- Boutique Spa
- Day Spa
- Family Friendly
- Fine Dining
- Thermal Facilities
- Kids club
- Personal training
- Pool – Indoor
- Pool – Outdoor
Shining a light on Vietnam’s cultural heartland, Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam, offers an illuminating connection to three extraordinary UNESCO sites from a private kilometre-long stretch of one of Forbes’ “best beaches in the world.”
Once a fishing village – with a historic temple preserved on site – the resort presents an authentic connection to the region through inspiring on-site activities, from a cooking academy and earth-attuned spa to exhilarating water sports and cultural excursions.
The Heart of the Earth Spa
In a beautiful setting perched over a lotus pond, The Heart of the Earth Spa is a haven of calm, connection and compassion. The reception pavilion is open down one side, offering a calming view over a man made lagoon – overseen by a crystal Buddha sculpture – fringed by eight treatment villas.
All treatments feature crystal singing bowls tuned to 432 Hz. – the harmonic intonation of nature – plus simple focused breathing techniques to attune body and mind to the Earth’s heartbeat.
- 8 treatment rooms
- 1 beauty treatment room
- Spa Ritual
Showcasing the celebrated design of Paris-based Reda Amalou, the all-villa resort interprets the Vietnamese tradition of architecture as an art form.
There’s a choice of 100 villas in total – 52 one bedroom villas with shower gardens, 8 family villas with ensuite children’s room and 40 pool villas of between one and five bedrooms.
Check out: 11:00 AM
Enjoy champagne breakfasts as well as international fusion and Indian cuisine at Cafe Nam Hai; inventive local flavours at Lá Sen; chilled-chic tasting plates washed down with Central Coast cocktails at the Beach Bar and romantic beach barbecues by the water’s edge.
Facilities and Activities
- Bicycles available to guests
- Health Club
- Tennis Court
- Water sports
- Beach volleyball
- Three swimming pools
- Cooking Academy
A mere fifteen minutes’ drive from the rather gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage town of Hoi An, with its pretty lanterns, its winding river, its pastel-coloured French colonial architecture and addictive street food (don’t miss the Banh Mi sandwiches at Madam Phuong’s), sits the sprawling beach resort of the Four Seasons The Nam Hai. Facing onto the vast expanse of the South China Sea, amid manicured gardens and a kilometre-long stretch of sand dotted with palm trees, it comprises of 100 private villas (40 of them with their own pool), three public pools, a cookery school, two restaurants, two bars, a Health Club, tennis courts, watersports facilities, two golf courses within easy reach, and, of course, a spa.
This used to be a family-run business, The Nam Hai hotel, until Four Seasons took it over and it opened, rebranded and redesigned, in December 2016. In fact, it’s the first Four Seasons in Vietnam, and it brings all the style and heritage you might expect from the brand. The decor is what I can only describe as Asian chic; fairly minimal, but no less elegant for that.The drive from Da Nang airport is through the popular resort town of Da Nang itself, then past waterlogged rice fields, in which water buffalo graze, with verdant mountains looming in the background. The scenery is typically Vietnamese – men and women in conical hats go about their business in small villages, while endless buzzing motorcycles weave along the roads.
Arriving up the long drive to the Four Seasons The Nam Hai after this is to enter a space of calm; smart, jacketed staff greet you with a beaming smile, and all the dull check-in and admin stuff takes place in a comfortable chair in the open-walled lobby building. Like most of the main buildings, it’s lined with dark, teak wood, ceiling fans whisk lazily through the sticky air, cushions are plump and embroidered with colourful local flowers. I also really love the skilful lighting throughout, from circular, modern-style chandeliers in the main bar, to metallic globes dotted along the water features, and traditional paper lanterns hung from trees in the gardens by the Olympic pool.
The resort is set over several acres, and it feels suitably uncrowded as a result; you’d never know if it was operating at 100% capacity because each villa is set back from its neighbour, and the whole resort spans nearly the full kilometre of beach. Staff are unfailingly friendly and keen to do anything to enhance your stay, and the whole set up seems to run like clockwork. They also offer a very handy shuttle bus service which runs between the resort and Hoi An, and also to Da Nang. The hotel can also organise tours to local sights, cooking classes, fishing expeditions and more. It’s a fantastically cultural part of Vietnam, and this is a beautiful base from which to see it.
The Heart of the Earth Spa
To be honest, I feel pretty zen the minute I walk through the spa’s doors; the reception pavilion is open down one side, offering a calming view over a man made lagoon (overseen by a crystal Buddha sculpture), fringed by the eight treatment villas. Each villa has a separate entryway, changing area, a walk-in shower and toilet, a main treatment room, and an annexe room which overlooks the lagoon, used for rituals such as the foot-cleansing one before the treatment begins.
The philosophy here is very much about being connected to the earth, and aligning with its rhythms; treatments are divided into three groups, based on the virtues of ‘stability’, ‘creativity’ and ‘non-judgement’. All treatments begin with your therapist tapping on crystal singing bowls to create a harmonious sound, which is meant, they explain to attune body and mind ‘to the earth’s heartbeat’. Whether you believe in this kind of thing or not, it creates an unbelievably relaxing atmosphere.
I have a signature ‘Non-Judgement’ Nam Hai Vietnamese massage, advertised as for relaxation and rejuvenation. The oil to go with this type of treatment is made with lavender and geranium, which smells delicious. The ‘non judgement’ concept is meant to illustrate that by showing compassion to others generates peace in ourselves and everyone we touch. Frankly, as long as it feels good and gets the knots out of my shoulders, I’ll be happy enough to never judge anyone again. Hopefully.
My therapist is polite and smiley, and (thankfully) checks exactly where I would like to be massaged (I can’t bear anyone touching my stomach). She adjusted the pressure to my needs, and her touch was a mixture of blissfully relaxing and beneficially stimulating. Knots were kneaded out, muscles were stretched, and she also massaged my head, feet and hands, an absolute winner for me. Halfway through she also applied an antioxidant hot paste made from ginger and mint to my back, which created a wonderfully warming, soothing feeling. It felt very indulgent, but also as if it had done a lot of good.
-Sound and Breath Experiences
-Nature’s Touch Massages
-Earth-embracing Scrubs and Wraps
-Core Connection Rituals
-Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness
My room is definitely spacious, consisting of an outdoor area with shower; an indoor bathroom with two sinks, a toilet and another shower, two walk in wardrobes, a main, raised sleeping and lounge area, a sunken area at the back with a sofa and table, and a patio terrace outside with two loungers and a table, looking down to the beach.
The flooring is dark wood, which does sometimes make it tricky to see the steps leading up to the bedroom area. This has a bed, a TV, a workspace (with an iPod dock), small seating area, and a sunken bath, all surrounded by tropical, gauzy curtains so you can pretend you’re in a cosy little hideaway inside your bigger, cosy villa.
Toiletries are local, and made with herbs. There’s also a mini-bar with tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, spirits, and there are lovely local touches like embroidered hot pink and pale green flower cushions, a geometric copper lantern, and they light candles for your turn-down. Every villa has a different art work, done by a local artist, and there are the obligatory umbrellas by the door for the occasional humid downpour. You also have your own bicycle, which is parked by your front door. It feels very comfortable, and rather elegant.
La Sen is more light and airy, largely with outdoor tables, and its menu is pretty tasty. For research purposes, I worked my way through most of it; highlights are white rose dumplings, a local speciality of rice paper parcels filled with pork or shrimp, bamboo chicken, pork ribs, morning glory, grilled squid….the menu is lighter at lunchtime, and includes things like tuna tartare, or burrata salad. Once a week, a street food stall type buffet is served here, so you can get to taste the kind of dishes you would if you wandered around any local town or village; there are pancakes, summer rolls, stir fries and more, many cooked in front of you.
Cafe Nam is where breakfast is served, a grand, buffet affair with all manner of Western and Asian dishes. You can have anything from fresh fruit to omelettes, eggs Benedict to congee or a bowl of pho, you name it. All washed down with some intense Vietnamese coffee, of course (my tip is to order this iced; made with creamy condensed milk, it’s refreshing and sweeter than having it black). At dinner they also serve Indian dishes; I can highly recommend the cheese naan and butter chicken.And for a pre – or post – dinner drink, head to The Bar, where their signature rose and lychee Martini is nothing short of fabulous. And strong. So don’t have too many.
Facilities and Activities
I’m not massively into health and fitness – there, I’ve said it – but I do love food, and I especially love a cooking class abroad, particularly Asia, because of all the amazing flavours.
The Nam Hai Cooking Academy was a new addition to the Four Seasons hotel, and it’s a lovely, modern space, with beautiful tiled floors, wicker furniture, and top notch cooking equipment. We head to the hotel’s kitchen garden first with chef Tran Van Sen, to pick various herbs which we’ll use through the cooking session. Tran is incredibly patient, talking us through how to make four complicated-seeming, but utterly delicious dishes, including fried crab rolls, green mango salad, grilled pork and turmeric fish. We get to enjoy the fruits of our labours for lunch, which is a satisfying feeling.
Don’t miss a visit to Hoi An itself, especially at night when it’s all lit up with colourful lanterns.
Culture vultures will love exploring the ancient site of My Son, like a smaller version of the temples of Ankgor Wat, or Marble Mountain, a short drive from the hotel, which consists of several temples and houses built into a towering mountain.
If you can cope with the six hour round trip, the historic palace of Hue is a must.