Top 3 must-visit Vietnam luxury resorts and hotels

Vietnam, long popular with backpackers, now offers luxury experiences for the discerning traveler as well. Pair this with beautiful scenery and fantastic French-inflected Vietnamese cuisine and it’s well worth wrapping up an adventurous Asia trip with a stay at one or all three of these Vietnamese luxury resorts and hotels.

1. Amanoi

Amanoi is situated by Vinh Hy Bay, in Nui Chua National Park, with stunning ocean views from several vantage points–from many of the stand alone pavilions, many with their own private infinity pool, from the main pavilion, and particularly from the private beach club and the cliff pool. To date this is one of my very favorite Amans, along with Amanpulo, Amankila and Amanjiwo.

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My pool pavilion, 2, was a short walk from the main pavilion, but utterly private, gorgeous, and spacious at 1345 square feet. A lovely tropical fresh fruit bowl welcomed me, and the guest assistant who showed me my room explained all the features, including the intuitive lighting and temperature controls, Nespresso machine, complimentary snacks, and beach bag, umbrella and flashlight for use during my stay.

The resort is built into a steep cliff, so most guests will opt for one of the buggies to whisk them to the beach club, although I opted to get a little exercise and walk there and back. This part of Vietnam is quite arid, so you’ll see cactus as well as more tropical flora such as lantana. There are a variety of indigenous birds, including some very sociable and funny sounding ones, delighting birdwatchers and curious guests alike.

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A highlight for me was sailing with Richard, who heads Amanoi’s water sports, to a snorkeling spot to see a variety of tropical corals and fish, including parrot fish, triggerfish, damselfish, and starfish. The beach club is a perfect spot for a lunch of Vietnamese noodle salad with grilled marinated pork, perfectly crisp Vietnamese spring rolls and fresh herbs–one of the best versions of Bun Cha Gio I’ve ever tasted, and with a gorgeous view of the ocean to enjoy while dining.

Fitness and yoga enthusiasts shouldn’t miss a visit to Amanoi’s spacious and well-appointed fitness pavilion and yoga/pilates studio, the largest I’ve ever seen in an Aman. And while I don’t often make it to the spa, I was happy to have made time for a massage at Amanoi, as my expert therapist made sure the pressure was just right for me and relieved the neck and shoulder tension I’d incurred from too much computer work.

Dining is also a treat, with fresh squeezed juices and homemade yogurt, granola and pastries offered a breakfast, and both Western and Vietnamese specialties offered for all meals. I enjoyed my Vietnamese Clay Pot Grouper and Smoked Eggplant Side Dish at dinner, followed by a superb and light Passion Fruit Souffle. Complimentary afternoon tea is offered daily 3:30-4:30pm features clay cooked rice cakes filled with minced chicken or scallops. And coffee aficionados shouldn’t miss Vietnamese Iced Coffee, tailored to your desired sweetness.

2. Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai

The Nam Hai is the most luxurious resort near Hoi An, long a favorite with travelers as a UNESCO World Heritage site with buildings reminiscent of an 18th century Southeast Asia trading port. While I don’t necessarily recommend having clothes made here since many tailors offer rather poor quality, it’s still a great place to take a market tour and enjoy a Vietnamese cooking class.

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The Nam Hai will become a Four Seasons in December 2016, and in preparation for this reflagging, is undertaking significant renovations to the rooms, reception, health club, kids’ club, and adding a new Beach Bar , such that if visiting, I recommend reserving it in 2017, post-renovation and transition to the Four Seasons.

In addition to the beach, the resort offers tiered pools (including an adults only pool), tennis courts, basketball courts, and a Spa with 8 private treatment pavilions.

Villas offer one, two or five bedrooms, and some include their own private pool, perfect for both couples and extended family luxury getaways. Each offers its own tropical garden with outdoor rain shower, as well as indoor bathroom with soaking tub.

3. Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi may be an urban hotel, but thanks to its French colonial style and storied history, having opened in 1901 and welcomed guests such as Charlie Chaplin, authors Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene and Francois Mitterand, the hotel feels like a tranquil oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of Hanoi.

Sofitel Legend Metropole HanoiYou’re welcomed by polite hotel associates elegantly attired in white ao dai, traditional Vietnamese dress, and, if you’re staying on club level (which I recommend) you’ll be ushered up to the Metropole Club Lounge for check-in and a welcome drink. Opera Wing Grand Premium Rooms are a spacious 517 square feet, with either a King or two single beds, and feature Sofitel’s luxurious and ultra comfortable beds–you’ll be tempted to sleep in late.

But don’t miss breakfast in the Club Lounge, which offers both an attractively arranged and high quality self-serve buffet of fresh fruit, pastries, yogurts, cereals, and cold cuts, as well as hot options from an a la carte menu. I enjoyed the Vietnamese breakfast, with Vietnamese chicken pho (noodle soup) with all the accompaniments, as well as delicious banh cuon, fresh rice cakes. The Metropole Executive Lounge also offers afternoon tea and evening cocktails, and butler service is available to all guests staying on club level Grand Premium rooms and suites.

Hilary Stockton is the CEO at TravelSort.

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Comments (6)

  1. Oliver says:

    I last traveled through South-East Asia back in 1990 as an impoverished student backpacker! Now my situation has changed somewhat, I would love to return to Vietnam and stay in a little more comfort and see how the country has changed. The Amanoi sounds idyllic! I missed out on the sailing and snorkeling last time and would love to see the fish and coral up close. Can anyone offer me any up-to-date advice re transport within Vietnam?

  2. Simon Lee says:

    stayed in the Amanoi before, i must say their pool is one of the best in my past visits to other pool villas.

  3. Jack says:

    Hi Hilary,
    Is the Nam Hai still on track to become a Four Seasons in December 2016? Your advice would be really helpful before booking. Thanks

  4. Long Nguyen says:

    @Oliver: Transportation within Vietnam is popular with airplane. Your arrival might be Saigon in the South and you can flight to any hot destinations like Hoian, Hue or Hanoi with business class and with frequency of every hour. If you arrival port is Hanoi it’s still the same. You even can catch a 5 star train to hilarious Sapa with famous hill tribes and amazing rice terraced fields.

    Public bus is very different from you 1990 with aircon bus with speeling beds. However, train is still the same experience for you in 1990. Welcome back to history!

    However, the transportation to Amanoi should be made by car or bus from Saigon (5 hours) or Nha Trang (2 hours). The Nam Hai is just near Danang airport and Sofitel Hanoi should be easily made with Hanoi airport arrival

    Hope this help

  5. Long Nguyen says:

    @Jack, I hear that it is offical afer 20 December at its re-openning. Did you book anyday before this time?

  6. Laura williams says:

    The Nam Hai was one of my all time best hotel experiences in my life (other than The Saxon in Joberg & Jao in Botswana)!
    The Sofitel in Hanoi was amazing as well, just more of an historic, elegant, city-vibe.

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