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Monday, April 20, 2015

Good Morning Vietnam, Part One! The glorious Nam Hai Resort

As my few faithful readers know, last year I won an amazing sweepstakes from Central Coast Vietnam Tourism on Facebook- a trip to Vietnam with plane tickets and a 5 night "Romance Package" at the incredible Nam Hai Resort! This is the first in a series of posts about our recent one month trip through Vietnam, and all will include lots of hotlinks to cool things to do there!
Coffee in bed, with a view! At the Nam Hai Resort, Hoi An, Vietnam

This trip was Seriously a dream come true, for Dan and I had our Honeymoon in Vietnam in 2008 (see the many posts on this blog, starting in mid-April 2008), and we had been longing to return ever since. Just a week before I got the "you're the winner of the Grand Prize!" email, Dan and I were talking about how we'd need to win Lotto in order to get back to Vietnam for a Second Honeymoon! I was up late and piddling on the internet, and when, at 3am, that email popped up in my inbox, I nearly shot into the air screaming! Dan, who is Definitely Not an "Oh, Wow!" kinda guy, actually got excited about this one! Naturally, we couldn't go for just 5 nights, but had to try to do all the things we didn't get to do last time (ride elephants, for one!), and as we were blessed by a wonderful house-and-pet sitter couple, we were able to spend almost a full month in Vietnam, staying in Hoi An, Hue, Nha Trang. Dalat, Buon Ma Thout, Kon Tum and Saigon!
The plane tickets I won were Vietnam Airlines Business Class, but the nearest hub we could fly to Vietnam from was Frankfurt, Germany- so we did have to buy round trip tickets USA-Frankfurt, and we did have to pay the tax on the tickets, which was $1000- so this was not an inexpensive trip... We basically used up every last dime we had! But there was NO WAY we weren't going to go!
Flying to Vietnam from NYC is approximately a 15 hour flight if you fly direct, but as we had to fly from Germany, and the connection was tight, we chose to spend the night between flights at the Hilton Garden Inn at the Frankfurt Airport before flying to Vietnam the next morning. We basically used our stopover to rest up and recuperate from The Delta Experience (see below), and didn't even venture outside! We enjoyed German apple wine at the Hilton hotel bar, a German dinner in a restaurant in the hotel complex, the Best Irish Coffee Ever back at the Hilton bar, and a German breakfast of crusty brotchen and great coffee in a Conditorei in the same building, before boarding our Vietnam Airlines flight to Hanoi!
German Apple Wine...
a classic German dinner...

And THE best Irish Coffee Ever!

Livin' large! Vietnam Air Business Class
After a frankly sleepless night spent in Delta's ridiculously cramped "economy class" seats from the USA to Germany, pacing the aisles to try to stop the painful swelling of our feet and legs, you can't imagine the JOY we felt experiencing the luxury of our overnight Business Class Vietnam Airlines flight to Hanoi! Sleeper seats that reclined all the way back into beds! Pillows and blankets and toiletries! Delicious food served on linen tablecloths with drinks and wine! Wonderful service! The flight was a total joy, and we arrived in Hanoi refreshed, made our connecting flight to Danang with no problems, and were picked up at the new Danang airport by the charming and gracious staff from the Nam Hai Resort! And the Nam Hai Resort is absolutely Exquisite! Dan and I have been lucky enough to have been able to stay at some wonderful places around the world, but the Nam Hai is truly something special!
Our guest room was actually a gorgeous villa on the beach, with a palatial bed ringed with draperies and a view of the sea, a magnificent soaking tub with a supply of intoxicatingly-scented bath salts, and a lovely outside garden patio! Our "Romance Package" included excellent massages at their beautiful spa, and a "BBQ Dinner" on the beach- which was breathtaking! They literally created a gorgeous living room on the beach just for us, with a drapery-surrounded sofa, and a table for two set with linen and crystal! A private chef then prepared a fabulous multi-course dinner for us, and we dined under the stars with our toes in the sand! (All this and more is on their website, and everything you see there is for real!) The breakfasts out by the pool were delicious, with excellent Vietnamese coffee and everything you could possibly desire, from exotic fruits and freshly squeezed juices, to dumplings and pho (my faves!), as well as countless Western breakfast options (Dan's faves!). The pools are exquisite, and overlook the sea, and it's delightful to sit by the pool and have coffee or a drink, or enjoy their lovely bar and appetizers in the evening ...
View from the patio of our villa at the Nam Hai...
Dan waving hi from our villa at the Nam Hai!

Enjoying our villa's patio at the Nam Hai
 But it is the charming and perfect service that sets the Nam Hai apart! Everyone, from Florian, the Manager, to the incredibly helpful concierge, to the bar and restaurant staff and the drivers of the shuttle vans and "buggies" who drove us around the resort, was wonderful! They truly made this a "Second Honeymoon" that we will never forget!

The Nam Hai is in Hoi An, an historic UNESCO World Heritage site, and having been there in 2008 we knew that there were Lots of great things to do in the area, and how lucky we were to have 6 days to spend there! Hoi An is also famous for its marvelous street food, restaurants, and cooking classes, as well as its many speedy and inexpensive tailors! Because we love "active" excursions, through the Nam Hai we arranged two excellent tour days with Jack Tran's Ecotours: the "Wet Rice Farming" tour with water buffalo, and the "Fishing and Palm Paradise" tour. My next post will cover those- and more! The Nam Hai itself has tons of things to do, too, and we would have needed another full week to sample them all!
Morning coffee, on the patio of our villa at the Nam Hai

Me, at the Nam Hai Spa...
A walk on the beach in the morning...
Dan, poolside at the Nam Hai

Pho for breakfast! YUM!

Beach BBQ at the Nam Hai!

Our BBQ dinner on the beach at the Nam Hai
Our chef!
Apres our BBQ dinner...
One of the many delicious courses at our BBQ dinner on the beach
Our romantic BBQ dinner on the beach at the Nam Hai

Me, in one of the pools at the Nam Hai
Dan, poolside at the Nam Hai
Wonderful Vietnamese coffee for breakfast!


Me, feeling like a queen... in bed at the Nam Hai Resort!
My next post will be about all the fun things we did during our 6 days in the Hoi An area! We took a great cooking class, and ate delicious street food, too; we rode a water buffalo and learned about rice farming, and learned about fishing, as well, swinging the fishing nets with fishermen and bringing in the nets with our feet! We got to go up Marble Mountain, and we had some beautiful clothes made at Hoi An's great and speedy tailors, too! Tune in again next week!

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