Viva Vietnam

Halong Bay Vietnam
Photo by chrisinthai/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

The Nam Hai, set on central Vietnam’s famous China Beach, is one of our most delicious finds of the year so far. We stayed in a One-bedroom Villa with 860 square feet of luxuriously appointed and strikingly cozy space. Great Welcome: The staff member who accompanied us from reception on a golf cart taught us the intricacies of the entertainment system and showed us the enormous stone-crushed-eggshell lacquered bathtub behind the bed and the indoor and outdoor rainforest showers. Insider Secret: The best Villas to book are Nos. 4010, 4020, 4290, 4300, 5010, 5020, 5290 or 5300. Why?  They’re at the end of two U-shaped palm groves and face the sea.




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At The Nam Hai, the glossy dark woods, cream walls and stone floors in the bedroom and living room areas all add up to classy designer chic. The silk-curtained king bed was stacked with plush cushions and pillows and sat on a raised platform with columns. The platform also has a daybed, a writing desk with an iPod docking station, controls for all room lighting and a flat-screen TV that swivels to face the bed or the lower living room area.

The spacious bathrooms have wooden floors and sliding carved-wood doors; the walled-in flagstone garden has a rainforest shower. Nice Touch: We loved the large ceramic jars with the Acqua di Parma toiletries.

The bedrooms in both the One-bedroom Villas and the Pool Villas are identical and have all the same amenities. For families traveling together, luxury travel advisors should ask for a One-, Two- or Three-bedroom Pool Villa. If your clients are traveling with children, Front Desk Manager Ateeb Shrestra ([email protected]) will see to it that they are engaged in fun activities in the supervised Children’s Room. If you have VIP clients who like the very best, ask for the sprawling Four- or Five-bedroom Pool Villas which, at 6,350 and 7,200 square feet, can house up to 12 and 15 adults respectively.



The Nam Hai has a mystically relaxing setting.




Director of Sales and Marketing Barbie Takahashi ([email protected]) says the four- and five-bedroom Pool Villas can’t be booked on the GDS; contact her or General Manager Herbert Laubichler-Pichler ([email protected]; 84-903-565-393) instead. She also advises booking at least two months in advance during festive seasons.



One-bedroom villas at The Nam Hai have their own gardens. There are 60 of them at the resort.




The Pool Villas, inside walled gardens with ornamental pools and large private swimming pools on the beach, come with a number of club benefits, including 24-hour butler service, complimentary minibar and laundry, return airport limousine transfers and in-villa afternoon teas, snacks and cocktails. The central dining and living areas have very high ceilings with whirring fans and floor-to-ceiling windows, which lead out to the garden, pool and beach.




“The central coast Vietnamese cities of Hue and Hoi An Best, both recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites, are known for their historical monuments, ancient relics and fine examples of local culture,” says Lee Marona, president of Exotissimo North America in Walnut Creek, CA. “Many of these areas are surprisingly still intact and trips to both cities hold promise for great times and memories.

“Starting in Hue, you’ll enjoy many sites that reflect the city’s rich history, while others are more focused on relaxation and soaking up the area’s natural beauty. Highlights include the Hue Royal Fine Arts Museum, a cruise along the Perfume River to the tomb of Emperor Minh Manh and the city’s private garden houses with connections to the old Royal Imperial Court. A cottage industry has developed in some of Hue’s private garden homes, where family members prepare and serve lunch or dinner to tourists in the home.

“Hoi An was formerly a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries. Its architecture and relaxed lifestyle have changed little over the years. Hoi An’s major sites to see are the ancient town center, former merchants’ homes, a 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese Communal Hall and one of the most colorful local marketplaces in all of Southeast Asia. Hoi An has become known worldwide as the place in Vietnam to get personal tailoring done inexpensively. However, Hoi An is much more than that. Nowhere in the world is there a finer collection of white-sand beaches, the most famous of which is commonly known as ‘China Beach.’ This is the same beach that fronts the most exclusive and luxurious resort in all of Vietnam, The Nam Hai.”
Lee Marona
President, Exotissimo North America, Inc.
1501 N. Broadway Suite 220
Walnut Creek, CA 94596 USA
Phone: 925/937-4550, Fax:  925/937-4551
Email: [email protected]



We felt that anyone staying in a Pool Villa would find it hard to tear themselves away from it, but, of course, most guests do take tours of the three UNESCO World Heritage sites in the vicinity—the Hoi An ancient town, the Hué citadel and monumental complex and the nearby historical Champa-dynasty sanctuary of My Son. Tip: Advise  clients to leave time for shopping in charming Hoi An, known for its tailor shops that can turn around suits, shirts and dresses in 24 hours.

Head Concierge Nguyen Quoc Dang ([email protected]) will answer queries regarding VIP arrangements, such as having guests greeted inside the airport and escorted through customs to their limousine. He can also charter helicopters for day trips to stunning Halong Bay and boats for a leisurely cruise to My Son.

We indulged in a Nam Hai Jade Massage in one of the four single Spa Villas (there are also four doubles). Hint: The Nam Hai’s series of rituals will appeal to clients who like being pampered with no time constraints. Contact Ms. Pitikan, the spa manager ([email protected]).

The restaurant’s signature dish from Executive Chef Richard Wilson’s kitchens is the Butter Chicken. The steaming bowls of beef-and-noodle Pho Bo soup and fried Spring Rolls are among Vietnam’s most popular traditional dishes.


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