Vietnam’s Most Instagrammable Resort: The InterContinental Danang

Danang may not be the first place you think of when you think of Vietnam. However, the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort is reason enough to go. A destination property, here they have everything – from the most exquisite natural wonders to crashing cerulean waves and biscuit-coloured cliffs to the hotel’s private gondola, a world-class spa, an on-site nightclub, a Michelin-starred restaurant, library, cooking school and so much more.

A view of the ocean from a Son Tra Terrace SuiteCOURTESY OF INTERCONTINENTAL DANANG SUN PENINSULA RESORT

The consideration to design is unparalleled. Architect Bill Bensley lived on site for two years while finalising this resort. And his commitment shows. Each room and space is a riotous display of colours, textures and artefacts. Bill travelled the world finding books, cushions, local treasures and so much more, and has placed these authentic items from his world adventures throughout.

The Barefoot Restaurant at InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula ResortCOURTESY OF INTERCONTINENTAL DANANG SUN PENINSULA RESORT

The property is large, with a total of 200 rooms, including 16 penthouses and villas. And the room sizes are more than generous. The Club Peninsula suites all have ample terraces, making it alluring to practically never leave your enclave, while the fridge and minibar are actually housed outside, alongside your private day-bed, sofa and chairs. It’s fun and pampering.

The hotel’s latest addition, the three bedroom Bai Bac Bay Villa, has to be one of the most opulent rooms in all of Vietnam. Secluded from the majority of other rooms, it features sweeping and unobstructed views of the private bay. Inside, the design feels a little like a Pollock painting, with its vast array of bright, unapologetic colours, and at 500sqm, one could practically. It also features three separate private pools, the central one being large enough to genuinely swim. There’s a well-equipped and very modern kitchen – no expense has been spared – as well as a dining room, making it so the expression ‘there’s really no reason to leave’ rings true.

A bay view from the Bai Bac Bay VillaCOURTESY OF INTERCONTINENTAL DANANG SUN PENINSULA RESORT

Of course many of the suites come equipped with their own pools – it’s just perfection to wile away an afternoon this way. There’s also a pool near the beach, a favourite for young kids and families. The adults-only infinity pool, the Long Pool, which offers peace and respite as well as sweeping views of the resort and surrounding peninsula. This part of Vietnam is lush and verdant, it’s alluring at every corner you look. Of course, there’s also 700-metres of private beach, dotted with sunloungers and attentive staff members. There’s also an on duty lifeguard on the beach, which may comfort some less advanced swimmers, as the water can be a little chalky at time.

Having been to many, the spa is, I think, my favourite anywhere in the world. Each of the Harnn Heritage Spa villas are individual treatment spaces that have a square footage rivalling my entire flat in London. Overlooking a private lagoon the views are outrageously beautiful and instil peace and serenity from the moment you enter. Having won practically every spa award in Asia, it is an unparalleled concept. Combining traditional Asian techniques and naturopathy, many of the treatments are infused with local herbs and botanicals. And everything here is designed around a philosophy of rebalancing. They’re also highly personalised and before you begin, you participate in a mixology consultation where you complete a details questionnaire around scents and your preferences so the therapist can create an bespoke oil for you.

There is also an on-site mani/pedi studio by Bastien Gonzalez. The French podiatrist with an A-list clientele has developed a signature method where none of his nail treatments use water – as he believes that ultimately dries out the skin and the nail-bed, and instead he introduces minuscule drills tipped with diamond dust, followed by a polishing technique he learned from his grandmother that uses a chamois-leather cloth and a pearl buffing cream. To finish, the therapists recommend instead of polish, simply enjoying the nail’s natural shine.

La Maison 1888, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurantCOURTESY OF INTERCONTINENTAL DANANG SUN PENINSULA RESORT

There are lots of idiocracies and quirks to this property, much of which takes its lead from Bill Bensley’s eclectic design. There’s a cable car called the Nam Tram that cuts through the resort and is staffed with an attendant 24-hours a day. The resort is divided into levels, a bit like a wedding cake and each section has a name, the highest being Heaven Level. This is also how to navigate the stops on the train. There’s also an eccentric nightclub at the property, a maze of rooms and bars. There’s also a vast conference centre, the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting was held here in 2017, as well as a number of private meeting spaces, each named after a different Hollywood icon. And note, as is to be expected of a hotel of this calibre, this is a spot for the well-heeled. Around the pool and restaurants you’ll find an incredibly chic mix of predominately South Korean, Japanese and Singaporean travellers – expect Goyard bags and Chanel shades.

Picture-perfect pool viewsCOURTESY OF INTERCONTINENTAL DANANG SUN PENINSULA RESORT

As a generalisation, food in Asia is hard to beat – the freshness of the ingredients, the fragrance of the dishes, the blend of unexpected flavours. There’s a magic to it. And  that can certainly be said of the four restaurants here at the hotel.  Citron is the hotel’s main restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from its sunnily designed space. Food is casual, authentic and the portions are generous. They also often host decadent buffet meals where the menu ranges from Western to Italian to Asian. The outside booths at Citron sit at about 100 metres above the beach – try to sit at one of these if you can.

The Long Bar is playful and inviting – with huge day-beds to lounge and eat on and rustic swinging chairs throughout. Like the rest of the hotel, the colourscape is loud and riotous – sunny yellows and jailbird black and white strips lead the aesthetic. The cocktails are fruity and fun, just what you want when in repose. The signature drink is fresh orange juice combined with Southern Comfort and a splash of Champagne.

The Long BarCOURTESY OF INTERCONTINENTAL DANANG SUN PENINSULA RESORT

The Barefoot Cafe does all-day food and snacks – casual seafood, sandwiches and scrummy desserts. On certain evenings they light welcoming candles and host a barbecue buffet – this is not to be missed. It’s fuss-free and delightful.

The hotel is incredibly proud of La Maison 1888, its fine-dining Michelin-starred restaurant my Pierre Gagnaire. The French chef built his reputation in Paris at his eponymous restaurant, which currently boasts three Michelin stars. The Danang restaurant is beautifully designed, so that each perfectly set white-clothed table feels intimate and has a sense of drama. Gagnaire describes himself as a chef who cooks from his heart and that rings apparent in his menu and the presentation of this world-class cuisine. The menu changes often and you certainly won’t leave hungry.

For those staying within an elevated room category, there is also a club lounge, which flanks Citron restaurant. Here those with access can enjoy complimentary tea and coffee throughout the day, continental breakfast, afternoon tea and a selection of evening cocktails and canapés.

The Harnn Heritage SpaCOURTESY OF INTERCONTINENTAL DANANG SUN PENINSULA RESORT

A hotel in a class of its own, at the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort you have sun, sand and endless things to try and occupy yourself with. And everything will be designed and delivered with the care of this truly hospitable hotel staff. As here, the answer to the question jump is, how high?

By Bridget Arsenault, Forbes