Nha Trang, also known as the Rivera of the South China Sea, boasts sweeping white sandy beaches, clear warm water and an abundance of restaurants serving some of the finest and freshest seafood to be found anywhere in the country. There is lots to see and do, with buzzing food markets, snorkelling excursions to nearby islands, mud baths and the ancient Cham towers, but Nha Trang is also the perfect place to do nothing at all, starting your trip with some rest and recuperation after a long journey.
The luxurious 5-star hotel The Anam in Cam Ranh Bay, tucked away just a short drive from the city centre, is a tranquil oasis. There are no cars or scooters on-site (only golf buggies), which means you wake up to the glorious sounds of birds singing and the sea gently lapping on the shore.
The Indochine charm of the hotel blends colonial-era aesthetics and contemporary luxury style throughout. The large open reception area features high wooden ceilings and a calming water feature, beyond which the resort’s 77 villas and 136 rooms and suites are arranged along winding lanes lined with immaculately-kept garden beds overflowing with exotic flora.
The average daytime temperature in Nha Trang is a sweltering 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year, but with three sparkling swimming pools to choose from and the turquoise sea just metres away, The Anam is not short of places to cool down in the hot weather.
We stayed in a beautiful Ocean View Villa with a large living room, separate bedroom, and a bathroom with a deep sunken bath and rainfall shower overlooking an enclosed planted garden behind floor-to-ceiling windows. The high wooden ceilings make the rooms feel even more spacious, with pretty encaustic mosaic tiles throughout and crisp white linen that contrasts with the dark Vietnamese hardwood furnishings. Throw cushions dotted around the room and artwork on the walls created by local artists add vibrancy and colour.
The villa’s showstopper is its private pool, a generous 20 square metres wide, with a mango tree and large palm trees around its edge offering shade. Ordering a room service lunch to eat from the sunbeds is a luxurious treat to enjoy in your private slice of paradise. Beyond the patio doors that the large bed faces, the sparkling turquoise sea is visible beyond the lush grass-covered terrace. Enjoy an evening drink on the patio listening to the waves and gazing at the stars overhead.
Coconut umbrellas line the secluded beach that offers the softest of sand under your feet, and the hotel offers kayaks to use free-of-charge if you are looking for something a little adventurous to do between relaxing. Away from the water, the activities on offer include badminton, tennis and volleyball, as well as beachfront sunrise yoga. There is also a gym and a 3D cinema. The hotels’ beautiful spa is inspired by Balinese traditions and healing rituals, with a full range of massages and treatments to help you relax and unwind.
The Anam has four on-site restaurants serving food from all around the world. Mama’s Cooking evening at the beachside Lang Viet is a must – mothers of five members of the hotel’s staff whip up a family-style Vietnamese feast, using traditional cooking methods and centuries-old recipes which have been handed down through the generations. It is an amazingly authentic experience offering delicious flavours and the opportunity to try traditional Vietnamese dishes made with love.
For those keen to learn more about the local food, the hotel offers a Vietnamese cooking class during which a chef will teach you how to prepare a five-course meal including dishes such as prawn summer rolls and sweet and sour fish stew cooked in a clay pot. Enjoy the fruits of your labour at a beachside table after working up a sweat in the kitchen.
At the heart of this idyllic hotel is the friendly staff who make the experience so special. Working together like a family, they make you feel like you are part of this Anam family – making it even sadder when it was time for us to part ways when it was time to leave.