THE NAM HAI/HOI AN/VIETNAM
Perfection. Undisturbed harmony of the best Western and Eastern art (also culinary) and architecture. The Nam Hai fully deserves all the awards it has received, including CN Traveller readers’ choice, where it reached top ten of the best hotels in Asia.
The Nam Hai makes an impression from the very beginning, with its ornamental pool right behind the reception. A little further down there is another one, with heated water. The third pool is of Olympic size – it reaches Ha My Beach and overlooks the sea, as well as the Cham islands.
On 35 hectares of the well-kept, skilfully designed garden, there are sixty “1-bedroom” and forty “pool” villas. The former take up space of 60 square meters . Thanks to two-level spatial design, a four-poster bed on a platform fits here perfectly, and so do the adjacent gold-lacquered bathtub, a writing desk, and a comfortable sofa in the living room – all of these places overlook the sea and the beach. These two natural treasures – delicate sand and wavy sea – played a crucial role in space planning. The 1-bedroom villas are located in five wings, which guarantees a beautiful view and closeness to the sea. The pool villas, in turn, were built on the first coastline or upon a hill and provide a superb panorama. Nature is celebrated also in the bathrooms which open out onto a private garden with a shower and stone Buddha figures.
The villas (some of them with 3 or 5 bedrooms) offer fully-equipped kitchens and services of a private butler, thanks to whom we can peacefully enjoy our breakfast while taking in the view of our swimming pool, the beach and the sea.
The hotel was designed by a French architect, whereas the restaurant’s designer comes from Japan. Eastern and Western influences intertwine and make an excellent combination. We can trace some of the solutions to the philosophy of feng shui, e.g. a separate entrance to the pool villa doesn’t stand opposite to the main entrance – according to Chinese tradition, it is to prevent evil spirits from coming in.
Charm also lies in the details, e.g. wooden chopsticks in the restaurant or pressed metal bowls, painted gold on the inside. The latter had a little sticker at the bottom – “Do you like me? You can buy me at the hotel shop”.
The hotel restaurants offered plenty of both Asian and European dishes. Breakfast, served partly in the form of a buffet, partly from the card, encouraged trying Chinese dumplings, traditional Vietnamese pho soup, poche eggs, and variety of fruit and cocktails, including a popular drink based on champagne, gin, lime, and mango juice.
Lunches fitted well into the light feel of a pool restaurant , serving local and Mediterranean cuisine.
For dinner, the guest could visit either the pool restaurant, or a place called simply The Restaurant, which specialises in Hindi dishes.
The Nam Hai is also famous for its spa, which in itself is a reason to pay a visit to the resort. Private villas-salons for one person or couples are situated on the surface of the lake. Moving past the doorstep marks the beginning of a wonderful journey to the realm of beauty, relaxation and harmony. The spa offers several exceptional treatments, e.g. The Nam Hai Jade Massage, during which two therapists take care of our body in a synchronized manner, using a variety of massaging techniques: shiatsu; Lomi Lomi; Balinese, Swedish and Thai massage.
There are numerous ways to spend leisure time in the Nam Hai – its library containing a range of books and albums is open 24/7. In the youth area, there are billiard and foosball tables, or a basket, so we could work on our throws before a real game.
In the open space, among organic vegetable patches (which provide ingredients for the dishes) and palm trees, we can play tennis and volleyball – the hotel can find us a worthy rival with skills comparable to our own.
Kids Activity Villa, in turn, was created to fit the needs of families with children. The kids, supervised by a childminder, can fill their time with various games and activities connected with Vietnamese culture, e.g. pickings plants and learning something about them.
The resort makes it possible to rent a bike for short-distance trips or take a free bus ride to the city centre of Hoi An.
What we liked:
– well-balanced luxury and local touches
– harmony between architecture and nature
– privacy in every type of accommodation and helpful, kind staff
– unbelievable attention to detail: iPad with music at the villa, a bag to take on the beach, cool water, dampened towels by the pool loungers
– additional privileges for those who decide on a pool villa: airport transfer and private check-in at the villa, as well as breakfast and afternoon tea or drink on a daily basis
– possibility to order a melex cart, which will take us to one of the pools or restaurants