Victory Road Villas: Luxury, History & Serenity in Quang Binh

By: City Pass Guide

Welcome to Victory Road Villas

A historical region

Unique accommodation

Located in Phong Nha Village, overlooking the peaceful “Song Son” river, and close to the gateway for exploring Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, Victory Road Villas Resort is perfectly situated for exploring the timeless charm of Quang Binh Province. A small but luxurious retreat in rural Vietnam, where staff pride themselves on providing exceptional facilities and service, Victory Road Villas is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. 

Victory Road Villas

Fusing contemporary, western elegance with localtraditions, Victory Road Villas is a boutique residence that embraces both Annamese and Tonkinese architectural styles. The combination brings an artistic, luxurious atmosphere to your visit . Surrounded by a ruralvillage and the jungle-clad karst mountains famous to this part of Asia, Victory Road Villas’ unique villas are rooted in Indochina’s culture and traditions, whilst offering the best in modern service, amenities and luxury.

The surrounding area is steeped in natural beauty and history. Victory Road (“Duong Quyet Thang”) is the name given to Highway 20 by the localpeople of Phong Nha. Part of the famous Ho Chi Minh Trail, Victory Road was used by the North Vietnamese Army(NVA) to provide supplies for the war efforts in the south between 1967 and 1975. Trucks crossed the Son River (“Pha Xuan Son”) in Phong Nha village, bringing personnel and equipment through from Hai Phong Harbour, near Ha Long Bay. The supplies were used to support the war efforts in the south, where the NVA were trying to help the Viet Cong guerillas liberate that part of the country from the SouthVietnam Government, South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) and their foreign supporters. Located on Victory Road, just 400m from the historic ferry crossing, VictoryRoad Villas are well placed to support a few days exploring this fascinating area. 

Victory Road Villas

After exploring, relaxing back at Victory Road Villas is next on the list of priorities. The Victory and Family villas of 95 and 100 square meters are located around the swimming pool, each with a private entrance leading into the villa’s lounge area and kitchen. Inside, guests are provided with a spacious bedroom with a king size bed, walk-in wardrobe and an en-suite bathroom. The Villas also come equipped with a courtyard and outdoor bathtub to enhance the sense of being back in a natural environment, and each bedroom connects to a beautiful terrace overlooking the village, pool and garden, the perfect location to relax and unwind with a coffee in the morning, or a glass of wine at sunset!

Victory Road Villas

Perfect for couples, but also capable of accommodating families and additional guests on a sleeper couch in the lounge area, Victory and Family villas are the perfect choice for a getaway.

If you are looking to take a break with a larger group, the 3 bedroom River View Penthouse offers sweeping views of the “Song Son” river and the local village from the balcony and from the private Jacuzzi. At 180m² the Penthouse is ideal for those looking for privacy and space on their vacation. Guests in the Penthouse can enjoy the large double height living room and open plan kitchen and air conditioned indoor lounge area with a large television on the upper level and a large balcony overlooking the river. From the Kitchen, step onto the balcony that overlooks our private garden and swimming pool view allows the guest to appreciate the views in all directions. 

Victory Road Villas

Each of the 3 large private bedrooms has a king size bed and an en-suite bathroom with a walk in rain shower and the spectacular family size jacuzzi that boasts glass walls and a view to the Son river with the mountains behind is sure to make your stay a memorable one!

Victory Road Villas

At The Villa Restaurant, a small, but delicious menu allows us to offer you our very best while, still catering for everything from tasty snacks to a great dining menu for you and your friends. With an emphasis on casual friendly service The Villa Restaurant is the perfect spot to relax, treat yourself and enjoy the Phong Nha views.

Victory Road Villas are located 45 kilometers from the transport hub of Dong Hoi. It will take around 50minutes to reach Phong Nha from Dong Hoi airport or train station. Transportation by car from Hue, Danang, Hoi An is also available. Our reception team are always happy to help plan transfers to the villas and are also very experienced in arranging excursions to the surrounding caves and jungle. If you are unsure what to do when you visit Victory Road Villas, our staff can help with trip planning, motorbike/motorcycle rental, spa services, restaurants booking, taxi services.

For all quotations & booking enquiries, please contact us on info@victoryroadvillas.com or on our hotline 0886 199 599

Image source: Victory Road Villas


Love is in The Air This Valentine’s Day at Fusion Resorts & Hotels

By: Leroy Nguyen

Love at first bite.

The perfect candlelit dinner.

Seclusion and private romance.

Activate your love game.

Cupid’s arrow seems firmly aimed at Fusion’s hotels and resorts across Vietnam this Valentine’s Day. From a 24-hour love challenge at their natural hot springs resort in Hue, to a romance-themed turn down service in their beachside resort on the tropical island of Phu Quoc, the wellness-inspired hospitality group is doing all they can to make sure the god of desire hits his mark. 

Here are a few of their highlights below:

Fusion Maia Da Nang 

This Valentine’s Fusion Maia Da Nang is hosting a ‘Love at first bite’ Valentine’s day set dinner menu at Fresh Restaurant. The indulgent offering includes dishes like foie gras served atop toasted brioche and sprinkled with bacon dust, freshly caught lobster or grilled Wagyu sirloin, and a ‘love’ dessert buffet with chocolate dipped strawberries and ginger panna cotta. 

Fusion Resorts

Prices start at USD195 net / couple for the set dinner, exclusive of the nightly room rate and includes a glass of rose sparkling wine and live music during dinner. 

Fusion Resort Cam Ranh 

This Valentine’s Day the pristine beachfront of Cam Ranh insouth central Vietnam, is the romantic outpost for a candlelit poolside seafood buffet at Fusion Resort Cam Ranh. The all-spa inclusive resort, with private pool villas overlooking tropical gardens or with water views, is also inviting guests to limber up with yoga sessions in the resort’s tropical gardens or book yourselves in for a couple’s session in the spa. On Valentine’s Day couples will return to their room to discover a romantic turndown treat.

Fusion Resorts

Prices start at USD40 net / person for the seafood buffet and Valentine’s turndown, exclusive of the nightly room rate.

Fusion Resort Phu Quoc

Situated along a secluded stretch of sand on Vietnam’s largest island, Fusion Resort Phu Quoc is a prime spot for privacy this February 14th. In fact, couples don’t even have to leave their private pool villas, if so inclined. On Valentine’s Day the resort is offering a special turndown package that includes chocolate dipped delicacies from Fusion Resort Phu Quoc’s very own pastry chef and a chilled bottle of Prosecco.

Fusion Resorts

Prices start at USD56 net / couple for the turndown service, exclusive of the nightly room rate.

Alba Wellness Valley by Fusion 

Alba Wellness Valley by Fusion, a natural hot springs resort on the outskirts of Vietnam’s Imperial capital Hue, is assigning lovebirds a ‘24 Love Challenge’ this Valentine’s Day. Couples are encouraged to complete a series of fun tasks over twenty-four hours ranging from the serene to the sporty. Activities include scrambling over high-wires suspended between the trees, whizzing down the country’s longest zip-line, an intimate dinner surrounded by lush jungle, and taking an extended soak together in the warm, healing waters that run through the property. Couples who successfully complete the challenges will be awarded a certificate that confirms their love and commitment to each other. 

Prices start from USD243 / couple / deluxe or premium deluxe room.

Fusion Suites Sai Gon 

Fusion Suites Sai Gon has your stay covered starting with complimentary airport pick-up. Flowers and a glass of chilled sparkling wine follow upon arrival at the hotel. Next it’s balloons and sweet treats from the hotel’s chef. The day ends with a surprise bubble bath in the hotel’s floating hammock bathtub. The hotel can cater surprises to guests’ preferred schedule.

Price starts from USD160 net / couple for romance services listed, exclusive of the nightly room rate.

Fusion Suites Da Nang 

At Fusion Suites Da Nang couples can choose from three intimate romance packages this Valentine’s Day. Options include setting the scene in-room with an ice-chilled bottle of sparkling wine, heart-shaped balloons, a fragrant rose bouquet and chocolates. They’ll also be serving a special Valentine’s Day set menu dinner for two with dishes like pan-fried duck breast with deep-fried potato, strawberry jam, red wine sauce and spring onion or grilled seabass with passion fruit dressing, pumpkin and tofu. 

Prices start from USD60 / couple for the Romantic Room package, exclusive of nightly room rate.

Image source: Fusion Resorts


Fusion To Open 10 Hotels and 1,385 Hotel Rooms Across Vietnam

By: City Pass Guide

The wellness-inspired hotel group will launch new brands and expand into emerging destinations

Fusion is substantially expanding its Vietnam’s presence by tripling the number of properties in the Land of the Blue Dragon. Over the next three years, the pioneering wellness lodging specialists will launch 10 new hotels and resorts, representing 1,385 rooms and private villas, suites, and apartments. Expanding into exciting emerging markets, the brand’s new properties will open in developing destinations that span the length of the country.

“We see a tremendous opportunity to expand Fusion’s presence in the country,” explained Peter Meyer, chief executive officer of Fusion. “Recognising that there are so many beautiful, and largely undeveloped destinations in Vietnam.”

Fusion Suites Vung Tau, located in the weekend getaway beach destination near Saigon, is set to welcome guests from early 2020. This chic new-build features 100 apartments and 71 suites, a spa with 12-double bed treatment rooms, aerial yoga studio, rooftop infinity pool with cocktail bar, and the Suite signature Fresh Restaurant.

Fusion Resorts

The oceanfront Fusion Resort Quang Binh is located at the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park. Also located in this park is Son Doong, the world’s largest cave. Fusion’s three hectare property will feature 60 private villas, each with its own plunge pool. The resort will offer a spacious spa with treatments included in the nightly rate, and several dining options. This latest resort addition will start taking bookings in late 2020.

Fusion Resorts

Maia Quy Nhon, will be the first of a new brand line. Fusion breaks ground on the property late this year, and expects to open by mid 2020. Maia will continue Fusion’s wellness ethos, but the focus will be expanded to a more immersive foodie experience. Culinary journeys will be tailored to the location, and guests will be able to choose a different program each night of their stay. Options include experiences like farm-to-table & sea-to-table dining, a local food tour, cooking classes as well as pop-up dining. One complimentary daily spa treatment will round out this new brand’s offering.

“Food is an integral part of any holiday adventure,” said Meyer. “Vietnamese cuisine has now become popular worldwide. Playing to this cuisine’s popularity, we want to take guests beyond well-known dishes like pho and banh mi, educating them on the histories of these iconic foods and other lesser known regional specialties.”

Fusion Resorts

The completely new product of HIIVE will also be introduced in 2020. With a business traveller focus, this three-star plus line will cater to the lodging needs in Vietnam’s industrial zones and developing townships. Five HIIVE hotels are slated for development over the next three years in four different locations. These include Binh Duong, north of Ho Chi Minh City; Bac Ninh, just east of Hanoi; Hai Phong, on the northern coast; and, Dong Nai, also near HCMC.

Another hotel is also set to join Fusion’s growing inventory. Adding to their existing hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, plans are now underway for another property in Vietnam’s largest city. A new Fusion accommodation option will open with 146 rooms in the heart of District 1, the city’s culinary and cultural hub.

Similarly, in the most developed beachfront destination of Da Nang, Fusion currently operates two hotels - the spa-inclusive Fusion Maia Da Nang and the Fusion Suites Da Nang. The latter located on a major access road across from the beach. During 2021, Da Nang will see Fusion’s latest generation resort with the opening of Fusion Resort & Villas Da Nang. This luxury property of 157 hotel rooms and 85 villas will offer comprehensive facilities & spa amenities, which will set the standard on the beach strip.

With a portfolio of about 550 keys, wellness-inspired Fusion currently has four high-end spa-inclusive resorts and two modern apartment-style suite hotels. Their locations include the tourist destinations of Da Nang, Hue, Phu Quoc and Cam Ranh, and the country’s most important commercial center of Ho Chi Minh City.

ABOUT FUSION 

Fusion is a pioneer of wellness-inspired hotels and resorts and the only fully vertically integrated hospitality company in Southeast Asia. Blending an innovative ‘all-spa inclusive’ approach to wellness vacationing with their signature ‘breakfast anywhere, anytime’ concept, they offer welcoming, down-to-earth hospitality in outstanding holiday destinations to create unique, memorable experiences that set them apart from others.

Fusion Resorts blend stylish and sophisticated accommodation options with bed-to-beach living and holistic wellness to provide a fresh take on the traditional beach vacation. Fusion Suites give urban adventurers or family explorers a place to recover in a city to discover, mixing comfort and convenience with funky, fun and informal. Fusion Originals are bold and brave, leading the way and setting trends, dedicated to the originators and pioneers who change the world by daring to be unique. Fusion Retreats are health conscious and fitness focused, rebalancing body, mind and soul in sanctuaries of holistic restoration and indulgent pampering.

Fusion currently owns and manages 6 properties in Phu Quoc, Cam Ranh, Da Nang, Sai Gon and Hue. The company is expanding its portfolio with new hotels and resorts opening in Vung Tau, Quang Binh, Hoi An and Quy Nhon.

For more information, contact:
Ms Minh Thu Lam – Group Marketing Director at minhthu.lam@fusionhotelgroup.com
Ms Hong Phuong Nguyen – Communication Manager at phuong.nguyen@fusionhotelgroup.com

Image source: Fusion Resorts


Mercure debuts in Hai Phong, Largest Port in Northeastern Vietnam

By: City Pass Guide

Mercure Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of its first midscale property housed in a 28-storey mixed-use development in northeastern Vietnam. Located in the central business district, Mercure Hai Phong is the tallest building in the city and is located within SHP Plaza shopping centre.

Mercure Hai Phong

Ideal for both short-term and long-term stays, Mercure Hai Phong boasts 176 spacious guest rooms and suites as well as 57 one to three-bedroom serviced apartments perfect for short term and long term stays. ItsDeluxe Suite features a separate living room while the Presidential Suite offers a panoramic view of the city.

“Whether in the heart of a bustling city or nestled amidst tranquil mountain scenery, Mercure offers unforgettable stays and authentic experiences. The opening of Mercure Hai Phong offers guests a great city centre location where they can explore nearby attractions, including Lach Tray football stadium and Lach Tray Street and enjoy a range of street food options to live like a local”, said Mr. Patrick Basset, Chief Operating Officer for AccorHotels Upper Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Mercure Hai Phong

Dining options include two restaurants and three bars. The all-day dining Flame Grill & Bar, located on the 6th floor of the hotel, serves the best of international and local flavours with à la carte and buffet menu choices, while Cuppa Café offers a selection of special coffee and tea brews with daily fresh bakes. The first roof bar in the city that overlooks the skyline of Hai Phong on the 28th floor, Cloud28 Sky Bar & Lounge offers a range of special signature cocktail concoctions, wines, mocktails and light snacks. Guests staying on the 25th to 27th floors of the hotel can enjoy breakfast, evening cocktails and complimentary access to the meeting rooms at the Privilege Lounge.

For pampering massages and facials to rejuvenate the body and soul, Bloom Spa offers a range of signature herbal bath and aromatherapy treatments. Other leisure facilities include a 24-hour gym and an outdoor infinity pool. For meetings, events and weddings, the hotel boasts six meeting rooms all equipped with modern technology, including the city’s largest grand ballroom that can cater for up to 380guests.

“We are excited to the first midscale hotel in Hai Phong. Travellers coming to the city can take part in the festivities that take place all year round or climb the rocks and visit the caves and grottoes of Cat Ba and Voi Mountain”, said Mr. Marcus Wirsching, General Manager of Mercure Hai Phong.

With over 790 hotels located in 63 countries, each Mercure offers its own style and personality with a classical modern twist and contemporary design decor that creates an authentic and inspiring experience. Whether by the sea, in the city or up in the mountains, each stay at a Mercure hotel is a new experience whether it’s in Indonesia, Poland, The Netherlands, Austria or France.

Enjoy a Superior Room stay at VND 2,290,000++ with breakfast for one from 8 November to 8 December, 2018. Accor Plus members enjoy a rate of VND 1,504,800++ per night for a Superior Room.

For reservations, please email H9183@accor.com, call +84 225 3 240 999 or visit www.mercurehaiphong.com or www.accorhotels.com for more information.

With Mercure, AccorHotels offers hotels that are all different and locally inspired.

Mercure is the only mid-scale hotel brand that combines the strength of an international network with a strong quality commitment and the warm experience of hotels that are rooted in their local community. Mercure hotels are managed by enthusiastic hoteliers and welcome business and leisure travelers across the world. Mercure has over 790 hotels in 63 countries. They are ideally located in city centres, by the sea or in the mountains.

AccorHotels is a world-leading travel & lifestyle group and digital innovator offering unique experiences in more than 4,600 hotels, resorts and residences, as well as in over 10,000 of the finest private homes around the globe.

Image source: Mercure Hotels & Resorts


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:
reservation@theislandlodge.com.vn
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: contact@theislandlodge.com.vn

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.

  Thank you for Signing Up
Please correct the marked field(s) below.

IS THERE A STORY OR TIP

YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US?

GET IN TOUCH