If “affordable beachfront, ocean view accommodation” is music to your ears, look no further than Paradise Resort. Situated on an exceptionally pretty section of Doc Let, with a view to the hills, small fishing boats and islands, this hotel offers unparalleled value. Here you can sleep with your balcony door wide open and fall asleep to the sound of the waves, then roll out of bed and into the ocean at sunrise.
The accommodation is a hodge podge – the 89-year old owner Vladimir can only be described as a characterful character who keeps busy by chatting with guests and adding to the hotel, which clearly has been his passion project for many years. Thus you have older bungalows, newer bungalows, bricks-and-mortar rooms on the ocean or in the garden, modern apartments and family suites. Essentially all you need to do is make a reservation, show up and choose which one suits you. Small apartments are US$50 for a double, US$30 for a single. Large apartments are US$80 for a double, US$60 for a single. Rooms are fan only. There’s WiFi at their restaurant.
We highly recommend snagging the second or third floor of the three-storey white, modern apartment – the view is truly paradise and being high up, it’s safe to sleep with the sliding glass door wide open. These rooms were also built with ventilation slats (similar to what you see in desert wind towers) that capture and direct the sea breeze through the room making sleeping temperatures so comfortable you don’t even need a fan. There’s a sun bed on the private balcony, a modern bathroom, luggage rack, safety box and extra towels for the beach.
The other rooms are also comfortable, some with sliding glass doors, hammocks, ocean views and super easy access to the beach. The older rooms do suffer from dim lighting though.
The dining terrace is a lively hub and there’s cold beer and soft drinks for sale. Three delicious Western-style meals are included, enjoyed communally at set times — by the end you’ll be bursting, and possibly a little drunk. Help yourself to free coffee, tea and fresh fruit at any time – and free vodka. There’s always a bottle thoughtfully placed on the table next to the salt and pepper.
In terms of things to do (aside from frolicking in the ridiculously blue water and taking a thousand pictures of the ridiculously blue water and pinching yourself because you can’t believe how ridiculously blue the water is), the resort has a kayak and a large boat that can be hired with crew for a fantastic day out snorkelling and fishing around the archipelago. Stroll to the local fishing village just north down the beach. Get there at 07:00 to watch the small boats come in and unload their night-time catch: jellyfish. Watch as they are cleaned and packed, destined for restaurants in China. Stroll to the market to see some more action before settling down for a cup of Vietnamese coffee.
The friendly, chatty owner speaks French and a little English, while his wife speaks only Vietnamese. To make a reservation, fill in the online form or call – you may need to get someone who speaks Vietnamese to do the latter. The resort can sometimes feel like Fawlty Towers and things get lost in translation all the time, but what’s most important is that you’ll receive a warm welcome, like an old friend. And when things go a bit haywire or you’re befuddled, just laugh, shrug your shoulders and run into the ocean for a swim.
To get to Paradise Resort from Nha Trang, head north on National Route 1 (Quoc lo 1, or abbreviated as QL 1) to Ninh Hoa, approximately 38 kilometres from the city centre. Turn right onto DT652B/TL 1 for 10 kilometres, then turn left. Continue for another two kilometres and finally turn right. Follow the signs to Some Days of Silence (this hotel is next door). Another option is to take the blue-white-yellow air-con bus #3 (Nha Trang – Ninh Hoa – Doc Let). The bus runs from 06:30-17:30, costs 24,000 VND per ride, and last stop is at the beach beside White Sand Doclet Resort & Spa. The ride takes 1.5 hours one way. Call Paradise Resort in advance and arrange for a pick-up at the bus stop since it’s four kilometres by road from the bus stop to Paradise. Finally, a one-way taxi ride from Nha Trang is around 500,000 VND.
By Cindy Fan
Last updated on 13th September, 2015.