Our Vietnam correspondent Tammy is back with a review of Danang’s luxury Intercontinental Sun Peninsula Resort.
This s a sprawling yet stunning cliff-side resort built around a secluded private bay on the Son Tra Peninsula, 20km north of Danang on the south central coast of Vietnam.
We travelled by car from the traditional city of Hoi An, just over 30km away. Hotel guests travelling directly from Danang airport can enjoy the guest arrival lounge at the airport before transferring to the hotel by car.
Flights to Danang from Ho Chi Minh City with Vietnam Airlines are just over an hour.
The hotel is a 30-minute drive from Danang International airport along a breath-taking coastal road, a great vantage point for the long white sandy beaches, lush green forests and mountains and crystal clear waters that make up the peninsular.
The hotel is split into four distinct levels – heaven, sky, earth, sea. We stayed on the heaven level. We were so high up that our spacious balcony afforded us great views of the beautiful bay below.
The room was pure luxury. A huge double bed that our four-year-old looked completely lost on and a gorgeous wet room with shower and bath.
The room was supposed to be for a maximum of two adults only but was easily big enough to include an additional single bed for a nominal charge.
There are many steep inclines and lots of steps as you’d expect from a cliff-side resort but navigating these is made easy by the electric golf buggies whizzing around and an impressive funicular train (think more peak tram than ocean park cable car) built into tracks on the side of the cliff face that run right from heaven down to sea level.
Activities for children
We don’t seem to have too much luck with the weather so despite it being absolutely gorgeous on the day we arrived for the next four days it was cold, wet and miserable. Although we couldn’t use any of the pools – there are three including a designated kid’s pool and an adult’s only lap pool – there was still plenty to enjoy in and around the hotel, including two kids clubs. Planet Trekker caters for 3-7 year olds and separately for 8-12 year olds. Project VN is a separate space designed for teenagers.
Open from 9-8pm daily, Planet Trekker runs a daily schedule of activities including kids aerobics and yoga, Vietnamese language lessons and nail art. My little girl loved it and we had to literally prize her out of there.
One of the things I liked most about the kids club was that it was in the heart of the hotel, right next to the gym and one of the bars so we could keep popping in to check on her in between the gym and the post-workout gin and tonics.
There is a fairly standard western-style children’s menu but I wasn’t so successful in ordering off-menu. This was more due to a communication gap than a lack of willingness on their part to help. Staff were really friendly and they loved playing with the children, whether on the beach, in the restaurant or at the café bar.
There was an entertainment room featuring a billiards table that Maggie was fascinated with and at the market place there were scheduled activities such as traditional Vietnamese lantern making.
The restaurant boasts the Michelin 3-star Michel Roux’s La Maison 1888 and is one of five dining options available to guests. As La Maison 1888 does not allow children, the hotel can arrange a baby sitter from one of the trained kid’s club staff at very short notice.
The Son Tra Peninsula is quite simply stunning – a local guide says that according to local legends say the area is so beautiful the descending angels come down to the summit of the Son Tra Mountain to sing, dance and play chess(!) – and there are a number of day-trips you can take from the hotel by land and sea great for exploring the surrounding islands and coastline. The hotel offers a free daily shuttle bus into nearby Danang and Hoi An and can arrange other excursions on request.
Just beyond Hoi An lies the beautiful Cham Islands and the ruins of My Son where there are ancient temples dating as far back as the fourth century. A slightly longer drive (100 km) north takes you to the imperial city of Hué – the capital of Vietnam’s last dynasty, the Nguyen, until it fell in 1945. Set on the banks of the Perfume River, the city is full of temples, tombs, palaces and pagodas