Banyan Tree Lang Co, Central Vietnam

Banyan Tree Lang Co is set amongst the leafy landscape of central Vietnam. The quiet fishing village of Lang Co provides the perfect place for tourists to enjoy a private and exclusive holiday. It is a remote and rugged location for a stunning secluded luxury escape.

The all-villa resort has different options for couples and families, but amazingly every villa includes its own private pool. The 49 villas vary in size and location – found either beachside, hillside or by the lagoon. We were very happy in a spacious and indulgent Lagoon Pool Villa. In front of the villa was a tempting turquoise pool with deck chairs and at the back a lush green garden.

The villas are inspired by the houses in the local neighbourhood, simple but sophisticated with high ceilings giving an airy and grand feel. A plush King-size bed takes centre stage in the bedroom, surrounded by striking art work and Vietnamese crafts. I immediately noticed a satisfying symmetry in the design of the room, which had a calming effect on me. After discovering our ‘his and hers’ wardrobes with matching robes, slippers and toiletry sets, I stood and marvelled at the stylish bathroom. The huge freestanding bathtub got plenty of use during our two-day stay and the powerful rainforest shower was refreshing and reinvigorating.

The award-winning spa, and 18-hole golf course by Nick Faldo are a real bonus, particularly wonderful for those guests spending longer at the resort. Hotel staff will pick you up and drop you off in the buggies, so it doesn’t take long to get around despite the size of the property and grounds.

There is never a bad time to visit Central Vietnam as this part of the country experiences warm weather most of the year. Unfortunately we witnessed an unusual downpour of rain during our stay, so the beautiful 3km beach was out of bounds, and poolside lounging wasn’t an option. This gave me a real opportunity to explore and experience the activities the hotel offers daily. Angsana Hotel is part of the same complex, and provides another space for guests to enjoy food and activities. We spent an afternoon here learning to make Vietnamese lanterns and tasting Vietnamese coffee, while it poured with rain outside.

I have always eaten exceptionally well in Banyan Tree resorts and Lang Co followed suit. The signature modern Thai restaurant, Saffron, offers flavoursome and authentic cuisine with gorgeous hilltop views. The atmosphere was relaxed, despite the high quality of service and fine food. I loved the live traditional music, which serenaded the guests during dinner. Particularly memorable were the creamy red roast duck curry with lychee and pineapple, and the succulent roasted peppered pork spare ribs with honey sauce. An array of rice varieties were served at the table to accompany the spicy meal.

Every morning breakfast is served at Azura restaurant, where an endless buffet grants your every wish. From flaky pastries, fresh exotic fruit and eggs made-to-order, to Vietnamese noodles and vegetable soups – the choice is excitingly overwhelming. I was equally impressed with the food at Angsana where we sampled a vibrant lunch of seasonal recipes.

Whilst staying at Banyan Tree I highly recommend you take advantage of the complimentary shuttle to nearby historic town Hoi An. This charming UNESCO world heritage site is famous for its lanterns and tailoring, and is a lovely place to wander around for a day. The imperial city of Hue and impressive ruins of My Son are also just a short car ride away. After a tiring day of sightseeing you will be relieved to return to the idyllic grounds of Lang Co, a relaxing and wonderful retreat.

Overnight stays at Banyan Tree Lang Co start from £280 on a bed and breakfast basis. For more information, visit www.banyantree.com or call +84 54 3695 888.

Hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole, Hanoi

The Sofitel Metropole Legend plays a special role in Vietnam’s capital city. It has long been considered as the top accommodation in Hanoi, with celebrities, diplomats and royalty all staying in the luxurious rooms. Built in 1901 by two French investors, this magnificent colonial building has lived through over one hundred years of tumultuous Vietnamese history. During the two wars Metropole Legend played a vital role, and in just 2011 a remarkable bomb shelter was discovered in the grounds. Now designated a UNESCO site it is an insight into the country’s past, and the hotel offers informative tours of this underground bunker.

The historic hotel was restored and refreshed in 1992 and in 1994 work commenced on the opulent 135-room Opera Wing, a modern extension. The grand Metropole building commands attention from the street and inside it is equally impressive. Wherever possible original features have been kept beautifully in tact including the wooden flooring and antique furniture. The new wing is quite different, a slick addition for guests who prefer a more up-to-date style of accommodation.

I was staying in the charming Metropole wing that has 106 rooms including 3 legendary suites (named after three renowned guests, including Charlie Chaplin who came to stay for his honeymoon). Room 128 was a perfect example of old-fashioned luxury, with Sofitel modern touches. After months spent touring contemporary hotels this bedroom was a welcome dose of character. Particularly memorable details in the room included the luxurious Vietnamese silk, ceramic lamps and rice-paper wall lanterns, all adding a touch of exotic orientalism. Modern touches ensure guests are extremely comfortable, a soft indulgent bed, flatscreen tv and air conditioning. The bathroom was equally grand, with separate shower and bath, framed vintage mirrors and Hermes toiletries from Paris, another reminder of the Metropole’s French heritage.

There are several dining outlets to choose from, including upmarket Vietnamese cuisine at Spices Garden and fine French food at Le Beaulieu. For an afternoon treat head to Le Club Bar for the famous chocolate buffet, all made in-house. The Bamboo bar, a recent addition in the central garden, is a calm outdoor option overlooking the pool, or alternatively the Terrace is popular with locals for coffees and snacks.

Breakfast is served in both restaurants, a feast of continental and traditional Asian dishes are available at the buffet or made to order. Enjoy the tasty homemade pastries or ask the chef to whip you up some French toast or omelette.

While staying at the Metropole make sure you join a daily Path of History tour to learn about the preserved bomb shelter in the hotel grounds. The hotel’s knowledgeable historian will educate you with fascinating facts and personal stories about the American war.

Steeped in history, this hotel truly deserves its legendary status. Whether you stay in one of the enchanting rooms or not, be sure to include a visit to this significant building in your Hanoi itinerary.

More information and book a stay at Metropole Legend here.

Mia Resort, Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang has been voted one of the ten best beach destinations in the world, with year-round warm waters and long stretches of sand. Mia Resort is the ideal place to enjoy this sunny part of central Vietnam. Just outside the main city, this seaside hotel is accessible yet blissfully isolated. A daily complimentary shuttle takes guests to and from town for city exploring though most prefer to take advantage of the idyllic Mia sanctuary.

After a hellish 11-hour train journey we were more than relieved to pull up to the Mia entrance. The staff at the front desk were warm and welcoming and my stressful day instantly became a distant memory. A no-fuss check-in was complete within seconds and we were whisked away to room 507, a peaceful cliff villa.

With 70 rooms, of varying sizes, and more multi-bedroom villas on the way, Mia is a popular and burgeoning resort. A recent refresh of all rooms has brightened the décor with splashes of colour and pattern without complicating the chic simplicity of the design. Our room was the perfect holiday home, extremely comfortable with indulgent touches. A giant four-poster bed was topped with stripy pillows and surrounded by elegant drapes. The furnishings blend in appropriately with the rugged natural backdrop, particularly charming are the rustic stone wall and wooden details.

The spacious bathroom was a refuge for relaxation, with a grand granite bathtub, indoor and outdoor showers and own brand toiletries. I adored the cornflower blue linen dressing gowns, made especially for Mia by designer Gary Fell. On the private terrace there was a spectacular infinity splash pool, a sheltered lounge area with a hammock, and deck chairs for soaking up the tropical rays.

I was happy just enjoying the villa, but when hunger struck I eventually ventured out for some sustenance. Breakfast is served at Sandals, a breezy open plan dining area with views of the ocean. The endless array of Vietnamese and Continental dishes was a little overwhelming, and there is the a la carte menu to choose from too! After a round of exotic fruits and pastries I opted for the homemade orange and cinnamon infused pancakes with almond crumble, balsamic marinated strawberries and rosemary honey – a creative and tasty morning treat.

Leave time to experience the impressive Xanh Spa, a magical cliff edge pavilion for pampering. A 45-minute relaxing body massage is all you need to get your body into holiday mode. The therapists are intuitive and kind, kneading away at tense knots and warming the muscles with nourishing essential oils.

With warm weather year round Nha Trang is a great place to escape Europe’s chilly winters. Mia translates to sugarcane, a local Vietnamese crop, and everything about this beachside resort is sweet, from the devoted staff to the superb facilities and accommodation.

More information and book a room at Mia Resort here.