If we were to tell you that beyond the rickety wooden plank bridge and signposted tree at the entrance to Le Domaine stood 12 whitewashed, thatched villas, a sand-floored chill-out lounge and a pretty spectacular infinity pool, you’d think we were barking up the wrong coconut tree. It’s all there though, hidden amid tropical jungle and a palm-fringed river inlet.
Located on Tam Hai Island in Tan Ky province 90 kilometres south of Hoi An, it’s a little bit of a hike off route to get to, but if you’re in need of a complete beach escape, do it! The motorbike route from Hoi An is one of the most scenic and rewarding you will experience.
The air-con villas are spacious and beautifully laid out, with open-plan bedrooms furnished with stylish locally designed furniture, art and silks, each incorporating a walk-in closet with safety box and lounge area with a chaise lounge to kick back on should you feel the urge to watch TV. Bathrooms are accessed through an impressive circular doorway (the Chinese long life symbol) and are as big as the bedroom; art deco floor tiling morphs into stepping stones over marble gravel leading to an open-air shower.
Alongside the chill-out area and pool the resort offers alfresco beach dining and film nights. Canoes are provided free of charge to paddle across the inlet to a huge expanse of sand dune-puckered beach. Bikes are available to explore the island, but the piece de resistance is Venus and Mercury, a little shaded catamaran kitted out with everything you need to while away a few hours snorkelling or having a romantic picnic. Our tip is to pre-order the seafood platter dinner for two upon booking — it’s some of the best seafood in the region and while at $35 per person it’s a blowout for more than your waistline, it’s a worthwhile one.
With discounted prices starting at the $75 mark including breakfast, Le Domaine is great value. Very few places in Vietnam offer such style in breathtaking surroundings so far off the beaten track. For visitors heading north from Hoi An, Vedana Lagoon offers a similar ‘escape from it all’ vibe with a slightly bigger price tag, equidistant from Hoi An and 45 kilometres from Hue.
Le Domaine remains a closely guarded secret among the Hoi An expat community, with those in the know slipping away for quiet family or romantic weekends, which means for the most part you’ll pretty much have the resort to yourself. Even if you don’t, its relaxed layout makes for a choice between social gatherings and a secluded getaway.
By Caroline Mills
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.