You can’t make anyone relax on their holiday. But resorts like The Anam certainly give it a decent go.

The Anam is the first five-star resort to open at Cam Ranh Bay, just south of one of Vietnam’s most popular seaside holiday destinations, Nha Trang.

 

Cam Ranh Bay is probably better known as the vast undeveloped stretch of towering sand dunes near Cam Ranh International Airport.

 

Because The Anam is located at the northern end of the unspoilt bay, it takes only 15 minutes from the airport for guests to be checking in with their first tropical drink of their stay.

 

Attention To Detail

 

The efficiency of the place is immediately apparent. In the time you’ve gasped at what lies before you from the resort’s stunning lobby — water features, swimming pools, colonial-style villas, gardens, and a lawn almost the size of a golf fairway leading down to the beach — The Anam’s staff have you checked in, bags sorted, dietary requirements confirmed and an arranged an electric buggy to ferry you to your room.

 

It’s obvious that time has been put into staff training and development. They are attentive, but not overbearing. You won’t see a bored staff member here with eyes fixed to their mobile phone.

 

Not that the question really needed asking, but it was asked anyway to The Anam’s general manager, Herbert Laubichler-Pichler, who had greeted us on arrival. Why should people come here?

 

“Our beach is pristine, we have over 300 days of sunshine per year, and look around you, the landscape is absolutely amazing, and we’re the only resort here.”

 

After a two-night stay, Herbert, who has over 10 years’ experience managing high-end properties in Vietnam, would prove to be right.

 

The Anam enjoys 300m of absolute beach frontage looking out over the East Sea and its rocky islands beyond.

 

The beach here is pristine. In chest-deep water, you can see your toes on the sandy white bottom, and it’s comforting to know that the seawater in your mouth hasn’t come from anywhere but the depths of one of Vietnam’s deepest, and cleanest, bays. The absence of plastic bags in the water and on the beach is striking.

 

Staying Local

 

The Anam has 117 villas — 27 with separate living rooms and private plunge pools — and 96 rooms over 12 hectares of land cleverly concealed into the landscape, largely thanks to the property’s 3,000 palm trees.

 

The colonial-era architecture works in harmony with the Vietnamese imperial-inspired touches, which include Hue-style pitched roofs, solid timber trusses and beams, and French colonial-era tiles designed and manufactured by local artisans.

 

But it’s inside the rooms where the relax-o-meter is turned up.

 

They start at 50sqm for a room with a balcony and a garden view, and go up to a palatial 270sqm for a three-bedroom ocean view villa with a pool.

 

The rooms all follow pretty much the same design and layout, including the same finishings. So, if you’re staying in the US$200 per night balcony garden view room, it’s easy to imagine what it must be like in the US$800 per night ocean view pool villa. There are of course differences, but you never feel like you’re missing out.

 

The bathrooms are tiled with local slate, the bedrooms with furniture and architraves fashioned from locally sourced timber, all tastefully finished off with artwork from local artists.

 

It’s the same in The Anam’s three restaurants and two bars. Every effort is made to source produce locally and in a sustainable way, overseen by an executive chef who has close to 25 years’ experience in the region.

 

And if all that doesn’t relax you, there’s the 10-treatment room spa with VIP facilities that will.

 

Probably the most memorable thing about a stay at The Anam is that it’s very easy to feel isolated and alone, not necessarily the words you’d use to sell the virtues of a five-star resort, but for me, that’s relaxation right there.

 

For more information on The Anam, go to theanam.com


Photos by Mike Palumbo

Matt Cowan

Managing Editor of Word Vietnam. Destined to be a dairy farmer until he accepted a spur of the moment job offer in Japan in 1998. After making it big in Japan, he now finds himself wrangling stories in Vietnam instead of cows in Australia. Matt has been living in Saigon since 2010.

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