24 Hours at Naman Retreat - Da Nang, Vietnam
It was our first time in Vietnam and we were super excited to have a new place to discover. It’s actually the first time we are in for a beach vacay in Asia after having seen some of the major cities the last years. Having flown into Hongkong and changed for a one-and-a-half hour flight to Da Nang, we were quite done and tired from the trip. The flight into Danang even got delayed so our check-in at Naman was more than late. However, it was right in time to see the room, have a shower after 20 hours and hop into some comfy clothes for a short dinner getaway to Hoi An. Naman Retreat offers complimentary airport transfer which is really convenient especially having had such a long trip like we had. A luxurious car ride later we arrived at the wonderful lobby of the resort where we were checked-in immediately. It was the moment we first encountered the biggest cultural differences of the Vietnamese culture: it was time to slow down, getting rid of tight schedules and your daily stress routine. You come to Vietnam to unplug and escape your daily routine.
Once all the paperwork and transportation plans were sorted out, we were accompanied to our Pool Villa. In total there are 252 bedrooms at Naman Retreat divided into Babylon Rooms, Villas and Residences with more bedrooms. Since I wanted to enjoy a private pool, we went for a One Bedroom Pool Villa offering a small plunge pool along with two sun beds along a preparation to install a shower (there was none here yet). On the inside, we were surprised by the sleek design of the villa including the cozy corner seating area that had a plenty of welcome amenities on the coffee table such as a bottle of Australian sparkling wine as well as fruits and nuts. Next to the semi-separate living room was the comfy king bed which opened onto the open-space bathroom with free-standing bathtub, single vanity desk, wardrobe, toilet and walk-in shower. While the toiletries came in dispensers and weren’t anything special, the guest amenities were sufficient and included everything you might think of when on a beach vacay. I also loved the cool slippers that were handy to use even for outside the room. In general, the pool villa was very nice in terms of layout and size, however, they are very close to each other and once in the pool, you can hear your neighbors talking.
When we left for Hoi An, we never thought that this UNESCO world heritage site is so spectacular. All the lights and the cozy atmosphere make Hoi An the prettiest town I have ever been to in Asia. On top of all that comes the fact that the local street food and restaurants are on a European level and wherever you stop by chance there is a great eatery cooking fresh Vietnamese food. On our next day, we went to the Home Hoi An Restaurant which is the best in town. A daily complimentary shuttle bus runs from Naman retreat to this picturesque city which you definitely shouldn’t miss during the evening. Obviously - since we had three nights in Da Nang/Hoi An area - we did some shopping too and got ourselves two tailor-made suits. I mean if you ever make it to Hoi An, why should you miss this affordable and unique opportunity. When we came back to Naman Retreat we simply fell asleep within seconds (imagining that it was already one day later than we left Europe).
While we planned to join the Yoga session at 7 am, our jetlag got us like hell and we were not getting up before 9 am. Unfortunately, the basket boat workshop was canceled due to the high waves so we weren’t able to participate in any of the hotel’s activities. On the next morning, we had the choice of a continental breakfast at the beach restaurant or a full Vietnamese breakfast at the main restaurant next to the lobby. Since it was the first morning in Vietnam and we were excited to have a real noodle soup and some other delicacies, we were totally in for the buffet. Actually, I was impressed by the vast selection offered such as a separate fruit buffet, bread buffet, a Vietnamese corner with a live cooking station and of course an egg preparation station. It didn’t feel much of anything else than continental just with Vietnamese dishes. Service was attentive however we didn’t even try to order our daily cappuccino considering we are more than far away from Italy and Vietnamese coffee tastes and looks completely different - not bad tough.
Directly after breakfast, we had arranged a spa treatment at the spa. At Naman Retreat each guest is entitled to one 50-minutes treatment per night. Once we arrived, we were offered ginger iced tea with refreshing towels as well as the spa menu so we could choose which massage we want. The selection of complimentary massages consisted of Aromatherapy, Shiatsu, Thai or Swedish. Since Lukas went for Shiatsu, I was trying the Aromatherapy one - after being told that this is their signature massage with the oils being changed every day so no guest staying for a long period will have the same oil twice. I have to say that the spa building at Naman is one of the most stylish spa buildings I have seen so far. Our treatment was done in one of their amazing spa suites that even came with a rose water-filled bathtub and huge daybed overlooking the resort’s garden. Overall the massages were done in a very good way, however they could start off with a feet massage or cleaning of your feet with a hot towel. Other than that we both really enjoyed the treatment and it was absolutely relaxing to start our first full day like that.
Naman Retreat also has a cool infinity pool directly on the beach, however since it was the main summer holiday of Korea, the pool was quite full and frequented so we preferred to stay on the sandy beach - which was nearly empty - or enjoy our private pool in front of the Villa. So if you want to make sure and love privacy like we do, get your own Pool Villa or take your family and rent a Three Bedroom Residence with a bigger pool, kitchen and barbecue grill. There certainly is a right accommodation for each type of guest.
Although we were offered a late check-out, we were willing to see a bit of culture at least and head to Marble mountain. Just 10 minutes north of the resort, the easiest way is to get there by Grab - an app that is actually essential to download before you land in Vietnam as it can save lives by avoiding scam taxi drivers. So we ordered a Grab (Asian version of Uber) and within 8 minutes we were on the bottom of the marble mountain for not even 3 USD one way. Vietnam is one of the cheapest countries in the world to drive a taxi as long as you are not affected by scam taxi drivers. Living in cities like Munich and Lausanne, driving a taxi not even the starting charge of European taxis was a lot of fun. Every time we went to Hoi An, we just ordered a car and didn’t need to stuck with the hotel’s schedule allowing us more flexibility.
All in All Naman Retreat was a perfect place to start off our trip in Da Nang area and even though we enjoyed our time a lot, I would certainly recommend not to go in the peak season since you are able to enjoy the resort to yourself when you come in low or shoulder season.
We were guests of the Naman Retreat and our stay was offered in exchange for editorial services. However all above expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced.