When I told some friends of my travel plans to Hoi An and Danang, all of them said one thing in common – Hoi An is much nicer than Danang. It has an old world charm, they remarked.
Indeed, that old world charm is felt at every corner of the UNESCO World Heritage old town of Hoi An, down to the hotel where I stay at – Anantara Hoi An Resort.
A two-storey French colonial-style building along the banks of Thu Bon River, Anantara Hoi An exudes a quiet elegance with its verdant lawns, rustling palm trees and white balustrade-lined verandas. The hotel houses 93 rooms and suites, three restaurants, a spa, swimming pool and a gym.
My room is a Deluxe Balcony Room, located on the second storey of the building. With cushioned seats outside, it overlooks the immaculately groomed green lawn of the hotel. Inside, the room sports a unique layout; it is a split-level room that segregates the bedroom and a living area of an L-shaped couch and a coffee table. The room is spacious and the split-level layout creates a sense of being in a small apartment rather than a hotel room.
Sliding wooden doors separates the bedroom and a generously spaced bathroom. A mosaic-tiled shower with a sunken tub beckons with promise of a relaxing soak after a day’s tour.
The room is adequately stocked with facilities for making tea and coffee, as well as a minibar with snacks, wine, beer and soft drinks for those feeling peckish at night.
A two-storey building houses the hotel’s three restaurants – each having its unique character. In the morning, guests have their breakfast at Lanterns on the second storey in an open setting, accompanied by a picturesque view of Thu Bon River.
The breakfast spread takes care of its Western guests with offerings of cold cuts, cheese and pastries, as well as an egg station where I can request for eggs done any way I fancy. For those who want a taste of the local, Vietnamese breakfast dishes are available too.
When night falls, hotel dining takes on a different vibe by the river. The European-style Hoi An Riverside restaurant on the ground floor adds to the charm of Anantara Hoi An. The restaurant interior is reminiscent of a Parisian brasserie with its chandeliers and art deco décor. However, we decide to indulge in authentic Vietnamese cuisine al fresco and watch the world go by in the form of boats trundling along the river.
The al fresco setting makes for a relaxing dining experience where we savour dishes such as Caramel Pork, Deep-Fried King Crab Spring Roll, Fish in Banana Leaf and many more. The Caramel Pork deserves a special mention; Anantara Hoi An’s rendition of this humble Vietnamese dish is so good that we eat it at the hotel every day for the whole duration of our stay.
For those who crave Western cuisine, Art Space is a modern bistro that serves up wood-fired pizzas, cocktails and a dose of art. Original artworks by Vietnamese and international artists adorn the walls of the restaurant. The restaurant brims with an artsy vibe with its industrial chic décor, creating a unique dining space not quite commonly found in Hoi An.
Location, Location, Location
In spite of the resort feel that pervades the hotel, a mere step out of the hotel premises brings one almost right to the heart of the bustling Hoi An Old Town. It cannot get any more convenient than this.
Attractions such as the Central Market and the Museum of Trade Ceramics are within 15 minutes’ walk away. The Japanese Bridge is slightly further away but still reachable on foot in about 20 minutes. Cua Dai and An Bang beaches are a mere 15-minute drive from the hotel.
It is noteworthy that Anantara Hoi An also offers tours and experiences such as a 60-minute river boat ride, exploration of the Hoi An countryside on a Jeep and a street food tour with a local guide. If you are one to seek out local street food wherever you go, I strongly recommend the street food tour where you would get to savour delish Vietnamese delights like a local and take in the knowledge of street food guide Phuoc.
In terms of location, Anantara Hoi An Resort is hard to beat. Whenever we seek a respite from the hustle and bustle of the busy Old Town, it helps that the hotel is just minutes away for us to take a break or drop our shopping bags.
Anantara Hoi An Resort is located at 1 Đường Phạm Hồng Thái, Cẩm Châu, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam. For details, visit anantara.com/en/hoi-an.