A Vietnamese sun sails dreamily across the horizon, over one of the most picturesque landscapes that the Eastern paradise has to offer. As my plane landed at Nha Trang Airport, I could sense the restlessness that the promise of checking into an Aman property would stir. Aman experiences, they say, commence before you even check into their property. And checking into the Amanoi surely lived up to this, superlatively.
As soon as I identified our chauffeur and stepped into the car, I was greeted by a message at the back of the front seats. It stated that the driver did not speak English, so the hotel sent a mobile phone, neatly packed into the back seat of the car. If I needed any guidance in English, all I had to do was dial the number that was provided. This was quite impressive. In addition to that, the hotel also sent a tablet with the dinner menu so that I could order my dinner before I even reach the hotel. It was a relief to my famished self. The drive from the airport was a about an hour. The hotel itself is located in the Chua National Park, which is spread across 60,000 acres, complete with dense vegetation, hidden caves, and a coastal touch. Spread over an area of 100 acres the hotel is also vast. Amanoi is designed by an Aman favorite architect, Jean-Michel Gathy. It greets you with 31 free-standing pavilions that are reminiscent of Vietnamese architecture with hints of modernity. It reflects beauty and luxury with a sprinkle of serenity, a perfect getaway for niche experience-seekers.
From an impossible choice of mountain-view and ocean-view pavilions, I put my finger on the former. The ambient lighting on the walkway to the pavilion and around the area takes nothing away from the starlit sky. Each of the pavilions are placed in a manner that ensures complete privacy to guests. As it goes with all Aman properties, nothing’s overcooked. The pavilions are minimalistic without missing out on the local flavour. Our ceilings were enchantingly woven with woven grass while the illumination on the inside was largely comprised of hanging red lamps. The pavilion was spread across 1022 square feet, which offered ample room. A large king-sized bed took care of my travel bane as soon as I checked in. In a room that large it made perfect sense to have a television set that was mounted on a rotating stand. As a result, one could be entertained from any part of the room. Truly novel and well thought through, in true Aman style.
Of all that the Amanoi had to offer, the pool and deck area is what I’d pick as my choicest. In fact, the delight in discovering that I had a 280 square foot heated, infinity pool all to myself, was rather overwhelming. To give you an idea, the pool was so expansive that I could do laps here. Surely, it is among the biggest dedicated pool area I’ve seen in any hotel. Once you’re done with your swim you can sack out on the loungers and take in the view of the property.
As it goes with Aman hotels, a gastronomic treat was assured. There are two restaurants at the Amanoi. The main restaurant is located on the top floor of the Central pavilion. Fringed with columns, it doesn’t have walls surrounding it. Dinner was my favourite pick with Vietnamese specialities spread out. For breakfast, I feasted on the multi-cultural cuisine and fresh bread. The yoghurt here is popular, and deservedly so. Afternoon tea is served between three-thirty in the noon till five. You can enjoy little rice cakes cooked over a charcoal burner. Don’t miss Mrs. Chi’s Vietnamese massage.
The beach club restaurant is located 10 minutes away from the Central pavilion – a buggy ride ferried me around. Here’s where you’re only served lunch. For all other meals, the main restaurant in the Central Pavilion will be your only refuge. They do serve light meals through the day though, however, the sandwiches were my favourite. The beach club also features a 50 meter long pool. The backdrop of blue waters and corals makes it even more stunning.
The Amanoi is a swimmer’s paradise. It’s hard to choose from between a private pool, two infinity pools with views to die for and a private beach with sapphire blue water. Spa’s are known to evoke a sense of calm but the spa here at Amanoi takes things to the next level.
The tranquil experience starts at the lobby itself, 10 mins sitting there and glancing at the at the lotus-filled lake with the lush hills of the national park in the backdrop and I was starting to feel refreshed already. Though I did not have a chance to experience the treatments, the spa offers a host of treatments and wellness immersions True spa aficionados can make use of one of the two spa houses which are a first of its kind in Asia that provides private spa facilities for guests to reside at the spa overnight for a fully immersive experience. Amanoi offers a number of activities throughout the week to keep you occupied. You can take your picks from snorkeling, Pilates or carry out a basic workout at the gym.
The hotel blends in naturally with the surroundings. It’s as if they’ve been formed together. The staff was thoroughly professional and well trained. In fact, no matter in which part of the property I was in, the staff did not once ask my name or villa number, never did I had to sign a bill, simply because they knew me and I felt completely at home. The Amanoi will surely be right up there among my luxury hotel experiences.
Where: Amanoi Resort
Vĩnh Hy, Ninh Hải District,
Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam
Phone: +84 259 3770 777
Note: The critic was invited by the hotel but all the opinions expressed herewith are his own