“A luxurious, eco-chic resort by the papaya-green waters of Ninh Van Bay, with a restaurant, a small spa and private plunge pools”
The resort hugs the honey-hued beach, with sandy trails leading through the trees and a communal infinity pool looking across the bay to the forested hills beyond. It’s popular with couples and honeymooners, who can treat themselves to candlelit dinners on the shore, picnics by jungle waterfalls and, in some villas, alfresco soaks in outdoor bathtubs hewn from rock. But a cluster of 2-bedroom villas means it attracts families and groups of friends, too, with free bikes, guided jungle walks, on-site watersports, cookery classes and trips to local lobster-fishing communities all available for those who fancy being a little more active.
- The sense of quiet isolation, and the back-to-nature feel provided by the flourishing greenery
- A friendly, laid-back vibe, with professional staff who’ll adapt to your needs (you’ll be asked if you want your butler service to be ‘private’, ‘discreet’ or ‘indulgent’)
- Spoiling and secluded villas, with vaulted ceilings and daybeds suspended from ropes. Some are hidden in the jungle, others have direct beach access or views across a lagoon to the ocean
- Fresh Vietnamese flavours and international cuisine in the waterside restaurant
- Commendable eco measures, including organic vegetables, an on-site kitchen garden, recycling and solar power
- The beach isn’t the best on the bay, with rather coarse sand; you’ll have to walk beyond the restaurant to find a nicer stretch
- There are 2 staircases between the bedroom and bathroom in the Hill Rock Pool Villas (though there’s a loo by the bedroom), and we found the wooden surrounds made it difficult to step in and out of the bathtubs
- The villas have no locks, though all come with safe boxes for valuables
- It's pricey, and full prepayment is required on reservation
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Beach Resort
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
- Pool Table
- Bicycles Available
- Beach volleyball & games
- Watersports centre
The 35 palm-thatched villas have a chic Asian style, with vaulted ceilings, red-teak furniture and comfy beds draped in mosquito nets.
We stayed in one of the Hill Rock Pool Villas, which are blended into the trees and reached via wooden steps to the plunge pool and open-sided living pavilion. From here, an internal staircase leads down to the ground-floor bathroom (with his and hers granite sinks, a walk-in shower, a circular sofa and a bathtub set in a wooden platform) and up to the top floor, where there’s a bedroom, a balcony and another toilet, all with a partial ocean view.
The 2-Bedroom Beach-Front Pool Villas and Lagoon Pool Villas sit in rock gardens accessed by attractive wooden swing gates; the former have direct access onto the sand, while the latter face a casuarina-fringed lagoon. Most have ocean views, but you'll sacrifice a little privacy in return. The lounges have terrazzo floors and polished tadelakt-style walls, and the huge bathrooms (with swing seats on ropes) lead to courtyards with alfresco rain showers and striking bathtubs hand-carved from local pink granite. The plunge pools, set at the front of each villa, are rimmed by bazan stone from Lai Chau in northern Vietnam and surrounded by pine decking with bamboo seating, loungers and umbrellas. Some of the Lagoon Pool Villas have 2 ensuite double or twin bedrooms flanking a central living area, and the lounges in 2-Bedroom Beach-Front Pool Villas can be made up as additional bedrooms on request.
All villas are equipped with tea and coffee-making facilities, complimentary biscuits and well-stocked minibars. Bedrooms are air-conditioned, with TVs, DVD players and iPod docks.
- Air conditioning
- Coffee tea making
- Cots Available
- Dvd player
- Extra beds
- Ipod dock
- Mosquito net
- Safe box
- Satellite tv
The open-sided restaurant overlooks the beach, with some tables arranged on the terrace and others right on the sand. Pretty candles are placed in huge table-top vases, and potted ferns and palms are carefully arranged here and there. The food is well prepared, aromatic and delicious, with extensive menus covering Vietnamese, pan-Asian and international cuisine. Much of the seafood is local, and vegetables (some from the on-site garden) are organic.
The full eggs, bacon, salmon and spinach repertoire is available at breakfast, as are pancakes and waffles drizzled in a dazzling array of sauces. Platters of pastries and jams are also served, along with pho (Vietnam’s national dish of beef or chicken noodle soup). Breakfast can be served in your villa at no extra charge.
A la carte dining is offered for dinner, in addition to changing set menus - perhaps Asian one evening and international the next. Set meals might start with an amuse bouche of seared tuna and squid, followed by soup or a spicy prawn salad. The main might be seafood with garlic water spinach and steamed rice, while dessert could be a sweet green-bean soup. The choice of à la carte options doesn't change often but it's huge (it would take weeks to eat your way through the menu), with an alluring array of meat and fish such as Nha Trang grouper, Ninh Van Bay lobster and Australian beef.
Lunches are lighter, with Australian burgers, Vietnamese baguettes (banh mi) and salads.
Private dining can be arranged - perhaps a barbecue on the beach, a sunset meal for 2 on the jetty, or an intimate dinner on a boat moored in the bay - and the resort often hosts themed evenings such as Vietnamese street-food buffets or Japanese feasts. There’s also a well-chosen wine list, and a bar amid the boulders. The isolated location means there are few other restaurants nearby, but if you want a change of scene staff can arrange meals at Ka Lam, another small resort owned by the same chain.
- Children meals
- Coffee tea making
- Room service
- Lounge on the beach or on a daybed by the pool, or submit to a pampering massage or papaya and honey wrap in the spa. Tai Chi and yoga can also be arranged
- Borrow a bicycle and potter around the grounds, where you’ll find hammocks, rope swings and a beach-volleyball net
- Climb the trails behind the property with a guide from the resort, who will take you past waterfalls, butterflies and leaping monkeys and up to an exposed viewpoint with outstanding panoramic vistas of the bay
- Ask staff to arrange a gourmet picnic in the jungle or on a secluded beach
- Learn about Vietnamese cuisine with an on-site cooking class
- Set sail on a boat trip into the bay, where you can snorkel, fish and enjoy breakfast or lunch in the sun
- Learn about lobster farming, a huge source of income for local fishermen. Ninh Van Bay is dotted with floating lobster nurseries, and visits can be arranged
- Borrow a kayak or pedal-catamaran from the watersports centre and head off to discover local coves, or try your hand at windsurfing
- Or explore beneath the waves - scuba diving for all levels is available at the Hon Mun Marine Park, 30 minutes away by speedboat
- Take a day trip to Nha Trang, Vietnam’s most popular seaside resort. Visit the French-built cathedral, shop in the markets, and admire the highly stylised Cham temples of Po Nagar
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Cooking classes
- Historical sites
- Mountain biking
- Plantlife / flora
- Pool table
- Private guided tours
- Scuba diving
- Scuba diving courses
- Shopping / markets
- Tai Chi
- Traditional cultures
Children of all ages are welcome, but we feel the resort is best suited to older kids and teens who can make the most of the watersports and the jungle setting. There are a few hazards for toddlers, including unfenced pools and rocks.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
Lagoon Pool Villas can take an extra bed, and some have 2 double or twin bedrooms; the lounges in the 2-Bedroom Beach-Front Pool Villas can be set up as additional bedrooms on request. Cots are also available. Note that no extra guests, nor any children under the age of 12, are permitted in the Hill Rock Pool Villas.
Babysitting is available for a charge.
- Baby cots
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Children’s meals are available in the restaurant.
Kids Activities nearby:
There’s a programme of activities for older children and teens, including the likes of shell-jewellery making, cooking classes, Vietnamese craft sessions and cupcake-decorating. Kayaks, pedal-catamarans and windsurfing lessons await at the on-site watersports centre, and bikes are available free of charge.
- Airport: 1.25 hours (Nha Trang)
- Hospital: 45 minutes (Nha Trang)