Six Senses Ninh Van Bay

near Nha Trang, Hue - Danang - Nha Trang, Vietnam Book from US$832

Reviewed by Tom Bell
Eden on the shores of the South China Sea, where your very own villa has a private pool and personal butlers are on-hand to help
You arrive by boat to find a 2km crescent beach with forested mountains rising behind; you step ashore to discover your very own butler waiting to whisk you off to a private villa. Six Senses (formerly Evason) Ninh Van Bay is an A-Z of luxury with every conceivable indulgence packed onto this remote peninsular (you’ll think you’re on an island). As for the villas, they simply take your breath away. Each one has its own pool, some under palms in the garden, several on the hill with views across treetops, others built into the rocks with steps down to the sea. Wherever you end up, you find heaven.

Follow your nose and you’ll come to a bar, a restaurant and a library, all high on wooded stilts to give views of sea and ridge. But the villas are hard to beat and guests often stay by their pool, with room service bringing whatever they need. You get big bathrooms with showers in the garden, sitting rooms with enormous daybeds and bedrooms with exquisite views. Excursions can also be planned, as can snorkelling, diving or dinner on a private beach.

Highs

  • The sense of seclusion is magical
  • You'll find luxury at every turn: this is the real thing
  • The villas are out of this world (as you’d expect given the price) and they're huge, 150 sq.m.+
  • You will need to look far and wide to find a better bathroom
  • There are no cars at the resort, though there are bikes and buggies (bliss)

Lows

  • Most guests tend to chill out at their villas, so it’s not a particularly social place
  • The food doesn’t quite match the splendour of the resort, and the lighting is low - perhaps too low
  • With so many villas, it's larger than most i-escape properties
  • Some villas are close together so you sometimes lock eyes with your neighbours
  • Minimum stays apply at certain times of year

Best time to go

The rainy season is at its worst from October to mid December. Temperatures don’t drop below 25C in winter. The dry season runs from February to September, with the hottest months being April and May when temperatures get up to 35C.

Our top tips

Let's face it: other than going for the odd spa treatment or dip in the pool you're just going to chill out and read here, so bring a big fat book like War And Peace or A Suitable Boy; the sort you never have time for at home.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Luxury Resort
  • 66
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • Best for ages 6+
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Tennis Court
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Water Villa

Rooms

There are various beautiful private villas, most strung out along the shoreline. The landscape that cradles them adds to the aesthetic appeal, making them beautiful inside and out. Predominantly made of wood and glass, sliding doors bring in the views and whitewashed walls soak up the light.

The Beachfront Pool Villas (1 or 2 bedrooms) have a pool terrace and a path leading down to the beach (a casual 30-second stroll from bed to sea). Big airy bedrooms house crisp linen sheets and glass doors opening out onto loungers and parasols. Though (like some of the Hilltop Villas) this area lacks a sea view due to the curtain of clipped greenery that ensures privacy. The sitting room is upstairs and open to the breeze, giving long views over the bay. Bathrooms are out of this world, with huge metre-deep wooden tubs and deluge showers in extremely private gardens.

The Hilltop Villas have a completely separate wooden lounge pavilion that opens onto a huge deck and pool. They come with exquisite views of the ocean. Some are set back from the water (slightly limiting the views) but most are up on the hill, with vistas stretching across treetops and out to sea. There's also a 3-bedroom Hilltop Reserve with an enormous infinity pool gazing over the bay.

The Water Villas (connected by small ferry boats operated on a rope system) and Rock Villas seem to paddle in the ocean and have rather good views of the South China Sea. Infinity pools hang in the rocks, scoring maximum wow factor points. From the Water Villas steps lead straight down to the sea. While wild rock formations shield the Rock Villas from the outside world giving nothing but views of the sea and the ridge. The pavilions, which hang above the water, have an ensuite shower room and can be made up as an extra bedroom at night.

The Rock Retreat is enormous and hidden away on the rocks at the far end of the resort. It has its own jetty, the pool is surrounded by wild boulders, there’s a shaded dining room that hangs over the water and the butler, on call 24-hours a day, has his own quarters.

On a purely subjective basis, the Rock Villas, Beachfront Pool Villas and Hilltop Villas tickled our fancy the most (and in that order).

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Mini wine cellar
  • Phone
  • Plunge pool
  • Plunge pool
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace

Eating

Potter up to the restaurant and you find more fabulous views; not a bad place to scoff your bacon and eggs. The breakfast menu offers the full excess of patisserie and cereals, fresh fruits and juices, cold meats and cheeses and cooked favourites.

There’s a full lunch menu running pretty much throughout the day and it’s packed with comfort food (salads, pizzas, pasta, cheese burgers, baguettes and toasted sandwiches). A more formal menu comes at dinner, perhaps green papaya soup with ginger, rack of lamb with baby vegetables and chocolate tart with peanut butter ice cream. There’s a kids’ menu, too (grilled chicken, steak frites, stir-fried noodles), as well as buffet options for lunch and dinner.

If you want a special meal, you can have a BBQ in your villa (or on the beach if you’re staying in a Beachfront Pool Villa). Alternatively, dine by candlelight at the end of the jetty or in the very groovy wine cellar, which is built between the rocks. A 6-course tasting menu is available here with a separate glass of wine with each course. For those who want to go further afield, meals can be arranged on a private beach or in a secluded cove, where you eat on giant slabs of rock.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cooking classes
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Pamper yourself: the Six Senses Spa is set back from the beach at the foot of the mountain that rises behind. A full menu of facials, pedicures, massage and scrubs is available
  • Take a boat trip over to the Five Islands, where you’ll find some of the best reef snorkelling in the area. You can get your PADI while staying here
  • Complimentary yoga lessons take place on Tuesday and Thursday mornings between 8-9am
  • Take a cooking lesson with the resort's experts
  • Head to the life centre at the jetty and check out all the water toys: kayaks and windsurfers are free for guests. You can also water ski, try a hob-cat or sail a catamaran
  • Go on a champagne sunset cruise - the ultimate in romance
  • Learn to meditate or brush up your Tai Chi
  • Three streams fall down the mountain and work their way into the sea. You can hike up them into the hills, find natural swimming holes and even scale the summit. Hot work though!

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Private guided tours
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Kids

Although all ages are welcome, we would not recommend this resort for children under 6 as most of the villas have steep staircases with unfenced balconies and/or ledges which overlook the bay from heights of up to 20 metres. That said, there is a complimentary kids' club daily, and no charge for using existing beds

Family friendly accommodation:

The Beachfront Pool Villas and Two-Bedroom Pool Villas are the best option for those staying with children.

Babysitting:

Daytime babysitting is available via the kids' club, or you can book a private babysitter to you villa - charges may apply

Creche/Kid's Club:

The complimentary Sub Club runs from 9.00am until noon and 2.00pm until 5.00pm daily. Children can make use of a large playhouse with games, a soft corner, arts ‘n’ crafts, a flatscreen TV with Wii console, and a collection of movies. Outside, there's a Pirate's Lair playground and a great selection of activities including beach games and sand castle competitions

Children's meals:

Children's menu available. Kids 5 and under eat for free from the children's menu. Kids of 6-11 can also dine from the regular menu at a 50% discount

Families Should Know:

Be aware that the beach is not supervised

Distances:

  • Airport: 1 hour
Kid Friendly:

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