Aman is renowned the world over for two things: exclusivity and drop-dead gorgeous hotels. Set along the secluded, pristine and rugged Vietnamese coast above the charming fishing village of Vinh Hy, the mammoth, yet surprisingly intimate, Amanoi straddles the lush and rocky islets of Unesco-protected Nui Chua National Park and a marine reserve.
The place is so remote it takes just over 70 minutes to reach the place by car from Cam Ranh International Airport, but it’s the seclusion that makes staying at this imperial-esque resort feel that extra special. Amanoi, in a nutshell, is God’s Eden.
The vibe is the emperor living on the grandest of scales. The temple like central pavilion sets the mood instantly. Think endless flights of imposing stairs, plus glass walls and balconies spying dramatic views of the ocean, lofty boulders and nearby cliffs.
Legendary architect Jean-Michel Gathy took inspiration from traditional Vietnamese aesthetics, stripping them down to the bone to create spaces that celebrate the bare essentials of turn-of-the-century minimalism.
Think straight lines, bare wood, and intricate fabrics. True to quintessential Aman style, the interiors take a backseat while the outside world glows in almost Hollywood bravura.
The digs are just as blowout. Each villa and pavilion is a picture of symmetrical zen. All are open plan with king beds and large double vanity bathrooms stocked with designer amenities and apparel.
Swish villas come with private sundeck with either views of Vinh Hy Bay or the lush green mountainscape (request villa number 19 for both) and sundecks flecked by large, heated infinity pool. It’s all very chic and photogenic.
The service is downright exceptional and among the best of all the Aman properties I have stayed at thus far. The entire team have smiles on their face 24/7; all remember your name and will do everything in their power to make sure you have the best, and most memorable stay imaginable.
You’ve got two restaurants to choose from: the beach club for lunchtime nibbles (seafood and brunch classics) and the central pavilion where breakfast and dinner is served. International cuisine features, but it’s the Vietnamese fare that truly shines.
The menus are seasonal and crafted by Aussie export Pip Sandrey. The executive chef’s philosophy is simple: “Source local and cook local”. Everything from the broths to the locally caught snappers is fresh, light and regional flavors.
Afternoon tea is worth the extra calories, especially the traditional Vietnamese cakes and snacks (do not miss the garlic cream cheese bun) as is the banh can, a traditional clay set crowned by a pancake-like cake made from rice flour, water, and turmeric, served with shrimp, pork and eggs.
For breakfast, expect all the classics, but my advice is to stick healthy and gorge on all the fresh green juices, acai bowls and tropical fruit plates.
The whole point of staying is here to engage in the art of disconnecting. Here, you are encouraged to feel and breathe nature. On arrival the concierge team will take you through all the local jaunts from trekking the coast along the Unesco Biosphere Reserve to snorkeling on the nearby pristine reefs.
Further out you can visit the Po Klong Garai Cham Towers, which give you a fascinating provide insight into the Hindu and Islamic influences on the Cham culture in Vietnam over the centuries, or you can go full adrenaline junkie on a day-long 16-mile trek through Nui Chua National Park.
For relaxation, the Aman spa delivers on all counts with expert body immersions, hydrotherapy suites and wellness villas kitted out treatment rooms, steam rooms, plunge pools, Jacuzzis and private pools, as well as a banya or hammam.
The early sunrise hike is also worth the early morning wake-up call. Or just do as I did and head to the beach club for sandy walks and cabanas set under the sun’s rays.
Original Travel offers a 10-night trip to Vietnam from £5,095pp ($6,500) based on a two-person trip, including direct Vietnam Airlines flights, all transfers, tours and hotel accommodation, with a two-night stay at Amanoi.
For more information on Amanoi, click here.