By Sebastian Lim
As the sun sets slowly and a warm breeze flickers off the river whilst you sip on a refreshing and perfectly made mojito, you wonder for a second if there is anywhere or anyplace else in world you could possibly prefer to be.
Sitting nestled in the colonial styled Riverside Restaurant of the Anantara Hoi An Resort, is just a dreamy experience. Music plays softly, memories of yesteryear blend elegantly with the modern five-class amenities of the now, and life, well life is just good.
For a second it’s hard to believe that less than a kilometre away is the hustle and bustle of the historic quarter of Hoi An.
For now, surrounded by lush gardens and facing the glistening river as another riverboat slowly drifts by, it is easy to understand why this resort is ranked as one of the world’s very best.
For, like anywhere where excellence is sought and achieved, it’s the little things that count the most. A genuine boutique feel with luxury at every turn. Riverfront dining, a lux day spa of the highest calibre and sunset river cruises are all part of the Anantara experience.
Is it the touches of French or Dutch influences which make this resort so special? Of even the blend of Chinese and Japanese characteristics? A little of some, a touch of all - this resort feasts in mixed cultures and presents them all in a stylish serenity, which has elegance, style and five-star luxury appeal.
With 94 rooms & suites scattered around the perfectly presented grounds, the number of restaurants and bars in the resort seem to blend in perfectly only enhancing the ambience of the place.
At night the resort transforms into a wonderland with the scattered trees throughout the grounds lighting up with white lanterns and providing a wonderful and truly quintessential Vietnamese feel.
As you wander from your luxurious room with its sunken living room, stylish bathroom and attention to every detail taken care of, you can choose between the more up-market Lanterns restaurant on the first floor, or the Riverside Restaurant below which serves a mixture of western and Asian cuisine.
In the morning the first floor turns into a buffet breakfast venue. But this isn’t any regular buffet breakfast. A spread that is easy to remember and harder to forget, it brings true meaning to the often dirty word of buffet. Lavish and quality exotic fruits, fresh and tasty juices, various blends of fruit smoothies, perfectly cooked waffles and eggs, the list goes on. A buffet that defines excellence in a sadly often spoiled celebration of food.
And whilst it’s easy to just spend your days just lazing by the pool, sipping cocktails at the bars, or even having a crisp ale at the resident Irish Pub O’Malleys which is situated within the grounds, it’s also so convenient and easy to step out into the charm and style of the promenade outside the resort. A short walk to the town centre past a host of small shops and cafes to the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site city, where cafes, art galleries, clothes shops, bars and teahouses feature at every turn, on every alleyway for you to explore.
And when you’ve had enough, either grab a tuk-tuk or wander back to the resort and after a short trip you’ll be welcome back by the ever-friendly and ever-present resort staff.
Known for the beaches that are approx five kilometres away, Hoi An is a paradise to be visited more than once. Whatever you do though, if you are lucky enough to make it there, ensure the heavenly Anantara Resort on the tip of the city centre, is very much a central part of that journey.