If we had chalk, now we’ve got cheese. From the choke of Saigon we were taken by basic but determined Vietnam Airlines domestic A321 to Nha Trang and thence by car to the Anam Resort. Here is white sand and turquoise water. Swimming is a delight not found easily in Asia. Our room is actually a villa, with its own four-stokes-and-you-reach-the-other-end pool, separate lounge, and a massive bed which looks across billiard-table lawns to the inviting, clean sea. The suite has lots of nifty cupboards and places to recline, but not one drawer, obviously inspired by the popular people’s market concept of laying all the goods out where you can see them. There are two televisions in case of a program-clash crisis, a fraffly raj overhead fan, and a can of mozzie spray the size of a fire hydrant, sending a clear message that will be conflict after dark.
The mini bar is free and replenished daily, which obviates the inquisition at checkout time as to whether you have been fossicking in God’s cupboard. If you pay proper attention to the timing of the freebies, you can ward off starvation and remain drunk for no more than the room rate. On the other hand, if you like a bottle of wine with dinner it costs between A$80 and A$160. The food is underwhelming but going into town for a meal is a financially losing alternative because it takes 45 minutes and costs more than paying for a meal at the resort.
The temperature in Nha Trang is five to ten degrees cooler than Saigon and there are hardly any motor scooters – the same feeling you’d get if the bees had been struck down with a plague. Behind the sandy seaside flats rises a substantial collection of junior mountains. The whole area looks ideal for resort development and that’s just what an army of wealthy developers think too, because there is a building boom here of which Harry Triguboff would be proud. Buildings are growing in the profusion of Jack running a beanstalk competition.
You know you’re into multi-star accommodation when you look at the spa treatment prices. In Saigon an hour massage costs less than A$20 but it comes with a physical challenge. Lovely girls in the street implore you to take a brochure which is photographically attractive but does not relate to the services offered. If you allow them to ferry you into the establishment you are confronted by multiple flights of stairs which closely resemble ladders. People with bad hearts or poor balance may expire before reaching the massage floor. It comprises massage benches divided by floating polyester curtains, meaning that you can enjoy the audio of the bloke next door groaning through a dose of knees and elbows in the name of good health.
Cut to the Anam spa and you’re almost in hospital conditions, with whispering girls, tiled rooms, private showers and a variety of fragrant treatments which cost about the same as Sydney day surgery. The rule is that everybody must creep around as if riding on air cushions. Because our package includes a couple of free massages, we will become willing pamperees. We did a warmup with a body scrub comprising the application of special goop containing honey, sugar, lime and some mysterious herbs. My masseuse, who had the muscles of a daddy longlegs spider, prepared me like a pork desert – if here is such a thing. But instead of the oven I was sent to the shower to wash it off, followed by the application of a fragrant lotion. Then I was ready to serve.
Hotel toaster review
In Buddha’s teachings on reincarnation it says that if you live life with a grumpy demeanour you will come back as a hotel toaster, identifiable by skinny black legs. The Anam has one! And it’s still grumpy, demonstrated by its painful slowness. To show its further professional disinterest it drops the toast right at the back of the tray. Gullible users can think their toast has vanished supernaturally. And don’t look around for the toast captain, either. They are a superstitious lot and are frightened that touching the black skinny legger will bring them bad luck.