74 August, 18th St Cam Pho Ward, Hoi An T: (0510) 393 8888 F: (0510) 393 9999
If you have a little extra cash to spend on your accommodation in Vietnam’s Hoi An, Hoi An Marina and Spa Resort offers just 12 suites set in spacious, lovely gardens at rates representing solid value for what you get.
The Marina is tucked away on the far corner of the up and coming islet of An Hoi, a five-minute walk away from Hoi An’s old town. On the islet a maze of bewitching alleyways bustle with activity, little cottage industries and family life that you don’t get to witness once you step over the bridge into the old town.
From the outside you’d be forgiven for thinking the Marina is a tiny temple house spa — we had to ask. Mature tropical grounds burst with colour and prehistoric-sized fruit trees provide a runway straight through the lobby down to the river; you can’t see the villas from reception.
Both the ground-floor garden suites and second floor river-view suites (while they call them villas, but they don’t stand alone completely) have small living areas decked out with a sofa and internet TV, leading into a decent-sized bedroom and very comfortable beds, with impressive ensuites flooded with natural light, his and hers sinks, bathtubs big enough to lie down in and a separate shower room. River views have a balcony area and garden suites have a terrace. We were quoted $90 for a garden and $100 for a river view, but there are also four pool suites. An extra $20 — they go for $120 for — gets you the best river views as well as an outdoor Jacuzzi and direct pool access.
The resort also boasts a small lap pool, the coolest gymnasium we have come across — its walls and ceiling are provided by an arch of tropical climbers — as well as an outdoor cooking school and a huge spa specialising in traditional holistic therapies.
Breakfast is served alfresco on the riverfront, or if you prefer to dine in your villa they will happily arrange this for any meal of the day. And if you fancy a romantic, riverside candlelit dinner for two (plus a zillion mosquitoes) you only need to pick up the phone.
The resort is such good value that we have struggled to find alternatives in the same bracket. Its distant neighbour the Vinh Hung Resort, with dated ’80s decor, pales in comparison in every respect but is exactly the same price. If you prefer a beach alternative you’d have to bargain hard to get something similarly priced and it certainly wouldn’t be a villa — the Boutique or Sunrise Resort are the best for promos.
The Marina is most certainly an upper-end option and although the design is kid-friendly, unless you want to share a twin room with kids you’ll need to book an extra room.
This is a small-scale boutique joint, with the staff and service are far more personable and far less regimented than what you’ll find at a big resort. The Marina’s relaxed, happy vibe and the feeling of space make it the perfectly located city escape and after a hot day of sightseeing we reckon this is a pretty great place to return to for a cocktail watching the sun set over the beautiful and bustling Thu Bon river.
By Caroline Mills
Last updated on 18th June, 2014.