WHY SWIMMING WITH WHALE SHARKS IN MEXICO IS UNLIKE ANYWHERE ELSE
ANN RICKARD CONTINUES HER SERIES ON HOW TO ENJOY AFFORDABLE LUXURY IN VIETNAM
With the significant savings made by flying to Vietnam with Jetstar, indulgence is possible. After an unforgettable stay at The Reverie, Ho Chi Minh’s six-star hotel, a short flight to the Cam Ranh area on the south-eastern coast had us at The Anam, the recently opened five-star colonial beach resort. A perfect contrast to the city rush of Ho Chi Minh.
The luxury embraces from the first step into The Anam’s alfresco lobby with its tranquil water features, fat-bellied pots, mosaic floors and glowing lanterns.
The weather does its part – the region enjoys an average temperature of 26 degrees every day of the year.
Seamlessly blending a five-star approach with a “no shoes, no news, no stress” philosophy, every element of The Anam has been designed to pamper you.
The ebullient general manager, Mr Herbert, ensures his “how can we please you?” attitude filters down through all staff. It is clear you are visiting royalty.
Winding paths lead to 77 signature designed villas and 136 rooms and suites peeking out from lush growth around glittering pools. All villas offer striking views of the ocean, headlands, gardens or pools.
Whether sea or garden view, ocean-front or spa villa, there is accommodation variety for all of us: families, singles, lovers, couples, seniors.
Our oceanfront pool villa with separate
living room and spacious terrace looked across hand-cut grass, smooth as a billiard table, to the sea. The bathroom, important to the wellbeing in a glam resort, featured grey slate stone tiling, deep tub and separate rain shower. It opened to a private garden.
It keeps getting better the more you discover around the resort: palm trees sway along 300m of white, sandy beachfront, sunbeds around pools beckon, and staff greet you with face-splitting smiles.
Eating and drinking at The Anam keep up the high standard, with fine French dining in the elegant Colonial Restaurant.
The Indochine Restaurant, with its wood accents and luxe fittings, overlooks one of three swimming pools and is where the breakfast buffet offers Vietnamese and Western delicacies. Themed buffets in the evenings follow on from fusion a la carte
lunch and afternoon tea in this venue.
Between 5–6pm in The Saigon Bar it’s free-flow and it means exactly that. Free creative cocktails, good wines and local beers flow generously and that’s a lot to love, as well as the bar’s resident musicians, who play anything from moody jazz to Bee Gees hits.
Most people agree Vietnamese cuisine is the freshest, finest and most vivacious in the world, and the chefs at Lang Viet Restaurant & Bar on the beach make full use of the sea and land and present superb dishes (the pho and banh mi are mandatory eating), infusing everything with the country’s fresh herbs.
If you can tear yourself away from the warm arms of The Anam, Nha Trang is a 30-minute shuttle drive away, where the frantic pace of the town shows local life in its vibrant form, and you must brave the tsunami of motor-scooters as they weave carefully around you while you explore. Culture, adventure and food tours to Nha Trang are easily arranged at The Anam.
Back at the resort, more indulgence in the Sri Mara Spa, where gentle therapists offer a high-touch, low-tech approach based on traditional Asian healing techniques. Ten treatment rooms, a steam room, sauna and outdoor granite jacuzzi, along with the fragrance of lemongrass and ginger grown on site, ensure you are in spa paradise.
The Anam opened in 2017 and has already attracted a global following, and yes, Aussies are flocking for its value-for-money luxury and easy-to-get-to location.
The writer was a guest of The Anam and Jetstar.