Intercontinental Sun Peninsula
BACKGROUND Nestled in a secluded private bay on the slopes of mythical “Monkey Mountain” on central Vietnam’s Son Tra Peninsula, architect-designer Bill Bensley’s first resort – and also Intercontinental’s first resort in Vietnam – opened in August 2012 to immediate acclaim.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? This visually arresting resort serves up “wow” moments in spades. Below the cavernous pillared reception area, rooms are spread through tropical mansion-inspired accommodations etched into the steep slope. Levels are named for the sea, earth, air and heaven and all rooms and vantage points are oriented to command conversation-halting views of the bay below. Guests can opt to negotiate the property by paths or take the boat-shaped funicular lift which runs from the hillcrest to the crescent of soft sand below. Club Inter-Continental guests check in at the designated Club Sun Peninsula Lounge via iPad. Planned additions include a new night club (currently M Club), 100-seat theater and also a karaoke complex inspired by the Toulouse-Lautrec and the theatrical flair of the Moulin Rouge.
WHERE IS IT? Situated 30 minutes east of Danang city – the hotel has just opened its airport lounges at Danang’s new International Airport – and 20 miles from the UNESCO-listed ancient traditional city of Hoi An, this is a great base for exploring Vietnam’s central coast. The Champa ruins at My Son, Imperial capital Hue’s ancient citadel monument complex and the more recently discovered Hang Son Dong, the world’s largest known cave passage, are all within a twohour radius. Wartime R&R hot spot China Beach, or My Khe as it’s now officially known, is a short jaunt to the south.
ROOM FACILITIES Accommodations here rank among the largest in Vietnam. Classic rooms and Terrace Suites measure 750 and 860 square feet respectively, and while all rooms have a large balcony or terrace and unobstructed ocean views, it’s worth forking out a little more for one of the 16 1,400-squarefoot Club Peninsula Suites. All rooms incorporate ancient Vietnamese architectural accents – dark wood floors, feature columns, Hoi Aninspired lantern motifs – and drawings of native birds sketched by Bensley himself.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS At lofty flagship restaurant Citron, dishes from across Vietnam and Asia are served at air conditioned al fresco booths shaped like inverted nón lá conical hats perched 300 feet above sea level. The beachfront Barefoot Café accommodates guests at tables set on the sand or within pirate ship-shaped booths. Just up the beach, the Long Bar is a great perch to soak up the views with a pre- or post-dinner cocktail. And at Michelin three-starred chef Michel Roux OBE’s La Maison 1888, servers dressed in silk waistcoats and French maid-inspired traditional Vietnamese ao dai introduce the brand’s credentials before the daily specials and the prix fixe multi-course menu exceptional. BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The 3,186-square-foot Great Hall can accommodate 130 to 250 people. The four Summit suites, which range from 387 to 893 square feet, can also be arranged in individually or combined as pairs. WiFi and other technological necessities are provided; more advanced systems can be rented.
LEISURE FACILITIES Both the garden pool and 35-meter pool above the Long Bar are gorgeous, the monochromatic gym is brand new and there’s always a personal trainer on hand. The newly completed Spa Lagoon comprises eight treatment villas and two residential Spa Lagoon Retreat Villas. The resort also has a PEDI:MANI:CURE Studio by Bastien Gonzalez.
VERDICT For an InterContinental, this is something very special – the plethora of leisure amenities and stellar high-style dining concepts mean you won’t want to make the 30-minute trip into town. BT