Of all the destinations I visited in Vietnam, Hoi An was without doubt the most charming and memorable. This Unesco World Heritage city offers many beautiful historic sites and is home to the country’s famous tailoring industry. Wandering down the glowing lantern-filled streets is enchanting, like a trip back in time.
I recommend avoiding the touristy accommodation in the centre and heading instead to the paradisical Nam Hai, a modern luxurious retreat with a private stretch of beach. Despite the close proximity to Hoi An (a ten minute drive), the spacious hotel feels blissfully isolated encouraging you to immediately relax.
The all-villa, 35 hectare resort can host up to 300 guests. There are 100 villas in total, 40 of which have their own private pool and personal butler. Many of the other 60 villas offer access to the beach, with beautiful views across the ocean. After admiring the spectacular tiered infinity pools, we were driven by buggy to our villa. Nestling among the foliage was our divine sanctuary. The decor is uniform across all villas; sleek contemporary design with cool calming colours. The central elevated area of our bedroom had elegant light drapes surrounding it which were drawn at night to give the room a cosy feel. The regal bed was topped with a voluptuous duvet and bouncy pillows for maximum comfort and decadence. Behind the bed a huge stone bath was wonderful for evening soaks. The room also included a writing desk and lounge area complete with authentic Vietnamese ornaments and artwork.
Breakfast was my favourite meal of the day at The Nam Hai. Every morning there is an endless array of Eastern and Western favourites, with an open kitchen for hot a la carte dishes, champagne on ice and a variety of tropical fruits and juices. Needless to say I saw it as my duty to sample the full menu, enjoying long lazy brunches every day, which embarrassingly began to feel like the norm. Highlights included the fluffy pancakes with berry compote, and the deliciously creamy omelettes. Coffee was rich and flavoursome and the freshly squeezed orange juice was amazingly sweet.
The signature restaurant serves fusion cuisine with a strong Indian influence and the more casual beach restaurant offers light lunches in the daytime and Vietnamese classics accompanied by traditional music in the evenings. After ten days of Vietnamese food it was strange to be eating Indian inspired dishes at The Nam Hai. Considering the warm climate, I found the curries heavy and opted instead for one of the international dishes. Pressed terrine of vine ripened tomatoes with whipped mozzarella, basil oil and leaves from the hotel’s organic garden was a stylish and unique take on a classic salad. The tomatoes were brilliantly sweet and red and the leaves had a vibrant aromatic flavour. The Punjabi lamb kebab with beetroot yoghurt, cucumber was also delicious, a spiced caramelised kebab with a complementing yoghurt dressing.
The Nam Hai spa is one of the hotel’s greatest assets. There are eight treatment pavilions which sit serenely overlooking the lotus flower covered lagoon. It is a fairytale setting which makes the treatments here feel extra special. After a refreshing rose water foot soak I was treated to a Vietnamese massage. The highly trained therapist kneaded my weary muscles using a fragrant pine, lemon, cedarwood and orange oil. While I felt my skin being rejuvenated, I could hear the sounds of nature outside the pavilion. This destination spa is a miraculously beautiful place and should definitely be part of your Nam Hai itinerary.
When you feel the need to work off some of those deceptively calorific Vietnamese spring rolls there are plenty of active options at the resort. Swimming in the glistening turquoise pools is a must, the view they offer is second to none. There is also a small gym, bikes to ride, a tennis court and complementary daily yoga classes.
The hotel staff are on hand to help make any excursions as close to perfect as possible. They provide free shuttle bus transfers to and from Hoi An throughout the day, so guests can visit the culturally rich city as often as they wish. There is also the option of day trips to the Marble Mountains or Hue, a sacred and historic town.
Hoi An is not an easy place to reach from the UK, travellers need to get an international flight to one of the major cities before transferring onto a local flight to Da Nang. Despite this The Nam Hai is a very popular option for English and European jetsetters and after spending a few days here I can see why. This immaculately stylish hotel has faultless facilities and stand-out service, all just moments away from Vietnam’s most captivating city.
More information and book a stay at The Nam Hai here.