Phu QuocSituated close to the Cambodian border, theisland of Phu Quoc offers an alternative beachoption for those wishing to escape traditionalresorts. Although Phu Quoc is beginning to seemore visitors, development is slow and thebeautiful sandy beaches and pristine watersremain unspoilt. Reached by a regular flightservice from Saigon and Can Tho or by hydrofoilfrom Rach Gia, Phu Quoc is easily accessible yetretains a quiet and secluded feel, making this aperfect place to unwind.LAVERANDARESORTANDSPA,PHUQUOCSet on an idyllic stretch of coast, La VerandaResort and Spa has become a firm Audleyfavourite. The hotel has been designed to reflectthe style and ambience of an old colonial mansionand comprises only 43 rooms, villas and suites.Each room reinforces the colonial theme withhigh ceilings, traditional French floor tiles andpicturesque white-shuttered verandas overlookinglush tropical gardens that lead down to the sea.Facilities include a spa, swimming pool, sunset barand a choice of two restaurants offering a widechoice of fresh local seafood, traditionalVietnamese specialities and international dishes.CHENSEARESORT& SPA, PHUQUOCThe Chen Sea Resort and Spa has 36 villas whichare contemporary in design and all have views ofthe beach. This boutique hotel is nestled amongtropical gardens along the white sandy beach ofCua Dong. There is an excellent spa which offersa range of treatments and a large swimming poolthat overlooks the beach.Con Dao IslandsLocated off the southeast coast of mainlandVietnam, 80% of the islands in the stunning ConDao archipelago form part of a marine andnational park. The World Wildlife Foundation has been based in the area for the past decade,establishing a programme for protecting andwww.audleytravel.com/vietnam ?01993 838 140 ?Vietnam19monitoring sea turtle nesting grounds. Other sealife includes the rare dugong. The largest of theislands is Con Son, also known by its colonialname of Iles Poulo Condore. Settled as early asthe 16th century by Europeans, the island has aculturally rich and politically intense history. Under French rule, Con Son was a prison islandand right up until the American War, had aninfamous reputation. Remains of the prisons canstill be seen along with the manicured gardens ofphotogenic French villas. Today, Con Son has atranquil atmosphere, with several lovely beachesand a little touched interior. The island can bereached by a 45 minute flight from Saigon.SIXSENSESCONDAO, CONSONISLANDThis is the first luxury property on the island ofCon Son. The 50 spacious pool villas run along a mile of sandy beach, sheltered by the forestedhills behind and affording stunning vistas of theSouth China Sea. Accommodation ranges fromsingle-level to duplex villas with one to fourbedrooms. The communal guest area recreates a fishing village and incorporates original hand-carved antique wooden panels. Dining optionsinclude a gourmet deli and bakery, Vietnameseopen kitchen and a stunning restaurant by thebeach, complete with a well-stocked wine cellar.A spa as well as a main swimming pool, activityand dive centre and a whole host of excursionswill appeal to families and couples alike.Chen Sea Resort & Spa, Phu QuocLa Veranda Resort and Spa, Phu QuocPhu Quoc IslandShrimp drying in Phu QuocSix Senses Con Dao, Con Son IslandMending fishing nets, Phu Quoc
kilometres of secret underground passages usedby the Viet Cong during the conflict with America,and tucked in the suburbs.INTERCONTINENTALASIANA,SAIGONInterContinental Asiana Saigon offers luxuryaccommodation with 305 beautiful rooms andsuites, and a Club Lounge with unparalleled 360-degree views of the downtown area. Every roomfeatures pillow-top bedding and floor-to-ceilingwindows, making it an inviting space for a trulyrelaxing stay. The city's most stylish hotel offers avariety of dining options, an innovative cocktailbar, an exclusive spa and health club, and a luxuryboutique arcade. A superb option for those insearch of refinement, good hospitality and facilitieswithout a high price tag.SaigonThis vivacious city was the original 'Pearl of theOrient'. Along the old Rue Catinat and in thesurrounding boulevards stand relics of empire andrevolution: Notre Dame Cathedral, the OperaHouse, the Post Office and the ReunificationPalace. The city continues to undergo rapidchange, with new skyscrapers, lively bars and abooming economy all under the watchful gaze of'Uncle Ho', whose statue stands proud outsidethe old Hotel De Ville. There is still plenty of localcharm: soup sellers ring their chimes to signify afreshly made lunch, fortune-tellers read palms andincense drifts from busy temples. The choice ofrestaurants is outstanding and this is a greatshopping city: classy boutiques sell lacquerware,silk and modern art. Nearby are the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of over 25020Selling vegetables at market, SaigonInterContinental Asiana, SaigonTran Hung Dao boulevard, Saigon21st century SaigonGOLDENCENTRALHOTEL,SAIGONGolden Central Hotel is located in the Ben Thanhmarket area and for a smart, boutique hotel itoffers good value for money. The 120 rooms aretastefully designed and all benefit from largewindows, which cannot always be found in someof the smaller, cheaper hotels. There is an airyrestaurant and bar on the top floor that providespanoramic views of the city. The Golden also hasa small rooftop pool to provide welcome relieffrom Saigon's balmy weather.