By Chris Dwyer, CNN
One of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite countries — he said his first trip there was “life-changing” — Vietnam also represents one of Asia’s best value destinations.
Now that the country has relaxed arrival rules for international travelers, visitors are beginning to return.
The hospitality industry is beginning to return, too.
Although Covid put the construction or opening of many hotels on hold, there are now a wide range of new or newly reopened properties to choose from.
From the historic and atmospheric capital of Hanoi in the north, down to the sun-kissed tropical beaches of Phú Quốc in the south, here are eight places to lay your head at a range of prices and styles.
Regent Phú Quốc
An island off southwest Vietnam, much of Phú Quốc is a UNESCO-designated World Biosphere Reserve — and also home to the first resort in Southeast Asia from luxury brand Regent Hotels & Resorts.
Regent Phú Quốc sits on Long Beach and offers 176 suites and 126 villas in tranquil, tropical surroundings with views over the ocean and resort’s lagoons. They range in size from intimate one-bedrooms to seven-bedroom “ultra villas,” meaning that everyone from couples to large extended families and friends can kick back in style.
On the food front, take your pick from six restaurants and bars, including Rice Market, which celebrates the local cuisine of Southern Vietnam; Oku which joins Japan and France in an homage to wagyu beef; or the cheekily named Fu Bar for gin-focused cocktails around a pool terrace.
From $365 per night, phuquoc.regenthotels.com
Wink Hotel Saigon Centre
Opened in 2021, Wink Hotel Saigon targets a young, local Vietnamese demographic for whom authenticity is everything.
The offer of affordable luxury means that while the hotel’s rooms may admittedly be “space-efficient,” no expense has been spared inside them.
Designed by a Paris-based agency, they feature luxury mattresses, fine linens and a power shower.
Wink honors Vietnam’s famous street food culture in the form of “Wink Carts” for easy breakfasts and lunches, while guests are guaranteed a 24-hour stay regardless of check-in time, unlimited à la carte breakfast and free passes to a co-working space.
From $70 per night, wink-hotels.com/vn/hotel/wink-hotel-saigon-centre
Maia Resort Quy Nhơn
The southern Vietnamese coastal resort city of Quy Nhơn may be largely unfamiliar to international travelers, but that looks set to change with the opening of places like Maia Resort, a destination which is especially keen to attract foodies.
The 94-villa property sits on a beautiful wide and long sandy beach, where colorful local fishing boats bob in Phuong Mai Bay. They bring in a catch that the resort’s chefs at restaurant Vi turn into excellent renditions of local dishes, as well as familiar global comfort food.
Wellness is another big play in the elegant sunlit Vela spa, complete with its own pool, while guests can choose packages inclusive of treatments instead of breakfast or lunch.
From $185, inclusive of half board or one spa treatment per adult, per room, quynhon.maiaresorts.com
Anantara Quy Nhơn Villas
Privacy is front and center at Anantara Quy Nhơn Villas as the resort offers just 26 sleek one- and two-bedroom villas dotted across seven hectares of tropical gardens. All of them overlook the white sand beach and emerald waves beyond.
Their signature restaurant is Sea.Fire.Salt, where Chef Wayan oversees menus celebrating seafood cooked over open flame, while a swim-up bar crafts cocktails in front of you and an “in-room delicatessen” means you’re never far from a bite.
The quiet surrounding province of Bình Định inspires an impressive selection of cultural experiences, from ancient pagodas to remarkable Champa Towers which dot the landscape and date from the 12th century. They even offer a hat-weaving workshop, as guests see how Non La conical hats are crafted by hand.
Beguiling and historic, the Vietnamese capital is home to Capella Hanoi, a boutique hotel with 47 bedrooms designed by American architect Bill Bensley to celebrate the world of opera.
That’s because the property sits adjacent to Hanoi’s beautiful early 20th-century Opera House, meaning that Bensley has crafted the flamboyant suites to reflect and reveal tales of artists, singers and composers. In doing so, more than a thousand pieces of opera memorabilia and art now grace the building in the city’s prestigious Hoàn Kiếm quarter.
Even the hotel’s restaurants follow the theme, with the signature restaurant Backstage and a salon called Diva’s Lounge boasting appropriately glamorous tableware, set designs and costumes.
“Capella Culturists” act as guides for guests to ensure that they get the most out of the hotel and the city, including immersive experiences featuring landmarks including the Temple of the Jade Mound and the French Quarter.
From $300, capellahotels.com/en/capella-hanoi
Azerai Ke Ga Bay
Sitting 180 km (112 miles) east of Ho Chi Minh City, Azerai Ke Ga Bay resort is a popular destination for weekend escapes. The secluded oceanfront property is enviably located on a white sand beach that stretches for five kilometers, overlooking Ke Ga Island and its lighthouse dating from French colonial times.
Just 46 minimalist suites and private pool suites overlook tropical gardens or the ocean. If you can pull yourself away from them, their Azerai Spa on the ocean offers 10 private treatment rooms, hydrotherapy, a beauty studio, gym and more, while there are four pools to get your laps in.
Once you’ve worked out, three dining options let you indulge in local and global cuisine with a particular focus on seafood.
From $266, azerai.com/resorts/azerai-ke-ga-bay
Alma Resort Cam Ranh
Cam Ranh is another emerging city on Vietnam’s central coast which is rapidly becoming a popular hub for domestic and international travelers. The expansive Alma resort sits amid 30 hectares and offers a wide range of amenities for guests staying in its 580 suites and pavilions, all of which face Long Beach.
No fewer than twelve swimming pools, a 70-seat cinema, science museum, karaoke rooms and waterpark are just some of the ways to get your vacation on.
On the food front, 14 dining outlets range from Japanese to Italian, a noodle house and fried chicken specialist. But every accommodation also comes with a kitchen, in case you want to craft your own meal with groceries from the on-site supermarket.
From $181 net per night, alma-resort.com
Radisson Hotel Danang
Da Nang is Vietnam’s fifth largest city and sits on the central coast, from where it’s a popular departure point for a number of Vietnam’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the charming old merchant town of Hoi An, south of the city.
The road to get there is dotted with hotels, including Radisson Hotel Danang on My Khe Beach with 182 rooms and suites which feature views over the city, peninsula and sea.
Up on the 21st floor, a terrace bar adjoins a dramatic infinity pool for Instagram moments at sunset, while there’s also a telescope for would-be stargazers to scan the skies. A 300-person ballroom can also host weddings, meetings and events.
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