Cam Ranh is one of Vietnam’s most pristine deep-water bays and, with over 300 sunny days a year, is poised to become the country’s new tropical destination. The Anam is the first five-star resort on a bay peninsula, and will be a tough act to follow for other properties currently under construction.
Just an hour’s flight from Ho Chi Minh City and 15 minutes from Cam Ranh Airport, The Anam, set against low mountains and bordered by white sands and blue waters, exudes laid-back sophistication. Managing Director Herbert Laubichler-Pichler ([email protected]; 011-842-583-989-499) tells us that they have planted over 3,000 palm trees to create the exotic tropical gardens. But the landscaping feature we fell in love with was the vast swath of grass that runs down to the sea beyond the villas, as neat and lush as a Jack Nicklaus green.
Herbert says that for peak season, February through September, reservations three months in advance are essential, especially for the top three-bedroom pool and ocean view villas. He also says that the sunrise can be enjoyed from all the sea view villas, with the sun setting behind the mountains.
Guests can choose from a wide variety of accommodation, ranging from nine different categories of villas to 96 sea and garden view rooms and suites in the Anam Deluxe Collection hotel. They all have a balcony or a garden overlooking the ocean or the palm forest. There are 15 pairs of interconnecting rooms and the two Terrace Suites have separate living rooms and balconies with ocean views.
At Indochine Restaurant, breakfasts include international and Vietnamese dishes. It also serves à la carte lunches and buffet dinners on daily themes.
The 117 villas – 27 with private pools – culminate in the 10 Ocean View Pool Villas, three Ocean Front Pool Villas, and the 12 2,900 square foot Family Villas with Private Three-Bedroom Pools. There are also two villas with private pools on the hill next to the spa with a therapy area for in-villa treatments, a hammam, a sunken Jacuzzi and one free spa treatment per person per day, as well as a 25% reduction on other treatments.
The rooms, suites and villas have splendid blue and white tiled floors that make us feel like we are in the Mediterranean, and the dark hardwoods come from sustainable plantations. We liked the ceiling fan, which matched the colonial feel of the villa perfectly, and struggled daily between our private pool and the large lagoon-like main pool. Of course, we used both, as well as the 300-meter-long beach for its calm waters where there are no motorized water sports. We loved walking around the tranquil gardens to the various facilities although more often than not guests were picked up by a buggy driven by one of the smiling staff.
The Sri Mara Spa offers a “high-touch, low-tech” menu and uses French Thémaé products and locally grown ingredients such as lemongrass, aloe vera and ginger. Spa Manager Kadek Wina Jelita Wati ([email protected]) had us try the Topical Detox and Slimming treatment, which was very soothing, and is one of the four signature packages. Wina made us laugh when we asked her for the name of the most popular masseuse: “Well, there’s Le Oanh, Khong Loan and My Hanh, then Minh Nguyet, Bich Uyen and Than Hang and, of course, Kieu. Anh!
An oceanfront pool villa at Anam offers 1,615 square feet of space and includes a private pool and sundeck.
The breakfasts at the Indochine restaurant have live cooking stations and international and Vietnamese dishes; it also serves a la carte lunches and buffet dinners with daily themes ranging from Italian to BBQ to Vietnamese. Saigon Bar, which is popular for its aperitif cocktails, wine and champagne by the glass, features striking black and white photos of renowned Vietnamese photographer Mai Loc. Tip: Works by local artists can be admired all around the property.
The Colonial is the gourmet restaurant and, from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, the club lounge for certain guests of the suites and villas. Serving classic French cuisine in the evening accompanied by grand piano music, it offers a remarkably fine wine list. Nice Touch: Afternoon tea looks as pretty as a picture with salmon and cucumber sandwiches, jam and cream scones, macaroons, mini lemon meringue pies, and chocolate muffins. chocolate on a tiered plate.
With its terrace overlooking the beach and its adults-only infinity pool, Lang Viet restaurant is a magnet for its Western and Vietnamese menu, happy hours and popular Mama’s Cooking evenings. They are the first of their kind in Vietnam and are the real McCoys with the mothers of the staff making their family’s century-old recipes for the guests.
Anam is the first five-star colonial-style resort in Vietnam. Here is the Beach Club swimming pool.
The night we had dinner there with Wina, we had Bun Bo Hue beef noodle soup and Bahn Xeo crispy pancakes stuffed with pork and bean sprouts. They were so delicious that we came back for a few seconds, and it left the five mums smiling happily. Tip: A candlelight table for two can be set up on the lawn for romantic five-course barbecue dinners with a private waiter and chef. There is only one table per night, which means first come, first served, so booking months in advance is a must.
The hotel’s 60-seat 3D cinema offers a daily afternoon show for children and adult food in the evening. At the Spa, there is a gym and a yoga room (yoga sessions are also done at sunrise on the beautiful lawn). Guests can go kayaking, kick volleyball, surfing and snorkelling, and for the younger ones, futsal and water aerobics are organized in the main pool and kids’ club. Golfers are catered for by the soon to be opening Greg Norman Cam Ranh Links Golf Resort, just minutes from The Anam, and the Diamond Bay and Vinpearl courses in Nha Trang.
Nha Trang, which is 30 minutes from the resort, was once a fishing village and is now a bustling seaside resort with cafes, restaurants, bars and shops lining its seaside promenade. eat on the beach where vendors barbecue lobster, crab, squid, shrimp and marinated meats. There are also many grill restaurants and others with huge tanks of live fish. For more refined dishes, the iconic beach-side sailing club is famous for cocktails and sophisticated dining at its beach bar, restaurant and nightclub.
The Anam Terrace Suite at the Anam Deluxe Collection has a separate living room and a balcony with ocean views.
Customer Relations Manager Nguyen Kieu Tin Thuong ([email protected]), aka Maya, says Anam customers love Nha Trang Vespa tours: adventure tours to fishing villages and waterfalls and cultural tours that provide a glimpse into traditional life. Maya can also organize trips to offshore islands and private tours of archaeological sites in the area.
Art lovers shouldn’t miss Nha Trang Art Tours, designed by General Manager Herbert and Nguyen Hong Van, which opened Nha Trang’s first art gallery. The knowledgeable and charming Van can accompany guests on these intimate tours, which take guests to homes of local artists and sculptors, and must be pre-booked through Maya.