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Monday, April 8, 2019

Honeymoon in Vietnam

Words by Melissa Klurman
Photos courtesy of Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas

If you’re looking for a honeymoon that’s equal parts exotic adventure and off-the-beaten path romance, Vietnam is the destination you’ve been dreaming about; an enticing mix of cultural highlights and beautiful beaches, combined with culinary delights and incredible hospitality. To get the most romance out of your honeymoon in Vietnam, combine two of our favorite destinations: The charming historic town of Hoi An and the sexy beaches of Quy Nhon.  

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Heavenly Hoi An

Every evening the streets of Hoi An become an enchanted storybook strung with lanterns that look like they’re floating above the streets. They illuminate the temples and bridges that dot the Thu Bon River banks, making them glow like gemstones in a sparkling necklace. The entire lapidary old city section is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; stroll through the alleyways to discover cafés and teahouses, shrines and temples, art galleries and boutiques and the unique mix of Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and French architecture that gives the town its unique charm.

The perfect perch from which to explore all of the area’s delights is Anantara Hoi An, a riverside retreat that sits between the softly flowing river and the main thoroughfare, just steps away from the lively arts scene. Borrow a bike to explore like the locals do, heading first to the colorful fruit and vegetable markets, then to stunning 17th century Quan Cong Temple, filled with elaborate art and statues.

The Anantara’s rooms are made for romance with a split level layout that lets you lounge in an indoor sitting area before climbing a few steps up to the spacious bedrooms with decadently large beds that were covered with rose petals during our stay. Bathrooms have an outdoor feel with open rainfall showers and actual outdoor patios let you sip a Vietnamese coffee while watching the scenery (we especially like the river facing rooms, where you can catch the sunrise when you’re still adjusting to the 12 hour time difference).

After you’ve explored street side, set sail on the Anantara’s longtail boat cruise along the Thu Bon, where the crew serves French Champagne as you watch the riverbanks unfurl in a ribbon green; keep an eye out for round basket boats bobbing along the water, these slowly spinning craft are unique to the area (you can even try one out, just ask the concierge how).

Back at the hotel, learn how to create the dishes you’ve been savoring at the Anantara’s Riverside restaurant with a Spice Spoons culinary school lesson at the hands on outdoor kitchen. After you roll up shrimp spring rolls, fry rice pancakes and simmer savory pho noodle soup, you’ll be able to dine à deux in the hotel’s water facing gazebo.

Tip: Before you leave charming Hoi An, get your shopping done; this is THE place in Vietnam to have custom clothing made, plus shoes and bags, for inexpensive prices. 

Beachside Luxury

From Hoi An, travel south down the coast by private car transfer to Anantara’s spectacular new Quy Nhon Villas for beachside bliss on stunning gold sand beaches.

The ride along the south central coast immerses you in lush green scenery and quiet countryside that gives way to one of the biggest surprises in Vietnam: A beach so wide and water so blue you’ll think you’ve ended up in the Caribbean. Waiting for you in a sheltered cove is the best reveal of all: Anantara Quy Nhon Villas, the first luxury resort in this spectacular destination. It’s made for romance, and since it just opened its doors at the end of 2018, you and your honey can be among the first to stay in its plush villas. 

A secluded beach looking out at the bobbing lights of fishing boats, a private villa that opens directly onto the sand from a spacious deck with a pool and lounging couch for two, and butlers that can deliver round-the-clock snacks at your every whim, are just a few of the highlights of staying at one of Anantara Quy Nhon’s spectacular private villas. All the swanky chalets face the ocean, either right on the sand or set into the cliffside. Regardless of which location you choose, you’ll have a luxurious pool with water views. Relax on the plush lounge furniture while your personal butler delivers Vietnamese snacks poolside – we’re especially fond of the fresh summer rolls filled with shrimp and fresh herbs – or dip into your room’s stocked pantry or wine fridge, where you’ll find everything from French cheeses and gelato to local microbrews and French rosé. Villas also feature freestanding, deep soaking tubs with plenty of room for two, indoor and outdoor showers, king size beds and plush couches so you can relax indoors and watch the sunset from the floor to ceiling windows.

When you’re ready to emerge from your villa paradise, the resort has plenty to entice, including a multilevel spa set into a cliffside where all the treatment rooms are made for two. You can get side-by-side Thai massages on mats on the floor or sink into comfy beds while you have chakra adjusting gem massages. Take in the views before or after your treatment with tea on the terrace or yoga or meditation classes with the forest bathing you in silence.

Decadent breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at the glass enclosed Sea Fire Salt Restaurant, where fresh seafood is grilled on salt slabs and served with any of the 30 unique salt blends the dining space specializes in.

For a romantic dinner under the stars, the resort’s Dining by Design will create a secluded outdoor setting for just the two of you, including right on the sand hidden behind beach boulders with personalized menus to enjoy under the star-filled sky. The perfect romantic wrap up to your Vietnamese getaway.

Getting there: No matter how you Vietnam, it’s going to take a while; get comfortable for the journey in Cathay Pacific’s business class seats that turn into fully flat beds so you can catch up on your post wedding shut eye. From the East Coast of the U.S., you’ll have about 18 hours of flying, with a layover at the shopping nirvana of Hong Kong International Airport. The mall like airport has multiple Cathay lounges that serve up a full menu of made-to-order delicacies including dumplings and ramen, so you’ll be both fully rested and fed when you reach Vietnam.

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