In January 2017, I had the opportunity to review the Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort in Danang, Vietnam. The Intercontinental Danang is located near the back of the Son Tra Peninsula, which is also known as Monkey Mountain. It is a 30 minutes’ drive away from downtown Danang and the Danang International Airport. Danang is located along the coast in Central Vietnam.
The entrance to the resort is near the top of the Son Tra peninsula. The resort sits on 39 hectares of land on the peninsula, from the high entrance point all the way to a 700 meter stretch of private beach on a bay. The sprawling resort uses the sloping terrain to incorporate the buildings around 4 levels – Heaven, Sky, Earth and Sea. The resort is surrounded by lush forests which are nicely preserved and incorporated to create a forest by the beach design.
As I entered the resort, I passed the conference center area called The Summit which also houses the cinema. The check in building was located shortly after the conference center. The attendants took my luggage and ushered me to the check in counters, where I was served a welcome drink and hot towel. At the back of the check in area was a terrace offering a great overall view of the majestic resort and the beautiful beach. The check in building also houses the concierge area which is located one floor below. Next to the concierge area is the teen center, Project VN, which has a pool table, some video games and board games. There is also a small gift shop here selling some local craft products and souvenirs.
Neat cobblestone paths lead the way from the check in area all the way through the different levels of the resort until the Sea level. There were various lookout points to admire the gorgeous views on the winding road down the levels of the resort, as well as many monkey statues in various poses to pay homage to the original residents of the peninsula.
Guests are taken to their rooms and suites by golf cart which was a nice touch. All the regular rooms and suites are housed in the bungalows lining the various levels. The colour schemes of the building, (white walls and black wooden pillars), and the design, are inspired by Vietnamese temples. Great attention was paid to the details of the design, from ornate carvings of dragon, elephant, lion and lotus flower motifs to the layout of bricks in the rooms. The landscaping of the resort also seamlessly complimented the design of the resort. I was told that there were 300 gardeners employed just for landscaping maintenance!
Soon, I reached my terrace suite on the Sky level. The room opened to a triangular shaped partition space with a study table behind the bed, and storage areas along the walls. The bathroom and shower room were separately located on the left after the entrance. The shower room featured two sinks, a circular shaped tub and a nice shower area with an overhead rain shower. The bathroom amenities were from HARNN, a luxury Asian brand. Interestingly, the bathroom also placed 2 amenity kits next to the sinks. These amenity kits were similar to premium travel airline amenity kits, complete with essential toiletries like a dental kit, comb, and even eyeshades.
At the back of the room was the king bed and television. A sliding door opened to the huge terrace which had some lounge seats, a high table and offered great views of the ocean and the soothing sound of the waves. Inside the room, there was also an aroma diffuser, creating a pleasant relaxing ambience.
After settling in, I requested for a buggy service to head to the Sea level. As the resort was very spread out, guests have to call the operator to send a buggy to get around. This generally took about a 10 minutes wait. Soon, the buggy arrived, and I headed down to the Sea level. On the way, I passed by La Maison 1888, the on-site French restaurant housed in an elegant French styled mansion. The award winning restaurant was run by Pierre Gagnaire, a 3 star Michelin chef. The restaurant offers fine French dining, with private dining options available in the various themed rooms. The mansion also hosts Buffalo bar as a separate drinking area.
Sea Level Beach & Pool
Sea level was a long stretch by the beach and houses various facilities. The Barefoot restaurant was located at the left of the entrance of the Sea level, and overlooks the sand and the beach. The restaurant offers casual dining with various live seafood options. At the right of the entrance was the resort pool which was heated. Next to this pool was the HARNN spa and the renowned French pedi:meni:cure studio by Bastien Gonzalez.
The 700 meter stretch of private beach was further back, and features beach chairs with umbrellas to lounge in. Unfortunately, the period in which I visited was at the tail end of the rainy season, so the water was a bit choppy. I was told that during the summer, the water here is calm and has great waves, as it is sheltered by the bay of the Son Tra peninsula.
Bar & Play Area
To the right side of the Sea level was the L_o_n_g bar, which, as its name suggests, was a bar with long tables running the length of the dining area. The bar serves a variety of drinks and signature monkey cocktails which were very delicious. At the side of the bar, there was a kids club, Planet Trekkers, where I saw a few kids playing happily with the nannies. Families who come to the resort can send their young children here as a complimentary service while the parents get some time alone. Opposite this area was a decently size gym with a good mix of equipment and weights. On top of the L_o_n_g bar was the L_o_n_g pool. This pool was an infinity pool, and was much bigger than the resort pool, but it was not heated. There were also lounging chairs here, and even cabanas!
At the far right end of the beach, there were a few large villas ranging from 1 to 3 bedrooms. The villas were slightly further from the resort, but offer more luxurious services such as a butler, a chauffeur, a chef as well as facilities such as private pools. For those who want to be nearer to the facilities, there were also other smaller villas and penthouse options nearer to the pool area. During my stay, I also had the opportunity to visit the penthouse and a one bedroom seaside villa. These rooms were beautifully decorated and suitable for those who desire a larger space.
Another interesting feature of this resort was the cable car system called the Nam Tram, which goes from the bottom of the resort at the Sea level to all the various other levels. The tram was staffed by attendants 24 hours a day. I took the tram back up to the Heaven level. The waiting area at the Heaven level was located in between the check in building and another building housing Citron, the main restaurant where the breakfast buffet was served. The breakfast buffet spread was quite extensive, with various pastries, cold cuts, Asian and Western main courses and pastries available. Fresh egg omelettes and noodles could also be ordered from the counters. At the edge of the restaurant, there were a few balcony seats set on an inverted cone shaped pod. These round tables offered a great view of the resort and ocean, on top of an al fresco dining experience.
There was another separate building connected to the end of Citron. This was the Club Lounge of the resort, and it was a small rotunda building by itself. There was both indoor and outdoor seating, but the outdoor seatings were largely unavailable during my stay there as the weather was a bit wet. The lounge was more intimate and had three meal services a day – breakfast, afternoon tea as well as evening cocktails and canapes. I had the afternoon tea service one day and was offered a good combination of Asian and western food. Tea and coffee were also available. In the evenings, the cocktail reception had a good variety of wine, hard liquor, beer and bubbly drinks – champagne, and even blanc de blancs! There was also a small buffet with finger food, on top of the selection of hot canapes served.
One thing that really stood out during my stay here was the hospitality and warmth that was given by the staff. All the waiters and waitresses were very attentive and friendly when they were serving, and often engaged the guests to seek feedback or offer suggestions. Many of the staff were happy to mention that the resort had won many awards. I think that the staffs’ great attitude definitely played an important role in winning the awards as well!
Other facilities that were available in the resort that I saw but did not manage to use were the differently themed karaoke rooms located one storey below Citron restaurant as well as the few retail shops at the Heritage Village. The resort also has daily activities for guests of the resort such as yoga, tai chi, cooking classes, craft classes, movies and karaoke. There was also a daily trekking trip to explore the flora and fauna of the Son Tra nature reserve. I did however, use their complimentary shuttle bus from the resort to Danang city and Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage City about 30 minutes away from Danang. The shuttle bus takes 2 trips a day, which provides ample time to do a day trip to Hoi An.
At the end of my stay, I left this resort with a heavy heart. For those traveling to other domestic destinations in Vietnam, there was still one last chance to experience the resort, albeit partly, as the resort actually has a special Intercontinental Danang lounge at the domestic terminal at Danang Airport. This lounge also serves as an arrival lounge for those who would like to relax and refresh upon arrival at the airport before heading to the resort. Unfortunately, I was taking an international flight, and did not manage to enjoy this lounge.
The Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula had completely exceeded my expectations with their superb setting, facilities and service. The hospitality level that the resort provides is world class, and they definitely deserve their 3 consecutive World’s Leading Luxury Resort award by the World Travel Awards (WTA). I wholeheartedly recommend this resort, and will definitely love to return to the resort in the future!
Disclosure: Most of our property, service & product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced by any sponsor.