Decadence in Danang
Born in this city of colour and radiant culture, Hong Kong has certainly become my home rather than a pit stop in a long list of countries I eventually endeavour to live in – but let’s be honest, I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say be saying it a hundred more, there comes a point when you just need to take a break. And with a particularly cruel winter not long behind us and no travel plans in the diary, I was in a slump that could only a holiday could fix.
Longing for a change of scenery and admittedly spending far too much time ‘researching’ weekend travel destinations, Mr and Mrs Smith Hotels appeared like a dream on my laptop screen, with the temptation of the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort staring me in the face and a little ‘Smith extra‘ to push me over the edge. A click of a ‘pay now’ button and two very early Hong Kong to Danang flights printed on our itinerary later, and we were counting down the days to our little Vietnam excursion. And honestly? It still all feels like a little bit of a dream…
Now, we had heard rumours of the resort’s incredible size prior to leaving Honkers, but what lay in store absolutely smashed all expectation. Residing in its very own peninsula and set amongst sea, jungle, rainforest and mountains, the InterContinental boasts its own stretch of beach and scenery that scratches well beyond the surface of Vietnam’s gorgeous tapestry.
Split into four separate tiers (Sea, Earth, Sky and Heaven) we surpassed the hundreds of stairs, opting instead to take their cute boat-shaped tram down to our room. Strolling by several playful monkeys and beautiful orange daffodils, we reached our Club Terrace Suite and were welcomed in by a mammoth king-sized bed (it really doesn’t get much better than waking up each morning in a bed as large as your apartment…) and a bathtub which could easily pass as a small swimming pool here in the city!
We made a beeline for the balcony which, like absolutely everywhere you turn at the resort, treated us to a view that made it very hard to want to leave come Monday morning. The huge terrace quickly became our go-to lunch spot where we generously ordered bowls of delicious room service Pho, crispy Vietnamese Spring Rolls and Hoi An Chicken Rice before hitting the beach for a day of sun soaking and cocktail drinking.
It took seven years for resort designer, Bill Bensley to be entirely happy with the design and the facilities available at the InterContinental, and he got it spot on. Rightly listed in CNN’s list of ‘coolest travel gimmicks‘ the amount of detail that has gone in to the hotel’s decor is insane – even each bathroom is designed to be entirely unique (the hotel do offer a tour… if you’re keen!) and with special Vietnamese-inspired touches at every turn, you’ll be Instagramming absolutely everything…
The prospect of a sweet tan aside, one of our favourite parts of the entire hotel had to be the pools! With two separate ones to choose from, a family-friendly area close to the beach and the other, an adult-only infinity pool (go on, do a quick celebratory dance at that little rule!) littered with comfy cabanas, complimentary towels, water, fresh fruit and even a sunglasses cleaning service, it meant that we were very quick to set up camp here each morning. Looking out onto the beach and across the ocean it became the perfect oasis to kick back with a Vietnamese beer (or three), enjoy the mountain breeze and bask in the sunshine.
Spoilt for choice, we spent a lot of the weekend flitting back and forth between the pools and sprawling out on the private beach. And with most beach activities included in your hotel stay we were able to easily rent paddle boards (okay, admittedly my lack of balance quickly turned this into body boarding), kayaks, snorkelling gear and even a traditional Vietnamese basket boat.
With buy-one-free-one cocktails on the cards, most evening were spent at the Long Bar, a chic black and yellow themed hang-out with tons of cool, suspended chairs and super-strong drink creations.
There’s an overwhelming amount of cosy nooks and crannies dotted around the hotel that are great to chill out in, so it’s easy to find yourself lounging around more often than perhaps planned – you’re on holiday after all! But if you’re looking to immerse yourself fully in all that the hotel has to offer (they even have a private cinema that includes unlimited popcorn!) or experience something uniquely Vietnamese, the InterContinental also host a huge range of classes for the crafty.
Try your hand at whipping up a Vietnamese storm and attend one of the hotel’s daily cooking classes (Pho Ga for days), or wander over to their craft centre and fashion your very own colourful lanterns, which would look awesome on a rooftop (if you’re lucky enough to have one!) or strung up in the living room. The hotel is rather secluded with a half an hour car journey to Danang town and about 45 minutes into Hoi An, but with the sheer amount of activities (check out the full list here) available to you at the resort itself you won’t feel the need to leave – except to venture to into Hoi An city, which I couldn’t recommend highly enough! Incredible local food, breathtaking colours and cute wishing lanterns – it’s pretty damn special.
The InterContinental Danang has a number of places to dine, including their signature restaurant, Citron with its famous floating booths, Barefoot Bar (serving up incredibly fresh seafood from tank to table) and Michelin starred French resto, La Maison 1888, amongst others. Expect a mix of traditional Vietnamese fare and western favourites that are sure to suit all palettes.
The breakfast buffet is more than worth splurging on if you haven’t opted for an inclusive breakfast package – the spread is unreal. With endless Vietnamese delights, traditional English breakfast bites, pancakes, cereals and four, yes FOUR different types of truffle-infused honeys to choose from, this truly is a brekkie that’ll keep you more than satisfied past lunch time.
Bar snacks are a plenty both beach and poolside, and we opted to fill up on spring rolls and fishcakes throughout the afternoon, meaning we were a little too full for a sit-down dinner in the evening. However, on Saturday nights the hotel hosts a barbecue and bonfire on the beach which was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
Amongst a roaring bonfire, the staff set up bamboo tables on the beach and a buffet spread complete with an abundance of fresh seafood (prawns and lobster by the dozen) sizzling away on hot coals. The package offers unlimited beer and wine alongside the buffet feast, and we were definitely in our element sipping beers, our plates piled high and singing along to the live band as the ocean waves rolled in distance. Too cute.
The InterContinental Danang is incredible. In both size and in what they have to offer, the friendly staff are dead set on making each guest’s trip as memorable as possible, truly achieving what every hotel strives for and beyond. If you’re looking for an extravagant getaway that will, without a doubt, remain on the tip of every conversation for weeks to come, then look no further. Whether it be a gorgeous and romantic destination for couples, a relaxing and decadent getaway with friends, or the perfect wedding wonderland – the peninsula is picture perfect, and I’d be back in a heart beat.
InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, Bai Bac, Sontra Peninsula, Đà Nẵng, Vietnam, Tel: +84 511 3938 888, www.danang.intercontinental.com