The bed was a stage, the sand the audience, the ocean a theatre. We had just checked into our private beach villa at the uber-luxury Nam Hai Resort in Hoi An Vietnam, and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
The room smelt expensive. Stepping into the villa and smelling rich wood and fine toiletries, hearing ambient music in the background and being presented with a 6 poster bed area, I knew I had arrived somewhere very special.
The central platform did not just contain the bed. At one end was a sofa and desk area. Next to this was a deep bathtub with accompanying salts. Then came the bed with sea views, another sofa area in front of that to enjoy more of the vista and then outside on the terrace were 2 day beds so that you could sun yourself whilst listening to the waves.
The bathroom suite was made up of two walk-in dressing areas (one had a woven beach bag hanging in the closet that made me squeal) and individual sinks opposite each other. There was a power shower on one side and the toilet on the other. Outside in the back garden was yet another shower, for some al fresco washing amongst the privacy of the foliage in the summer months.
The mini bar wasn’t exactly mini. A giant cupboard contained complimentary soft drinks and water as well as Nam Hai branded snacks and local beers priced from approx. £4 a bottle.
After checking out all three seating areas in the room, and in the process discovering the ambient music was coming from an iPod connected to a surround sound music player, we spun the TV around to face the sofa and flicked through the hundreds of movies on demand. It was very tempting just to spend the day floating around the villa (in the cashmere dressing gown provided) and revel in the luxury, but there was more of the resort to see.
Walking along the wide, empty beach we came upon the hotel’s pool area. It was a case of ‘to infinity and beyond’ as infinity pool led into infinity pool after infinity pool. A decorative water feature outside the reception area drew the eye down to the heated pool, then onto the lap pool and over the final pool before the ocean below.
Before I could choose where to base myself a staff member had appeared and was pointing to a bed in the sun. He prepared the space; moving the umbrella, laying down two towels, positioning a footrest, handing me a cold towel for my face and placing a bottle of water on the table next to the cocktail list. There was nothing for me to do but just lie there. And grin.
I could have gone to the super equipped gym, I could have visited the lakeside spa, there was a business centre and library for me to do some work in and a rota of activities including daily complimentary yoga. But I didn’t. I was doing just fine on my sunbed.
That evening we took advantage of the free shuttle bus to get into town. Being situated on the beach, the Nam Hai is about a 10 minute drive from Hoi An’s magical Old Town. The shuttle bus runs several times a day and taxis are easily accessible, so you are well placed here to experience the best of both sides of Hoi An.
After the chaotic traffic and choking exhaust fumes of other Vietnamese cities, the pedestrianized, historical centre of Hoi An’s old town is literally a breath of fresh air. Crumbling, biscuit-coloured buildings, laced with fairy lights and coloured lanterns, line the slow paced river. Cheeky child vendors sell candlelit lanterns to tourists who watch them float downstream and bob around the fishing boats. The central food market is a treat for both the eyes and the taste buds as vendors in traditional pointed hats trade flapping fresh fish and bright exotic fruit.
The food in Hoi An was some of the best I tasted in Vietnam. We had pre-booked a table at Morning Glory, as it seemed to have queues out the door most evenings. As we tucked into their pork ‘roll it’ dish we ordered another before we were even half way through, it was that good.
Returning to the Nam Hai on the shuttle later that evening I could just about get my shopping bags on board. Hoi An is heaven for shopaholics. Famous for tailors who can recreate custom-made designer-influenced dresses in a matter of hours, you will also find the Old Town full of leather shoes, silk dresses and handmade paintings at bargain prices.
Back at the villa a surprise was waiting for us. The turndown team had visited and completely transformed the room to an even more romantic setting than it had been before. The white drapes hanging from the 6 poster bed had been drawn. The lights had been replaced by candles and under floor lighting, which lit up as you walked around the room. The ambient music was playing in the background once again and that luxurious, rich smell was wafting through the air. I immediately felt myself unwind and melted into the bed.
Breakfast at the Nam Hai was as exceptional as you would expect from a place this classy. Reception had sent a golf buggy to collect us from the room and although the restaurant wasn’t far we accepted the lift just because we could! After being shown to our poolside seats we were presented with a long list of both Western and Vietnamese traditional dishes; I tried the Eggs Benedict and the boy tried the Pho and we fought over whose was better. Indoor was a spread of fruit, juices, champagne, breads, cakes and workstations whipping up whatever you had ordered. The back wall of the restaurant was a gently trickling waterfall, which complimented the water features outside along with the aforementioned 3 pools and an endless ocean.
Staying at the Nam Hai for our last night was bittersweet. There was no way we wanted to leave this heavenly place but we sure were glad we had had the chance to experience it. I had been charmed by the lantern sellers in town the previous night and bought my own candle in coloured cardboard. As I pushed it away from the riverbank and watched it float through town I wished that I could come back here again. Hopefully very soon.
Rates at the Nam Hai start from $650 (£418) excluding taxes per villa per night, including daily buffet breakfast for two people at The Restaurant, daily complimentary shuttle to Hoi An and complimentary non-alcoholic beverages from the minibar. Stay at The Nam Hai for 4 nights and pay for 3 or stay 7 pay 5 valid until 20 December 2013.
Thanks to the Nam Hai for agreeing to host our stay. All thoughts, opinions and genuine gushing (did you see the YouTube video?) remain, as always, my own.