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Princess d’Annam Resort & Spa Opens in Vietnam

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Vietnam’s long journey from a curiosity to a viable, upscale destination passed another critical milestone recently when the Princess d’Annam Resort & Spa opened on this pristine stretch of the South China Sea 150 kilometers from Saigon.

Named for a 13th Century Vietnamese princess, the Princess d’Annam opens with 57 units on a secluded bay 35 kilometers south of the provincial capital of Phan Thiet.

The property’s beach takes in a private bay that’s defined by an 1899-built colonial French lighthouse to the north and a massive ridge of sand that curls out to sea to the south.

However naturally impressive the surroundings, the resort is a landmark tropical design, crafted by noted Singaporean architect Tan Hock Beng. The resort is a testament to the architect’s craft of critical regionalism whereby ‘place’ matters.

The all-villa resort trades in three classes of accommodation, from the 75-square-meter Mandarin villa to the 100-square-meter Princess and the 185-square-meter, two-story Empress.

The resort’s design appeal is founded in Tan Hock Beng’s interpretation of a colonial French villa design with strong Chinese overtones. With steeply pitched roofs that seem to hover above the villas, rubbled walls and ornate lattice work, the architecture marries the traditional to the contemporary and modern simplicity to imperial elegance.

Inside, Vincent Koh’s understated contemporary Vietnamese tropical design enhances the light-filled, airy ambiance. Private plunge pools distinguish each of the Princess villas, and a private lap pool spans the private compounds of each of the four Empress villas.

All of the villas bring the outdoors in with bathrooms that feature rain showers and baths and sunken tubs. The in-room amenities run from high-tech (plasma-screen televisions and high-speed wireless environments) to high-touch (24-hour room service). 

The spa is an 1,800-square-meter monument of design, reminiscent of a Moroccan sanctuary. The pre-eminence of the spa is underscored by its situation on the property itself. While some resorts bury their spas in an out-of-the-way locations, Princess d’Annam positioned its spa on the sea.

“It’s the best seat in the house,” said Jean-Philippe Beghin, the resort’s general manager. “Usually, the visual experience of any spa treatment is negligible. Here it’s overwhelming.”

Likewise, the resort’s gardens. Designed by Alan Carle, who also designed the ginger gardens in Singapore’s Botanical Gardens, the grounds teem with more than 200 varieties of flowers, shrubs and trees. In the heart of the resort is a ginger garden, a subtle echo of Carle’s renowned design further south.

In addition to the private pools featured in the Princess and Empress villas, four common pools enhance the resort’s oasis-like appeal.

Dining from the Princess d’Annam’s ever-changing menu involves four primary venues — the Dining Room, the Terrace, the Lounge or the Villa — and two families of cuisine — a Vietnamese menu and a European menu founded in France and Italy. The menu changes daily.

 Excursions from the Princess d’Annam range from the stately lighthouse just offshore to the eminence of Ta Cu, a nearby mountain where a 2-kilometer cable car system whisks visitors to a pagoda at top and a 49-meter long recumbent Buddha, one of the longest in Southeast Asia.

Further afield lie the Ocean Dunes Golf Club, an award-winning 18-hole tracked designed by Nick Faldo, as well as the red and white sand dunes of Mui Ne and Po Shanu, an ancient Cham tower complex.

Rack rates at the resort begin at US$465 per night, and climb into four figures for a major class of accommodation.

See other recent news regarding: Airlines, Aviation, Flights, First Class, Business Class, Hotels, Promotions, New Hotels, Visitor Arrivals, Cruises, Free Deals, Vietnam, Phan Thiet

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