Inside the Mia Resort and Residences Nha Trang
California’s Pacific coast Highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The Amalfi Coast Drive that hugs Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula. Australia’s Great Ocean Road that runs between Torquay and Allensford in Victoria. These great scenic drives all have one thing in common – stunning coastal views that make it hard to focus on the road. The joy of these passages is the journey, rather than the destination. But what if the journey and the destination were one in the same?
No matter how many times I make the drive from the Cam Ranh Airport into Nha Trang proper, I never fail to gasp the first time the ocean comes into view, the water below a glittering blue green, the white surf meeting golden sand, the islands beckoning.
Today, though, my journey becomes my destination in the form of Mia Resort Nha Trang, a stunning property set on the cliffs of Cam Ranh Bay, just 25 minutes to Nha Trang’s nightlife and dining, but tucked away in its own little corner of paradise, truly a world away.
Most striking looking down at the villas set in the private bay 40 meters below is how they merge into the landscape. Where buzz words like “eco-friendly” and “green” are more often than not synonymous with “rough” and “unsightly,” here the 50 luxury rooms and villas are designed to enhance their surroundings, appointing Mother Nature as lead designer. Each condo, villa and suite is carpeted with a natural grass roof which is not only aesthetically pleasing but has cooling benefits. Excavated beach rocks find new life as feature walls and in the attractive breakwater recalling the scenic New England coast. Looking up from the private beach first onto blade- perfect lawns which would be welcome at Wimbledon or Augusta, then to lush coconut palms and frangipani plants all set against soaring jungle hillsides, the scene is more reminiscent of Maui or Kauai than Vietnam.
While complimentary shuttles head into Nha Trang three times a day, guests are hard pressed to find a reason to leave the resort. The serene environment of Xanh Spa offers a wide variety of wraps, massages and treatments from the traditional to the innovative, like the mineral sea salt facial, caviar firming eye treatment and mango anti-oxidant wrap. Low impact activities in keeping with the nature theme along the lines of ocean kayaking and paddle boarding or scuba diving trials in the infinity pool lead guests to water while complimentary tai chi, yoga and Vietnamese lessons keep them on land. Generous happy hours at Mojito’s Bar and Restaurant with its sweeping 180° degree views of the bay or down at the beachside, family-friendly Sandals Restaurant keeps everyone happy all of the time.
A Vietnamese-only menu reminds guests that they are actually in Vietnam (and not Hawaii), serving up classics such as braised fish in clay pot and a tapas platter of deep fried spring rolls, fresh spring rolls, minced beef wrapped in vine leaves and marinated chicken with lemon leaf. A second menu featuring international classics accommodates discerning palates the world over, with offerings ranging from the signature starter of seared tuna sashimi accompanied by wasabi mayo to the pork burger which takes three days to prepare: a day spent marinating in a sugary brine, then oven roasted, then braised for three hours in a master stock of soya sauce, orange peel, cinnamon and Chinese wine before being pressed to render out most of the fat, leaving soul- satisfying meaty BBQ flavors.
Under the watchful eye of Chef Emile Fortuin (Cape Town, South Africa), the kitchen turns out cutting-edge cuisine. “We’re different. Way different,” says Chef Emile. “What we’re doing now is so much more intense that I’d bet my life no one else in Nha Trang is doing it. We’re in a phase where we’re manipulating ingredients. We experiment every day to get ourselves to the next level.” Rotating Asian-Fusion menus supplement the regular offerings, but it’s in the weekly Chef’s Menu where Chef Emile lets his creative juices flow on a gourmet version of a Master Chef Mystery Box. This week, the secret ingredient is Vietnamese coffee and chocolate, incorporated into a starter of goat cheese mousse served with caramelized beet root with a coffee and pineapple dressing, followed by an entrée of sea bass with chorizo, olives and tomatoes served with bitter chocolate and coffee pasta. The meal ends sweetly with a triple chocolate Vietnamese coffee tart with candied orange, vanilla ice cream and a coffee and orange reduction. “The guests are paying attention,” says Chef Emile with a smile.
Doubles start from USD200 and includes a gorgeous buffet breakfast including as many smoothies and LavAzza cappuccinos and macchiatos as you can drink. See www.mianhatrang.com
For those not content to limit their holidays to a week in paradise, the stunning Residences at Mia Nha Trang are set to open in mid-2015. Twelve exclusive, fully furnished five-bedroom villas, each on 1,200 sqm of land with 36 meters of beach frontage, are being built adjacent to the resort with the same style of rooftop gardens, stone walls and open design concept promoting cool breezes, and naturally, sweeping views of the East Sea below. The resort community will be home to a brand new restaurant, swimming pool (in addition to each villa’s private pool) and tennis court, as well as being able to enjoy all the facilities of Mia Resort.
With almost 40 projects in the works along the coastal road from the airport towards Nha Trang, Cam Ranh is primed to become one of the hottest luxury destinations in Vietnam in the next few years. The Residences at Mia Nha Trang will be one of the first of those to open, making it an ideal early investment opportunity to own one of Nha Trang’s best addresses, your very own slice of paradise for a cool USD1.5 million. Visit www.miaresidencenhatrang.com for a full listing of the extensive privileges that come with ownership and to view the range of floor plan designs available.