'Resorting' to Vietnam

It is hard not to leave real-world worries behind when you are faced with a golden beach, azure sea and rugged mountains. Recently, I was whisked away to the small fishing village of Cu Du, about an hour's drive north of Da Nang International Airport in Central Vietnam.

At the edge of the village lies the Chan May Bay, and fronting that is a beautiful luxury integrated resort, conceptualised for travellers who love to unwind by the sea or with a few rounds of golf.

Sitting on a 280ha site, Laguna Lang Co consists of Banyan Tree Lang Co and Angsana Lang Co. These hotels are owned and managed by Singapore-based Banyan Tree Group.

As I was passing by the main entrance, I caught glimpses of the 18-hole golf course. After checking in, I headed towards my deluxe king room on the ground floor.

Since Angsana plays a lot on wood and colours (orange, ivory and bright green), the same design principles can be seen in the 53sqm room. Meanwhile, get ready to pamper yourself in the bathroom. Within the shower stall, there is a rain shower as well as a regular one, and a round bathtub.

Well, the best part of the room is that it opens out to a small patio where you get to enjoy the sun and mountain view. There is also a mini path leading to the swimming pool.

Personally, the pool is the best part of Angsana. Calling it a pool doesn't do it justice as its 300m serpentine design has twists and turns around the hotel. I just wished I had more time in the water.

However, the sun and surf was a-calling. Sunseekers get to sunbathe in style as daybeds and deck chairs are available on its 3km stretch of golden beach.

For the adventurous, there are other activities to indulge in such as snorkelling, diving, water-skiing, windsurfing, kayaking and jet-skiing. ATV rides are available for nature-lovers to explore the virgin forest surrounding the resort.

Well, I was impressed with the selection of bread, cheeses, juices and greens. But most of the dishes are standard fare that you can find in other luxury hotels.

At Angsana, I found that there were two other restaurants, Moomba and Rice Bowl.

Although I didn't get a chance to sample the food, Moomba is the resort's chill-out spot serving tapas and drinks, while Rice Bowl lives up to its namesake, serving rice-based dishes and alcoholic drinks.

I was taken on a short tour of the Two Bedroom Loft. This is one of the hotel's top-tier accommodation options.

Over three floors, the 179sqm residence features a plunge pool, and an all-purpose outdoor area. The almost unobstructed view of the sea took my breath away.

The common and dining areas have glass panels to maximise the view and allow the sunshine in. Other facilities at Angsana include a kid's club, gym, beach club and meeting rooms.

Over at the Banyan Tree Lang Co, it was a different world altogether. Instead of rooms, guests stay at either the Lagoon Pool Villa or the Beach Pool Villa.

Apart from the beautiful rooms, the resort's star attractions are its golf course and spa centres. Since I can hardly swing a club without hitting anyone, going down the fairway was not much of an option.

The golf course was designed by Sir Nick Faldo, who had cleverly incorporated the rugged landscape surrounding the resort, such as flowing streams, verdant padi fields and rock features. For a beginner such as myself, I was confined to practising my pathetic swing at the driving range.

Well, no getaway is complete without a spa experience. Both hotels have their own spa centres.

I was booked for a two-hour session at the Banyan Tree and after briefly going through the menu, I decided to try the Balinese treatment.

It is a deep-tissue massage that's said to stimulate blood circulation, improve energy flow and relieve tension on the back and shoulders. For those who opt for the body scrub, the room has a bathtub next to the window, overlooking a lotus flower lake.

Although the therapist was petite, she was kneading me vigorously. After I had nodded off for a while, she said our session was over. She explained that the massage was 90 minutes long. I then had 30 minutes of down-time during which I was served fresh fruits and cold tea at the reception area.

Other services available include yoga instructors, and beauty and hair treatments.

As part of the media tour, I was given a choice of visiting one of three Unesco Heritage Sites: Hoi An, Hue or My Son. All were more than an hour's drive from the resort.

On the second day, I paid a short visit to Hoi An. Here, the tourist trail runs alongside the Thu Bon River, and is peppered with souvenir shops.

Apart from being a port in the old days, buildings in Hoi An include temples and meeting houses. The wood-based architecture has evidence of Chinese, Japanese and French influences.

After Hoi An, it was back to the resort for a night of fun and dance where I celebrated the resort's official launch with other guests and the hotel staff.