Barbara Adam takes a sneak peak at the very latest in “affordable luxury” at a new resort in the heart of the Mekong Delta.
Azerai is derived from the Persian word caravanserai, a resting place laid out around a central courtyard.
Azerai Can Tho, still in the soft opening phase, is a very comfortable resting place indeed, laid out on an eight-hectare islet in the Hau River.
The new resort is the brainchild of Indonesian hotelier Adrian Zecha, founder of the super-luxury hotel group Aman Resorts International.
In his mid-80s, the hotelier is planning a chain of Azerai resorts in “places of unique beauty and cultural interest”. In his Can Tho property, he introduces travellers to the timeless beauty of the Mekong Delta culture.
Resort architect Pascal Trahan and interior designer Joe Sanya worked together to create a idyllic and airy sanctuary, set amongst banyan trees and lush gardens.
The 60 rooms at Azerai Can Tho offer garden, lake or river views. The river-view rooms interconnect to provide convenient two-bedroom two-bathroom accommodation perfect for families.
Natural finishes are a key aspect of the design, with bamboo, wood and linen featured throughout, from the airy poolside cafe to the yoga pavilion and luxurious spa.
The resort is only accessible by boat, and Azerai has a luxurious high-ceilinged reception centre and a private pier on the Can Tho side of the river. From here, it’s takes just a few minutes to get to the resort, and the boat is available 24 hours a day to transport guests from the resort to Can Tho.
The “resting place” theme is handled elegantly. Every room has comfortable indoor and outdoor lounging areas, and complementary snacks and tea and coffee further soothe the weary traveller.
There are more loungers by the pools. The larger central pool sits between the cafe and the bar, the smaller child-friendly pool is alongside the Kid Zone facility, which houses a plethora of games, crafts and activities.
Executive Chef Sagar Iyer presides over another level of soul-soothing, with a selection of culinary masterpieces inspired by the local cuisine. His tasting platters should not be missed.
Attention to details is evident in every aspect of the Azerai Can Tho experience, from the Nespresso machine in the rooms to the tall glasses of ice water that magically appear by your lounger when you take a dip in the pool.
These details, and the friendly and personalised service, are overseen by veteran hotelier Susan Noonan, who helped set up Six Senses Con Dao.
Azerai Can Tho is just a three-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City, and the resort can organise a transfer in a comfortable seven-seat SUV.