I returned home to Vietnam last week with a new status. In a matter of days, I went from "empty nester" to "tag-along" wife.
Mr. H travels frequently for work. I rarely had the chance to join him over the years with children at home but my new found freedom has put a new spin on life. I have been scrutinising his itinerary these past few days..looking for travel opportunities and found a few.
My promise to Mr. H is to travel sight unseen..business is business. He has his agenda and I have mine. Unfortunately, my first trip out of the gate did not go as planned.
Last week, I joined the tail end of his business trip to explore the new InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort in Danang, Vietnam. It has been on my hit list ever since I wrote about it here.
It was a one hour flight from Saigon...easy. I was told to look for a driver holding a sign who would escort me to the resort... I thought it would be easy.
I arrived to flurry of signs but none bearing my name or the name of the hotel. One woman was convinced I was a Mrs. Neil...and that I was unaware of the fact. I passed. I did spot one sign in the distance, scratched on a piece of paper which simply said "Jeanne". I thought it was odd that it did not have my last name but..I have learned, when in Vietnam, you go with the flow. I approached the man holding the sign, said I was "Jeanne" and asked if he was going to the InterContinental resort..he nodded and said "Yes". He then lead me to the curbside to wait while he brought around the car. While he did, I sent Mr. H a text to say I found my driver, was not certain where I would end up but was hoping for the best.
The car arrived...
Now..this is when some people might have thought it strange that a luxury resort like the InterContinental would send a banged up car in need of repair to transport guests. I guess I am not like most people. But to be safe, I asked again if he was going to the InterContinental resort and he nodded, saying "Yes". I had no reason to doubt him...he was emphatic.
The lack of seat belts was a concern but I persevered. We sped off at lightening speed with the horn blasting away at every possible intrusion. Ten minutes into the ride we took a hard turn around a corner and as we did..my door went flying past me. I grabbed it, closed it again and asked one more time if we were going to the InterContinental resort..he said "yes". Another ten minutes and the drivers phone rang..he answered and then passed it to me. His manager was on the line, wanting to know my destination..I said the InterContinental resort..there was silence and then several questions which I did not understand. We both hung up. I had a bad feeling.
|On the road to the InterContinental with the Goddess of Mercy statue in the distance.|
Within a few minutes Mr. H's PA, Quynh, called me. She was waiting at the hotel for me to check in and wondered if something happened. By this point, I knew something was amiss and passed my phone to the driver. The tone of his voice spoke volumes. He passed back the phone and Quynh told me I was in the wrong car. The driver did not speak English and was transporting me to a hotel in the opposite direction of where I wanted to be. There was another "Jeanne" waiting at the airport.
He pulled over, the phone went back and forth between myself and the driver for what seemed an eternity. Once the phone banter was over, he got out, hailed a cab and quickly transferred me and my luggage into the cab before driving off with horn blazing.
I looked at the cab driver, he looked at me. I said 'InterContinental?" He said "yes". Quynh suggested she speak to him on the phone to confirm, I thought it was a great idea. In the end, my thirty minute drive from the airport to the resort took two hours. By the time I arrived, everyone knew about it..a flurry of apologies ensued. I never did find out what happened to the hotel driver..I was just glad to be there.
As for the InterContinental...it did not disappoint, even in the midst of monsoon like winds which howled through our room on my first night.
The next morning...I wandered up and over, in and around the hotel and was captivated by it's mystical charm. Bad weather aside, I knew that when the sun shined and the winds softened, it would be a wonderful spot to spend a few days. I am forever the optimist..and felt it here. Especially after spending a few hours in the spa..which was worth every minute!
The hotel is set in the Son Tra Peninsula, a secluded haven along the foreshore of the South China Sea in Danang. They say the famed architect Bill Bensley "has woven his magic" throughout every space into a place "Where Myth Meets Luxury". It is clear that he has done just that. I have never experience anything like it..where "traditional Vietnamese design meets modern architectural flair".
What fascinated me most were the statues of monkeys at ever turn. They are everywhere...and I mean everywhere. They appear to honour the rare red face monkeys that live in the lush national park that surrounds the resort. I was told that if you awake early in the morning, you might seem them in the trees. No surprise that this area is referred to as "mythical Monkey Mountain".
There are many design features in this resort that are truly unforgettable...the colours used throughout are wild and imaginative. Alice in Wonderland meets Versace was one of my passing thoughts.
My photos do not capture the magic of this resort. To fully appreciate it, you need to view the video.
I am hoping for one more try this week..to Hong Kong.
It is familiar territory..I have a good feeling about this one.
Wish me luck!
Thinking of travelling to Danang?
If so, be sure to visit Hoi An.
My past travels to Hoi An...