Harnessing Central Vietnam’s classical architecture, changing it up with chic urban interiors and strategically placing it on the Central Coast’s most beautiful beach contribute significantly to the The Nam Hai’s appeal but it’s also the natural hospitality and warmth of the staff towards the guests – many armed with great expectations – that really disarms you.
What can you expect? To be called by name rather than the anonymous ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’, have fitness coaches and tennis partners reserved on request, the superb restaurant menus acknowledge the provenance of its produce under the culinary direction of Richard Wilson and there’s yoga 6 days a week. Expectations for the romantically inclined are blown out of the water with the spa’s Love Bath ceremony – think champagne, candles, canapes and a rose-petal-strewn tubs – while couples celebrating their ten year anniversary can receive a Buddhist blessing from a master monk. What more could you want!
There’s no doubt that the water is blue – the discussion around The Nam Hai’s spectacular infinity pool is its exact shade. Aquamarine is the popular choice, the sleek lap pool pivots towards turquoise, the reflection pool is a cool sapphire while an azure sea licks Ha My beach that’s far too long to take a comb to. On top of this, eight stunning spa villas float tranquilly on a private lagoon and there are 40 pool villas offering up to 5 bedrooms – no wonder I’m feeling slightly water-logged! Located between the twin UNESCO-listed historic sites of Hue and Hoi An, French architect Reda Amalou has created a contemporary aesthetic that reinterprets Central Vietnamese houses.
Entry to the pool villas is subtle. A pathway around a central lotus pond and garden beds leads to a low shield wall designed to keep out evil spirits. Roofs are pitched timber-framed and columns are integrated into all exterior designs as homage to local architectural heritage. The most prominent feature of all rooms is a platform bed acknowledging the multi-purpose role it traditionally plays in Central Vietnamese homes where it may be used for a card game and taking meals before the sleeping mats are rolled out. Ours is similarly multi-purpose by extending seamlessly down the long, interior space to incorporate a bath and desk. Indonesian designer Jaya Ibrahim has created darkened interiors to counterbalance the beachfront brilliance and heat with slate floors and rich nut-brown furniture.
From Here to Infinity
You can’t discuss the Nam Hai without paying dues to its glorious natural setting. Shred every beautiful beach image you’ve had, the texture of its talcum-fine sand and breadth of Ha My beach, together with the refreshing coolness and clarity of the South East Sea is breath-taking. Bound by infinity and the occasional distant mountains, sunsets blaze across a velvet sky shooting pastel hues of pink, mauve and blue across the Nam Hai’s infinity pool. As dusk lingers, couples stroll along the sand and yellow lanterns, strung through slender palm trees, hang motionless . Under a gauzy gazebo, a table is set for dinner on the sand, a fire pit made ready and waterfront dinners are being artfully arranged for in-villa dining. And why wouldn’t you take advantage of staying in your private sanctuary? This is beach luxury re-imagined for the most discerning of urban nomads.
The Details: A total of 100 villas curve in a U-shape comprising 60 1-bedroom and 40 pool villas offering 1 to 5 bedrooms. There are 8 hillside garden view villas, the rest have beachfront or ocean views. www.GHMhotels.com firstname.lastname@example.org
To explore more of the beach and culture of nearby Hue and Hoi An, go to www.asiaunbound.com