This resort spreads itself across Ninh Van Bay, a private cove accessible only by boat in an undeveloped area on the Vietnamese coast. Arriving there is like discovering your own private island, with white sandy beaches and clear blue waters set against a mountainous backdrop of tropical trees and vegetation.
Most new construction in Vietnam is done without regard for local architecture or indeed the environment. Here, the owners have stuck to their belief in simplicity and sustainable development by being sympathetic to both, without compromising comfort. The design is very much contemporary but the inspiration behind reflects traditional Vietnamese elements and local craftsmen’s knowledge of centuries-old building techniques and appropriate materials.
As with most Southeast Asian vernacular building traditions, structures rely heavily on the use of timbers, natural woven materials and bamboo. Wood is everywhere, from the vast pillars and beams in the traditional dinh (community) style house, to the wooden floors and the deep wooden bathtubs. Old timbers were sourced from around the country, including Vietnamese muong and teak from old houses which were dismantled and then reassembled. Local sustainable woods were used in the various pavilions housing the library, bar, dining room and spa as well as the rustic furniture, which was designed and built on site.
In the simple beach villa bedrooms, mosquito nets are hung from a bamboo frame, while louvered doors slides open to private pools. The unbleached cotton hand- embroided curtains provide additional shade and privacy.
The bathroom used by guests next to the swimming pool has a truly ecological feel, with everything built out of natural products nestled among the rocks and trees. The floor has been constructed using coloured concrete and sand and is dotted with wooden stepping stones.
Almost all of the essential elements of tropical living are here. Some of these elements are dictated by climate, such as the high roofs and deep eaves to cope with the heavy monsoon rains. Other elements are dictated by lifestyle, with large indoor and outdoor bathrooms, privately situated in their own gardens among coconut trees and a profusion of tropical plants. Water, another key element, forms an integral part of the landscape, appearing in imaginative plunge pools set into the rocks and hillside, and from a stream that meanders down the mountain and into the spa.