In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Sun Penin­sula

Danang

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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

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