When my friend Tammy upped sticks from Hong Kong to Vietnam, I was gutted. The only upside is she’s now perfectly poised to act as Jetlag & Mayhem’s Vietnam correspondent. Watch out for Tammy’s reviews on the latest and greatest in Vietnamese luxury family friendly resorts. And what better way to start than by a stay at the luxurious Six Senses resort in Con Dao…
Con Dao is a breathtakingly stunning archipelago of small islands lying off the southeast coast of Vietnam. Both the island and the surrounding waters are protected as a national marine park. It’s under an hour’s flight from the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City and its Ton San Nhat Airport but it’s still relatively undeveloped.
We flew with Vietnam Airlines. The flight took around 45 minutes on one of the airlines Fokker propeller planes.
Both our outbound and inward flights were delayed and delays seem to be quite usual on Vietnam domestic flights, something to be aware of when booking connections from international flights. Also domestic and international flights are in separate terminal buildings so it’s wise to allow a little more time for connections.
Before we arrived
A month before our stay, Six Senses sent through their guest preference questionnaire to allow them to cater to our every whim. This included details such as what kind of pillows we’d prefer, the activities we were interested in and even allowed me to pre-order a yoga mat for use in the room. The separate children’s questionnaire asked what activities we were interested in for our child and her food preferences including juice and snacks.
On arrival we were introduced to our own butler, there to make sure the Six Senses experience met expectations. She accompanied us on the short 15km drive from the airport to the resort.
Six Senses, Con Dao is my ideal luxury hotel. Simple yet stunning accommodation, top notch service and at the heart of the resort’s philosophy is a desire to leave as light a footprint as possible on its natural environment.
We booked one of 12 ocean view duplex pool villas (the boutique-style resort is made up of only 52 villas in total). Each ocean view villa has it’s own infinity pool with private sun terrace. The ground floor of the duplex houses the large open plan bathroom, double vanity unit with plenty of wardrobe and hanging space and a sitting area. The huge bath was plenty big enough for the three of us to splash around in at the same time. Outside you could shower beneath the stars in complete privacy.
Upstairs the spacious bedroom opened onto a balcony with amazing panoramic views of the ocean. The hotel included an extra child’s bed for our four year old and there was still plenty of room to lounge around. There was also an en-suite toilet so you didn’t have to trek outside and down the stairs to use the bathroom in the early hours.
For the little ones
Six Senses offered a welcome pack that included a soft toy and child’s bubble bath on arrival. There was an on-site kid’s club open daily with a good range of supervised scheduled activities such as face painting, traditional arts like sand painting and pizza making. There was also a range of outdoor activities such as beach treks, turtle viewing and even snake and reptile spotting walks. Children could also take their meals at the kids club if they wanted.
Con Dao is renowned for the quality of the surrounding reef but unfortunately at the time we stayed at Six Senses there was a bad storm that prevented us from enjoying any of the array of water activities usually available, which includes snorkelling, kayaking and fishing trips.
However, we still really enjoyed boogie boarding in the surf and kite flying on the 2km stretch of beach. Indoors the children got to build a ginger bread house as a festive treat while mum and dad enjoyed an afternoon’s cooking class that was held just a few metres away from kids club.
It’s a small resort so easy to navigate on foot but the bicycles provided with the room made it even easier – on request they provided us with a child’s seat for one of the bikes.
The food was simply amazing. Three main restaurants cater to meet Western and Asian food tastes. There is a comprehensive children’s menu or meals can be made to order to cater for the fussiest of eaters.
It’s a sleepy resort designed with rest and relaxation in mind so we were quite happy to have evening drinks on the terrace. A child-minding service is available for both daytime and evenings.
The resort offered a number of excursions, either group experiences or designed just for you and your family. However, for us relaxation and family time was the name of the game so we stayed in the resort for the whole trip.
I dare anyone not to be bowled over by this resort but even so there were a couple of minor irritations. A couple of the activities our butler suggested for Maggie turned out to be age restrictive so we didn’t go along. I later found they could be tailored to suit as long as we paid extra (and at Six Senses the added extras don’t come cheaply). There were also some scheduling clashes for some of the children’s activities, for example the only kids yoga session in our 10-day stay was scheduled at the same time as the only kids pizza making session which felt like a shame.
For younger children, toddlers and infants the unguarded staircases, lack of pool guard on the private pool and lack of children’s pool (or even a shallow area in the main pool) might pose issues.