Vinh Dao takes full advantage of Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang’s seaside delights.
Walking through the Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang, you get a sense of the variety of experiences available to you. Whether you are there to relax on the beach, hang by the pool, explore the nearby islands or pay a visit to any one of Nha Trang’s cultural attractions, the five-star resort is exactly where you want to be.
As the only beachside resort in Nha Trang, Evason Ana Mandara definitely takes advantage of its location, furnishing its pristine palm tree-dotted white beach with sun loungers and umbrellas. Each of the 74 semi-detached bungalows comes with the plethora of amenities you might expect from such an upscale property but the folks at Evason also throw in a few personal touches that notch things up to 11.
Upon walking into your bungalow, you are greeted with fresh bananas, foiled packets of chocolate truffles and a few complimentary bottles of water on a wicker table. This begs the eternal question: chocolate or banana? A four-poster double bed comes with soft fluffy pillows, the dresser complete with a bathrobe and a safe, along with the work desk, round out the room.
While the sleeping quarters were impressive, the bathroom was something else to behold. The double sinks are shaped like clams and the spacious tub came with a couple bags filled with herbs that can be placed in the tub to relieve tension or stress, which guests are free to take home and reuse several times.
The newly-opened Ana Beach House is a restaurant-cum-lounge concept with five different areas from which to choose. Along with an open indoor area, walk-in wine cellar and private dining room, the space boasts an open beach complete with lounge recliners and tables around the infinity pool.
The best spot in the Beach House has to be the suspended cabanas located next to the infinity pool. While they looked flimsy at first glance, the gravity-defying cabanas were sturdy as can be and took a beating like no other after jumping up and down on them, much to the horror of the restaurant staff.
On the menu, Ana Beach House combines traditional Vietnamese ingredients with contemporary western preparations and presentations. Think fresh Nha Trang seafood with Dalat veggies. While the head chef is English, he spent quite a bit of time in the States and the menu’s offerings also reflect these various influences. Dishes such as applewood smoked scallops with banana purée and crispy fried seabass on a bed of chili-coconut rice — topped with tomato-cucumber relish — reflect these various influences.
If you are just looking to chill out on the sand or by the pool, Ana Beach House has a plethora of international and local beers, an extensive wine list and signature cocktails along with spirits and liquers, juices and soft drinks.
Beyond the beach, Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang offers both market and city tours by either car or cyclo. You can tailor your experience depending on time constraints and interests. We went for a combination market and city tour.
While the normal departure time for the market tour is 5am, we opted to leave at a more civilized time of 5.45am. Heading down Tran Phu in a van, you can see the city slowly waking up, with locals taking advantage of the cool temperatures. While the city traffic is at a minimum, Dam Market is already in full swing and stretches over several city blocks, supplying much of the seafood and fresh produce for the city.
Our local guide, Mr. Loc takes a route that gets progressively busier the further you delve into the market. One of the most memorable stops is a cha ca factory. Ww watch as crates of freshly caught flying fish are gutted, deboned, scraped, pulverised and eventually deep-fried by ladies in flowery pajamas.
A few metres down the road, you can taste the fruits of their labour at a local banh canh cha ca stall. Round, udon-type noodles swim in a bright fish stock, while chunks of fried and steamed cha ca mix with slivers of roasted pork. The soup can be maddening to eat at first, as you aren’t given any chopsticks. After having your fill, the tour also runs out to the Po Nagar Cham towers, Long Son Pagoda and Nha Trang Cathedral. All three took about an hour to visit and our guide offered a well-rounded overview of the cultural background of the city. As the tour came to an end, we headed back to the resort for a spectacular breakfast buffet and a final morning bask on the sand.