Photo: Aman resort in Vietnam
The first Aman resort in Vietnam, Amanoi has created the ultimate in luxury along a pristine stretch of the south-central coast.
While Vietnam is an amazing country to visit it is not particularly renowned for its high-end resorts. However, with the recent arrival of international names like InterContinental, Six Senses, Accor and, especially, Aman, with its first resort, Amanoi, in Ninh Thuan province, this will definitely change.
After a one-hour delay my family and I landed at Cam Ranh Airport in the late afternoon. Phong, a member of the Amanoi team, met us and took us to the resort. Our tiredness dissipated as we jumped into Amanoi’s seven-seat car with cold face cloths and snacks and set out on the one hour and twenty minute scenic drive.
We arrived at Amanoi’s Central Pavilion and were greeted personally by the General Manager and Front Office Manager. Two majestic staircases led us to a huge vaulted space with a glass walled central dining room, an open dining area, and the bar.
Amanoi is a meditative retreat on the coast of Nui Chua National Park, one of Vietnam’s largest natural conservation sites. Hugged by rolling, evergreen hills, the resort looks over the East Sea and pristine Vinh Hy Bay. A buggy took us to Pavilion No. 3, where we were staying.
Our pavilion (as the room is called) was a stand-alone single storey villa with an air of simplicity and comfort. Drawing on the grace of Vietnamese design, each space is used to maximum effect by allocating one-third to living, one-third to sleeping, and one-third to bathing and dressing. All facilities are modern and well organized.
Amanoi has 31 pavilions and villas, with all pavilions being identical but with different views and some have private pools. A consistent palette of colors, materials and textures is used throughout each pavilion, creating a relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere. All features are of the highest quality and design details are beautifully resolved. From their curving roofs peeping out above the tree line to their latticed windows and discreet natural materials, Amanoi’s pavilions are at one with their magnificent surroundings.
Meanwhile, the resort’s five villas are uniquely placed within the dramatic topography of Amanoi’s coastal setting. Each is designed to maximize views while incorporating and protecting the natural features. These might be giant granite boulders or indigenous trees. Wooden decking wends sensuously between private swimming pools and surrounding vegetation.
We stayed in Amanoi for three nights. The service was outstanding. Different to many other luxurious resorts in Vietnam, Amanoi’s housekeeping team seemed to pop in whenever we were out. The room was made up even on our last day as we had breakfast. It was a nice touch. We also received a gift every evening, mainly delicious homemade sweet treats.
The resort’s beach is in a small private cove with white sand and pristine water. From the resort you can see the blue boats of a nearby fishing village. Every morning we went to the beach club, which is a 10-15 minute walk from the pavilions down a hill or five minutes by buggy. The beach club is a great venue for lunch but is not usually open or dinner. There are plenty of loungers, a super pool, and access to the beach.
While the pool at the beach club is down the mountain and within easy reach of the beach, the cliff pool is close to the central pavilion and is adults only. Spectacular views are had from the immaculately clean infinity pool; a slice heaven where you can watch the sunset and feel relaxed.
On our second day we experienced Amanoi’s massage services. They were wonderful. The spa is set on the shores of a tranquil lake dotted with floating lotus blossoms. Set over ten structures, the spa’s extensive menu includes body treatments, scrubs, wraps, facials and hair care using Aman Spa’s all-natural, chemical-free products as well as traditional Vietnamese products.
We tried many activities at the resort. The crystal clear waters of Vinh Hy Bay are ideal for exploration, both along the craggy coast and under the deep blue sea, where colorful coral and schools of tropical fish reside. A hike in the park revealed Vietnam’s untouched wilderness, alive with myriad plants and birds. The most wonderful experience, though, was canoeing around Vinh Hy Bay, where we could see how fishing villagers live and visited swallow island, where we could see swallows making their nests, which are a local delicacy.
The resort’s General Manager, Mr. Sean Flakelar, has been with Aman for over 20 years and is an engaging person. He was wearing one of the many sarongs he collected during two decades in Indonesia with Aman, and he circulates in the bar most evening to chat with guests.
Amanoi combines Aman’s amazing Zen-like sense of simplicity with the latest state-of-the-art know-how. Absolute perfection from beginning to end, Amanoi will have you dreaming about it long after you’ve left because it is somewhere you will want to return to again and again to restore your soul. I will definitely return.