Wish We Were Here: Amanoi

(All photos courtesy of Amanresorts)
Have you guys seen this totally brilliant Safeco Insurance commercial, in which a couple of old fuddy-duddy parents express a complete lack of understanding over their daughter's honeymoon plans? Well, I lived it. When my husband and I announced our intention to travel throughout Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand for our own honeymoon this past March, my family offered the following: "Why are you going there?"; "What made you choose there?"; and "Do you know I spent my whole young-adult life avoiding going over there?" If only the new Amanoi hotel were around when I broke the news.


Amanoi sits on a pristine stretch of wilderness in Nui Chua National Park. Upon arrival in the Central Pavilion—which was inspired by a traditional Vietnamese communal hall—you're greeted with a view of the forest to rival anything you've ever seen, and the discreet decor puts the focus right where it should be: on the trees, the mountains, and the cerulean waters of Vinh Hy Bay and the East Sea.


Just beyond the reception area, a contemporary-looking glass box houses the hotel's restaurant, which balances the old and the new to stunning effect. Blond-oak furnishings and sleek metal urns counter raw-silk screens and Vietnamese antiques such as blue-and-white porcelain vases. Next door, a concrete counter lined with glowing buffet lamps, cozy leather armchairs in place of stools, and wall art by Vietnamese painters steal the show at the hotel's bar—a modern take on local tea houses.


The vibe is even more serene in the 31 guest pavillions and five villas, with their sloping gray-tiled roofs that blend into the canopy. You can see evidence of the authentic flourishes that are found in local homes throughout the region, including latticed windows, bamboo shades, and rattan wardrobes. Cement floors are inlaid with teak-like Balau wood, which adds warmth to the utilitarian surface. And lotus flowers are everywhere, from the painted-plaster panels above the beds to the lake that borders the hotel's spa. The only question that seems appropriate amid all of this stylish beauty is "Why wouldn't you come here?!"

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