Passion Points: Escape
The Aman hotel company is well known for choosing exceptional locations for their properties. Sometimes remote and often logistically difficult to build, (examples include the Amangiri in Utah, Amankora in Bhutan, and Bali’s Amanwana). Their placement may not always make immediate sense, but upon arrival every guest is guaranteed to have an “aha moment.” Amano’i, the brand’s first foray into Vietnam, is no different. Located near the untouched Nui Chua National Park in the Khanh Hoa Province of the country, the resort sits amidst a rocky landscape of cliffs. The overall mood of the area conveys a sense that the region has remained unchanged for at least a century.
Most itineraries to Vietnam will include time in one or both of the major cities, Hanoi and Saigon, as well as a few days in the central part of the country. Each of these destinations is popular with tourists, rich in history, and somewhat exhausting to navigate. The draw of the Amano’i is its remoteness, serenity and the natural beauty of its area—the property sits on a hill with sweeping views over the Vinh Hy Bay and South China Sea. By the end of my ten-day visit to Vietnam, I was craving relaxation and time to reflect on all I had seen of the country. The Amano’i offered the perfect opportunity for pampering and quiet before I returned home.
Upon arrival, guests enter the resort’s largest common space, the central pavilion, which was built to resemble a traditional Vietnamese communal hall. The massive structure has ceilings that reach over 40 feet high and 360-degree views out to sea from its terraces, creating an incredible first impression of grandness and natural beauty.
Thirty-one one-bedroom pavilions and five Aman villas fan out over the hillside. Interiors are sleek and contemporary, with nods to traditional Vietnamese architecture and the trademark Aman aesthetic of understated elegance. Living and sleeping spaces merge, opening out onto teak decks, and are decorated in neutral tones and natural materials.
As this is a new property, expect some uneven service (during my stay, for example, wait times for buggies to the beach were long). Much of the staff is local, which further emphasizes the property’s focus on providing guests with a great sense of place. This does, however, mean there are occasional language and communication difficulties.
The spa has a central location and overlooks a small lake full of lotus flowers. On my first afternoon at the resort I took a sunset yoga class and quickly sank into an Aman-appropriate state of Zen. The extensive spa menu features treatments utilizing local and natural ingredients. A highlight of my visit was a traditional Vietnamese cupping massage, where suction is used on the skin to promote blood flow and healing. The massage was so relaxing that I was transported into a different universe of relaxation. In addition to the spa’s five treatment rooms there are two hydrotherapy suites, a gym, Pilates studio and yoga pavilion. The focal point of the property though is the beach club complete with a lap pool, beachside restaurant, access to non-motorized water sports and unbeatable views into the bay.
Activities on property are also complimented by an array of off-property excursions that are available to guests. One of my favorite memories included a visit to a floating restaurant in the Vinh Hy Bay. When I got to the restaurant, one of the owners asked what I would like for dinner. He then promptly put on a mask and dove into the water to catch a grouper in a small hand net. It was the freshest, most delicious meal I have ever had, complimented by the beautiful views of the hillside, the bay and beyond.
When to Go: Late spring and summer months are the best time to visit the property
Who it’s Right For: Travelers looking for downtime and relaxation at the end of their trip to Southeast Asia or Vietnam. Those expecting a significant amount of culture will be restless here.
Getting There: Fly from Ho Chi Minh City to the Cam Rah/Nha Trang airport (a one-hour flight) and then drive the 37 miles to the property.
Recommended Length of Stay: 3-4 days
Experiences Not to Miss: Kayaking in Vinh Hy Bay, dining at the local floating restaurants, hiking in Nui Chua National Park, a Vietnamese cupping massage, Pilates and yoga on property and snorkeling.
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