HONORS CIRCLE: VIETNAM
InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort
Bai Bac, Son Tra Peninsula, Danang, Vietnam
Though it’s just a half-hour drive from downtown Da Nang, InterContinental’s flagship property in Vietnam is another world entirely—a tropical haven where natural beauty, vibrant culture, and fascinating history all share the spotlight.
The surroundings are postcard-perfect: backed by the lush slopes of the Son Tra Peninsula nature reserve, the resort cascades down a hillside to a glittering blue cove fringed by a 700-meter-long private beach. Just as appealing are the architecture and interior design, both the work of Bangkok-based starchitect Bill Bensley. From the ocean-view rooms and terrace suites to the exquisite villas and penthouse, the accommodations are done up in a whimsical Modern Vietnamese style that mixes handpicked artifacts with an evocative palette of colors and textures, while oversize beds and lavish bathroom amenities ensure supreme comfort.
While the beach is an enticement in its own right—lapped by gentle waves, the golden stretch of sand is linked to the lobby by a charming funicular train—there are numerous other diversions to keep one busy. Guests can join the resort’s resident zoologist on a guided trek into the surrounding hills to spot rare red-shanked douc langurs; take lessons in rowing a traditional basket boat; and take advantage of on-site tennis courts and an array of water sports. For pampering and rejuvenation, the award-winning Harnn Heritage Spa, set on a serene lagoon, offers a gamut of wellness therapies and treatments alongside luxe mani-pedis created by French celebrity pedicurist Bastien Gonzalez. Younger guests, meanwhile, will be kept well entertained at the Planet Trekkers kids’ club, where the activities encourage connecting with the destination via cultural workshops, arts and crafts, and outdoor playtime.
There’s also a terrific culinary lineup. The InterContinental Danang’s signature dining experience, La Maison 1888, is the creation of multi-Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire, and between its setting— the restaurant is designed like the mansion of a fictional colonial French-Eurasian family, replete with period furnishings and mementos—and seasonal set menus of Vietnamese accented French cuisine, it could be a destination unto itself. (Another draw? Head sommelier Raphael Gras’ rare wine collection). Situated at the highest level of the property, Citron is a standout too, with dishes from across Vietnam and alfresco booths shaped like inverted non la (the country’s iconic conical hats) that seem to float out over the sea. Casual bites are served beachside at Barefoot, where you can sit with your toes in the sand under a thatched roof or at tables resembling traditional fishing boats, while the aptly named L_O_N_G Bar is a breezy, design-forward space with huge day beds, punkah fans, and perfectly crafted cocktails.
Given all that’s on offer, it’s no surprise that many guests never leave the property during their stay. But for those who wish to explore farther afield, an “In the Know” concierge is on hand to help organize excursions to local cultural and historic sites such as Hoi An, My Son, and the former imperial city of Hue, all three of which are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.