Located on Son Tra Peninsula, and nestled on the side of a jungle-clad mountain in a secluded bay, the structures that make up what is one of the top properties in Vietnam mix Mediterranean with imperial Vietnamese design. The result is something quite unique. From the rooms which fuse dark wood with Southern European white, to the Vietnamese boat-shaped funicular which transports passengers up and down the mountain, to the otherworldliness of La Maison 1888, the Michel Roux-inspired restaurant that sits halfway down the side of the mountain.
But what really stands out is the flora — which while manicured somehow maintains a wildness — and the interior design. The work of designer and landscape architect Bill Bensley, such are the nuances and quirks of all the details that your eyes get a visual treat in every direction you look. Take the monkey sculptures. A tribute to an area that is home to a population of macaques and red-shanked douc langurs, each piece draws out the personality of monkeys. This is then extended through to the soon-to-open nightclub that has bizarre and even wacky monkey motifs in every nook and not-so-hidden cranny. Even La Maison 1888 has its own form on wackyness, its upstairs rooms designed with such well-themed intricacy that you cannot help but stare. Here, from the sea, beach and jungle through to the ambience, experience is everything.
I attended a recent wedding in the resort. It started with a late afternoon ceremony outside La Maison 1888 that overlooked the sea, before moving onto the beach for a live cooking station buffet. The effect was ethereal, the service perfect to a T, and as for the cuisine, faultless. — Nick Ross
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