Hanoi had stolen a piece of my heart by the time my five-day visit concluded in September. The unorthodox clashing of old cobbled streets, mangled wires, questionable alleyways, tiny stools and atrocious sea of mopeds, juxtaposed against the captivating beauty of its limestone pillar speckled Ha Long Bay and blissful serenity that permeates the pedestrianised Hoan Kiem Lake had drawn me to my calm amidst chaos, both literally and figuratively.
Had I not fallen in love with Hanoi’s modest yet distinct cultural identity, I wouldn’t have chanced upon discovering Nha Trang – Southern Vietnam’s eastern coastal city that seemingly makes for a terrific off-the-beaten path trade-off for Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City’s bustling commotion. Upon learning that AirAsia expanded its network with direct flights daily between Kuala Lumpur and Nha Trang, I rallied up a friend and began planning without haste.
There I was again in Vietnam not long after with so much that awaited my hunger for adventure. Between Nha Trang’s six-kilometre stretch crescent coastline, turquoise waters, thriving marine life, soaring hills, untouched tropical islands and wondrous architecture with deep rooted history dating back to 781 C.E, I couldn’t decide what was more charming. And perhaps my stay at The Anam had made this destination all the more extraordinary.
Away from burgeoning travellers of Nha Trang nestles The Anam at the northern peninsula of Cam Ranh. Opened not long ago in April 2017, anyone might presume that a property so new would still be battling to anchor its foundation, but the high-end beachfront resort has proven to be a heavenly escape and I was convinced as soon as our car pulled over in front of its palm tree fringed open-concept courtyard adorned with the most ornate tiles.
The luxurious property sits atop a modest slope that sprawls down to the sea and dotted amidst its vast 12-acre land is the Deluxe Collection building comprising 96 rooms as well as 12 double-storey villas not far off from the courtyard, besides the other 105 villas that are orderly scattered toward the ocean, interjected with an endless tropical oasis punctuated by luscious and abundant foliage that is begging for photos at every nook and cranny.
It took a two-minute buggy ride through verdant pathways before I arrived at my expansive Private Pool Villa. Privacy was evident as the hideaway villa is bordered by four walls, but what instantly allured me as I pushed open the hardwood door was the massive private pool equipped with a built-in jacuzzi. The interior of the villa, which showcases a bygone colonial design with Vietnamese accents and dark timbre furnishings was also no less inviting.
The highlight of the 180-square metre villa? An exclusive spa therapy room adjoining the en suite bedroom, kitted out with two spa beds, a sunken granite jacuzzi and a dry sauna room. For those who seek a sanctuary of relaxation and rejuvenation, this gem of a stay will absolutely be worth indulging in as one complimentary spa treatment is included daily for each guest, and the best part is that you need not even leave the comforts of your villa.
While I did have the luxury of an en suite spa room, I couldn’t resist the Sri Mara Spa for a full-blown experience. The haven of relaxation specialises in classic Balinese massage and treatments, and I was spoiled with a full-body, 60-minute holistic massage that gradually but surely dissipated body tension and the stresses of the outside world. My therapist managed to hit my sweet spots; stimulating pressure points, targeting knots and boosting my qi.
Trust me when I say that The Anam has enough to satiate. Though one venue, The Indochine really is a fine instance of an all-rounder. The sunlit restaurant serves breakfast buffet daily and then transitions to a casual lunch setting with a slew of Vietnamese and international dishes on offer. At night, the space is elevated with a dimly lit dramatic ambience to host its buffet dinners, interchangeable between seafood barbecue to Italian and Vietnamese.
Epicureans looking to wine and dine lavishly aren’t forsaken here as The Indochine comes to life as a romantic dining enclave – The Indochine Grill – every Mondays and Thursdays, serving top-notch, specially curated European fine dining menus with a niche on French cuisine to be complemented alongside a world-class wine selection. My three-course meal, spotlighted by a succulent orange infused duck confit as a main, was executed to perfection.
The Anam doesn’t lack as far as sustenance is concerned, but there is this genius initiative which sealed the deal for me. Dubbed Mama’s Cooking, the resort invites the mothers of members of its staff every Wednesday to extend their traditional Vietnamese culinary finesse and give guests a real slice of Vietnamese flavours. Additionally, choose your poison at The Anam’s bars – Saigon Bar and Beach Club – or await the two other F&B outlets in the works.
You may as well make The Anam your main destination because leisure activities are aplenty right within its vicinity. Laze about by any of the three swimming pools, try your hand at tennis, binge-watch movies at its 60-seater 3D theatre, beat your partner at mini golf, frolic by the sea, break a sweat at the gym or take a yoga class by The Anam’s in-house yogi Umesh from India. Alternatively, the Kids Club is a great place to tire the little ones out.
I would return to The Anam bar none. My stay was enriching not only due to the stunning extravagance of the resort and this overwhelming experience; it was also the pleasant hospitality, The Anam’s empathy towards its staff members, and the warmth that radiates through its superior service that makes the resort feel like home. At the end of it all, I was dreading to be driven to the Cam Ranh International Airport, located just 15 minutes away by car.
Long Beach, Northern Peninsula Cam Ranh,
Khanh Hoa, Vietnam
Tel: +(84) 258 398 9499
Fax: +(84) 258 398 9498