Think of a beach holiday in Vietnam and thoughts may immediately go to Da Nang: once considered up-and-coming, the coastal city has in recent years become somewhat of a staple on the Southeast Asia tourist circuit, with more than 17,700 visitors from Hong Kong in 2018 alone.
With Da Nang no longer the hidden gem it once was, discerning travellers are catching wind of up-and-coming regions in Vietnam that are still relatively under the radar, from the beautiful island of Phu Quoc to the fast-developing Cam Ranh peninsula, which is slated to explode with hospitality developments within the next 5–10 years. For now, the area is still sparsely populated with just a handful of upscale resort operators, which makes a trip to one of its most luxurious retreats — the Fusion Resort Cam Ranh — all that much more special.
Located on a prime stretch of beach on the shores of southern Vietnam, the Fusion Resort Cam Ranh stretches out lazily across 14 hectares, which makes it feel simultaneously more expansive and more private than its sister property in Da Nang (one that we’ve already given our stamp of approval).
Propped up on a 28-metre-high sand dune overlooking the ocean, the strategic layout of guest rooms allows for panoramic sea views from a majority of the open-plan suites. The best part? The resort is just an 8-minute car ride away from Cam Ranh International Airport, a shiny new terminal which debuted in 2018 with two direct flights to Hong Kong per week, making this beautiful beachfront destination just a hop, skip and a short plane ride away.
Rooms feel like your own private oasis, with your own swimming pool and hammock, indoor and outdoor lounges with comfy chaises, and a full suite of high-end amenities. My garden pool villa had a massive bathroom with double vanities, rainforest shower and a stylish floating bathtub (although I was much too preoccupied with the private pool to get around to a soak in the tub).
Rooms are done in an earthy colour palette of light blue complemented by dark woods and stone, lending a seamless vibe to the indoor and outdoor spaces. A large-screen swivel TV, mini bar, and luxuriously fitted king bed round out the palatial amenities of the room. In addition, service has a distinct personal feel: I arrived to the suite with the words “Welcome Home” spelled in leaves on the bed and two towels shaped like bunnies in a touch of cruise ship-like hospitality.
Fusion Resorts’ USP is its all-inclusive spa concept — the resort being one of the first hospitality brands in Asia to offer complimentary spa included in room rates. Guests are guaranteed two spa treatments per day, but it’s usually easy to squeeze in a few extra sessions depending on availability — just check with the reception desk at the time of your booking. Fusion’s unique spa and wellness concept encompasses more than 30 treatments, from healing massages to body scrubs, mani/pedi, facials and detoxifying wraps.
The pink salt stone massage was the perfect way to decompress after my flight on the first day; over the course of the weekend, I popped back into the spa several times to enjoy a facial, foot massage, and bare foot healing massage (the last admittedly a bit too intense with the therapist’s feet pressing on my back). The spa therapists were all professional, skilful and expertly trained in the various treatments — quite impressive given the army of masseuses and manicurists needed to fill all the appointments throughout the day.
Although the spa lobby was constantly busy, the scheduling flowed seamlessly, with services starting and ending promptly on time, each treatment prefaced with a refreshing glass of iced ginger tea. The Fusion spa programme also tries to utilise 100% local ingredients wherever possible, such as in the 30-minute Vietnamese coffee scrub, an intoxicating session with the fragrance of java providing a heavenly aroma while the therapist gently scrubs and nourishes your skin.
To further refresh the mind and body, Fusion offers a schedule of wellness programmes for guests throughout the week, including yoga, tai chi and qi gong, aerial trapeze and yoga (you can also book in with the resident yoga instructor for a 1-on-1 morning session at the pavilion). Alternating between yoga sessions, spa treatments and walks on the beach, I found it easy to slip quickly into a blissful state of mind, punctuated by long naps pool-side while soaking up the sun.
A unique aspect of the guest experience is the ‘Fusionistas’ — local insiders who are on-hand to answer any questions, help arrange bespoke experiences, and offer insights and recommendations for what to see in the area. With limited attractions and the closest town of Nha Trang a 40-minute drive away, however, you may be tempted like me to spend the duration of your weekend within the resort, taking full advantage of the free spa.
Food & drink
Fusion’s other point of differentiation is its “breakfast anywhere, anytime” concept, which is great for those who find it hard to wake up in the mornings before they clear the breakfast buffet. The flexible arrangement allows you to take your breakfast from the comfort of your own villa, at the pool or on the beach; whether first thing in the morning at 6am or a lazy 1pm brunch following a refreshing morning swim. Traditional Vietnamese breakfasts such as savoury beef pho and banh thit heo are also conducive to all-day dining, making this flexible concept well suited to the Fusion Resorts.
During our two-day stay, we enjoyed a gourmet buffet breakfast at all-day restaurant Fresh, featuring a wide spread of local and international dishes, breads, cold cuts, cheeses, pastries and fresh fruits; a pool-side lunch at Breeze (also a great place to park yourself for a 3pm cocktail); and drinks and wood-fired pizza at ocean-facing Zen Bar. While the local fare was excellent, we found the resort’s health food offerings a bit lacking in choice and creativity, aside from a few salads and grain bowls — somewhat of a missed opportunity for a resort meant to be built upon a holistic, wellness platform (although the hotel’s General Manager did mention to us that overhauling the food programme is one of the next major initiatives for the resort).
With room rates starting from as low as HK$2,200 per night, the Fusion Resort Cam Ranh delivers exceptional value-for-money, considering two spa treatments could easily cost you the same amount at other luxury five-star beach resorts. With unlimited spa treatments, yoga and meditation by the beach, breakfast anytime, indulgent in-villa dining, the ocean at your feet and two palm-fringed swimming pools to wade around in, we can’t think of a better option for a relaxing and revitalising beach holiday accessible within a few hours’ flight of Hong Kong.
The Fusion Resort Cam Ranh has also recently launched The Hideaway, a “resort-within-a-resort” concept comprised of one-bedroom private pool villas situated away from the main resort, where guests can enjoy a distraction-free holiday. The Hideaway includes its own restaurant, gym, spa and tennis courts, and is worth looking into if you’re seeking an added level of exclusivity and privacy.
Room rates starting from HK$2,200 per night; visit camranh.fusionresorts.com to book.