Vinpearl Resort & Spa Hoi An is a luxury five-star resort near Cua Dai Beach, just 15 minutes from Hoi An’s Ancient Town and about 30 minutes from Marble Mountain.
Bernard O’Riordan visited in September 2018
Featuring a blend of modern European architecture with classic Asian touches, Vinpearl Resort & Spa Hoi An is a budget-friendly destination for many travellers.
The five-star property – located on former military land on the waterfront not far from Cua Dai Beach – is the ultimate relaxation destination.
All 193 rooms include private balcony, LCD TVs with cable channels, free minibars, WiFi, bottled water, complimentary toiletries, bath robes and an in-room safe.
The resort’s palm-fringed gardens are also home to a small village of self-contained three- and four-bedroom villas, each with a private plunge pool and ocean views. They’d be perfect for small groups or families in need of a more secluded holiday.
Guests can grab a bite at the hotel’s Cham restaurant or enjoy afternoon tea at the lobby café or poolside bar. There’s also 24-hour room service.
Open for just 18 months, the main attraction is the large infinity pool at the centre of the property, although it’s just 1.2 m deep in its entirety so not appropriate for diving. There’s a medical centre, a gym room, tennis courts and a day spa, as well as on-site cooking classes.
Although it’s a waterfront resort, there’s no actual beach – just a sea wall.
Vinpearl, which is part of billionaire Vietnamese businessman Pham Nhat Vuong’s Vingroup, also has plans to one day build a golf course on land neighbouring the resort.
Located just 8.3 km from Hoi An Ancient Town, a Unesco World Heritage site, around 20 km from the historical and culture site at Marble Mountain, and 30 km from downtown Da Nang, there’s plenty to see and do if you want to make a day of it away from the resort.
You can even organise private day tours to the historical My Son Sanctuary, about 50 km away.
Cham Island and the Cu Lao Cham Marine Park – a stunning cluster of eight islands 15 km off the coast of Hoi An in the South China Sea (or the East Sea as the Vietnamese prefer to call it) – is also in easy reach.
The islands were once closed to visitors and under close military supervision, but now day trips, diving or snorkelling the reefs, and even overnight stays, are possible.
From the smiling doormen to the ever helpful front desk staff in their trademark maroon and yellow uniforms, the check-in experience here was as good as you’d find in many European hotels. On arrival, guests are offered a seat and a refreshing welcome drink of lemongrass, lime and ginger while the room and personalised swipe card is organised. The front desk staff provide a brief overview of the hotel and its facilities, note your meal options and then you are on your way. In all, check-in was completed in under 10 minutes.
Standard Deluxe rooms are decent in size (33 sq m) and offer spectacular views of the South China Sea. Rooms include either two single beds or one king size bed and each room has its own private balcony overlooking the resort’s infinity pool. Rooms are air-conditioned and also include a ceiling fan. The bathroom is modern and fresh and includes a bathtub, shower and complimentary toiletries. The mini-bar is free (complimentary soft drinks) but it is not restocked for the duration of your stay so it’s a one-off treat. Rooms include free wi-fi, bath robes and slippers and there’s also a safe. There’s also a turndown service and chocolate each evening – a hallmark of five-star hotels.
Daily meals are served in the Cham Restaurant, where buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner is served daily. The resort actually started with two restaurants but the Faifo restaurant is now used only for cooking classes. The food is a spread of Asian and European dishes and includes a sushi station, salads, soups, noodles, curries, seafood and a hot carvery. There’s also a children’s food station that serves sliders, skewers and pizza, while the desert station includes a chocolate fountain, panacotta, ice cream, fruit and lots of delicate sweet treats. At breakfast, guests can have eggs made to order. And if you are craving a decent coffee, simply request a cafe latte or any other type of beverage and it will be brought to your table. We experienced a number of rookie errors from our servers almost daily, but no doubt these will be ironed out with training and as they become more accustomed to western visitors. No cash is need when dining, just your room key. (Everyone must bring their room key, even if you are sharing a room, or you won’t be able to access the restaurant.) If you’re on a package meals are taken care of, but other expenses will be added to your account.
The large infinity pool at the heart of the resort is deceptively just 1.2 m deep in its entirety, so diving is not a good idea. The pool is generally open from 6am to 6pm and is clean and well maintained with a lifeguard on duty at all times. Collect your pool towel from the attendant on site, order a cocktail from the poolside bar and rest up on one of the lounge chairs. There are several inflatable rings and pool toys for the kids to amuse themselves with as well. The only real downside is that the pool area desperately lacks shaded areas. There are umbrellas and a dozen or so cabana-style lounges, but they barely block out the harmful UV rays. It’s common for the UV index to loiter around the 8-10 range in Vietnam, and sometimes it even goes up to 12. To put that in perspective, a reading of 6-7 is considered “high-risk”. So be sure to bring the SPF 50+ sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.
Located in a corner of the foyer, the Akoya Spa is the perfect way to soothe the stresses and strains of your travels through Vietnam. The spa is perfect for men or women and includes private change areas with personal lockers for your valuables. There’s also a sauna, spa and showers. You’ll get a soothing welcome tea and cold scented facial towel when you arrive. After completing a registration form, you’ll be led to the change rooms where you don special underwear, a bath robe and slippers in preparation for your treatment. Open from 9am to 10pm, Akoya Spa is operated by Mandara Spa which is famous for its rejuvenating treatments and massage methods in Bali, Hawaii, Japan, Sweden and Thailand. A typical full body massage lasts around one hour or 1.5 hours with a facial included.
You could easily check in to Vinpearl Resort & Spa and not have to leave. Certainly all your needs are catered for with a medical centre, convenience store, business meeting rooms, gymnasium, tennis courts and bike hire all on site. You can even take part in a yoga class on the waterfront. To book a tennis court or to hire a bike, see the gym room managers. The resort also has a laundry if you really need to do a wash.
The resort gets a thumbs up for cleanliness, with rooms serviced daily and the public areas of the hotel always spotless. The grounds are well-kept, the lobby and hallways are pristine and the elevators seem to be cleaned at least twice a day. Towels and toiletries are changed daily while the bed linen seemed to be changed every few days unless you ask.
Service is excellent, formal, always forthcoming, but never intrusive. Hotel staff really do bend over backwards to make you feel at home, taking care of your every need. During our stay two front desk employees stood head and shoulders above the rest – Lily and Hannah. They were genuinely friendly, warm and extremely helpful. While most hotel staff speak fluent English, occasionally you will find some younger local Vietnamese staff (particularly in the restaurant) who struggle with English. There are several expat staff, mainly from Europe, who can also assist you with any needs.
While Vinpearl Resort & Spa at Hoi An is somewhat isolated, the resort’s free daily shuttle will get you to the historic Hoi An Ancient Town or Da Nang Airport. The first ride to Hoi An is at 9am and runs at regular intervals throughout the day. The last mini bus back from Hoi An departs at 9.30pm. Just see the concierge desk a day before, or early each morning, to arrange your transport into Hoi An.
Check out is as smooth and uncomplicated as check-in. They’ll safely store your bags for the day and arrange a mini bus transfer to Da Nang airport for your onward journey. Be sure to arrange this in advance though.
Because the resort is still fairly new, there are some incredible deals on offer. We booked a seven night package through Luxury Escapes with a range of free extras. It included an upgrade to a Deluxe Ocean View room on the top floor, daily buffet breakfast, a choice of daily buffet lunch or dinner, a Vietnamese cooking class (where you eat what you cook), nightly cocktails and two 60-minute massages in the day spa. It was one of the most affordable resort holidays I’ve ever had and was excellent value for money.
Pros: Affordable; relaxing; clean; friendly; welcoming.
Cons: A little remote; the resort was never fully booked and felt empty at times; the buffet became very predictable; occasional language barriers.
Would I stay here again? Definitely.
© 2019 Bernard O’Riordan (Travel Instinct). All Rights Reserved
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