Le Domaine De Tam Hai

near Hoi An, Hue - Danang - Nha Trang, Vietnam Book from Book from £94 per night

A simple but enchanting hideaway: 11 villas on a lagoon shaded by coconut palms, a kayak away from the sea
On a calm inlet away from the open sea, fringed by coconut palms and scented by frangipani, Tam Hai is a beautiful if basic island retreat. There are just 11 thatched villas plus a pool lined with loungers, a raffia-raftered restaurant and a sand-floored bar comfy with sofas. Each morning you open your sliding slatted door to nature.

Here you forget about work, worries, stress and shoes. Instead, bury your toes in warm white sands. If you’re feeling sporty, you can be whisked off diving, or kayak across the river to the wild-sea beach, minutes away. At sunset, dine on ocean-fresh fish, grilled with herbs and lime, at a romantic table by the water’s edge. The place is heaven-sent for families, too, thanks to tree-hung swings and staff who could not be kinder. Those who’ve stayed talk of waking to waves on the distant shore, the swish of the palms, the put-put of fishing boats from the nearby village heading out to sea. A well-guarded secret among in-the-know travellers, it’s an inspired escape from the busy beat of the mainland - and the sunsets are spectacular.

Highs

  • Wonderfully remote but easy to get to: the hotel offers transfers from Danang airport (2 hours) and Hoi An train station (90 mins) then speedboats you to the island
  • The cool circular ‘Sea Sofa’ bar, that drifts in the river shallows
  • Lazy mornings - breakfast is brought to your private terrace, any time until 11am
  • Kayaking out to sea, then snorkelling in turquoise waters
  • Excellent prices, and kids stay for free in summer

Lows

  • The lagoon water in front of the bungalows is dirty and not suitable for swimming; kayak or take the motorboat to the ocean if you want a dip (free of charge)
  • Be prepared for mud in monsoon season (Sept-Jan)
  • Poor lighting to the furthest villas at night
  • No twin beds
  • Delicious food but not much variety, mainly seafood

Best time to go

Although temperatures never drop below 25C, the seasons are clearly defined by ‘wet’ and ‘dry.’ The most idyllic time to go is between February and May - low humidity, constant sunshine, some showers. Temperatures soar to 35C from the end of May to the end of July (perfect for beach bunnies). Monsoon season lasts 5 months, from September to January, and October and November are best avoided.

Our top tips

Now's your chance to try square fishing - a traditional method of catching seafood.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Family
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 11
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 1 Sep 2017 - 30 Nov 2017
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
  • Kayaks
Room:

Rooms

There are 11 identical villas scattered between the coconut palms, each with a private terrace and a view of the sea. Some are close to the dining area and the pool, others are more distant and extra private, but note: the access path is poorly lit.

All are very comfortable inside and very spacious. There are white plaster walls, shining tiled floors, bright curtains at generous windows and slatted, sliding doors. Beds are low and kingsize (no twins); according to a visitor, “the best beds in Asia”. If you come with a child, daybeds can be made up in the sitting room. Mosquito nets protect you at night; air conditioning and ceiling fans keep you cool. Equally admired are the bathrooms, their circular his-and-her basins set into teak, and their half-open, rain showers matched by tip-top toiletries.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Fridge
  • Hairdryer
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is brought to your terrace whenever you like it - until 11am. On offer are omelettes, fruits, croissants, rice cakes, coffee, tea.

Lunch and dinner are a la carte, served at white-clothed tables on the beach - impossibly romantic, especially as the sun goes down. Alternatively, eat in the dining room, circular and elegantly set with round tables; sip cocktails in the sand-floored, multi-sofa’d bar beforehand. The food is mostly simple, fresh and Asian inspired, and the fish comes straight from the boats - what could be nicer? There are huge seafood platters delivered on silver dishes; barracuda and crayfish served on palm leaves and cooked with herbs and lime; fish carpaccio and lobster, tiger prawn thermidor, prawn and grapefruit salad, and the best mangoes you’ve ever had. The aperitifs are very good, the wine list is small but acceptable.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Wallow in the warm shallows, wade out to the floating Sea Sofa bar for a cocktail, then retreat to a hammock and nod off
  • Bask under a parasol by the pretty pool. It has an unusual blend of fresh and salt water, and is warmed by the sun
  • Wander around the authentic fishing village of Tam Hai, with its traditional market. No one will hassle you or try to flog you anything
  • The hotel’s speedboat, The Lady of Tam Hai, can take you up the Hoi An river, or to Birds Island to go diving
  • Borrow a kayak and paddle 80m across the estuary to the (sometimes rough) sea and strip of beach. Here you can snorkel and swim in turquoise waters
  • Hire bikes or motorcycles from the hotel - there are lots of small sandy paths to explore and you can even ride right the way along the beach to Hoi An for the day (45km)

  • See our top tips for the East Coast

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking
  • Private guided tours
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife

Kids

This is a family-friendly resort of the most tranquil kind - and kids stay for free in the summer months. Children will love the warm pool, the warm sands, and the softly sloping beach protected by a sandbank from the sea. Food is available all day.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

All villas are identical, with space for 2 baby cots or 2 daybeds for children up to the age of 12. If your child is age 13+, only 1 extra guest per villa is allowed

Baby equipment:

  • Highchairs
  • Baby cots

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool
  • Climbing frame
  • Swings
  • Books, DVDs and toys

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Swimming in the sea
  • Kayaking
  • Snorkelling
  • Boat trips
  • Bird watching

Distances:

  • Airports: 30 mins from Chu Lai, 1.5 hours from Danang
  • Hospital: 1 hour to local hospital, 1.5 hours to bigger hospital
  • Shops: a 10-minute speedboat ride away
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 8 independent reviews from i-escape guests

7/10
Rooms
6/10
Food
7/10
Service
7/10
Value
7/10
Overall

We loved Le Domaine de Tam Hai. It isn't a sanitised island get away. It embraces the developing nature of Vietnamese tourism. For example the river running to the sea has rubbish at the side of it and the beach is littered with waste. The hotel manager says that Le Domaine isn't for everyone. Cyrile (hotel manager) tidies this constantly and all efforts are made to make the external environment as good as it can be. Le Domaine itself is fab. Rooms are lovely, food is gorgeous and service although a little slow (I'm on holiday - slow is good) is perfect. All our needs were catered for and a family of 4- 2 adults and 2 teenagers spent 8 nights there very happily.

8/10, , June 2016

Cheap and cheerful getaway where the highlight was the freshly baked "fougasse" and morning brioche by the French manager (and former chef of a US restaurant).

6/10, , August 2016

Utterly beautiful. We had a wonderful stay with our two children aged 8 and 6. The villas are gorgeous, very spacious and comfortable, we loved the outdoor bathroom. The setting is stunning. The softest sand, we didn't wear any shoes for 4 days. Plenty to do if you want to (kayaking, swimming, fishing, delicious food) but also perfect for doing nothing and relaxing. Would definitely recommend for couples and families as a beautiful retreat.

10/10, , March 2016

Only the small beach in front the hotel was clean. The river was very dirty, with a fish farm next to the hotel. We did not want to go into the water.

4/10, , February 2016

The setting is beautiful and peaceful. The staff are friendly and helpful. There are limited activities on the island and my partner and I were fairly restless after a day or two. An excursion into Hoi An for a day is expensive and the driver for La Domaine is fairly miserable. We recommend a stay.

7/10, , May 2015

Everything was perfect. Special thanks to Caroline. The only down side maybe is that its not recommended to swim in the river, but the pool is an excellent alternative.

9/10, , April 2015

Ian the manager was great host. The resort itself is amazing peaceful and tranquil and worth the trip. The staff where freindly and accommodating. The only real negative is that the food menu is limited and there's nowhere else to eat, so after a few days stay you feel ready for something different to eat.

8/10, , March 2015

It had rained for five days straight over Christmas in Hoi An (a warning to sun worshippers - Vietnam can be very rainy over the UK winter). Luckily, the sun came out for us, and we enjoyed a lovely, relaxing New Year's break, kayaking along the river, wandering along the nearby beach and reading on our patio. We loved our private villa, with its open air shower, private verandah lining the sandy riverfront, and 90s James Bond style decor (in particular the dark wood and glass circular door separating the living room and bathroom). There's no Pierce Brosnan, but Ian, the manager, is a nice, low key, bloke from Plymouth, who can help with anything. Breakfast was fantastic with a good choice of Western and Vietnamese options, all served to you fresh. We had read reviews elsewhere that dinner was overpriced but did not find this to be the case. Though food on the mainland is certainly cheaper (bear in mind you can buy dishes for around £1), the hotel restaurant was still better value than our local Vietnamese takeaway in London, and dishes were good and nicely presented (perhaps not as tasty as the street food in Hanoi, but what is?). Options are relatively limited though if you're staying for a week or longer. Oh, and our free I-escape gift of champagne was much appreciated (it may have come from the finest 'champagne' houses of Hungary - but it was really quite tasty). We tried to book our own transfer to the hotel but are glad we didn't, as I think the dock would be very tricky to find. The hotel transfer rate was also cheaper than quotes from private companies. We didn't try as we were so full from breakfast but if you cycle to the village on Tam Hai island (5-10 mins away) there were some very simple street food joints, if you wanted to try something local for lunch. There's a nice pool but it wasn't warm enough to swim in in December - but we loved having free kayaks to use.

9/10, , December 2014

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Rates for Le Domaine De Tam Hai