Vietnam's A-list favourite retreat: Banyan Tree

hellomagazine.com

Vietnam has seen a surge in high-end tourisim of late. Once a hotspot for gap-year travellers, the Southeast Asian gem is now firmly on the luxe travel map – its northern capital Hanoi even featured on this year's top ten world destinations according to TripAdvisor. Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg holidays there and Radio 1's Scott Mills jetted there this year, choosing to stay at Banyan Tree Lang Co.

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We can see why the radio DJ chose this piece of paradise as the base for his exploration of central Vietnam. The Lang Co. resort of Banyan Tree – which boasts Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding among its jet-setting crowd of fans – makes for the perfect base for the well-heeled traveller wishing to explore some of the country's top landmarks and unmissable sights. The exclusive resort is within striking distance of now fewer than three UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the imperial city of Hue, the magical lantern-dotted city of Hoi An and the abandoned Hindu temples of My Son. Also just an hour away is the gateway city of Da Nang.

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All this at its fingertips, yet this resort is nestled in a crescent bay framed by a three-kilometre white sandy beach overlooking the South China Sea on the Central Coast of Vietnam, an area renowned for its pristine coastline, tropical jungles and rugged mountain peaks.

Inspired by Vietnamese dynasties past, the resort boasts 17 beach villas, 32 lagoon villas and 229 condominiums. Each walled and gated villa is supremely private and luxurious and will have visitors feeling like Vietnamese royalty. A private terrace, swimming pool, sea views and the sound of the waves crashing teamed with wonder décor featuring lotus motifs and silk embroidery in neutral palettes with pops of regal purple, are all perfect ingredients for a romantic haven, or honeymoon destination.

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While the chances are guests won't wish to leave their beautiful hideaway villa, watersports aficionados can make the most of the kayaking, waterskiing, parasailing and wakeboarding available to guests. A relaxing bike ride around the resort or further afield through the lush green mountains, a treatment in the award-winning spa, or an afternoon at an 18-hole Championship Golf Course designed by British champion golfer Sir Nick Faldo are also on the menu.

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Those who can bear to tear themselves away from the resort should head to the magical Hoi An. Getting there is easy thanks to the daily shuttle bus. As well as visiting top sights in this enchanting town, light a candle and let it sail along the Thu Bồn River, cross the Japanese Bridge, eat the delights at a number of mouthwateringly-good restaurants (Nu Eatery is an excellent pit-stop at a charming little house), and try to leave room for a cookery course, when you'll be treated to a tour of local markets before rustling up some amazing dishes. (Green Bamboo Cooking School is an excellent choice.)

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Next is Hue, the 19th-century Imperial City. Here explorerers will find a citadel within a citadel, housing the emperor's residence, temples and palaces and the main buildings of state within 6m-high, 2.5km-long walls. Also not to be missed is the My Son sanctuary, home to a large complex of religious relics. This site was an imperial city during the Cham kingdom, between the 4th and 12th century, and boasts more than 70 architectural Works, including temples and towers.

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Back at the resort, tuck into Banyan Tree's signature restaurant Saffron for some exquisite Thai flavours. Set on a forested hill with views of the East Sea and a décor of Thai royal purple fabrics and silk embroidery, this fine-dining restaurant is exquisite in its food, ambience and service. Guests can also take a buggy over to Banyan Tree's sister property Angsana Lang Co to enjoy al fresco dining on a terrace overlooking the ocean at Moomba.

Next on the travel itinerary? Now fully refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to see more of Vietnam, you might take a motorbike ride through the Central Highlands, head south to Ho Chi Minh City, or jump on a train north to Halong Bay and Sapa…

Prices at Banyan Tree Lang Co start from £260 per night based on two people sharing a Lagoon Pool Villa on a bed and breakfast basis. For reservations and enquiries, visit banyantree.com or ring +84 54 3695 888.

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