What’s your fantasy when it comes to luxury travel in Indochina? Is it a private island off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand? A cold, tall gin and tonic on your patio watching the barges along the River of Kings? Driving in a chauffeured Bentley through the colorful and chaotic streets of Ho Chi Minh City?
A trip to Indochina is a many-splendored experience, indeed, but you have to be ready to give yourself over to it and let in the exotic sounds, the spicy aromas, and the frenetic swirls of activity swooshing from every corner of your consciousness. But when you are ready to part the veils, a calm, luxurious side of Southeast Asia awaits.
Dreams on the Mekong at The Reverie
Start with The Reverie Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City. The 286-room tower in the former French Quarters of the city along the Mekong is the perfect complement to the ever-buzzing traffic and jumbled side streets and bazaars that define this city.
Interiors here make a bold “unapologetic” statement with great flourishes of fused styles. Liberace, were he alive, might find some rooms to his liking, but mostly it’s the audacious silks, the intricate golds and bronzes, the bejeweled hues, the stately carrara marble and a strident declaration of luxury that separates The Reverie Saigon from its competition.
Find here a wealth of unexpected sumptuousness. Oversized guest rooms (224 rooms, 62 suites and 89 apartments) pan the city from the 27th to 39th floors as light from floor to ceiling windows reflect in marbled mirrored walls or glint from crystals accenting chandeliers and light fixtures. Accommodations come in about a dozen configurations and a romance suite in the mix. Suites and common areas have touches from top Italian design firms — Giorgetti, Visionnaire and Colombostile among them.
The property also caters to business and industry executives; couples on holiday and those starting or finishing a river cruise on the Mekong. Count such elements as underwater music in the glamorous rooftop pool to the 400 thread-count Frette linens, goosedown duvets and Chopard or Hermes bath amenities among the unexpected. Of course those go with dedicated butler service and chauffeured rides around the city in a late model Bentley or Benz.
A spa floats on two floors and offers 24-hour fitness access as well as a menu of high-end treatments. Dining menus at The Reverie Saigon run Italian to Cantonese. R & J, for Romeo & Juliet, is where you have a romantic Italian gourmet dinner for two surrounded by ornate details played out in glass and silk.
For those who are passing through Vietnam on a Southeast Asia whirlwind holiday, The Reverie Saigon offers a way to sample the hotel. The Travel Easy Vietnam Package gives each guest the benefit of an entry visa on arrival (a $77 value each) plus a deluxe room with complimentary breakfast and in-room Wi-Fi for $285 for one or $345 for two per night.
Bangkok Nights at The Siam
Those going on to Thailand will want to stay at The Siam, a formidable presence on the Chao Phraya River – Bangkok’s River of Kings.
There, days reach back to a simpler time, a time of Somerset Maugham and Noel Coward and settings that stole the imaginations of writers, to be resurrected today in a comely compound of Lanna designs with colonial accents.
The Siam spreads on three precious acres of riverfront with 39 suites and pool villas and volumes of atmosphere. The buildings that make up the Siam were historical relics rescued by renowned silk magnate Jim Thompson and his socialite companion Connie Mangskau from the former royal capital in Ayutthaya. The two were once the toast of Bangkok at parties attended by big names of the last century, including Jacqueline Kennedy, Henry Ford, John Rockefeller and Roger Moore.
The Siam keeps up with that tradition, a treasure trove of antiques accenting all the guestrooms and public areas. As a full service hotel with restaurant venues, lap pool, spa and library, located within walking distance to the royal palace in the fashionable Dusit neighborhood of Bangkok, it’s the perfect place to retreat on a hot afternoon with a cold G&T at the pool overlooking the barges gliding up and down the river.
When in Bangkok, wellness is a big theme. Thai-style massage is offered at many of the Buddhist monasteries and meditation classes can also be found. A Wellness at the Siam Program creates programs tailored to guests’ needs and wants, facilitated by the hotel’s in-house, internationally acclaimed wellness trainer, Dr. Adrish Brahmadatta. Find yoga programs, classes in four types of meditation, ayurveda consultations, reiki healing and even an authentic Sak Tant tattoo package.
A Siam Staycation Package can be booked for a night in a Pool Villa Courtyard or Pool Villa Riverview, with daily breakfast for two, a dinner for two, a 60-minute massage session for two at Opium Spa, plus early check-in and late checkout. Rates start at $987 for two. Standard rates run around $442 per night.
Standard Amenities at The Siam include daily breakfast, butler service, complimentary Wi-Fi and shuttle boats between the hotel and Bangkok’s central Sathorn pier.
Escape to Song Saa Private Island
Far from the din, the dust and the madness of urban and modern Indochina, a private island off the coast of Cambodia awaits. Some 18 miles from the mainland, Song Saa is a tiny paradise – just 17 acres over two small islands. Find 27 one- and two-bedroom villas each opening onto the sea. And for all their rustic beauty they come with plenty of wows: plunge pool, private deck, outdoor showers, myriad romantic accents.
All slows down as guests get in tune with nature and the local rhythms. Guests head out for morning snorkels around coral reefs (and find an abundance of seahorses for their efforts). They may take the afternoon to kayak through thick and mysterious mangroves and listen to the wisdom of a resident marine biologist wax on the precious ecology of the location. They may take the night to gaze at the stars and swim in the warm bioluminescent waters surrounding this island resort.
Dining at Song Saa is as much a part of place as is about the resort itself. Menus reflect the sustainability practices championed by the resort in locally sourced ingredients and gifts of the surrounding seas. Dining at Song Saa, whether in the Vista Bar and Restaurant on the water or in the Driftwood Bar on the beach bring natural and local food experiences in the most pleasant of surroundings. Poolside and in-villa dining is also available. And as a special treat for the asking, the staff will arrange a private dining moment in a heavenly beach hideaway spot.
As for spa and healing amenities, you might say Song Saa Private Island is the spa. Healing and wellness are part and parcel of the experience as you depart the mainland and surrender to the private island sanctuary ahead. Treatment practitioners fuse traditional Khmer techniques with ayurvedic principles, chakra-clearing, massage, tailored spa cuisine and guided reiki and vipassana meditations to the sessions and inner journeys guests can take. Private consultations with the resort’s Head of Wellness ensure the right choices.
Activities, too, are therapeutic, whether paddle boarding, hiking in the rainforest, participating in fitness sessions, joining a local gardening workshop or enjoy meditation on the beach at sunrise.
The resort offers transfers via a 35-minute private speedboat ride from Sihanoukville, a port city that lies some 111 miles away from the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. Rates start at $1,037 for Bed & Breakfast and $1,777 for All Inclusive for two people. Check their website for promotions or reserve a villa for festive as a few are still available.
The Reverie Saigon
Song Saa Private Island
Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates– Curator of undiscovered luxury travel locales with insider info and news from our worldwide portfolio of hotels, wellness retreats, and eco-resorts. View our portfolio on our Online Directory.
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