Hoi An Ancient Town
GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM
Live like a monk while relaxing in a spa at this stunning South-East Asian resort.
What do a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and a sumptuous hotel spa have in common? In the case of the spa at the Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai in Vietnam, everything. The Heart of the Earth spa is inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Love Letter to the Earth, in which the 90-year-old monk exhorts people to recognise and respond to the stress they’re placing on the earth, and encourages mindfulness and meditation. Featuring eight lotus-pond villas with relaxation pavilions and treatments that include crystal singing bowls tuned to 432 Hz – the harmonic intonation of the earth – the spa is an oasis of calm, perfect for escaping the world and reconnecting with nature.
The resort’s lap pool
This begins the minute you walk through the open-air foyer overlooking the sparkling South China Sea and surrounded by tropical foliage tended by a jaw-dropping 100 gardeners (although the hot towels and cool drinks proffered offer a more man-made concession to creature comforts). Just 15 minutes from the pretty town of Hoi An, and fronted by nearly 40km of platinum-white sand and endless ocean, the resort encourages you not only to reconnect with nature, but also to reconnect with yourself.
Whether that means indulging in excellent indigenous food and wine, raising your adrenalin with extreme sports or simply lying back on the beach with a chilled smoothie in hand, the beauty of this resort is that it offers something for all tastes, with a huge range of highly personalised things to see and do.
The culinary curious can choose from two restaurants – Café Nam Hai, which serves fusion cuisine and Indian, and Vietnamese restaurant La Sen, where a meal might begin with banana flower salad with smoked duck and end with local delicacy cao lau Hoi An, a steaming rice noodle soup with chillies and succulent pork.
Hoi An’s monthly lantern festival
Sophisticated beach lovers might prefer the new Beach Bar, where you can lounge in a hanging chair or doze on a daybed on the sand while nibbling on Vietnamese bar snacks and sipping cocktails. But the most enjoyable food-related experience has to be the Cooking Academy. Classes begin with an activity such as a trip to the Phuoc Hai fishing village or making fresh rice noodles at a nearby rice paddy field, followed by a return to the kitchen to prepare and eat your own Vietnamese meal. Daily culinary themes range from traditional imperial dishes to Hoi An’s humble yet tasty street food.
Sports enthusiasts will revel in water sports ranging from jet-skiing and wakeboarding to sailing and kayaking, while a more leisurely water experience is available courtesy of the resort’s three sparkling pools, where cold towels, ice creams and even a sunglass cleaning service are offered liberally.
The resort features three beachfront pools − a family pool, a lap pool and an Olympic-sized infinity-edge quiet pool for adults only.
There’s also a wading pool at the Chuon Chuon kids’ club.
Cultural connoisseurs should head to Hoi An for an indigenous hit – the hotel operates a complimentary shuttle several times a day – and explore the colourful markets, tailor shops, temples and ancient buildings, before returning to the tranquillity of spacious villas set among landscaped gardens with ocean views.
If you’re travelling with little ones in tow, reserve a family villa and also be sure to book them into Chuon Chuon, a kids’ club for 4-12 year olds with plenty of organised games and activities to keep them entertained. The Four Seasons Nam Hai also offers a babysitting service, which you should book before having the resort organise a moonlight dinner on the sand for you. Afterwards, you can return to your villa, which is decorated in a contemporary Asian style with soothing colours and textures. Recline on one of the oversized loungers and enjoy a nightcap before falling asleep to the soft sounds of the ocean. Getting back to reality can wait another day... J
Words by Georgina Safe
P A C K Y O U R S U I T C A S E
T O R E L A X I N S T Y L E
HERMANT & NANDITA | Clarion Silk Crepe Dress
CHLOÉ | CE 119S SUNGLASSES
JETS | Parallels Batwing Kaftan
TIGERLILY | Dharma Maxi Dress
BONDI BEACH BAG COMPANY
| Paper Braid Plain Floppy Hat
KAREN MILLEN | Colourful Stripe Maxi Dress
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TRELISE COOPER | Maxi Million Dress
PEDRO GARCIA | Arabela Satin Jewel Trim Slide