On a three kilometre-long sandy beach in central Vietnam, overlooking a secluded bay and hugged by a jungle-covered mountain range, lies Angsana Lăng Cô.
The resort is home to 229 stylish suites and rooms (almost half of which have their own private plunge pool) and shares its sprawling 280ha space and incredible facilities – such as a private beach, award-winning spa, acclaimed restaurants, water sports centre, Nick Faldo-designed championship golf course and epic 300m freshwater swimming pool – with its nearby sister property, the renowned Banyan Tree Lăng Cô. Together, they create Vietnam’s first integrated resort, the Laguna Lăng Cô. The resort’s proximity to three exceptional UNESCO World Heritage Sites is the cherry on top of this cake.
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Located in central Vietnam on a remote beachfront, Angsana Lăng Cô overlooks Lăng Cô Bay (part of the South China Sea) and is backed by the Truong Son mountain range. To get to here it’s roughly an hour’s drive from either Da Nang International Airport (DAD) in the south or Phu Bai International Airport near Huế in the north. The region of Lăng Cô might not be the most well-known in Vietnam, but it’s rich in history and culture as well as sweeping beaches and glam hotels. The resort sits between three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the imperial city of Huế, the charming old town of Hoi An and the historical ruins of My Son, making it an ideal base for explorers and culture buffs.
There are 229 rooms and suites in a variety of configurations (including two-level loft suites), all looking out onto spectacular views of the sea, lagoon or mountains. Spacious, stylish and colourful interiors marry chic, contemporary decor with traditional Vietnamese decorative elements and tasteful, well-placed pops of vibrant colour. And if you’re lucky enough – as we were – to stay in a suite, there’s also a large outdoor space and private plunge pool. Our 60sqm Seaview Junior Pool Suite ticks every box for couples wanting a glam romantic escape.
It features a spacious and supremely comfortable lounge and dining area, all the mod-cons you’d expect (including flatscreen TVs, DVD player and WiFi), and a mini-bar – plus you can always visit the coffee stand in the hotel’s lobby for a traditional, Vietnamese drip coffee. A separate bedroom with comfy, king-sized bed leads to a luxe en suite bathroom that’s home to a huge rain shower and his-and-hers sinks – and products. But as lovely as the decor is, let’s be honest: this suite is all about the view. Floor-to-ceiling windows line one entire wall and reveal a gorgeous view of the beach. Sliding glass doors in the lounge area open onto a large outdoor living space, with another set in the bedroom leading directly to a seriously fab private plunge pool. And I do mean ‘directly’ – the pool is literally right outside the bedroom, so sleepwalk here at your peril!
The country’s incredible cuisine is yet another reason to visit Vietnam, and there are many opportunities to savour local flavours at Angsana Lăng Cô, including five restaurants and two bars, plus a pool bar, destination dining on the beachfront and access to four more restaurants at the neighbouring Banyan Tree Lăng Cô. All-day casual dining is available at Market Place, but the meal you really want to have here is breakfast. It’s epic. The choice is fantastic and the fare truly global. Moomba, overlooking the beach, appropriately focuses on seafood, serving it up in traditional and tasty Vietnamese dishes. Above Moomba sits the very cool Upper Deck rooftop bar (with ocean views, natch).
A local beer-tasting session under the stars here one evening led to an unforgettable dinner in Rice Bowl, the resort’s most visually dynamic restaurant. It’s fabulous, with soaring ceilings, a delectable pan-Asian menu and (apparently) even a private karaoke room right next door. But without doubt the thing you’ll remember most of all about Rice Bowl is the selection of enormous lobster baskets that have been beautifully decked out to create cosy, completely private dining booths. You’ll be tempted to spend the whole night showing off on Instagram, but be sure to actually eat the food too!
Angsana Lăng Cô features such a long list of activities on land and water here that it’s difficult even to write about them all, let alone actually experience them. But the stunning, ‘lazy river’ lagoon pool that meanders more than 300 metres around the entire resort is one thing you won’t miss – it’s the longest pool in Southeast Asia and you can see it from just about any spot on the property. Lazing in this pool and following its gentle flow should be at the top of your holiday to-do list. Second on the list? Swimming up to the pool bar for a holiday cocktail (with tropical fruit and a tiny paper umbrella, obvs). There’s also an exclusive private beach, Canh Duong, and a beach club where you can pick up everything from sunscreen, beach towels, board games and magazines, to inflatable toys, frisbees, volleyballs, beach footballs and kites. Food and drinks are also available. For fun on the waves the Laguna Water Sports Centre offers jet skis, kayaks, paddleboards, wakeboards and snorkelling gear, as well as sailing, parasailing, waterskiing and a mega-fun banana boat.
A state-of-the-art fitness centre, tennis courts, bikes on which to explore the local area, yoga and even archery are all available, plus you can head off on an ATV adventure along the beach or through the nearby mountain forest. But it’s golf that this place is really known for. Eighteen holes at Laguna Golf Lăng Cô combines stunning scenery and the challenge of a Sir Nick Faldo-designed championship course. Prefer pampering to putting? At the holistic day spa, luxe pampering sessions by Banyan Tree Spa Academy-trained staff can be selected from a spa menu incorporating products made from native flowers and fruits.
A really interesting range of in-house activities has been inspired by the resort’s commitment to preserving local traditions, so you can head to classes in Vietnamese cooking, lantern-marketing and tea-brewing, or even to a local fishing village to take part in a 'fisherman for the day' experience, learning traditional practices including how to master the round basket boats that are specific to the region. Another, entirely different, boat excursion takes place in the resort canal that connects Angsana and its sister hotel. Jump on one of the boats plying the pretty, lantern-lined canal and enjoy the short journey on your way to a cocktail or meal at the Banyan Tree Lăng Cô. With such a list of facilities/activities it’s no wonder so many guests never make it off the property.
But if you do want to stretch your wings (and legs) a bit, this is the place to do it. Vietnam is one of the richest cultural landscapes in the world, and Angsana Lăng Cô sits right in the middle of one of the least-known – and intriguing –provinces in the country. Spectacular sites, natural wonders and cultural spots abound – any good to-do list is sure to include names like Khai Dinh’s Tomb, the Thanh Toan Old Bridge, Bach Ma National Park, Marble Mountain, Hai Van Pass, Binh An market and Linh Ung Pagoda, with its white, 24m-high seated Buddha.
But it’s the resort’s close proximity to three UNESCO World Heritage sites that will usually inspire a day trip. There’s the historical Champa ruins of My Son, the charming 17th century town (and colonial shopping hot spot) that is Hoi An, and the imperial city of Huế, filled with temples and tombs, and where a boat ride down the Perfume River that winds its way through this ancient citadel will take you to the foot of the famous, seven-storey Thien Mu Pagoda. Angsana Lăng Cô offers a free daily shuttle service to Hoi An and Huế, or can arrange a private guided tour.
Couples will love
The endless list of super-fun activities (don’t miss an ATV adventure or a game of golf, if that’s your thing), sundowners on the Upper Deck rooftop bar or cocktails in the 300m pool’s swim-up bar, being ‘pod people’ in the unique Rice Bowl restaurant and the luxury and privacy of having your own pool if you stay in a suite.
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The writer travelled courtesy of Vietnam Airlines, which flies thrice-weekly from Sydney to Hanoi. Passengers can also fly daily from Sydney or Melbourne to Hanoi via Ho Chi Minh City.
Images courtesy of Angsana Lăng Cô and Ginny Cumming