When sharing our itinerary for the recent trip to Southeast Asia, disclosing a visit to the gorgeous Vietnam beach area of Hoi An universally received lots of “ooohs” and “aaahs.” Including a few days of doing nothing has become a regular part of the trip planning; this respite provides a much-needed opportunity to relax and recharge. Otherwise, the travel is fast and aggressive in order to see as much as possible in any given destination.
This beach area is accessed by flying into Da Nang International Airport. Da Nang is another familiar name to many Americans as it was the site of a major air base during the Vietnam War. This particular location is in the center of the country — it thus provides excellent access to most other cities in Vietnam.
The ancient town of Hoi An is a Unesco World Heritage Site, straddling the Thu Bon River. Our biggest activity there was getting manicures. Choosing where to go was the big question as the number of available shops closely rivals the number of bars and souvenir stores. Our two manicures cost a grand total of $14, and that was fine for us. Compared to Hanoi and Saigon, the takeaway from the town of Hoi An was the height of touristy. Personnel for stores, clubs and restaurants try every which way to lure customers in for whatever is being offered. And there were outdoor carts as well. Maybe the area traffic swelled for the weekend we were there, but the combination of crowds, being pitched and likely the weather (hot and humid; what else?) made the town visit just fair. Fortunately, the resort itself was a haven for relaxing.
And that was exactly how the few days were spent by the gorgeous pool at the Four Seasons Resort. The company acquired this existing property in 2016, and they cater to guests from Korea, Japan and the U.S. by number in that order. The resort does an excellent job of providing both for families traveling with children and those of us without. The main pool is for guests 14 and older, providing a very relaxing space. One could opt for cooking classes, water sports and/or venturing into the aforementioned town if desired. The setting is so beautiful that we mostly just did nothing — precisely what we had in mind.
As has the been the case with other resorts, we again had the pleasure of engaging the Executive Sous Chef, Alessandro Fontenesi, a character hailing from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. He took great pride in giving us a tour of the burgeoning produce garden. There was pure envy on my part for the available space and neat rows of plants. While the garden is not able to supply all of the resort’s requirements, everything the garden does produce is used. Crops are rotated and seasonally planted and the results both look and taste great. We alternatively wanted the chef to continue providing wonderful tastes and for him to stop tempting us with such delicious food. What a dilemma!
After three terrific and restful days (a total of nine in wonderful Vietnam), we bid our adieu to the great staff with the promise of a return visit. Next up, two stops in Cambodia.