Monkeys, massages and the monochrome tiled floors of your dreams...
Feeling the Vietnamese heat on your face as you take in the impressive beach views from your private balcony while sharing a tropical fruit platter with a family of rare red-shanked douc monkeys. Just another day on Monkey Mountain.
It’s no wonder that the Instagram crowd is heading to Danang.
The InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort may sound like your average luxury stay and some might even say that it sounds like a cultural cop out, but for the sake of your social media feeds, don’t be fooled.
‘The luxury monkey hotel’ as it is often referred to, is built into the lush hillside of Monkey Mountain in the heart of Son Tra Peninsula Nature Reserve, Danang City – mixing wildlife, sheer luxury and the very best of aesthetic backdrops.
Welcome to Vietnam’s most Instagrammable hotel.
The first thing that hits you as you enter the Danang resort is the striking decor, with a bold black, white and yellow colour scheme, enough patterned floors to make any Instagrammer cry and brass monkeys wearing Vietnamese Non-la hats guarding every door.
The retreat is vast, but thanks to its natural surroundings and architect Ben Bensley, it doesn’t feel like a resort at all – with the spacious retreat spread over a forested slope on four levels – Heaven, Sky, Earth and Sea – linked by a luxury boat-style cable car.
From the interiors to the menu, the whole resort is a celebration of its surroundings, with a prominent monkey theme throughout and a strong French and Chinese influence – a nod to the area’s colonial history.
And in case we haven’t mentioned it already – it’s Instagrammable AF.
You might find it hard to leave your room – at least this writer did. Dark wooden floors, monochrome décor and a bed so soft that it can heal any amount of jet lag.
Nothing however will seem as appealing as soaking in your freestanding stone tub, complete with healing bath salts and a coconut bath spoon, while watching red-shanked doucs playing on your personal wooden balcony.
Speaking of those red-shanked doucs though, don’t underestimate them. You will be warned about leaving your window open as you’re given your room tour – and for good reason. They can not only find your mini fridge but also know how to open it – something this writer can testify for – but it really is all part of the experience.
The Harnn heritage spa is one of the resort’s chief selling points, inspired by the practice of traditional Asian medicine and naturopathy.
The luxury 90-minute rejuvenation massage treatments are homage to the healing wisdom passed down from ancestors, available in a series of treatment villa pods along the waterfront of the resort’s private lagoon.
Also on site is a pedi:mani:cure studio by the world’s most sought after pedicurist, Bastien Gonzalez, mixing podiatry, nail care and massage therapy, focusing on buffing the nail rather than painting it. If you’re after a painted manicure this is not for you, but if you want your nails restored to their natural shine, it’s worth a visit.
Citron is the resort’s go-to for Vietnamese breakfast, lunch and dinner – make sure you spend a morning on the leafy balcony with a Vietnamese coffee – there’s ice and condensed milk involved! But beware of the pesky monkeys that will definitely pay you a visit.
For romance purposes though, head to the barefoot restaurant on ocean level and enjoy fresh seafood under a thatched alang alang roof. Or if you want to do things properly and eat at the barefoot restaurant barefoot, go down at night and eat lobster on the sand by torchlight. It’s pretty spectacular.
The resort’s pride and joy however is La Maison 1888 – which as you’ve probably gathered from the name, is more French than Vietnamese – another nod to the colonial history.
Currently overseen by three-Michelin starred chef, Pierre Gagnaire, the menu features everything from scallops and frog (cooked every way) to pineapple ravioli and olive and caper vodka jelly – although that last one might have been a step too far.
But even if you’re not a foodie, It’s worth a visit for Instagram purposes alone, with each room in the Maison dedicated to a french family member. Make sure you go to Le boudoir de madame for some real avant-garde interiors – we’re talking s&m whips and tassels.
WHERE TO SHOP
The best nearby shopping spot is Hội An – and while it’s a 45 minute drive away, it is well worth it – if only to tick a UNESCO World Heritage site off your bucket list.
The stunning ancient town is packed with wooden Chinese shophouses and temples, but make sure you spend some time browsing the street markets selling everything from incense and bamboo bath spoons to Pinterest-worthy woven basket bags.
But if you can’t to the ancient town, there’s a shopping village on site at the Peninsula Resort, selling everything from Vietnamese couture to high end souvenirs.
Double rooms at The InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort start from £478 per night. To book, visit http://www.danang.intercontinental.com/.