Waterfront Luxury at the Ann Retreat Resort & Spa in Vietnam

When I was looking for a hotel for my birthday trip to Hoi An, Vietnam, I knew I wanted to stay somewhere a bit on the luxurious side—it was a special occasional after all—but I also wanted to take advantage of the lower prices in Vietnam. Thankfully, in Hoi An, luxury can come at a very small price. A Grand Deluxe Double room at the Ann Retreat Resort & Spa (formerly the Hoi An River Town Hotel) starts at around $60 per night, yet the hotel has all the hallmarks of a high-end boutique hotel.

Like all guests, my husband and I were welcomed with a cold towel, refreshing drink, and a tasty snack at check-in. Throughout our stay, staff went out of their way to make sure we had everything we needed, from taxis to extra towels and bottles of water. When my husband asked them to put balloons and a sign (which he’d brought) in the room on the morning of my birthday, they even took the extra step of sending a cake up to the room—not a gestured I’d expect from a hotel at this price point.

The 77-room hotel is located just a short walk (about ten minutes) from Hoi An’s Ancient Town. There’s a free shuttle bus that runs several times a day between the hotel and Ancient Town (and to An Bang Beach, about 15 minutes away by car). There are also free bikes for guest use, though we typically walked or, during the hottest hours of the day, took a taxi that cost about $3 for the short ride to the UNESCO World Heritage Ancient Town.

We’d sprung for a Grand Deluxe Double room, which was on the top floor of the hotel and offered beautiful views over the lushly landscaped hotel grounds (which were illuminated with brilliant brightly colored traditional lanterns at night) and the Thu Bon river below.

Our 365-square-foot (34 square metre) room had a cool tile floor, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that led to a private balcony, a comfortable queen-sized bed, and dark chocolate wood furnishings including a desk, chairs, end tables, and large closet.

There was a flat screen TV, in-room safe, mini-fridge stocked with fresh bottled water each day, air conditioning and a cooling ceiling fan, and blackout shades on the windows, making our room a cozy, cool respite from the steaming temperatures outside.

On-site, the hotel has a restaurant, bar, two pools, spa, and fitness center. It offers cooking classes, arranges private tours, and offers laundry services (a huge pile of our clothes cost about $15 to wash and fold). blank

On our first day, we arrived later in the evening so opted to have our first meal at the hotel restaurant, seated outside with a view of the lantern-illuminated grounds, and found the food fresh, tasty, and very reasonably priced. Throughout our stay we spent several afternoons at the pool drinking and snacking and things were equally delicious, but my favorite meal at the hotel was breakfast, a massive spread served from 6:30am to 10am that included everything from smoothies, waffles, and made-to-order eggs to congee, cao lầu, and spring rolls. While we never took advantage of it, the hotel also offers room service until midnight.

My other favorite activity: lounging by the pool gazing up at the hotel’s plantation-style facade. With two pools, neither was ever very busy, and the surrounding greenery made it feel like a quiet oasis away from the bustle of Hoi An. With excellent service, lovely rooms, and a convenient location, the Ann Retreat Resort & Spa is a fantastic value that doesn’t skimp on luxury touches.

If you go: Room rates start at around $60 per night. You can make your reservation directly with the hotel or at Booking.com 

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