When Four Seasons took over the iconic Nam Hai property in 2016, they transformed the resort into a tranquil and elegant spa sanctuary that reigns supreme on the Vietnamese coast. If the most pristine beach in the country and palm-fringed infinity pools that appear to pour into the sea don’t take your breath away, the attentive service definitely will. Founder of Compare Retreats, Dervla Louli, checked into one of the 100 villas to experience the ‘Art of Mindfulness’ retreat complete with sound healing, meditation, pampering and healthy cooking classes.
The Nam Hai’s seaside location 30-minutes from Da Nang airport, between three UNESCO World Heritage sites (Hue, My Son and Hoi An), makes it the ideal spot for exploring the central Vietnamese coastline. Must-see historic Hoi An is a mere 12-minutes away on the multiple shuttles offered daily, and a kaleidoscope of lanterns light up the streets in a picture-perfect nightly ritual. The South China Sea is idyllic for adventurous open-water swimming, a playground for active guests indulging in watersport activities and also offers a welcome breeze for sunbathing guests.
Three swimming pools (including an Olympic-sized one reserved for 14-years-plus), spa, cooking school, yoga sala, tennis, badminton, squash and basketball courts, kids club, fitness and watersport centres, beach and two stunning restaurants flank the pagoda-style villas fanned around the resort.
The range of things to see and do is enormous, and there is something for everyone on site. The view from the lobby offers an idyllic view of the infinity pools, manicured lawns, grey-stone architecture and the crimson blue South China Sea. The grounds are tended to daily by a dedicated centurion of gardeners who keep the varieties of palms perfectly in place. Sunrise and sunset are spectacular, and the 6pm nightly spa ritual invites guests to partake in a serene moment of lantern-lit reflection.
The villa-only resort has luxe and large accommodation with outdoor areas and showers overlooking gardens or the beach. Raised central platforms pay homage to traditional Vietnamese homes with sunken bathtubs, desks, raised beds and silken drapes that envelope you at night. Standard rooms are stunning, but the pool villas were my favourite, especially the five-bedroom compound options that are ideal for groups.
Healthy Local Dining
Vietnamese cuisine is my favourite in the world, and the Nam Hai is a hot spot for enthusiastic foodies. The ‘Art of Mindfulness’ Retreat includes a healthy cooking class supported by the on-site herb and vegetable farm. Vietnamese cuisine is one of the healthiest in Asia and learning how to cook delicious light Vietnamese dishes was a useful skill I brought back home.
Four Seasons Nam Hai has two large restaurants that offer up a wide array of culinary delights, while the buffet breakfast is extensive with health-conscious fruit, salad, clean protein and carb options. Being a Four Seasons property means that everything is available, and personalisation is always possible. Gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free options are available, but the five-star spa resort offers indulgent options too—perfect if you’re travelling with the less wellness inclined. I enjoyed fresh fish, herb-filled local salads, light spicy broths, BBQ meat, and incredible fruit daily alongside freshly cracked coconuts.
Vietnamese cuisine is one of the healthiest in Asia and learning how to cook delicious light Vietnamese dishes was a useful skill I brought back home.
Lá Sen serves up Vietnamese favourites such as pho, banh mi and banana flower salad, and chic Café Nam Hai has an open kitchen where chefs prepare a lá carte Eastern and Western options. Many guests opt to eat at their villas or on the beach where anything is possible from romantic candlelit beach dinners to larger celebrations.
Plastic-conscientious guests should ask upon arrival for all of the water they consume on-site to be from glass bottles.
Holistic Wellness Offerings
At the Four Seasons Nam Hai, I experienced the three-day ‘Art of Mindfulness’ programme which included a mix of relaxing spa therapies and activities:
‘Earth Song’ spa treatment
A private meditation class
A private yoga class
A Cooking Academy session
The impressive Heart of Earth Spa sits on a floral lagoon full of happy koi who greet guests alongside a glass Buddha on the terrace that overlooks six double and two single treatment villas. The spa menu is extensive, and a comprehensive daily menu of complimentary activities offers up physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing classes ranging from meditation and yoga to paddle boarding and lantern making. There’s something for everyone of all ages, including unique spa treatments and daily activities curated for kids making this a family-friendly spot.
The ‘Art of Mindfulness’ retreat includes the signature Nam Hai Earth Song treatment featuring a herbal scrub, floral bath, deep pressure massage and sound bath. The treatment is 150 minutes long and left me profoundly relaxed and ready to fall into a deep sleep.
The design, treatments and wellness offerings here are based upon the teachings from the book Love Letter to the Earth by Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh; crystal singing bowls tuned to nature’s frequency accompany all treatments and rituals.
I also enjoyed zen yoga and meditation classes in the 1,400-square foot yoga sala while promising myself to try Anti-Gravity yoga, tennis, basketball and watersports on offer on my next trip.
I felt pampered, spoiled and educated when I boarded the plane home. The service and facilities here are phenomenal, and the ‘Art of Mindfulness’ retreat is beautifully programmed. Just a short flight from Hong Kong, it’s ideal for a quick break on a long weekend.
What we loved
Sound healing is picking up momentum globally, and the Nam Hai has incorporated the world’s best crystal bowls into the vast array of wellness treatments and activities on site. This wellness practise is hugely accessible and perfect for guests at every stage of their wellness journey as you lie down as singing bowls that emit positive frequencies are played by a practitioner.
Our Insider Tip
The hilltop pool villa or beach villas are the rooms to book where you can retreat to your private sanctuary and eat in your room when the buffet proves too tempting.