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Review: Anantara Mui Ne Resort & Spa (Vietnam)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel and/or flight review.

A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed a great holiday in Vietnam, where some resorts far exceeded my sky-high expectations (and rank among the best hotels I have ever stayed at). You can read my trip reports here:


Today (July 12, 2017): Review of Anatara Mui Ne (Vietnam).
  • Location: Google Maps
  • Address: Mui Ne Beach, KM10, Ham Tien Ward, Phan Thiet City, Bình Thuận, Vietnam
  • Hotel website: Anantara Mui Ne

Set on Mui Ne’s pristinely sweeping beach, Anantara Mui Ne Resort is an oasis of elegance and comfort offering a unique and exclusive way to experience the southern coast of Vietnam. Mornings are spent by the pool deck, afternoons by hikes through nearby sand dunes, and evenings by a soothing spa treatment before starlit dinners near the beach. Expertly blending Vietnamese tradition and legendary Anantara service, the resort offers a tropical retreat, worlds away from Vietnam’s urban bustle. Rooms are set in the serenely designed main building that embodies a contemporary grace infused with touches of Vietnamese charm, while more exclusive private villas are located in impeccably landscaped, tropical garden.

Anantara Mui Ne features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Vietnam.

In this review (more info below my Youtube clipe and slideshow):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there
  • Photos

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • Anantara Mui Ne is named after the fishing village in which it is located, Mui Ne. Although the fishing village is still there on the northern end of the area, tourists outnumber the locals these days as the whole area is transformed in a strip of more than hundred hotels along a 10 km (6 mi) lovely stretch of beach. Mui Ne is known as one of Vietnam’s more upmarket beach resort destinations, a reputation it has acquired gradually since the mid 1990s, when many visited the area to view the 1995 solar eclipse.
  • There is no shortage of hotels for all budgets and styles in Mui Ne, all catering to Western and mainly Russian tourists looking to soak up the sun during their holiday in this popular tropical destination. Although the area boasts plenty of five-star resorts with luxurious facilities, the Anantara Mui Ne Resort & Spa is a notch above virtually all of them and is without any doubt the best and most exclusive resort in the area.
  • Mui Ne is situated near the city of Phan Thiet, roughly 200 km (125 mi) from Ho Chi Minh City. It’s the closest beach town of interest to Vietnam’s largest city, hence explaining in part its popularity. Although it is a four hour drive from Ho Chi Minh’s Airport to the resort, that should not deter you for choosing Anantara Mui Ne as a your next beach destination, since the hotel provides very comfortable transfers to/from the airport. The hotel provides different types of transfer cars, but I suggest to splurge on the resort’s limousine van, which offers recline leather seats, minibar, WiFi and massive TV screen. Train travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiet is another scenic option.
  • Upon arrival, all guests are treated to a welcome drink, a cold towel  and – quite unique in the hotel industry – a complimentary and highly appreciated 5 minute shoulder and neck massage.
  • The prime reason for most travelers to visit the area is to relax on the beach and with good reason. The Mui Ne beach along the South China Sea is one of Vietnam’s most attractive beaches, in part due to the mercifully low-rise hotel buildings (which are a welcome alternative for the skyscrapers that seem to line most of Vietnam’s other beach towns, such as Nha Thrang and Danang). Anantara sits at the far southern end of the beach, in the quietest area and next to the best strip of sand. Although the beach is public, most hotels consider their beachfront to be private, and this is not different at Anantara Mui which puts plenty of guest-only loungers and umbrellas on the beach.
  • Anantara Mui Ne Resort & Spa features a simple, somewhat standard but very convenient layout. The hotel’s main building – with its traditional pitched terra-cotta tile roofs, white facade, and dark-wood balconies – houses a large, airy lobby with adjacent library aka business center, that looks out onto the main restaurant and the lush, beachfront gardens below. Most of the accommodations are located in the main hotel wing, while more upscale stand-alone villas with private pool are scattered in the gardens.
  • With its dark wood furniture, cream-colored walls and incorporation of Southeast Asian decorative elements, the resort features an elegant, sophisticated design, although functionality dominates over architectural esthetics. The property is especially attractive at night, when low lighting lends the place a romantic and intimate ambience.
  • Set in the serenely designed main building, the rooms at Anantara Mui Ne Resort embody a contemporary grace infused with touches of Vietnamese charm. During my visit, I stayed in a Deluxe Ocean Room, which had a private balcony overlooking the green beachside garden with its lotus ponds with a glimpse of the blue of the ocean beyond. The room, which featured a kingsized bed, a daybed and a desk, had an elegant dark-polished wood décor with splashes of colour. The ensuite, black stone tiled bathroom was decently sized, and came with two sinks, a toilet, a shower and a deep soaking bathtub.
  • If you have money to burn, you can opt to stay in one of the more exclusive terracotta-roofed villas, which are scattered around the garden. All villas have spacious gardens with private pools, outdoor living areas housed in lovely open pavilions, indoor dining rooms, and one or two bedrooms.
  • The resort’s stunning, beachfront swimming pool is nestled amid towering palms and enchanting, lush gardens. The free-form pool is very large, featuring different depths, an infinity edge overlooking the beach and South China Sea, and a swim-up bar. There is also a large whirlpool for adults and a shallow area for children. The pool is surrounded by plenty of sun loungers.
  • The intimate spa at Anantara Mui Ne – which is located along a courtyard next to the lobby – is renowned for its oasis of indulgence, relaxation and serenity.  All five spacious treatment rooms are designed in stone and natural wood, and defined by streaming natural light and airy space. The wide range of replenishing treatments seamlessly blends modern techniques with ancient remedies. The massage at Anantara Mui Ne was the best I received in all of Vietnam.
  • Featuring a collection of strength and cardio equipment, the modern fitness center ensures that you can maintain your routine even while at Mui Ne.
  • Parents can let the caring and energetic staff at the resort’s Children’s Club take care of their little ones, while they have their own fun. With a great range of skill enhancing and creative activities from arts and crafts, flying kites and building sand castles, to fish feeding, garden visits and fruit harvesting, every day at the Children’s Club is full of play and new adventures to keep youngsters happily entertained.
  • Anantara Mui Ne has two on-site restaurants. L’Anmien restaurant is located on the lower floor of the main hotel building, overlooking the lush gardens, and mainly serves international and Vietnamese cuisine. Thung is located along the beach and focuses on fresh catch from the surrounding waters. Foodwise, I found the breakfast – served at L’Anmien – to be the highlight of the day: the buffet offers Asian dishes, Danish pastries, yoghurts, a large fruit selection, and cold meats in addition to an egg and noodle station.
  • Mui Ne is famous for its watersports action: kitesurfing, windsurfing and surfing are all possible at different times of the year, but especially between the dray months of October and March, when the wind is blowing (although you won’t notice any of that around the pool).

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

With a beautiful pool, superb beach, fantastic staff and a nice spa, Anantara Mui Ne is the crown jewel among the many resorts that line Mui Ne’s famous beach. The hotel has excellent facilities for a relaxing beach holiday, and also enjoys a great location if you are touring Vietnam (since it’s conveniently situated halfway between Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang). Nevertheless, it’s not perfect, and you need the know the following issues when considering a stay here:

  • The nearest airports to the resort are in Ho Chi Minh City and Dalat, each about a four to five-hour ride away. This is not much of a problem since the hotel can arrange transfers in very comfortable, even ultraluxe cars to both airports for a fee. Light snacks are offered during the journey. Nevertheless, the scenery along the way is quite boring (especially on the Ho Chi Minh to Mui Ne leg), with an endless string of uninviting villages. In addition, the road conditions differ significantly from those that you may be used to, with chaotic and dangerous traffic situations (especially with cars and trucks overtaking each others all the time on two lane roads at crazy speeds).
  • Rooms in the main building with their entrance located along the streedside do suffer from traffic noise. The lowest room categories (“premier rooms”) have unexciting views of the carpark and small garden adjacent to the busy road, and are thus best avoided.
  • Anantara Mui Ne’s direct neighbour is a budget resort, that plays loud music until around 9 pm, every night. This can be heard quite well inside the Anantara resort, especially in pool area, and put a damper on the tranquil holiday experience you were looking forward to.
  • I hate to say so (since I am a fan of the Anantara brand) but the food offerings did not meet my expectations during my stay, and did not match the 5-star reputation of the hotel nor the brand. While the breakfast at L’Anmien and the dinner at Thung were good (albeit not mindblowingly delicious), my dinner experience at L’Anmien was very disappointing with unappetizing food (e.g. overcooked tuna) that was also poorly presented.
  • Anantara Mui Ne is located in a resort town that mainly caters to Russian and European tourists. Although the old fishing village is still there, the Mui Ne area lacks authentic Vietnamese flair. But that shouldn’t be a problem for those that travel to the area to simply relax on the beach (which is too hot to walk on during the day) or take part in Mui Ne’s adrenalin-infused activities, such as kite surfing or quad biking in the dunes.
  • The resort represents a perfect escape for families with younger children, which may be problematic when you are looking for a peaceful break without screaming children in your immediate surroundings, since the hotel lacks an adults only area.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 7/10
  • Design: 7/10
  • Pool: 8/10
  • Rooms: 8/10
  • Food: 7/10
  • Breakfast: 8/10
  • Spa: 8/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Value for money: 8/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting best deal at a luxury hotel like Anantara Mui Ne. Book a room at the cheapest price and/or receive many free perks!
  • Request a room away from the street.
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Like most of Southeast Asia, Vietnam varies from warm to very hot throughout the whole year. There are four annual seasons: cool and dry between November and February; (very) hot and dry between March and May; hot and wet between June and August; and cool and wet between September and early November. The best time to visit is the cool season, when the weather usually benefits from a pleasant dry heat and the surrounding countryside is still green from the rains.


HOW TO GET THERE

The nearest airports to the resort are in Ho Chi Minh City and Dalat, each about a four to five-hour ride away. The hotel can arrange transfers for a fee.


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TRANSFER TO ANANTARA MUI NE

TRANSFER TO ANANTARA MUI NE

TRANSFER TO ANANTARA MUI NE

TRANSFER TO ANANTARA MUI NE

TRANSFER TO ANANTARA MUI NE

TRANSFER TO ANANTARA MUI NE

TRANSFER TO ANANTARA MUI NE

TRANSFER TO ANANTARA MUI NE

TRANSFER TO ANANTARA MUI NE

TRANSFER TO ANANTARA MUI NE

TRANSFER TO ANANTARA MUI NE

TRANSFER TO ANANTARA MUI NE

TRANSFER TO ANANTARA MUI NE

TRANSFER TO ANANTARA MUI NE

TRANSFER TO ANANTARA MUI NE

TRANSFER TO ANANTARA MUI NE

ARRIVAL AT ANANTARA MUI NE

ARRIVAL AT ANANTARA MUI NE

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

HOTEL EXTERIOR

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LOBBY

LIBRARY

LIBRARY

LIBRARY

LIBRARY

LIBRARY

LIBRARY

COURTYARD ADJACENT TO LOBBY

COURTYARD ADJACENT TO LOBBY

GYM

GYM

GYM

GYM

SPA

SPA

SPA

SPA

SPA

SPA

SPA

SPA

SPA

SPA

SPA

SPA

GUEST ROOM FLOOR

GUEST ROOM FLOOR

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM

DELUXE OCEAN ROOM: VIEW

GARDENS

GARDENS WITH POOL VILLAS

GARDENS WITH POOL VILLAS

GARDENS WITH POOL VILLAS

GARDENS WITH POOL VILLAS

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIMMING POOL

SWIM-UP BAR

SWIM-UP BAR

SWIM-UP BAR

SWIM-UP BAR

SWIM-UP BAR

SWIM-UP BAR

SWIM-UP BAR

SWIM-UP BAR

SWIM-UP BAR: LUNCH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH

BEACH AT SUNSET

BEACH AT SUNSET

BEACH AT SUNSET

BEACH AT SUNSET

BEACH AT SUNSET

BEACH AT SUNSET

POOL AT NIGHT

POOL AT NIGHT

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: DINNER

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: DINNER

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: DINNER

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: DINNER

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: DINNER

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: DINNER

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: DINNER

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

L’ANMIEN RESTAURANT: BREAKFAST

DINNER ON THE BEACH

DINNER ON THE BEACH

THUNG RESTAURANT

THUNG RESTAURANT

THUNG RESTAURANT: DINNER

THUNG RESTAURANT: DINNER

THUNG RESTAURANT: DINNER

THUNG RESTAURANT: DINNER

THUNG RESTAURANT: DINNER


 

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