Banyan Tree Lang Co

After opening at the start of 2013, Banyan Tree’s Lang Co resort, on Vietnam's beach-trimmed east coast and close to heritage sites in Hue and Hoi An, is already causing a stir.

First impressions

This has got to be one of the best hotels in the world. Once you commit to a comment like this, there’s no going back. But it is. So there you have it.

The Vietnamese resort consists of 49 individual villas, each with their own infinity pool and Jacuzzi, looking out to the limpid blue of the East Sea. If your budget won’t stretch, you’ll be lumbered with the plots that face a tranquil lagoon and the dramatic, verdant hills that encompass the resort.

To find this secluded bay, you have to travel several kilometres down a purpose-built road, cut through the base of the surrounding hills. There’s one way in and, unfortunately, one out.

Ideal for…

Bond villains and/or newly weds who want to be left alone.

The room

Once we have parked our death-trap scooters and checked in, we’re transported, by golf buggy, to our ocean-facing villa. Sliding doors reveal a gold-hued space built around a swimming pool-sized bed. With an obligatory body splash, I sink into the silken duvet and realise it’s wide enough for me to lie horizontally. And I’m tall. I learn the sheets are made of 1,000-thread-count cotton. John Lewis would quiver if it knew.

roombanyanSink into luxurious beds
Oliver Start

Hidden behind the vast bed is a dark-wood bureau, equipped with a telephone, stationary and a basket of fresh fruit. Back further and you’re in the bathroom, which can be entered from either side: imagine his and her sinks, a partitioned shower and toilet, and a deep, roll-top bath. The smell, the fittings and the accoutrements are box fresh and, besides the branded motif on some of the soft furnishings, will survive the flux of fashion.

Beside the pool is a roofed pavilion featuring a plush outdoor bed from which to admire the breaststroke of your newly betrothed. Leading from the generous garden space, every villa has a private path down to the beach, which is combed every morning.

Best room

The beach villas are more expensive than the lagoon villas, and undoubtedly the best, thanks to those amazing snippets of sea views through the flora.

Eating and drinking

At breakfast, the restaurant is split in two. On one side, you’ll find freshly baked breads, pastries, yoghurts, cold meats and eggs prepared in whatever way you request. On the other, traditional Vietnamese noodles, soup and vegetables offer a refreshing alternative. I’d advise sitting outdoors on the palm-tree sheltered terrace. The clear view to the ocean is a great way to start the day.

FoodbanyanTuck into dessert at Thai-inspired Saffron
Oliver Start

Of the two restaurant options, the flagship is Thai-inspired Saffron, which, from its elevated position, offers panoramic views over the bay. Its opulent oriental décor, mahogany furnishing and softly lit lanterns give a bold, masculine feel. We sit down to devour the five-course set menu, but not before taking part in an elegant ritual pre-dining hand wash. My highlight is the green chicken curry with apple aubergine and sweet basil – it numbed the lips and tingled the tongue. My deep-fried banana fritters for dessert, accompanied by salted-honey ice cream, was a winning finish.

The resort's lighter, airier Italian restaurant, Azura, is a great option for lunchtime dining. The wood-fired quattro formaggi pizza was excellent, delivering the crust I was looking for. Good dough isn’t easy to come by in Vietnam.


During our three weeks in the country, we had tried a spectrum of spa treatments: from other five-star hotels, on the beach, from each other. My Balinese deep tissue massage, in the resort’s spa, took gold. Lasting 90 minutes, the therapist applied the right amount of pressure to ease the tension in my back and shoulders caused by riding a scooter several hundred miles. I relished the pleasurable drowsy aftermath it induced. The entire experience, including the 30-minute relaxation time afterwards, combined with the soothing surroundings, won me over.

Room for improvement

With closer inspection, you can tell the hotel still has a few teething problems to address. The intermittent Wi-Fi access was irksome and the garden’s landscaping needed a little attention before it could be declared finished.

Out and about

HoiannpassVisit nearby Hoi An via the stunning Hi Van Pass
iStockphoto / Thinkstock and Oliver Start

If you’re packing light, the best way to get around is by motorbike but the roads are hairy. Alternatively, hire a car or get a taxi. The nearest point of interest is the Hi Van Pass offering 20km (12 miles) of winding mountain road to explore, with knockout coastal views of Lang Co on one side and Danang city on the other.

Explore a little further and you’ll arrive in beautiful Hoi An. A preserved slice of yesteryear’s Vietnam, there are over 800 buildings in the Old Town that are UNESCO World Heritage site protected. Once you’ve taken in the sites, and experienced the lantern-lit night market, take a look around the town’s numerous tailors. Hoi An is the country’s sartorial capital. We bought two bespoke suits from Peace, each costing a reasonable US$120 (£77). Be careful where you go though, as some of the other shops are far from Savile Row quality.


Banyan Tree Lang Co, Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune,
Phu Loc District, Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam
Tel: +84 54 369 5888.
Prices start from US$531 (£356) per night for a lagoon-facing villa. Vietnam Airlines offers twice weekly, direct services from London Gatwick Airport to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from £608 per person, including taxes.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.