The Island-like stretch of Lang Co on the central coast of Vietnam is rapidly becoming one of the world's most appealing destinations for vacationers and honeymooners seeking romance and natural serenity.
Nestled in a unique crescent bay framed by a magnificent three-kilometre-long sandy beach, the Banyan Tree Lang Co offers luxury, privacy and exclusivity in lush surroundings.
Visitors will find their senses pleasantly awakened by the pristine coastline, the warm waves of the South China Sea, tropical jungles, and the magnificent stretch of the Truong Son Mountain Range as the backdrop.
The Banyan Tree Group opened Laguna Lang Co in November 2012.
The first and largest world-class integrated resort in Vietnam, it is spread over a 380-hectare area in serene Cu Du Village, Phu Loc District of Thua Thien Hue Province.
In addition to Banyan Tree Lang Co and Angsana Residence Lang Co, the group is now planning to develop a second phase of the resort, which will encompass another hotel, a waterpark and casino and other facilities.
Inspired by the artistic heritage of Vietnamese dynasties past, the Banyan Tree features all pool villas that pay a contemporary tribute to the cultural richness of the region.
Integrating clay-tiled pitched roofs, open courtyards and wood-rafter ceilings, the main building and villas boast modern interpretations of design elements seen in the traditional garden houses of Hue.
Villa interiors are replete with traditional Vietnamese aesthetic themes.
Lotus motifs, lacquer and silk embroidery in a neutral palette of earth tones and accents of regal purple adorn fabrics, elegant furnishings, paintings and pottery.
Natural materials such as bamboo, wicker, and raffia ropes are used to create a setting that allows the resort to sink into the lush green forests that surround it.
The resort offers various choices to suit couples, groups of friends and families.
It was my first experience of staying in a private villa complete with private pool and I loved every second of it, spending several happy hours on the timber sundeck enjoying an unparalleled view of the beach and bay.
Visitors can choose between one, two- and three-bedroom seaview hill pool villas.
The largest covers an impressive 237sqm and includes an outdoor jet pool, indoor living area and a spacious sundeck that makes it an ideal space for family or friends travelling together.
The bedrooms are equipped with king-sized beds and have separate dressing rooms.
International and Vietnamese cuisine can be sampled at the Water Court - do try the papaya salad - the hilltop Thai restaurant Saffron with its opulent oriental decor, and the breezy beachfront Azura restaurant, which offers a selection of Italian fare centred on local seafood.
Tailor-made experiences are offered to honeymooners and couples.
They can indulge in the secluded privacy of their villa's terrace, a romantic sunset and candlelight dinner by a beach.
Those wishing to tie the knot can opt for a solemnisation ceremony by the beach or at the wedding chapel in the presence of up to 30 |participants.
Guests can enjoy a therapeutic spa experience, yoga classes or take a Vietnamese cooking class using organic ingredients.
Free bikes are available for those who want to cycle around the resort and, if that's still not enough, there's an array of water sports on offer as well as the chance to tee-off on the 18-hole, par-71 championship course designed by Sir Nick Faldo.
The resort is almost equidistant from three distinctive Unesco World Heritage sites - the charming old town of Hoi An, imperial city of Hue and My Son's historical ruins.
It's easy to get around Hoi An both on foot or in a cycle rickshaw.
This graceful ancient trading port dating from the 15th century has been exceptionally well preserved.
Crossing the 400-year-old Japanese covered bridge, you can explore the ancient buildings that are now home to Chinese-style shops.
Also worth taking in is the old house of Phung Hung at 4 Nguyen Thi Minh Khan Street, an architectural wonder of Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese influences built in 1780.
The magnificent imperial city of Hue is also a must visit.
The Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945) - the last monarchical dynasty in Vietnam - left Hue ancient capital a huge heritage.
The geographical location of Hue is not only important in terms of transportation and defence but it also has a special meaning in feng shui, giving the heritage site an outstanding universal value and underlining consistency in planning.
You cannot leave Hoi An and Hue without trying local delicacies.
Cao Lau, one of Hoi An's signature dishes, features noodles with spiced pork, seasonal herbs and green vegetables.
Tourism website TripAdvisor has ranked Hoi An among 25 destinations with the best food in the world.
In Hue, meanwhile, you should munch on Banh Khoai (happy cake), a delicious bright yellow Vietnamese crepe.
It is made of rice flour then fried until crispy and served with pork, egg, and shrimp, fresh lettuce, herbs and special dipping sauce.
Thanks to improving highways and upgrades at Da Nang International Airport, the central Vietnamese city is expected to welcome 5.14 million tourists this year, including more than 1.3 million foreigners primarily from China, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Europe, and the Americas.
The number of Thais choosing to vacation in the area is also on the increase thanks to Bangkok Airways direct flight service between Bangkok and Da Nang, which started in May.
With such rich historical and cultural sites, pristine beaches and world-class golf courses, it's easy to see why Central Vietnam is becoming a hot spot for leisure and team-building activities.
AT A GLANCE
- High points: Intimate resort stretched along a pristine and secluded beach; friendly staff
- Low point: None
- Pay for it: Visit BanyanTree.com for the best online rates.
Find it: Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc District, Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam. The resort is 55 kilometres away from Da Nang International Airport. A complimentary shuttle bus is available to all resort guests. WiFi is free throughout the resort.
Call it: (+84) 54 3695 888