Where to stay in Vietnam, depends on what type of vacation you’re after and the kind of experience you’re looking for, in one of Southeast Asia’s most mesmerizing and dramatically beautiful countries. And within your chosen destination, you’ll need to know all about the best hotels in Vietnam. From isolated mountain lodges and beachfront hideaways to heritage city landmarks, here’s our list of must-do areas and highlight accommodations.
Vietnam’s main gateway, Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon), is the nation’s largest, most cosmopolitan city and commercial powerhouse. Visiting Saigon and seeing what it’s all about should definitely be on your to-do list when traveling to Vietnam.
Despite the ever-increasing modernization, the wartime legacies, colonial-era architecture and unique Saigonese character are still evident. Most of this former Saigon’s key attractions – including many of the magnificent French Indochina landmarks – are clustered in downtown District One.
Here, the aptly-named Hôtel des Arts Saigon presents a uniquely modern twist on 1930s Saigon: guests can relive the glamor of a bygone ‘Indochine Française’ era, while luxuriating in 21st-century comforts. Refined yet ‘in-residence’ interiors showcase the owner’s private collection of Vietnamese art and antiques, from the whimsical lobby to the 168 elegant guestrooms and suites, complete with claw-foot bathtubs. Destination-worthy venues feature a French tea salon and rooftop bar with infinity pool.
Should you need to escape the city’s non-stop buzz, several hotels have sprouted-up along the Saigon River further downstream. One of the best is charming Villa Song Saigon, tucked away on verdant riverbanks, accessed by complimentary speedboat transfers. Again, this boutique hotel draws inspiration from French-colonial mansions and classical Indochina style, combined with luxe touches and contemporary accents. All 23 guestrooms and suites are unique in character, size and décor, some, providing breezy balconies and river views.
A two-hour drive west of HCMC, the Mekong Delta is one of Vietnam’s friendliest, most picturesque regions, where intensely cultivated lands brimming with rice paddies, fruit orchards and coconut plantations come dominated by the Mekong River. The ‘Delta is all about boat trips along the broad Mekong and its network of canals and tributaries, navigating deep into lush countryside. Can Tho City, the region’s centrally located, amiable hub, makes the perfect launchpad for the surrounding floating markets and more.
A short boat ride from here brings you to Azerai Can Tho, a lovely boutique resort, secluded in tropical greenery on Au Islet along the Hau River that provides a luxurious and tranquil retreat for stays in the heart of the Mekong Delta. This five-star’s design comes inspired by southern traditional architecture and materials, interwoven with contemporary interpretations and sustainable practices. All guestrooms and villas open-out to terraces overlooking the pretty gardens, lake, or river. Enjoy the exceptional service levels, high-end facilities, wellness focus and riverside life.
At Vietnam’ southernmost point in the Gulf of Thailand but just an hour’s flight from HCMC, Phu Quoc Island offers the ultimate tropical paradise: ruggedly beautiful and forested mountainous terrain, palm-fringed white sand beaches and turquoise waters brimming with marine life. This popular beach destination – Vietnam’s largest island – also extends a UNESCO-listed National Park, over-sea cable-car connecting two scenic islands in a southern mini-archipelago, pearl farms and excellent snorkeling and diving.
Phu Quoc’s main beaches extend along the west coast, the most popular, the aptly-named Long Beach, lined with beachfront resorts, bars and water sports centers. Among many family-oriented resorts, InterContinental Phu Quoc is regarded as the best, secluded in a quieter southern section of Long Beach. This five-star offers heaps of family leisure facilities, including four outdoor pools, private beach with non-motorized water sports, massive Planet Trekkers Children’s Club and unique Kid’s Camp. Parents will love the six restaurants and bars including the island’s highest sky bar and HARNN Heritage Spa, where treatment suites ‘float’ on a lotus lagoon. Accommodations include Family Suites and beachfront villas.
On the island’s southeast shores, far removed from the tourist bustle, award-winning JW Marriott Phu Quoc rests alongside Kem Beach, a dazzling white sand beach edged by a coconut grove. Ranked as one of Southeast Asia’s most luxurious resorts, world-renowned architect Bill Bensley reimagined the former site of a 19th century French University into a whimsically styled, lavish beachfront playground housed within majestic architecture. Many of the 234, academically- themed accommodations, including opulent pool villas, provide panoramic bay views and spacious balconies. Five-star facilities cover sophisticated wining and dining, kids club and three pools fronting the private beach.
The south-central city of Nha Trang has long been a popular beach destination and rests in a spectacular setting, within what is ranked as one of the world’s most beautiful bays dotted with tropical islands and ringed by mountains. This amiable, laid-back city offers great scuba diving and boat trips, ancient cultural treasures, a massive island theme park accessed by cable-car and a legendary party scene.
Much of the accommodation – including many new high-rise hotels – line the main boulevard running alongside the city’s main beach. However, long-established, Evason Ana Mandara is still the only resort fronting Nha Trang’s extensive golden sands. A few minutes from downtown, this lovely five-star welcomes like an oasis ensconced in tropical gardens with a private beach. Designed with a traditional Vietnamese village concept, the 74 well-appointed accommodations include beachfront villas and feature contemporary indulgences, private balconies and bay views. Suiting both families and couples, there’s a kids club, romantic seashore dining, water sports center, two pools and acclaimed Six Senses Spa. Nha Trang however also offers luxury resorts on secluded beaches out of town: Cam Ranh Bay (where the international airport is located) and Ninh Van Bay, home to super-luxury Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, a royal and celebrity favorite exclusively positioned on a remote jungle-clad peninsula accessed by private speedboat.
In Central Vietnam, Hoi An was once a thriving Silk Road trading port, dating back to the 16th century. Today, revered as one of Southeast Asia’s best-preserved oldest towns and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, charming Hoi An is one of Vietnam’s most popular destinations, yet still hasn’t lost its beguiling charm. The main drawcard is the atmospheric Ancient Town, set alongside picturesque Thu Bon River and crammed with centuries-old cultural treasures, historic sites, and quaint buildings. Many old buildings now house open-air cafes and riverside restaurants famed for local specialties.
Set in lush tropical gardens fronting Thu Bon River, in the atmospheric French Quarter, Anantara Hoi An offers an enviable prime riverside sanctuary footsteps from the Ancient Town. The boutique hotel comes housed within low-rise buildings, reflecting the 16th-century port town’s multi-cultural architectural legacies. All 94 guestrooms and suites provide stylish split-level living areas and an open porch or terrace with daybeds; some accommodations face the river, perfect for watching the boats chug past. The one-of-a-kind Anantara River View Suite is ideal for families. Don’t miss sunset river cruises from the hotel’s private jetty and riverfront candlelit dining.
North of Hoi An, beside the Perfume River, Hue was Vietnam’s Imperial capital from 1802 to 1945, the royal home of a dynasty of Nguyen Emperors and the nation’s political, cultural and religious heart. Such is the significance of Hue’s majestic past and imperial legacies, a complex of relatively well-preserved ancient monuments and relics are collectively listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Must-sees cover the magnificent 19th century Imperial Citadel, Mandarin garden houses, iconic 17th century Thien Mu Pagoda and Emperor’s mausoleums.
Award-winning Azerai La Residence boasts an enviable location, on prime frontage along the Perfume River in central Hue, opposite the Imperial Citadel. Hue’s most upscale boutique hotel is actually a heritage landmark, part of the former French Governor’s official residence, built in 1930 during the Indochina era: a living history experience and a refined base for exploring Hue’s historic sites. Beautifully restored, the original mansion’s distinctive façade bears hallmarks of the Streamline Moderne School of Art Deco architecture, while two new wings, although contemporary in design, display period aesthetics. The 122 elegant guestrooms and suites blend colonial charm and Asian opulence; the sumptuous Resident Suite occupies the five-star’s entire top-floor. Riverfront indulgences cover al fresco dining and salt-water pool.
Nestled for a thousand years beside the Red River the nation’s capital, Hanoi, has undergone rapid development but hasn’t lost its unique cultural identity and inherent traditions. Hanoi’s key attractions and sights are clustered in clearly defined, historic districts, including the evocative Old Quarter, a compact, square kilometer of ancient merchant quarters of more than 500 years old. Narrow bustling streets reveal historic sights and local life played out, leading south to legend-strewn Hoan Kiem Lake, an oasis of tranquility, beauty, and socializing at the heart of this enchanting city.
A short stroll away, remnants of the Indochina-era – tree-lined boulevards and impressive colonial buildings – are especially evident in the ‘French Quarter’ including Sofitel Legend Metropole, one of Southeast Asia’s greatest heritage hotels and legendary city landmark steeped in history. Inaugurated 1901, Hanoi’s premier five-star presents an impressive example of French colonial architecture, blended with Oriental touches. Despite 21st century renovations, this award-winning ‘Grand Dame’ evokes a bygone era, oozing colonial charm and timeless elegance throughout. Among the 364 gorgeous guestrooms and suites, the original, historic Metropole Wing features themed suites named after former illustrious guests, such as Charlie Chaplin and Graham Greene. Destination-worthy venues cover Hanoi’s first-ever French fine-dining restaurant and time-warp Le Club Bar.
Vietnam’s northern mountainous regions boast some of Southeast Asia’s most dramatically beautiful landscapes, home to many of Vietnam’s fifty-plus ethnic minority groups. Ever-popular Sapa, a former French hill station surrounded by misty peaks, makes a fascinating mountain base for Vietnam’s spectacular northwest region. Even the overnight train journey, from Hanoi to Lao Cai, near the Chinese border, is an exciting adventure! The main activity here is trekking out to Sapa’s outlying rice fields, forested hills and sweeping valleys and encountering isolated hill tribe villages.
If you need to escape Sapa’s tourist crowds, be at one with nature and awake to the most jaw-dropping views imaginable, take the 50-minute drive to Topas Ecolodge. Perched atop two cone-shaped hills, this Vietnamese-Danish boutique ecolodge comes set in a breathtaking location. Meticulously crafted from local granite, the mountain bungalows offer both luxury and utter seclusion, a blend of contemporary Scandinavian minimalism and minority rusticity along with creature comforts, while maintaining pioneering sustainable initiatives. From a private balcony or one of two infinity pools, soak up the 360-degree views of sweeping valleys ringed by verdant mountains. Alternatively, go mountain biking, or dine at the stilt-house restaurant.
For nature lovers wanting to get away from it all, a 45-minute flight from HCMC delivers you to Con Dao Islands, an isolated, tiny archipelago of rugged mountainous islands off Vietnam’s southern coast. A remote setting of outstanding natural beauty within protected national and marine parks rich in bio-diversity, Con Dao offers wildly beautiful beaches, exceptional snorkeling and diving off pristine coral reefs and rainforest and coastal trekking.
Amongst the archipelago’s 15 islands, only Con Son is inhabited, with Six Senses Con Dao the most acclaimed resort, a celebrity hideaway, secluded on a bay of raw beauty framed by mountains. Con Dao’s first five-star resort is contemporary in design, yet comes inspired by traditional local fishing villages, where committed sustainability meets luxe indulgence. The 50 private pool villas offer unobstructed ocean vistas and access to a private, pristine beach. Guests can enjoy jungle outdoor movies, the award-winning spa and helping release turtle hatchlings.
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