The Vietnamese trip continues. Leaving our idyllic Six Senses paradise it was a relatively short flight from Nha Trang to Da Nang where we were picked up and transferred down the coast, past the Marble Mountains towards Hoi An. Home for the next few nights was at The Nam Hai, a luxurious beachside property just 10 km out of Hoi An. From one lush location to another.
The open-air reception area is built upon a slight ridge so as you wait for the paperwork to be done whilst taking in the view of infinity pools, landscaped terraces and palm trees leading to the ocean, you know you’re in for a memorable experience.
We’re ushered into a golf cart and whisked down meandering paths lined with manicured tropical gardens, arriving at our villa within a minute. The set-up is beautiful. Open plan and split-level, the villa is all about dark wood and lattice work, black granite floors and a central six-post podium that has a bed, day bed and bath tub done in traditional cracked eggshell lacquer.
Twin vanities make up the bathroom with a rain-head shower off to the side, and just out the rear glass doors is a private courtyard complete with outdoor shower. A few steps down from the bed is another daybed overlooking the garden and beach access with two more daybeds just outside the French doors.
Down by one of the infinity pools and water gardens is the main restaurant, a nice little East-West buffet set-up for breakfast. At night the lights are dimmed for romantic dinners but we never quite made it thanks to the plethora of local eateries in Hoi An’s Old Town.
It’s your typical spread of fresh fruits and juices, breads, pastries, cereals; anything you could possibly want to chow on in the morning. Hold on, I don’t remember seeing any dumplings. Maybe it was all the wild kids running around as mum and dad sipped their Earl Grey’s that made me not notice them.
The Eggs Benedict is one of the better ones I’ve had in hotels, as it should when The Nam Hai comes with a top shelf room rate. The cao lau was a decent example of this local favourite and I loved the morning cocktail that changed each day. Golden basil – Vodka infused with basil, some fresh pineapple juice and a dash of sparkling wine. Guaranteed to put a spring in your step!
Two main swimming pools disperse the water and sun-loving guests or for those that are keen there’s the rip-prone beach at the end of the main pool.
Whilst breakfast was included in our rate there was also a complimentary treatment at one of the Spa pavilions built over a large koi-filled pond. First a hot foot-soak and exfoliation, a slip into a pair of sexy baggy elasticated shorts provided by the spa. Let the rub-down begin. Yeah baby.
Another freebie we got was a lunch for two down at the Beach Restaurant, an airy and quiet spot near the main pool. The menu is a hodge-podge of modern Vietnamese and Western dishes that are not only severely over-priced for those that pay for it, but judging by the spread we had, it isn’t all that memorable.
A shot of pineapple, ginger & mint juice and bread kicks off lunch with two fairly pedestrian goi cuon tom (prawn ricepaper rolls 336K). I thought the simmered clam pot (588K) may have had more potential but a dominant bitterness drowned out the clams.
My quang (or mi quang 315K) is a Central Vietnamese noodle dish that’s topped with prawns, meat (in this case chicken), some boiled egg, a variety of herbs and a little stock for moisture. I wasn’t in love with it but something tells me it wasn’t the finest example. Another one that lacked flavour was the mi xao hai san (357K) – wok fried local noodles with shrimps and calamari.
Desserts took on a contemporary turn with some nice little tropical fruit spring rolls (294K). The “skin” of the rolls was a sheet of rice paper lined with thin mango strips and inside was a treasure of dragonfruit, pineapple and melon.
A bergamot tea-infused Jivara chocolate mousse (294K) came layered with vanilla custard and gingered pineapple “ragout” crowned with biscotti and a cookie. I think the best part of the VD 2,184,000 ($99.50) lunch spread was the desserts. Kinda glad we didn’t pay.