Exploring Danang and Hoi An in Record Time
I was last in Danang about 5 years ago, although Sue from the office visited 2 years back. From all reports the resort was booming, and the building projects immense, so I visited with some apprehension.
Danang city on my last visit was rather nondescript but it had really come to life in the last few years, with many more restaurants and some interesting new constructions including a long dragon style motor way bridge.
I arrived at the newly opened international terminal, which is very swish and efficient. Vietnam continues to be visa free for UK tourists for stays up to 14 days, so cleared immigration quickly and was off to my hotel, the Fusion Maia, within minutes. The resorts of Danang and Hoi An literally run into each other, with most hotels in Danang being 15 minutes from the airport, and Hoi An 25 minutes. And it was HOT ! 39 degrees and not a touch of wind.
Checked in to Fusion Mai and, as my time was rushed, I was in the spa within seconds. Fantastic, superb treatments and I was royally pampered. All clients here receive up to two treatments daily. Then it was time to enjoy my pool villa for just a few minutes before venturing down to the beach. The hotel was running 100%, but the beach was virtually empty. Just miles of golden sand and hardly a soul in sight.
Then at night it was into Hoi An using the hotel shuttle which takes 25 minutes. On the journey you begin to appreciate the huge number of mega hotels going up. Most looked like Trump Towers on steroids, but apparently that is attractive to some.
I just love Hoi An. It is one of the most evocative and photographed places in the region.
Yes, it is a lot busier than my previous visit, but no less enjoyable. So many boutique shops, coffee bars and great authentic restaurants. At night it is lantern lit, which adds perfectly to the romance of the place. I just strolled around and lost myself in the colorful streets. Of course I bought a few things. The Vietnamese are some of the friendliest people in the region, and their grasp of English has really improved over the last years.
After a very pleasant exploration, I caught the last hotel shuttle back, leaving me with enough time to take a sneaky evening dip in my private pool before retiring.
Next day up bright and early again. Fusion Mai kindly gave me a room opposite the gym, which I took advantage of. I followed that with a healthy breakfast, preparing myself for a full day of hotel visits.
First stop was Centara Sandy Beach, a mid range hotel, good for families. Then it was to The Naman Retreat, a property that has been very popular with Chic clients in the last 12 months. I could see why – really good rooms, extensive grounds and expansive beach. They are building a new extension at the rear of the hotel, but so far this has not proved to be a hindrance. Across the road you have the Coco Bay Resort development, a Vegas inspired hospitality complex that is due to open in early 2019.
Then off to The Boutique Hotel. I really like the quiet gentle charm of the place. It was busy but there seemed time and space for everyone. In my view, one of the gems of the place.
Lunch was at Four Seasons Nam Hai. The Four Seasons took over the management of the hotel some 6 months back. They have just tweaked a few things, rather than making changes just for the sake of it. Total quality from start to finish. Without doubt one of the most impressive hotels in the entire region. They have just introduced a few Family suites with alcove sleeping area. Very attractive.
Then it was time to leave the beach resorts and turn my attention to a few hotels in Hoi An Village.
Particularly suited to those staying 3/4 nights and wanting walking access.
First port of call was Maison Vy. A real boutique hotel, and wonderfully charming. Then to the Anantara, another really well located riverside hotel. And finally M Gallery The Royal which has some super colonial style rooms and ambiance.
I managed to take in a river cruise, a pottery village and some rural country side, complete with rice fields and buffalos. Exhausting day, but well worth it. And returned just in time for some more spa pampering. I think it was good, but I went straight to sleep.
I have seen so much in record time and had a truly wonderful time exploring Danang and Hoi An. Yes, this part of Veitnam is developing fast and there are so many new projects, so you have to be prepared to see cranes. I was not inconvenienced in the slightest by this. As usual, Chic Locations will be advising clients so their expectations can be realistic. In my view, Danang will be a very real competitor to Koh Samui in Thailand for our summer business, and a Thailand plus Vietnam combination sounds rather sexy.
My suggestion might be 3 nights at the Peninsula in Bangkok, 3 nights at the historic 137 Pillars House in Chiang Mai and then to Danang, via Bangkok, for 6 nights of beach and pampering at the Fusion Maia.
Something I learnt here is that in many countries in this area, the summer school holidays are Mid May through to Mid August, so you will see quite large families traveling in these months.
So after a rather busy and wonderful dash around Hoi An, it was back to the airport to return to Bangkok.
The new airport terminal really is very pleasant. And just to keep western appetites happy, they even have a Burger King, one of the few in Vietnam. Free wifi throughout the terminal an a small array of shops.
A nice touch of tradition is the Bangkok Airways check in starts exactly two hours before departure. At that time the checkin team stand to attention, bow in unison to the assembled passengers and check-in commences as they beckon you forward. All so simple and graceful.
DK – Chic Locations