It’s uncertain how many resort reviews are written at poolside bars, but this adds another to the tally. It’s mid-June at Amiana Resort Nha Trang, and while text messages from Saigon bring news of heavy rain flooding the streets there, the only water here is the gentle swell lapping up against the shore just metres away from the bar.

Across the bay are the lights of the city centre of Nha Trang, eight kilometres away. From a rooftop, the strobe light atop the Skylight beach club along Nha Trang’s beachfront strip probes the balmy, early evening sky. Occasionally it flashes in this direction. While a night of partying and excess is off the cards, it’s nice to know the option is there if the mood changes. But really, there is no need to leave this spot.

Five-Star Luxury

 

Amiana Resort is a five-star luxury property situated at the far northern end of stunning Nha Trang Bay, 45km from Cam Ranh International Airport. Directly offshore is Turtle Island, where much of Nha Trang’s diving and snorkelling happens. Amiana’s courtesy van delivers you at the resort lobby in under an hour from the airport. It’s also available for guests going into the centre of town.

 

First impressions last, and the Amiana’s elevated lobby makes a good one. Spacious and breezy with a high-pitched roof and wooden ceiling fans, its design draws you straight to the water feature on the ocean side of the building, which turns out to be the roof of the resort’s only restaurant, the Bacara Restaurant.

 

If you stand in the right position, the water feature seemingly stretches to infinity out across the bay and towards the many islands not far offshore. The feature achieves two important things on arrival at the resort. One, it provides an immediate sense of what guests are in for during their stay — sun, water and luxury. Two, it demonstrates how the Amiana does its best to harmonise with its natural surroundings. The tropical gardens come almost up to the water and conceal buildings behind their frangipani trees and coconut palms. While in the resort grounds there are some magnificent rock formations created by lava flows from a long time ago.

 

There are 155 rooms and villas at Amiana. Of those, 110 are deluxe or ocean deluxe villas, either 65sqm or 70sqm with garden views; 20 ocean villas at 80sqm; 16 family villas at 120sqm with garden views; three pool villas at a whopping 450sqm; and then there is the ultimate in luxury, six ocean pool villas at 450 sqm with three bedrooms, kitchens, and ocean views with private pools.

Simplicity at its Core

 

A highlight of Amiana is that it achieves luxury through simplicity. The deluxe villas at the lower end of the price range (starting around VND5 million per night) are designed so that guests can move freely from the bedroom to the outdoor bath and shower through two sets of sliding doors. With the high-pitched bamboo thatched ceilings, it allows the villas to feel far more spacious than their 80 square metres.

 

The simplicity is also noticeable in the decor. The rooms and villas have stone or timber flooring — some have both — with solid dark timber doors, rafters, ceiling fans and furniture; you could be mistaken for thinking you are in Bali, minus the overdose of Buddha figurines.

 

A thoughtful touch is the concealment of air-conditioning vents behind timber panelling. The rest of the furnishings are kept to a minimum, particularly in the en-suite and outdoor bath and shower area, where you can literally get back to nature and take a bath (sculpted out of stone) under the stars.

 

Beyond the rooms and villas, the simplicity extends throughout the resort, but in no way takes anything away from the experience. It’s very difficult to get lost here as the Amiana’s design has been well thought out; paths are clearly marked, and nothing is more than a short walk or electric buggy ride away.

 

As for amenities, the Amiana has three swimming pools; one is replenished regularly with seawater from the bay. Another is outside the spacious Bacara restaurant and is the perfect place to eat what is perhaps one of the best buffet breakfasts in Vietnam. The third pool has a bar and views to die for across the bay to the west.

 

The Amiana also has its own private beach where the water is crystal clear, sand is white and fish swim in and out around your legs. It’s one of the only resorts in Vietnam to have its own mud baths at its day spa, an interesting prelude to a full body massage.

 

Although this adds up to a fabulous resort experience, the success of the Amiana comes down to one thing, and that is, that when it’s fully booked, it doesn’t feel like anyone is here. I’ll drink to that.

Matt Cowan

Managing Editor of Word Vietnam. Destined to be a dairy farmer until he accepted a spur of the moment job offer in Japan in 1998. After making it big in Japan, he now finds himself wrangling stories in Vietnam instead of cows in Australia. Matt has been living in Saigon since 2010.

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