Avana Retreat

Near Mai Chau, Hanoi & North, Vietnam
Book from GBP Book from £226 per night

Avana Retreat

Near Mai Chau, Hanoi & North, Vietnam

A spectacular nature retreat set beside a waterfall in Vietnam's mountainous north, with a luxe spa, a showstopping pool and immersive activities for all

A spectacular nature retreat set beside a waterfall in Vietnam's mountainous north, with a luxe spa, a showstopping pool and immersive activities for all

Let nature wash over you at Avana Retreat, where luxe thatched bungalows peep out from the jungle, and the plunging Pung waterfall topples down to hidden lagoons. This is the rugged interior of Vietnam's north, a lush emerald landscape of mountains, rice paddies and forest, close to Mai Chau and 4 hours southwest of Hanoi. People come here to rejuvenate in the great outdoors, to trek in the flower-strewn valleys, and to immerse themselves in local hill tribe culture. Prepare to be blown away by the out-of-this-world scenery.

Fully sustainable in its approach, Avana takes great pride in its environment; most of the staff are locals from surrounding villages, and the 36 suites and villas were constructed using traditional techniques passed on from nearby craftsmen. Enriching activities for all ages will immerse you in the culture of these parts, be it rattan making, batik painting or trekking to mountain villages, and you'll get a flavour of the cuisine at Green Chili restaurant, set against a backdrop of forested slopes. But it's not all about keeping busy; relaxation comes in the form of a spectacular, tiered Cloud Pool, inspired by the estate's rippling rice terraces, with voluptuous valley views that melt into the horizon. Swim here, or plunge into the hidden spring-fed lagoon in the jungle, an ethereal setting for a wild dip. And then there's the Orchid Spa, built along the waterfall's flow, with burbling streams to soothe you into a state of nirvana.

Highs

  • Immersed in a breathtaking natural landscape of waterfalls, springs, rice fields and forests - hiking here is spectacular
  • Local life is championed: 90% of the staff are from the immediate area, over 10,000 trees have been planted, activities showcase cultural traditions
  • The three-tiered Cloud Pool is a marvel, cleverly resembling the estate's rice paddies
  • Each of the 36 suites and villas is crafted using local techniques, and they all come with blissful leafy views; some have private pools, too
  • Kids are made very welcome here - there's a playroom, lots of fun activities to take part in, and a children's menu at the restaurant

Lows

  • This is a remote place with no restaurants or nightlife nearby; Hanoi is a 4-hour drive away
  • It's not cheap by Vietnamese standards, and you'll be paying to eat in every evening, but scenery like this is worth every penny
  • Full prepayment is required upon booking, and it's non-refundable, but this really is a one-of-a-kind place - you won't regret it

Best time to go

Mai Chau and surrounds have a subtropical climate with two seasons - dry and wet (though it can rain at any time of year). The finest weather extends from November until April. Come Nov-Jan for plum blossom season; Mar-Apr for bauhinia blossom season. It can be quite cold during winter (Nov-Feb). The rainy season is from May to October, with higher humidity and heavy downpours. Temperatures are warmer during these months, and it's the best time to see those rice terraces shine emerald green.

Our top tips

There's a rich ethnic heritage here, which you can learn about on a 30-minute guided tour of the Stilt House Museum. See displays of jewellery, garments and musical instruments from the three native communities - Thai, H’mong and Muong - where the vast majority of Avana's workforce come from.

Great for...

Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
Spa
  • Nature Retreat
  • 36 rooms and villas
  • Restaurant & bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Laundry Service
  • Electric car charger
Room:

Rooms

Tumbling down a leafy slope, Avana's suites and villas come with expansive, foliage-filled views. There are no bad vistas; some rooms gaze at mountains, others at streams, and those lower down peep through trees. All are rustic on the outside, with thatched roofs and earth walls, but luxurious on the inside. They come with lots of floorspace and wide verandas for taking in the green landscape. Interiors are sympathetic to the local style, with dark wood furniture and rattan ceilings, and the colour palette is calm and muted.

Towards the bottom of the slope are the Bauhinia Suites. Despite being the cheapest category, they measure a vast 98sqm, so there's plenty of lounging space for valley gazing. Above these are the Lantana Bungalows, which each have two bedrooms, one double and one twin, making them a good option for families. Ferns Grand Mountain Suites come with the plushest bathrooms, their free-standing tubs nestled against a tropical garden-framed window. And at the top of the slope are the magnificent Senna Hilltop Villas - some with one bedroom, some with two - all with their own private infinity pools and extra perks like free massages, a snack service, and sparkling wine.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Cots available
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar
  • Mosquito net
  • Safe box
  • Slippers
  • Terrace/balcony
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

With a pitched thatched roof, rattan lampshades and floor-to-ceiling windows gazing at the greenery, the Green Chili Restaurant feels bright and breezy inside. All meals are served here; breakfasts feature exotic fruits, fresh organic eggs from the on-site chicken farm, and Vietnamese delicacies like mung bean cake. For other meals, you can choose between Western or Asian food, incorporating a good helping of ingredients from the Mai Chau area, but we'd plump for their signature pho, a flavoursome broth that's infused for 8 hours with spices, onions, ginger and meat.

For drinks, lunches and snacks, the Cloud Pool Bar, set right at the water's edge, is a tranquil spot for taking in the scenery of the misty valley. Start with a creamy and sweet Vietnamese coffee before moving onto the hard stuff; the cocktail list is extensive, with some delicious-sounding concoctions like 'Finger of the Dragon', which blends vodka, apricot brandy, fermented hibiscus flower and passion fruit juice. For non-drinkers, there's a good selection of mocktails, lassis and smoothies.

Lavish afternoon teas, picnics and private dining are offered in the quiet serenity of nature. A table can be set up beside the waterfall or the lagoon, the space lit by candles, and you'll get your own private butler and a gourmet menu to choose from - ultimate romance!

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee maker
  • Dinner
  • Lunch
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian options
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • There's lots to keep you busy on site: wander in the Bamboo Forest, dip in the pool or the spring lagoon, go fishing, or pratice yoga and breathwork in a thatched pavilion with bird's eye views. In season there's an outdoor cinema, where you can slouch on beanbags and graze on popcorn
  • The Orchid Spa is built along the waterfall's gentle flow, with raised wooden walkways leading past glistening pools and a koi pond. Holistic treatments use natural and local organic herbs and oils, like cinnamon, pomelo, peppermint and lemongrass
  • Workshops offer an insight into the cultures and traditions of the local indigenous communities, such as ceramic making, rattan weaving and Thai weaving
  • In scenery like this you'll want to get out on some hikes. These can range from gentle guided walks to the local village, to half- and full-day nature treks to the mountaintops, where the whole of the valley opens up before you
  • Rent kayaks and go paddling along Hoa Binh Lake or the water-lily fields of Ba Khan Lake
  • Spend a day with the chef, shopping for ingredients at Bao La's Friday morning market, where you can pick up everything from insects to local fish and vegetables

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Meditation
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Trekking
  • Waterfalls
  • Well being
  • Wildlife
  • Yoga

Kids

This is an extremely welcoming place for adventurous kids, with dozens of fun nature and culture activities plus a playroom to keep them occupied. There are bungalows and villas with two bedrooms, and the restaurant offers kid-friendly food.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Lantana Mountain Bungalows have two bedrooms (one double, one twin), a family bathroom and a living space with balcony. The plush two-bedroom Senna Hilltop Villas come with their own private infinity pools and space for up to 4 adults and 4 children. Extra beds can be added to all rooms, bungalows and villas.

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms

Creche/Kid's Club:

An indoor playroom with games for kids

Kids Activities on site:

  • Ceramic workshops
  • Cookery classes
  • Rattan making
  • Parcheesi
  • Kite flying
  • Treasure hunts
  • Meeting the animals - ducks, chickens, koi carp, deer, butterflies

Distances:

  • Airport: 4 hours
  • Hospital: 50 minutes
  • Shops: 5 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Location

Avana Retreat is in the mountains of north Vietnam, around a 1-hour drive from Mai Chau, and a 3.5- to 4-hour drive from Hanoi.

By Air:
The nearest international airport is Hanoi's Noi Bai (185km).

From the Airport:
The hotel can arrange a private car/limousine shuttle bus (for an additional fee) for picking up and dropping off. Private transfers from Hanoi can be arranged for a separate charge.

By Car:
Self-hire car rental would be possible but not advisable as the roads in northern Vietnam are obstacle-ridden.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Hanoi International Airport 185.0 km HAN

Other:

  • Beach 258.0 km
  • Shops 1.5 km
  • Restaurant 28.0 km

Rates for Avana Retreat

Arriving on: