service and relaxed atmosphere were faultless. The best thing is the location, close to the old town markets and the many fabulous local eateries and coffee shops and the great local tailors too... We were with our young family but would equally work for couples. Thank you to the managers and great hotel team!” (Anonymous,

What we say: Anantara resort is located in the center of Hoi An’s Old Quarter – one of Vietnam’s most famous world heritage sites. Combining Vietnamese, Chinese, Dutch, and French undertones, the ambiance of this historical resort make it one of the most unique resort experiences the country has to offer. 

Sunrise Premium

Au Co, Cua Dai, Hoi An, Quang Nam

Type: Luxury Beach Resort 

Stars: 5 Stars | Website :

Perfect For: Couples, Families

Overview: Sunrise Premium is one of Hoi An’s premier beachside luxury resorts. With a full-service spa, multiple pools, state of the art fitness center and tennis court, this is one of the best Hoi An has to offer! 

Highlights: Beachfront location, concierge, gym, hotel bar, beach bar, Wellness Spa, fine dining. 

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Sunrise Premium

What People Say:

It has been a pleasure to stay here. Excellent customer service. Relaxing, friendly, great spa. Beautiful views. Amazing selection of delicious food ... Best deal ever :)” (Nataxa,

Excellent holiday resort, enjoyed our spa treatments and pool was magnificent… We enjoyed our stay very much, the shuttle bus worked out very convenient for town visits and airport transfers.” (Sue,

What we say: The Sunrise Premier is the perfect beach getaway alongside Hoi An’s east sea front. With breathtaking beach and island views, quality spa treatments and stellar fine dining on offer, this one of Hoi An’s best beachside resorts!


Pandanus Resort

3 Nguyen Huu Tho, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet

Type: Beachfront Resort

Stars: 4 stars | Website:

Perfect For: Families and Couples looking for peace and quiet.

Overview: The biggest resort in Phan Thiet, Pandanus is located east of the cape at Mui Ne, close to the famous red and orange Mui Ne sand dunes, and far removed from the frenetic pace of the Ham Tien-Mui Ne strip one kilometre away.

While some travellers might prefer the louder, more action-packed hotels in the Ham Tien tourist strip, Pandanus is perfect for families or couples looking to find peace and quiet. Here you’ll be sure to find a few things: beautiful, flourishing gardens; an amazing pool and beach; spacious and well-laid-out accommodations and service standards that reach international levels of quality.

Highlights: Largest pool in Phan Thiet, massage by the pool or on the beach, Free tai-chi and yoga lessons, walking tours, Spa, Fitness Room, tennis courts, volleyball courts, badminton, basketball

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Pandanus Resort

What People Say:

“Couldn’t fault this place. The grounds and pool are amazing, and the service is top. The buses to the tourist area in the evening are excellent.” (Oliver,

“This is one of the best resorts in Asia I have stayed in. I’m actually not sure you could beat this even if you paid 3 x more! Spotless, very happy and helpful staff. The Saturday night BBQ by the pool is 100% value for money. The seafood choices are spectacular. The beach was clean and the resort immaculate.” (Trevor,

What We Say: All in all, the Pandanus Resort provides a good price/quality ratio away from the hustle and bustle.

Sailing Club Resort Mui Ne

4 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, Mui Ne

Type: Boutique Beach Resort

Stars: 5 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Couples, Adventurers

Overview: A centrally located beach resort in Mui Ne, Sailing Club Resort has all the best that resorts in Mui Ne can offer, including a private beach, rustic beach style decor, and lush gardens interwoven throughout the premises. It is highly rated as a best-value option for couples travelling.

Highlights: Great vegetarian menu options, beachfront dining, private dining packages, private beach, pool, spa, water sports.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Sailing Club Resort Mui Ne

What People Say:

We loved our 4 days at this beautiful place. Everything was perfect: room, staff, food, pool, beach. Definitely our favorite hotel in Vietnam.” (Frank,

Sailing Club Resort is in a good location. Loved the room we stayed in. Gardens are wonderful. The restaurant has a good choice and the food was very good.” (Gail,

What we say: Sailing Club Resort Mui Ne Resort and Spa provides luxury service with a boutique, beach retreat ambiance and a convenient location. Lush green garden walkways, rustic interiors and breathtaking beachfront views are sure to relax the weariest of travellers. 

The Cliff Resort and Residences

Zone 5, Phu Hai Ward, Phan Thiet

Type: Luxury Beach Resort

Stars: 5 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Couples, Families

Overview: Located 5 km from the city center, The Cliff is the perfect recluse from the noise and rumble of Ho Chi Minh City. It is rated as one of the best properties in Mui Ne for its comprehensive spa, amenity, and room offerings and stellar design.

Highlights: Large infinity pool, grand terrace restaurant, private cinema, private beach, villas with private pools and self contained apartment options. 

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: The Cliff Resort and Residences

What People Say:

Amazing facilities, beautiful location only a 10 minute taxi ride from Mui Ne, but felt like a totally different part of the country. Much cleaner, less busy and chaotic.” (James,

We came to The Cliff resort and residences after a 10 day trip throughout Vietnam. We stayed in several hotels and had a good time in most of them, but The Cliff Resort has topped them all. The facilities are wonderful and the Villa we stayed in was very luxurious.” (Nir,

What we say: This Mediterranean inspired resort offers travellers to Mui Ne a true private getaway with breathtaking beach views, a massive heated pool and a grand terrace overlooking the ocean. With plenty of activities for kids, this is ideal destination for families and couples alike. 


Mia Resort Nha Trang

Bai Dong, Cam Hai Đong, Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa

Type: Luxury Beach Resort

Stars: 5 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Couples

Overview: A secluded beachside resort surrounded by stunning sea cliffs, ocean views, and tropical gardens, this luxury getaway destination is one of Nha Trang’s highest rated for couples. 

Highlights: Quiet location, large sized rooms and villas with private pools, stunning views, excursions, concierge, five-star dining options, rated Best Value in Nha Trang.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Mia Resort Nha Trang

What People Say:

Perfect in every way, highly recommend to anybody considering a stay at this property.” (Michelle,

Absolutely an amazing place to visit. Extremely helpful and polite staff. Stunning view of the sea and reasonably priced. Once you enter the resort you wont need to leave for anything! Overall, it was an experience I would love to repeat!” (Wayne,

What we say: Mia Nha Trang is located in the heart of serene nature. The luxury resort incorporates beach inspired natural elements with modern design in elegantly crafted villas and rooms. For people who want to escape the noise and dive into the beach life of Southeast Asia, this is an option that can't be beat! 

Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang

Tran Phu St, Loc Tho Ward, Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa 

Type: Luxury Beach Resort 

Stars: 5 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Families, Couples, Adventurers, Eco-tourism

Overview: Part of Six Sense’s line of luxury resorts, Evason Ana Mandara is Nha Trang's only true beachfront resort. Only one mile from the city center there is plenty of onsite entertainment, as well as organised excursions to other major points of interest, The resort combines nature with the convenience of location and there is no shortage of amenities and activities for everyone. 

Highlights: Water sports, beachfront location, gorgeous villas and multi-room apartments, spa treatments, excursions, 24-hour dining, live music.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang

What People Say:

Great breakfast selection, beautiful beach, beach front bungalow room was perfect. It’s pure luxury and very relaxing. The spa located in the resort is also fantastic. Room service selection was great and good value.” (Margeaux,

“Naturally friendly staff and service, excellent cuisine and spa. If you want to have alternative food places, nightclubs etc, they are only a short stroll away on the beach." (Anonymous,

What we say: This is one of Nha Trang's best resorts, and the only resort along the beach front in the City. With many watersports and exciting excursions to nearby islands, this is the perfect resort for couples, families, or even solo travellers looking for luxury and a dash of adventure. 


Azerai La Residence 

5 Le Loi, Vinh Ninh, Hue City

Type: Luxury Art Deco Hotel 

Stars: 5 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Couples, Families, Historical and Cultural Tourism

Overview: One of Vietnam’s most spectacular riverside resorts, with historical Hue as its backdrop, Azerai La Residence is close to most points of interest and comes complete with professional spa treatments, tennis court, river views, five-star dining and more. 

Highlights: River views, central location, indoor and outdoor pools, spa and wellness center, fitness center.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Azerai La Residence

What People Say:

Extremely friendly and helpful staff, beautiful decor, delicious food, clean and well-appointed rooms, brilliant pool area, delightful cocktails, superb location.” (Tracy,

This is one of the pricier hotels in Hue, but from an aesthetic and service viewpoint worth the money. Interior design is a treat for Art Deco fans and both the service and hotel facilities match the price expectations.” (Siegbert,

What we say: This art deco resort, with one of a kind colonial architecture and meticulously crafted ambience situated alongside Vietnam’s perfume river, is one of the country’s most unique luxury hotel experiences. 


Azalea Cruise 

DT356, TT. Cat Hai, Cat Hai, Hai Phong

Type: Luxury Bay Cruise

Stars: 5 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Couples, Honeymooners

Overview: This high-end resort on water takes you on a luxury voyage through the iconic limestone landscape of Halong Bay. Guests can enjoy five-star culinary treats while soaking up stunning views of the ancient monoliths. Top off your experience with world-class spa treatments available on board.

Highlights: Onboard Wifi, family rooms, transport to and from Hanoi, five-star dining.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Azalea Cruise

What People Say:

Service excellent, Food amazing! Activities great, and the views are stunning. The staff are so nice and super friendly and attentive. Highlight of our Vietnam trip by far!” (Anonymous,

We loved every minute of our stay in Halong Bay on the Azalea - all the crew, all the staff - amazing!! The ship herself is wonderful - Halong Bay is one of the wonders of the world!!” (Leanne,

What we say: If you are looking to check out Vietnam’s own natural wonder of the world without sacrificing comfort and style, Azalea Cruise is your best option. This exclusive cruise ship brings adventure, excitement and luxury straight into the heart of nature.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Azalea Cruise

Mon Cheri Cruise

40 Hai Ba Trung, Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Type: Luxury Cruise 

Stars: 5 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Couples, Families

Overview: This world-class luxury cruise offers a stellar, unrivaled cruise experience in beautiful Halong Bay. Rooms come complete with full-length windows offering stunning views and the ship is packed with food options, on-board activities and a variety of daily excursions. 

Highlights: Five-star dining, mini golf course, kayaking and water sports, transport from Hanoi, onboard wifi, spa and wellness center.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Mon Cheri Cruise

What People Say:

The staff were excellent from the moment we were picked up from our hotel in Hanoi to our drop off back to Hanoi. They took care of our dietary requirements. We were celebrating our anniversary and my mother’s birthday on the cruise. The staff ensured that they made it a special celebration for us.” (Al,

“This cruise was a real highlight of our trip to Vietnam. The staff were so friendly - nothing was too much trouble! Food was also delicious and the itinerary is jam packed and runs like clockwork. All activities were included in the price (including a full day tour to Cat Ba island) which was a major bonus. Rooms are a great size, clean and have all amenities you need. Having a private balcony to watch the islands go past is also lovely. Would recommend this cruise without a doubt!!” (Ana,

What we say: Mon Cheri is easily Vietnam's best luxury cruise option for families traveling to Halong Bay, thanks to its jam packed activity itinerary, exquisite rooms and amenities and top-notch dining. If you are looking to score a memorable Halong Bay experience for your family, this one can't be beat. 

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Mon Cheri Cruise


Eco Palms House 

Lao Chai, Sa Pa, Lao Cai

Type: Eco-tourism, Cultural Tourism

Stars: 3 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Couples, Solo Travellers 

Overview: This resort is the most unique offering on our list. Forget the star rating, what this hotel lacks in luxury it more than makes up for with unbeatable mountain views and unforgettable cultural experiences with local families of the H’mong Minorities. With hands-on gardening, cooking and weaving classes and village tours, Eco Palms House brings you into the heart of the local culture of this mountain village. 

Highlights: Hand built eco-lodges located directly on Sapa’s iconic rice steppes, cooking classes, wifi, bar and lounge, airport transportation, bicycles, tour guides.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Eco Palms House

What People Say:

“My son and I had 3 nights wonderful nights at Eco Palms and loved it all. I took the cooking class which was educating and very professional using organic veggies from the garden!... The beds and shared room were very comfortable and authentic. When my son got a bad ear infection they personally took us to the local hospital and explained the situation to the doctor. Lastly they found us a car and driver for a nine day trip through the mountains and checked on us throughout the trip. It doesn't get any better!” (Dawn,

“Everything about this hotel was great! The location on the rice fields, the view, the staff, the food... The bungalows are very cosy and the hotel has one of the best views you can ask for a vacation near Sapa!” (Jeremy,

What we say: The perfect balance of comfort and cultural experience, Eco Palms House brings you the most authentic Sapa experience you could ask for. With the best views in the entire country, food straight from the local gardens and a truly authentic experience of quiet comfort and Hmong culture, this is easily one of Vietnam’s best off-the-beaten-path resort experiences. 

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Eco Palms House

Silk Path Grand Resort & Spa 

Doi Quan 6, Group 10, Sa Pa, Lao Cai

Type: Luxury Mountain Resort 

Stars: 5 Stars | Website:

Perfect For: Couples, Families

Overview: Silk Path Grand Resort & Spa rates as one of Sapa’s best on multiple booking sites. The resort offers exceptional service and magnificent design. Every inch of the hotel exudes extravagance. It’s easy to see why this luxury mountain resort is widely considered as the gem of Sapa - with its perfect location, indoor pool, onsite spa and wellness center and breathtaking views. 

Highlights: Nightclub, billiards, karaoke, game room, children's playground, walking and biking tours, entertainment, five-star dining, spa and wellness center, indoor pool.

the Best Luxury Resorts in VietnamImage source: Silk Path Grand Resort & Spa

What People Say:

If I could give a higher rating I would! Both myself and my partner thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Silk Path Resort. Everything about it was exquisite. We felt like we were staying in a palace opposed to a hotel.” (Jessica,

“Outstandingly beautiful and well-designed. It was quiet, felt like I had the place to myself. Great indoor pool, nice cocktails & excellent breakfast with plenty of variety for Western & Asian tastes. Highlight was the huge comfortable bed! Highly recommended.” (Josh,

What we say: This resort really is the pearl of Sapa. Offering travellers a degree of luxury that does not exist for miles around in this sleepy, ancient mountain town, Silk Path brings a world-class resort experience to a far off, magical destination.

Banner Image source:

Falling in Love with Vietnam All Over Again at The Island Lodge

By: Leroy Nguyen

An Eco Friendly Tropical Hideaway

Get the Blood Pumping and Experience the Real Mekong Delta

East Meets West at the Culinary Table

Relax, Recharge, Rejuvenate

I have lived in Saigon for a little over a year now. And in that time I have seen all the main attractions. From the majestic limestone Karsts of Ha Long Bay, and the romantic charms of Hoi An Old Town, to the instagram haven of Da Lat, and the heavenly beaches of Nha Trang and Phu Quoc. These are all amazing destinations and I do highly recommend to see all of them, but at times it can seem as if the rest of the world has the same idea, and are scrambling to visit these popular locales also.

For a truly exclusive, tranquil, and rejuvenating getaway many seem to overlook the grand Mekong Delta. Only a 2 hour drive from Saigon just over the Rach Mieu Bridge and tucked away on the edge of Unicorn Island in the sleepy town of My Tho, you’ll find one of the most unique eco lodges in Vietnam. The Island Lodge is a charismatic and inviting Mekong hotel with all the charm and personalised service to match any of the best boutique hotels in Vietnam. 

The Mekong Delta is usually reserved as a day trip for locals and tourists alike, only to return home exhausted from a jam packed schedule and the usually steamy weather. I’m not interested in this type of go-go-go non-stop travel. In an area with so much to see and with so many secret charms to discover The Island Lodge is the perfect overnight escape from Saigon. Whether you’re craving a quick getaway during the week or want to plan the perfect weekend away somewhere near Saigon, a stay at The Island Lodge is a convenient choice that goes above and beyond all expectations.

An Eco Friendly Tropical Hideaway

Upon reaching Unicorn Island and leaving the main highway, an intricate network of narrow roads lined with lush green grass, overhanging trees, and brightly coloured flowers instantly transports me to a foreign land that is worlds apart from bustling Saigon. The grounds are so remotely located that the only way to access the main entrance is via golf buggy. The Island Lodge is hidden behind tall, perfectly manicured hedges and upon pushing open the heavy wooden doors I am blessed by a secret sanctuary that is so completely unexpected.

Quiet smiles of warm local staff welcome me and I am ushered to a seat and encouraged to sip on freshly pressed juice whilst savouring gourmet hors d'oeuvres throughout the entire check in process. I have only just stepped foot inside and already I feel as if I am being treated like royalty. My luggage is kindly brought up to my room and the rooms do not disappoint. 

The Island Lodge

Eight Mekong River View rooms are perfectly suited to accommodate couples or solo travellers. Amply sized with giant beds, custom made locally sourced furniture, whimsical mosquito nets, and handsome ensuite showers all in accents of bamboo, wood, rope, and woven straw makes it feel as if I am staying in a gorgeous and luxe Balinese bungalow. The highlight of the room? The generous private terrace with heart tugging views of the Mekong River. Sinking into the deep terrace seating and staring out onto the fishing boats as they slowly drift by, this really does feel like a true escape, and I forget that I am mere moments away from Saigon.

Four additional Garden View rooms are privately located away from the rest of the living quarters and are ideal for families or larger groups. Bathrooms come complete with lavish his and her sinks and deep stone baths accommodating for those that love to soak their stresses away, or who have children that need bathing. Cots are also available upon request. 

The Island Lodge

A personalized note on my bed has me beaming as I read of how The Island Lodge is admirably adopting eco-friendly actions towards a brighter future for our planet. 100% pure and natural toiletry products are provided in refillable handmade earthenware pots to help reduce the use of single use plastics, and two glass bottles of purified water are refilled daily in an effort to do the least possible damage to the environment. Mini Bar fridges have been skipped entirely to greatly reduce energy waste, and even the coffee pods provided in each room are 100% compostable.

Get the Blood Pumping and Experience the Real Mekong Delta

After a deep and heavenly sleep, wake up bright and early and start your day off right with Muscular Awakening along the Mekong River. A 6:30 am call time is usually a big ‘NO’ for me, but as soon as I exit my room I have no regrets. The sky is an exquisite mix of pale French blue and creamy peach, and the central garden of densely packed coconut trees and frangipanis makes my senses sing. This is going to be a good day.

I am greeted at the edge of the quiet river by my local instructor Miss Ly, a bright and bubbly beauty who instantly energizes me with her effervescent attitude. An hour of simple stretches, light cardio, core training, and breathing exercises gets the blood pumping and gives me the tenacity to face the rest of the day’s exciting adventures. Miss Ly is very responsive and is happy to amp things up or tone things down in terms of intensity and makes sure to enforce the necessary time out to admire the captivating sunrise and sneak in a few cheeky holiday snaps.

The Island Lodge also offers a list of incredible bicycle tours that are not to be missed. For me, these tours are the main drawcard of the lodge and truly provide an immersive, ‘off the beaten track’, authentic local experience of real Mekong Delta living. Choose your style of bike, Classic, Mountain Bike, or Electric, and take a scenic boat ride down the Mekong River to Ben Tre province. From here follow your friendly tour guide and sit down to a Vietnamese breakfast in a bustling street market, visit a fish farm and learn of the laborious 2 year process from sociable and talkative local farmers, or visit a cacao farm and dive deep into the familiar and intoxicating aromas of coco as you follow the entire process from cultivation, harvesting, fermentation, and drying.

The Island Lodge

Ben Tre province is also known as the ‘Coconut Kingdom’ and a memorable bicycle ride to one of the local coconut farms has me literally dodging low hanging pomelo fruits and overgrown tree branches. The wildness of it all, the narrow unbeaten paths, the laughter that ensues from riding through nature’s untamed obstacle course, this is exactly the kind of invigorating experience that my soul has been pining for, these are the memories that I will remember and laugh about decades from now, this is an adventure that is so unique from other destinations I have visited and stayed at.

I have fallen in love with Vietnam all over again.

East Meets West at the Culinary Table

Michel and Francoise, a delightful French couple with a reserved demeanour and an infectious passion for laughter, opened The Island Lodge five years ago. Decades ago Michel’s grandparents were in fact based in Ha Long for work, and his own father was born right here in Vietnam. Having grown up in Alsace himself, Michel recalls fond memories of his grandmother teaching his mother the secrets to making the perfect Pho and demonstrations of how to correctly use chopsticks.

The Island Lodge

This colourful family heritage is particularly evident at Le Comptoir de Marthe et Edouard, a brasserie style restaurant affectionately named after Michel’s grandparents. Here, local chefs provide an extensive menu of authentic French and Vietnamese signatures to please any palate, any time of day. 

For breakfast guests are generously offered an all you can eat a-la-carte menu. Start your day with a local specialty, Hu Tieu from My Tho, a flavoursome noodle soup generously filled with thin rice noodles, slivers of pork, and juicy prawns, or a hot toasted Croque Monsieur alongside a basket of French breads, pastries, and jams all expertly made in-house, and an assortment of vibrant tropical Vietnamese fruits.

From the lunch and dinner menu my personal favourite is the Avocado Tartare with Crab Meat, which is all at once fresh, bright, creamy, and light. The delicate richness of the avocado and quail egg compliments the dominant sweet crab meat that has me reminiscing of the abundant seafood markets and summertime in Lyon. The signature Quiche Lorraine comes highly recommended and indeed hits the spot. The large slice is thin and served hot, but don’t let it’s simple appearance fool you, the lashings of melted French cheese and rich buttery handmade tart pastry makes this dish definitely ‘good for the soul’. Fully live out the summer holiday vibes and sip on French rosé or order a refreshing ice cold glass of Apple and Ginger Organic Craft Cider proudly made in Saigon. 

The Island Lodge

I wander around the restaurant space and find precious vintage photographs of the Scour family from 1937 swimming in Ha Long Bay, as well as framed passports and educational transcripts that date back to 1949. Michel’s adoration of his family and love for his heritage rings clear and The Island Lodge is a celebration of everything French and Vietnamese.

Relax, Recharge, Rejuvenate

For a lodge that houses only 12 rooms, the grounds are truly expansive. The enormous residence and limited occupancy means that my every need and want is well attended to and my stay feels incredibly exclusive. This getaway has been a great way for me to switch off from my everyday city life and the perfect opportunity to slow down and focus on me. In this fast paced digital age it is so important to take the time out to reset your frame of mind, away from the pressures of work and deadlines.

If you’re not so actively inclined, then there really is no need to leave the lodge grounds at all. Everything you need is right here. The Island Lodge Spa is ready to knead and stretch out every knot you may have, and if your reflection in the mirror is looking rather dull of late, the expert therapists will leave you glowing and quenched with all natural pure cosmetics in uplifting exotic aromas of cinnamon and star anise. 

The Island Lodge

In the centre of the lush gardens sits Le 10° 19′ 44”, a tropical bar that focuses on Michel’s other passion… rhum. I saunter over post massage, past the regal koi fish pond and towards the enchanting hut that sits centre stage. During Happy Hour the bar offers a Buy-1-get-1 deal that is too good to resist. The Ti Punch in particular, regarded as the national drink of Martinique (of which Michel’s partner Francoise calls home), is an addictive mix of Martinique Rhum, sugarcane syrup, and lime juice that is dangerously easy to down and will have you licking your licks whilst fast ordering the next round.

My favourite area of the lodge? The grand infinity pool with ample sunbed seating is the perfect spot to laze the day away with a good book, but is best savoured during my favourite time of day… sunset. After an eventful day full of physical activity and local adventures I dip myself into the gorgeous pool, look out onto the Mekong River and exhale. The Island Lodge offers total serenity, with only the trill of cicadas and the chirping of swallows floating into twilight. The clear evening sky is an alluring dance of mauve and fairy floss pink that darkens into tones of aubergine as night falls. I have never seen a sunset quite like this in Vietnam. It takes my breath away and I will remember this moment forever.

The Island Lodge

Despite the gorgeous well appointed rooms, the divine menu of French and Vietnamese delights, the spectacular vantage of Mekong River, and offshore adventures into local villages, the greatest feature of The Island Lodge for me is the staff. All locally appointed, the service at The Island Lodge is faultless, quiet spoken, happy, and genuine. I can sense that the staff at The Island Lodge are all happy to be working there, from the receptionist who gladly shows me around the grounds as we talk of his past travels to Australia, to the personable massage therapist who politely enquires of how I find living in Saigon, the yoga instructor who loves to talk of her passion for photography, and the energetic gardener who remembers my name and is eager to strike up conversation every morning, The Island Lodge holds many charms. Charms that will surely have me coming back. Charms that make me fall in love with Vietnam all over again.

The Island Lodge

390 Thoi Binh Hamlet, Thoi Son Village, My Tho City, Tien Giang Province, Vietnam
For reservations, email The Island Lodge directly:
The Island Lodge offers guests a Privilege Transport service. A private, no-fuss, safe, door-to-door transport option with wi-fi. 7, 16, and 29 seater options will have you and your group travelling comfortably and in style straight to the lush grounds of The Island Lodge. The Privilege Transport service is available for guests anywhere within the Mekong Delta area and covers as far north as Da Lat. Contact The Island Lodge for further information:

Image source: The Island Lodge

Vietnam’s New Position in Affordable Hospitality

By: City Pass Guide

Vietnam really is an astonishing country, its people are resilient, cheerful and welcoming. When you consider that they have spent a millennium defending themselves from various incursions, it is remarkable that they are so accepting of foreigners. The giant neighbour is something of an elephant in the room, but that apart, they welcome strangers here more so than most countries. They remain industrious, peace-loving and one of the most driven people we have met. They are also quick to forgive and forget as the many American’s living happily here will bear testimony.

Growth and More Growth

A 2006 study by Agence France-Presse, the third largest news agency in the world, placed them as the happiest race on the planet. By 2016 they have become even more satisfied as the country enjoys a growth of GDP in excess of 6.5%. Their excellent work ethic coupled with good planning has them performing better than any of their Southeast Asian neighbours, who are achieving about 4.4% growth. The future looks good as well, with the World Bank, last year, saying that these factors have meant a developing confidence which will hold them in good stead for the mid term.

Photo by: Bear Beer Photography

Country Director for Vietnam for the Global Bank recently said, “This is a good time to solidify macroeconomic stability and rebuild policy buffers, including through decisive efforts to rein in fiscal imbalances and tackle remaining vulnerabilities in the banking sector.” The amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) has also been improved by a raft of recent trade deals, adding further to the improvement of Vietnam’s standing among ASEAN countries. Turnover in total exports was up 9.2% over this period due mainly to a large increase in mobile phones, electronic equipment and computers.

TPP and Lifted Bans

Further good news comes in the form of the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement: analysts are stating that Vietnam will be the biggest beneficiary of the 13 nations involved. The signatories of the TPP account for 40% of global GDP and Vietnam could see theirs increase by as much as 8%. At the same time it is expected to add 17% to real exports and 12% to its capital stock. The ASEAN group is looking healthy from Vietnam’s point of view as the association is now the country’s third largest export market following USA and Europe.

Photo by: UN ISDR

There have been significant changes in foreign ownership and share trading recently. This will stimulate growth and investment, and reduce sectors where foreign investment was banned from 51 to only 6. This, in addition to the abolition of the 49% cap on foreign ownership of shares on the stock exchange, will now allow foreign investors to fully acquire listed companies, excluding, of course, the banking sector.

A New Class of Travellers

Vietnam’s affordable hospitality sector is set to take off with news that low cost carrier, Vietjet has just added two new routes. They now have connected Ho Chi Minh City with the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur and Tainan City in Taiwan. More routes are planned as well.

Photo by: DAIHYUN JI

Millennials are being seen as a new class of traveller. The Vietnamese are prudent by nature, meaning that the cheaper hotel accommodation sector is likely to find a new home in the country. The new brand of cheap hotels offer good Wi-Fi connectivity, meaning that young business people are taking advantage of a good deal as well as the more expected backpacker crowd. The Malaysian experience bears this out with the mid-priced hotel brand “Vivid”, set to open in Georgetown by 2018. Penang is predicted to enjoy something of a renaissance in the M.I.C.E. business with the addition of two new convention centres.

Photo by: Ronald Tagra

Malaysia’s MM2H visa is valid initially for a period of ten years, depending on the validity of the applicant’s passport, and is also renewable. Penang is now seen as an exciting potential growth area for Vanguard Hotels. Together with other on-going projects in Kuala Lumpur, this adds up to US$40 million worth of investment in Malaysia for the Vanguard Group. The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) recently released a new consumer research report which they called “Stepping Out of the Crowd: Where the Next Generation of Young Asian Travellers is Heading, and How to Win a Place on Their Travel Itinerary”. This examines travel trends of young Asians and explains how secondary destinations and further attractions will benefit from the rise in outbound travel from Asia.

It looks highly likely that the $60-80 hotels will be seen as sensible choices for travellers in Asia. Vietnam looks to be a prominent player in the new market of affordable hospitality in Asia.

Top 7 Honeymoon Spots in Vietnam

By: Aleksandr Smechov

We list the best of the best for honeymoon destinations in Vietnam. Any of the luxury resorts below are also great to celebrate wedding anniversaries or vow renewals.

The term “honeymoon” sprouted sometime in the 1500s, and meant the wavering affection (honey) of a married couple was analogous to the periodic phases of the moon. Later, the term came to mean the span of time after the wedding signifying the “indefinite period of tenderness and pleasure experienced by a newlywed couple.” Again, the moon referred to the marriage’s predilection to be “no sooner full than it begins to wane.”

Etymologically a half bittersweet, half cynical term, the word grew into its more optimistic counterpart during the Belle Epoque, the 40-year period in European history characterized by the burst of artistic endeavors, scientific discoveries and new technology.

The modern interpretation has come to mean plunking down serious cash for an exotic heaven-on-earth where you’re treated like Saudi royalty. So why not choose the best of the best, in one of most affordable honeymoon destinations on earth? Vietnam’s rich flora, kind smiles and great food make it a great choice to spend the sweetest epoch of your marriage.

Ana Mandara Dalat Honeymoon

Who is it for: The older couple; fans of woodland solitude and cool weather

Why it’s an ideal honeymoon spot: This is as authentic as it gets in Dalat. While the city has its fair share of kitsch (eerie swan paddle boats, anyone?),  Ana Mandara has managed to hold on with dear life to the most romantic aspects of the 1930s, when weary French officials retreated to the pine-covered highlands for some seriously meditative R&R.

Since these were personal villas, each room has its own unique furniture setup, layout and ambiance. The wooden floors, antiquated furniture and canopied beds makes your dwelling feel like a secret forest cabin you and your lover are using to escape from the tumultuous world outside. Except instead of broken plumbing and wild animals you get a heated pool, clawfoot bathtub, rain shower and panoramic views of a colorful Franco-Vietnamese city.

How long should I stay: Three days and two nights should be enough time to explore the grounds and try the excellent breakfast buffet, get a massage at La Cochinchine spa, and head down and explore the city center.

Offers: Being the city of fatalistic lovers (most of Dalat’s lore ends in a Romeo and Juliet scenario), much of Dalat is geared towards honeymooners. Ana Mandara is no exception, and offers a really well put together package that includes one night in a Villa Room, daily breakfast, round-trip airport transfers, a city tour by vintage car, a candle-lit dinner, an hour long body massage and further discounts for just VND 3.9 million per person. Not bad at all. City Pass also offers a 30% off voucher.

Six Senses Con Dao Honeymoon

Who is it for: Anyone who can afford it

Why it’s an ideal honeymoon spot: This is Brad and Angelina’s turf (well… they stayed there once in 2011, but it was big news in the tabloids). It’s a 45-minute flight by charter flight that takes you directly from Ho Chi Minh City to Con Dao Island, where a Mercedes van picks you up and drops you off at Six Senses.

You are taken to what might arguably be one of the best beaches in Vietnam. The sand is flat, firm and stretches out for a few kilometers. The water is beautiful and snorkel-worthy. The private villas all come with an infinity pool and butler. Movies are projected nightly in the open air, the F&B is excellent and the service is meticulously geared towards pleasing literally every need. Understandable considering you’re paying around VND 12 million per room. But for that you get stuff like a pre-check-in checklist offering anything you might need on the house, from razors to nail clippers to scented pillows to snorkeling gear, and even the type of music you want playing upon entering your private villa for the first time.

The island is nice, and you can visit a prison (not very romantic but fascinating nonetheless), snorkel or dive in the clear waters (this is Vietnam’s best diving spot), hike for hours at a national park, or rent a catamaran and languidly paddle about the sea. But keep in mind shis is the kind of place where you indulge in the ambiance of the resort, have fun with your large bed and politely ask your smiling butler to get you those nail clippers.

How long should you stay: you’re spending a few hundred just on the charter flight there, so might as well stay three or four nights before you head back. This is a premier honeymoon destination – you’re going to want to stay as much as you can reasonably afford.

Offers: While there are no honeymooner-centric packages, they do offer discounts ranging from 10% to 28% for early, non-flexible and extended stays.

Princess D'Annam Honeymoon

Who is it for: Honeymooners with kids; boutique hotel lovers

Why it’s an ideal honeymoon spot: Not too far from Phan Thiet, Princess is a 3-5 hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City, making it the closest beachfront resort on the list. The hotel is sleek, private and remote. You get your own villa, 24-hour service and some pretty sites: the East Sea, canyons, dunes and a nearby village where you can get some local fruit and coffee for cheap.

Princess has an excellent kids club, and provides adults some decent entertainment like cooking classes, football, fishing, karaoke, surfing and other fun diversions. If you’re tugging along some little ones for the “familymoon,” Princess is probably the best option on the list. And it’s on the lower end of the luxury price spectrum (around VND 5 million for a private villa at a luxury boutique resort reasonable).

How long should you stay: Three to four nights should do it. It’s a small, relatively secluded area, so you might want to make some taxi trips to Phan Thiet to check out the city, or just explore the surrounding area. The resort is very well-constructed, well-maintained and quite beautiful overall, and should do well if you only stay there the entire time.

Offers: Citypass offers a 25% off voucher.

Bassac Cruises Honeymoon

Who is it for: The older couple; river cruise lovers

Why it’s an ideal honeymoon spot: You don’t typically imagine barges floating along rural Vietnam as romantic. Bassac turns the notion on its head. You get on one of three fully-equipped boats constructed in the style of a traditional rice barge, traveling overnight from Can Tho to Cai Be. And when we say fully equipped, we mean it. Soundproofed cabins for lengthy “bed testing,” AC, hot and cold water, three inclusive meals with superb food and knowledgeable staff that can answer your questions about the Mekong Delta or Vietnam. It’s quite pampering for such a rustic context, but not distastefully extravagant. Costly, but well worth it.

The project is headed by French engineer Benoit, whose meticulous attention to details is unprecedented. Every aspect of the boat is made to take you away from daily stress and place you in a serene, culturally-conscious environment. You float by rice fields, sugar canes, a floating market, and the Delta’s various flora. You see the difficult life of farmers and reconsider your own situation. It’s quite eye-opening. And it’s quite romantic.

How long should you stay: The set overnight itinerary should be enough time to experience riverfront life in the Mekong, and indulge in the barge’s services.

Offers: City Pass offers a 15% off voucher.

Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang

Who is it for: Beachfront lovers; couples who want to be close to the action

Why it’s an ideal spot for a honeymoon, a wedding anniversary or a vow renowal trip: Don’t confuse this one for Ana Mandara Dalat mentioned earlier – it’s quite different in style. This one is for the beach lovers who don’t want to stray too far from the busiest coastal city in Vietnam. It’s also the only resort actually situated on the beach in Nha Trang, instead of sitting across the road.

It’s a great hideaway, despite its proximity to the city. The noise levels are sufficiently low, and the gardens, the dedicated beachfront and the sleek pools all magnify the serenity. Ana also features one of the best breakfasts you’ll find in the region. If you’re the fancy-dinner-by-the-pier type, the resort can set up a table at the end of long wooden pier, which is quite nice when the starts begin to show face.

On a side note, the resort is managed by Six Senses, known for their world-class spa facilities. Do yourself a favor and visit the spa if you’re staying here.

How long should you stay: Two or three nights should be sufficient if you’re just there for the resort. If you want to explore Nha Trang – and the city has a good deal of landmarks and restaurants to discover – you may want to opt for up to a week. With a voucher or 3rd party site, you can get each night for under VND 5 million for lower end rooms and around twice that for more luxurious options.

Offers: The Six Senses website is featuring a honeymoon package for three nights that includes airport transfer, a bottle of sparkling wine, chocolate and tea, fresh fruit on arrival, and a departure gift. You also get your room set-up for the honeymoon, a sunset cruise for two complete with champagne on the deck, a 50-minute massage in a couple room, and a three course dinner on the beach, with the option to create your own signature menu. City Pass also offers a 30% off voucher.

The Nam Hai Honeymoon

Who is it for: Luxury-minded older crowd not into loud partying, but still looking for something sleek and sexy to slip into

Why it’s an ideal honeymoon spot: The Nam Hai has five bubbles on TripAdvisor. And that’s with over 1,200 reviews. It’s difficult not to rehash what’s already been said. But based on our time there, here’s a few relatively objective observations: the rooms are very well decorated. Sleek, sensual and with a nice view of the beach meters away. Lounging by the pools is idyllic, and the beach sand is spotless. It is easily one of the best hotel in Vietnam.

Service in general is top class, as is the steep price (US$ 500 and up). Every private villa gets a butler who obliges your every whim. Little details like staff using electric buggies and bicycles to lessen the noise and pollution of the resort push The Nam Hai over the edge and into veritable 5-star territory. They’re genuinely inclined to give you a world-class treatment.

On a side note, the resort is close to Hoi An, a quaint city that’s quite romantic. It’s 15 minutes by car and worth a stroll through.

How long should you stay: At least two nights. If you can expend for more, go for it. Two nights to a week is best.

Offers: They have a Romance in Style package running until the end of 2015. It includes airport transfer, a welcome bottle of champagne, a private BBQ dinner, a love bath ceremony and special honeymoon amenities and souvenir. City Pass also offers a 15% off voucher.

An Lam Saigon River

Who is it for: jungle paradise lovers; riverside enthusiasts

Why it’s an ideal honeymoon spot: There’s nothing quite like it in Vietnam. A boutique resort with only 19 villas, An Lam Saigon River is only a few years old, but it’s already butting heads against superstars like The Nam Hai and Six Senses.

You begin with a 20-minute boat ride along the Saigon River. It’s pretty unassuming until you approach the smiling staff greeting you with welcome drinks along a remote, jungle-like pier. Palms, bamboo and other tropical flora grow naturally around the grounds. The resort itself is small, but the owner, a polymath of sorts, single-handedly designed the 19 unique villas himself, which are worlds of their own.

Each villa is a fusion of the best elements taken from luxury coastal hotels, a sort of beautiful hodgepodge that works synergistically to literally uplift you as you walk into the room. Each room, despite being wholly different from the next, is arranged to produce a seamless flow, an organic feel that meshes with the wilderness outside. It’s modish, it’s wild and it’s romantic, no matter what villa you stay in.

How long should you stay: Two nights minimum are a must. A day lounging around your room, the pool, the restaurant or anywhere else on the grounds is a wholly different experience than any hotel in the country can provide.

Offers: There are no offers at present.

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The Future of Hospitality in Vietnam

By: Molly Headley

Head 24 floors up to the Social Club roof bar on the top of the Hotel des Arts, and there, buoyed by the beat of the DJ’s music, you’ll find a landscape of night sky, city lights and hotels as far as the eye can see.

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In Vietnam it seems that every day a new hotel chain is breaking ground. The Mandarin Oriental is set to open in 2020 in Saigon, while Best Western plans to launch a new resort in Phu Quoc after beginning its Vietnam expansion in Vung Tau in 2017.International hotel brands have made Vietnam a key area of focus.

This is unsurprising when you consider the numbers. In 2017, market researcher Statista reported that the hotel sector pulled in more than US$391 million in revenues in Vietnam and is predicted to grow 15.9 percent year on year. By 2022, the earnings will more than double to US$890 million.

#iAMHCMC interviewed the general managers of three top hotels in HCMC to get their take.

David Wicker, the GM of the New World hotel in Saigon, has seen the changes over the six years he’s been living in Vietnam. He wrote in response to emailed questions that within the cities there has been “a reasonable increase of new 5-star properties. But the huge growth has happened in places like Phu Quoc, Danang, Hoi An, Quy Nhon as well as destinations such as Sapa and Ha Long Bay.”

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As Tourism Increases so do Fears of Market Overload

The customer demographic across Vietnam is predominantly Asian (Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Taiwanese) with Australians, Europeans and North Americans rounding things off. This is generally similar to the rest of Vietnam other than Phu Quoc and the central coast where there is a stronger Russian presence. The travellers also include a growing number of Vietnamese domestic travellers, who increased from 17 percent to 20.4 percent between 2014 and 2016.

“The middle class is growing,” Wicker wrote, “and so is the new-found discovery of travel—more planes flying to more locations within Vietnam, more people have cars, local tour operators are able to secure very attractive prices for domestic and regional travel, which fuels more demand.”

Carl Gagnon, the GM of the MGallery Collection’s Hotel des Arts Saigon, said that “[domestic travellers] are one of the biggest focuses for Hotel des Arts. It’s a good position to be in because if ever the world becomes more precarious in a certain region, then it is important to have your local market support you.”

Olivier Revy, Sofitel Saigon Plaza’s GM, has worked for 25 years in Asia and has some qualms about how quickly the hotel industry is growing. In China he saw first-hand how an overload in hotels can work against the interests of the industry. Revy said that “[Vietnam] has to be very careful that the supply of rooms is not too much compared to the demand. In Singapore [the authorities] spent years controlling the hotel construction and in the end a city with a certain order was created. In Vietnam for the moment there is not a lot being controlled.”

All three GMs agreed that Vietnam is far from the saturation point, for now.

Gagnon said that “it’s fine for five years at least. It’s just the beginning for tourism in Vietnam. When you start seeing all these top brands in hotels coming to the country it means the country is serious for business.”

The statistics agree. According to a 2017 report by Grant Thornton there was a 5.6 percent increase in occupancy rates between 2015 and 2016 and an 8 percent increase in RevPAR (revenue per available room). This past spring the Sofitel’s occupancy rate averaged close to 80 percent.

But, that is not to say that there are not problems in the foreseeable future.

Well Trained Employees Hard to Hold on to

Wicker wrote that hotel training “remains well below international standard as a result of a combination of cultures coming to terms with modernity and change. There is still a negative overtone that must change—‘it’s alright if things go wrong, or if I made a mistake, or if the customers are not totally happy with some aspects of service delivery. After all, this is Vietnam!’”

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Another issue that both Revy and Gagnon mentioned is the fact that once staff have been trained to the level expected of a 5-star hotel, they can be poached by other hotels.

“Unfortunately, this is something that happens a lot so we have to be very fast with our succession plan”, Gagnon said. “In more remote areas like Phu Quoc and Sapa, the market is developing fast. There is not always a sufficient local resource to fulfill the staff needs. So then people need to be brought in but once the employees get things figured out they get poached by other hotels.”

However, there is a positive development in hotel training in Vietnam. Beyond the big names in schools like Vatel there are some smaller schools that are working to train young people who would normally not have access to education and stable career paths. STREETS International teaches kids from the streets how to work in the culinary and service industry. Their students are then placed in 4-5-star hotels. KOTO, which stands for Know One Teach One, is a social enterprise that also helps disadvantaged youth succeed in the hospitality sector.

How to Deal with Waste Management

Both Hotel des Arts and Sofitel are part of the AccorHotels Group, which has the biggest footprint in hospitality in Vietnam. Some of the group’s current holdings include Novotel, Ibis, Mercure, and Pullman, while more Accor properties are being planned. There are already 30 Accor hotels in Vietnam, with 15 more soon to come, Gagnon shared. And what all these properties have in common is the focus on sustainability. The GMs agreed that waste management is a trend that should be implemented industry-wide.

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The AccorHotels has put into effect a program called Planet 21 which aims to make the hotels more eco-friendly.

There is an enormous amount of waste in the food and beverage portion of the industry. The Hotel des Arts follows a program created by Winnow Solutions, which weighs each amount of food that is not consumed in order to create a running tally of what is consistently being wasted. Chefs can then gear their menus towards sustainability.

“Customers need to understand that quantity doesn’t always rhyme with quality”, Gagnon said. “Some guests do not understand this approach. They want kilometres of food and mountains of abundance. But the Hotel des Arts is not the place for this type of consumption. We’re about filling the garbage as little as possible.”

Wicker offers this word of advice to the hospitality industry: “Don’t reinvent the wheel—follow, copy, adapt to similar plans that have succeeded in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.”

And for locations like Phu Quoc and Nha Trang, which risk sharp growth followed by a tourism burn-out, Gagnon and Revy agree that the hotels, competitors or not, need to band together along with the local authorities and NGOs to create a reasonable growth plan.

As Gagnon put it, “The beauty of the country is easy to break. And if you break it, you break the ‘golden goose’ for everyone. A sustainable approach to the environmental impact is not optional.”

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