Located on the Son Tra Peninsula, it's a little further away from the main town around China Beach where the main festivities are. But, trust me, the 20-odd minute drive out is totally worth it.
Designed by renowned architect Bill Bensley (he's one of my favourite architects), the resort is fun, irreverent, and totally gorgeous. I've stayed in a few of the Asian resorts he's designed, and they're all stunning properties, in a same-but-different way. I don't know how he does it, but he manages to infuse his particular brand of bold, punchy designs and adapts it to the local culture and history of the land. So each resort is distinctive as a Bill Bensley creation, but also a reflection of its landscape, culture and heritage.
The Intercontinental is entirely self-contained, so you could, technically, spend your entire holiday in the resort, without ever going out to Danang town. There's multiple restaurants and bars in the resort, karaoke rooms, and an actual dance club and cinema!
The coolest diorama of a temple greets you at the reception.
The driveway into the reception.
One of the many sitting areas to enjoy the panorama. This one in the lobby was a really stunning introductory view to the resort.
The view from the lobby concierge.
If you don't like being holed up in a hotel room whilst on holiday, there's the Project VN Teen Centre, at the heaven level, 1 floor just below the concierge, to occupy your time. Notwithstanding its name, full-grown adults are welcome too.
There's a pool table, board games, and wii consoles to while the day away. Open daily from 6am to 10pm
The Library/business centre is designed like a Chinese pawnshop, how kitsch is that.
With a fair number of computers, in semi-private cubicles.
The coolest thing about the Intercontinental is the tram connecting all 4 levels of the resort: sea, earth, sky, and heaven. Shaped like a Vietnamese boat, it was So. Freaking. Cool.
I spent a lot of time riding the tram up and down all 4 levels. The Hubs asks how old I think I am, but I've got a thick enough skin. And besides, you're never too old to have fun, yes??
View from the sea level looking up
View from the top looking down. Should you prefer to walk around the resort, instead of taking the buggy, there's the stairs (in red next to the tram tracks) that traverses all 4 levels of the resort.
A short video of the tram coming up.
The Soar Gym, is pretty well-equipped, and open 24/7. If being stationary in a gym isn't your thing, there's a couple of tennis courts, near the entrance of the resort, open from 7am to 7pm daily, to whack some balls. Don't worry about equipment, they've rackets and balls for rent. If you prefer getting up close to nature, there's also a trekking trip, a 8-km trail in the nearby Son Tra Nature Reserve.
The yoga deck where you get to bliss out in lush greenery. The resort's huge, If being active isn't your cup of tea, there's crafts classes, to make hats, lanterns, or basket boats.
The resort has its own private beach, within the sheltered bay of the Son Tra Peninsula, but it may be easier to watch the kiddos at the Resort Garden Pool, which is heated at a constant temp of 28-30C for a comfortable dip. Opens from 6am to 7pm.
The L_o_n_g Pool, an infinity adults' only lap pool offers the best views of the East Sea. This is unfortunately, unheated, so it may get blue-lips-cold in the cooler months.
Jacuzzi functions are on the other side of the L_o_n_g Pool, with a view of the resort. Open daily from 6am to 7pm.
Da Nang isn't really big on spas or massages, unlike Bali or anywhere in Thailand. So spas in Danang town are few and far between, with many of whatever few there are offering a "happy ending". We stayed away from those and stayed within the resort for a pampering massage instead, at the Harnn Heritage Spa, an award-winning Thai-brand. This was the spa reception building, which also houses the beauty salon to treat your hair, and get a mani or pedi.
Up on the second floor is where you meet the spa reception staff to choose your spa treatments.
And get your welcome drinks.
Then we got buggied to the spa pavilions a short distance away, to the east of the resort where the villas are at.
The couples' spa room, ensuite to the full 4-pc bathroom to wash up.
After the massage, we were returned to the spa reception where you can pick up anything from the spa shop.
In addition to the 3 restaurants and 2 bars in the hotel, there's also the Sun Peninsula Club Lounge exclusively for guests staying in club rooms. So exclusive, in fact, that children below the age of 12 are not allowed in, to maintain the serene tranquillity of the lounge. Here's where we check in and out of the resort as well.
There's breakfast from 7am to 11am, afternoon tea from 2.30pm to 4.30pm; and evening cocktails from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Apart from these scheduled periods, there's complimentary drinks, fruits, and cookies 24/7. Note the smart casual dress code here as well. Full write-up here.
Citron is the main restaurant serving an international buffet at all times of the day. Popular seating are the booths of upside-down Vietnamese conical hats, so be sure to reserve those in advance. This was at the heaven level, and open from 6.30am to 10.30pm. Full writeup here.
The beachfront barefoot cafe, located at sea level, is the most casual dining concept in the hotel. Specialising in grilled seafood, this was a lovely breezy spot to grab lunch. Open 11am to 10.30pm.
The outdoor terrace, where we joined the general manager at a mixer on our first night in the Intercon.
Come night-fall, and the cafe spills out to a makeshift bazaar-like buffet, where you pick fresh seafood cooked ala minute and dine on the beach itself.
La Maison 1888 is the Intercon's fine-dining concept, and collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire. This was set like a french mansion, and at earth level. Open for dinners from 6.30pm to10.30pm.
Get those booths at the sides, they're most intimate and cosy.
The more sophisticated of the Intercontinental's 2 bars, the Buffalo Bar is annexed to La Maison. Specialising in cigars, exclusive whiskies, and rare vintages, the earth-level bar is open from the evenings at 5pm to 12midnight.
The outdoor patio of the Buffalo Bar, which is best to arrive just before sunset. Even at the earth level, the bar still offers a spectacular view.
Long Bar, near where the spa reception is at the sea level, whips up a mean cocktail. The chillax spot is right off the beach, and open in the day for when you feel like a tipple, or two, from 9am to late.
The driveway to the club rooms.
We stayed at the Club Intercontinenal Room Ocean View, a monochromatic space punctuated with Vietnamese styled geometric shapes and wood spindled windows ala traditional Vietnamese temples. Note the mirror above the bed; that was pretty conducive for "sexy-time".
The bathroom was spacious, and I liked the privacy the curtains to the toilet bowl afforded.
The oversized bathtub, and the open-concept shower next to it.
Harnn bath amenities.
The mini-bar is designed like a Vietnamese apothecary cabinet. All non-alcoholic drinks and beer are complimentary.
We spent a lot of time in the patio, having our lunches via room service, simply looking out to the expansive seascape.
The view from our terrace. Rates start at S$800.
Ok, so a couple of gripes: for one, pest management needed work. There were little flies here and there, which was mildly annoying, but then we found this hugeas$ bug in our room one night, despite the fact that we closed up the windows tight before we left. It freaked us out, even the husband who's our resident cockroach and lizard wrangler, and we had to get our butler to get it. The other gripe was that the balcony doors didn't close up tight. There was a noticeable gap even when the doors were in locked-position.
Another thing I love about Bill Bensley's hotels are that there's always plush seating everywhere. Like here.
And here off the main lobby.
Or here where the spa reception is.
And even here in Citron's toilets.
I thought this would have made a wonderful educational tool for kids. Just ask the staff in the barefoot cafe to show you around the herb garden.
Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort