Last spring, 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:
- Review: Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class Düsseldorf to Singapore
- Review: Singapore Airlines A330 Business Class Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City
- Review: The Reverie Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City
- Review: Anantara Mui Ne Resort & Spa
- Review: Vietnam Airlines ATR-72 from Ho Chi Minh City to Con Dao
- Review: Six Senses Con Dao
- Review: Evason Ana Mandara, Nha Trang
- Review: Six Senses Ninh Van Bay
- Review: Amanoi, most exclusive hotel in Vietnam
- Review: Avani Quy Nhon Resort & Spa
- Review: Anantara Hoi An Resort (today)
- Review: Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An
- Review: Banyan Tree Lang Co
- Review: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
- Review: Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class Hong Kong to Düsseldorf
Today (September 6, 2017): Review of Anatara Hoi An (Vietnam).
- Location: Google Maps
- Address: 1 Pham Hong Thai Street,, Hoi An City, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
- Hotel website: Anantara Hoi An
Scenically positioned on the banks of the Thu Bon River, Anantara Hoi An Resort is a charming boutique retreat in the historic Vietnamese port town of Hoi An, a UNESCO world heritage site since 1999. Designed with French, Dutch, Chinese and Japanese influences that reveal Hoi An’s fascinating cultural diversity, split level rooms and suites open onto porches with comfortable daybeds, overlooking the river or a garden courtyard. When not exploring the old city, Anantara’s guests can delve into Vietnamese culture with language, lantern making and cookery classes, or simply laze by the pool.
In this review (more info below my slideshow & Youtube clip):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
*** Get the most out of your (luxury) trip to Vietnam with my online Vietnam travel guide ***
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Situated on the banks of the Thu Bon River, Anantara Hoi An Resort is just a 10 minutes stroll or a 5 minute bicycle ride from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An, wich represents an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its decline in the later 19th century ensured that Hoi An has retained its traditional urban character to a remarkable degree. The town reflects a fusion of indigenous and foreign cultures (principally Chinese and Japanese with later European influences) and comprises a well-preserved complex of more than thousand timber frame buildings, with brick or wooden walls. At night, the central streets are beautifully lit by quaint, hand-made and old-fashioned lanterns, making it an atmospheric and beautiful spot.
- If you want to broaden your cultural horizon, the hotel is also ideally located to explore two other UNESCO World Heritage sites in the area. The My Son UNESCO World Heritage Site – often dubbed Vietnam’s Angkor Wat – is one of the foremost Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia, and only a one hour (47 km or 30 mi) drive from the resort. The other UNESCO site, the Imperial City of Hue with its famous citadel, served as the capital of Vietnam until 1945 under the Nguyen Dynasty, the last royal dynasty of Vietnamese history, and is located a 2 hour (130 km or 80 mi) drive from the resort. The hotel organizes excursions to both sites.
- With ornate balustrades, terra-cotta tile roofs, and high curved ceilings, Anantara Hoi An resembles a grand French colonial-style mansion, making this boutique hotel the most stylish place to stay in the vicinity of Hoi An’s old town. Although the charming architecture may look old and authentic, the hotel was built less than 20 years ago. The contemporary, airy and elegant interiors are fused with local Vietnamese design elements and feature graceful French, Dutch, Chinese and Japanese influences, reflecting Hoi An’s fascinating cultural diversity.
- The resort features a compact layout, with the rooms and suites spread across two L-shaped buildings that are set among lush tropical gardens besides the river. From the arrival pavilion – where the luggage is collected and tagged before being delivered to the room at check-in – it’s a short walk through a pleasantly green courtyard to the open-sided, colonial-style lobby, which has a small boutique shop on the side. Across the courtyard from the lobby, you find two restaurants and the spa (more on that below). The swimming pool is located in its own river-side courtyard (although the pool area was under renovation during my stay and closed off from the rest of the resort). A public promenade runs between the resort grounds and the river.
- All 93 rooms and suites enjoy either garden or river views. During my vacation, I stayed in a ground-floor Junior Garden Suite. On the outside, the room featured an attractive al fresco porch area, which was a great place to relax and enjoy the tranquil garden scenery after a day of sightseeing in Hoi An. The split level suite had a lower level with a sofa and a work desk, and an upper level with two twin beds (although you can also book this room type with a queen bed configuration). The mid-room balustrade, shuttered windows, and ceiling fan lend the suite a colonial flair. The neutral colour palette of white walls and sandstone floor was given a touch of vibrancy with orange cushions and lampshades. The small but functional bathroom was laid out in mosaic tiling and featured a shower, one sink and a toilet.
- The resort has two restaurants, which are located opposite the lobby in one of the colonial-style wings. Hoi An Riverside Restaurant is open for lunch (light snacks) and dinner (delicious Western and Asian cuisine), and features a gorgeous art deco inspired interior reminiscent of a Parisian brasserie; the dining venue also has a lovely terrace overlooking the river, where outdoor tables are shaded by leafy trees and cooled by a gentle breeze. Lanterns Restaurant is located on the first floor above Hoi An Riverside Restaurant and is only open for breakfast, which is served as a grandiose buffet with live cooking stations.
- Located in the vibrant street side courtyard of Anantara Hoi An Resort, O’malleys is the only Irish style pub in Hoi An town, serving a range of cold beer selections including Guinness, with pool tables, foosball, dart boards and big screens televising international sports. O’melleys also serves light fare such as hamburgers, poached prawns, braised pork belly, pork ribs, chicken wings, triple cooked chips, and onion rings.
- When you’ve had enough exploration, you can always retire to the resort’s private spa, which is one of the best spas in town. It offers a range of nourishing scrubs and wraps, heavenly massages and rejuvenating facials. The intimate and cozy facility, which is tucked away in a tranquil corner of the resort near the restaurants, features four treatment rooms, each with a private bath, and also one couple’s treatment room. Manicure and pedicure treatments are provided in a garden cabana overlooking the Thu Bon River.
- Complimentary bikes are provided to guests for the duration of their stay. These can be used to go on excursions or to travel to the nearby beaches of Cua Dai and An Bang (5 km or 3 mi away).
- The hotel management and resort staff are absolutely charming and very friendly. Every one I met was smiling and seemed to go the extra mile. IMHO, it is the staff that turns a stay at Anantara Hoi An into a memorable event.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
Anantara Hoi An is by far the best and most stylish place to stay in the old town of Hoi An, a place that almost certainly will end up on your Vietnam itinerary since its one of the country’s top tourist attractions. Nevertheless, it’s important to set your expectations right and you need to know the following when considering a stay here:
- Although Hoi An’s beaches can be easily reached by bicycle or boat from Anantara’s private jetty, the hotel does not offer the same vibe as a beach resort. It is a boutique resort in the center of a city, although its riverside setting offers peaceful surroundings. If you are in need of sun kissed sands, I recommend to stay in one of the area’s ultraluxe beach resorts and visit the town of Hoi An on a tour. However, when you’re a history buff, art lover or shopaholic, you will find nirvana on every lantern-lit street corner in Hoi An and you’re better off staying at Anantara resort which has the old town at its doorstep. Or you can do like me, and stay one night at the Anantara resort to explore the old town, and then move to the coast for a few days of pure relaxation.
- The pool area – located in its own courtyard – was under renovation during my stay, and guests that were in need of a dip were provided access to a pool of a resort nearby. However, by the time you read this review, the pool area has reopened and it looks a genuinely sophisticated place on photo. There’s also some construction going on behind the pool area on a neighbouring property, which can cause some noise disturbance during the day, although this is beyond the control of the hotel.
- Ananantara Hoi An is a 5-star hotel, but unfortunately, the hotel does not really compare to the ultraluxe resorts in the wider Hoi An area, such as the astonishing Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai (Hoi An), the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort (Da Nang), and Banyan Tree Lang Co Resort. Although the Anantara Hoi An Resort lacks the extravagant facilities of these sublime beach-front hotels, it tries to make up for that with its convenient old town location, boutique atmosphere, colonial style, and superb staff.
- The culture and heritage that the UNESCO World Heritage Site status for Hoi An Ancient Town was trying to preserve has long since gone. Its UNESCO status put Hoi An on the travel map, causing a massive influx in tourists, with the result that most houses in the old town have been sold by the community to speculators and shop owners to be used for commercial purposes. The former community, and with it their culture and heritage, has gone and in their place are endless tailors shops, restaurants, and art galleries. That said, although Hoi An lost a lot of its authenticity over the past decade, the town still retains some of its former, grandiose and mystical allure.
- River proximity means that the clatter of passing boats may cause some noise annoyance at night and in the early morning, disturbing light sleepers.
- Location: 8/10
- Design: 7/10
- Pool: not applicable (under renovation during my stay)
- Rooms: 7/10
- Food: 8/10
- Breakfast: 8/10
- Spa: 7/10
- Service: 9/10
- Value for money: 8/10
- Overall experience: good: 7,8/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Anantara Hoi An, whether it’s booking a room at the cheapest price or receiving complimentary VIP perks (e.g. upgrade, breakfast, resort credit, etc …).
- Save money: Anantara Hoi An guarantees that every reservation booked through its websites will have the lowest room price (including all taxes and fees) publicly available on the internet. If you find a lower rate within 24 hours of making a booking, the resort will be happy to match the rate and give you an additional 10% discount on your stay. All you need to do is submit a claim form.
- Room tip: Light sleepers should request a room away from the river and street side to avoid occasional noise disturbance.
- Vietnam travel guide: get the most out of your (luxury) trip to Vietnam with my online travel guide.
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Typical for the tropical climate of Vietnam, Hoi An enjoys warm weather year round with a distinct rainy and dry season. The rainy season in Hoi An lasts quite long from September to January, and the constantly heavy showers may put a damper on your wonderful trip. In addition, there’s always a risk for typhoons and floods. On the other hand, the dry season lasts from February to August. The best time to visit the town is the first months of the dry season when the weather is mild and beautiful with moderate temperature, low humidity, and blue skies. If you enjoy sunbathing on famous beaches near Hoi An like Cua Dai Beach or An Bang Beach, I recommend to delay your trip to April or May. From June, temperatures start to soar, making it too hot for most tourists.
HOW TO GET THERE
Hoi An is located a 30 minute drive south from Da Nang, the largest city in central Vietnam and the most important gateway to access Central Vietnam. There are frequent direct flights to Da Nang Airport from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, as well as international arrivals from Beijing (Northern China), Kunming (Yunnan, South-west China, Shanghai (central China) Singapore, Pakse (Laos), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and Seoul (Korea). Click here for a list of airlines that offer direct flights to Da Nang. It’s also possible to get to Da Nang by train from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.