The five star Meliá Ho Tram Beach is a luxury beachfront resort on Vietnam’s southern coast, about 1.5 hours from Ho Chi Minh City.
It has been described as Vietnam’s answer to The Hamptons – a 17 hectare beach resort surrounded by lakes, water features and more than 4,000 different types of trees.
And while it mightn’t have the celebrity sightings or the tall hedgerows of its Atlantic Ocean rival, Meliá Ho Tram Beach Resort is every bit as exclusive and seclusive.
Opened in April last year, and located on Vietnam’s southern coastline, Meliá Ho Tram features 152 guest rooms in a 17-floor tower overlooking the resort and beach (pictured below).
Rooms in the main tower, which all have ocean-facing balconies, include a 43-inch LCD TV, free Wi-Fi, mini bar, bathrobes and slippers. The bathrooms are modern and luxurious and include a rain shower and daily ammenities.
There are also 61 standalone villas with their own private pools in a lush tropical garden setting. Guests who stay in the villas also have access to a VIP area known as the Level Lounge, just near the main reception.
There’s also a whole new development under construction alongside the resort (pictured above), with dozens of new ocean front villas expected to open next year.
Meliá Ho Tram has three main dining areas, a pool with a swim-up bar, a children’s pool, a kid’s club, tennis courts, putt-putt golf and free bike hire. Each night, movies are screened in the palm-fringed garden as guests lounge about in bean bags.
This really is the sort of place you go just to unwind; in fact, there’s very little else along this coastal strip to persuade you to do anything else.
If you are getting cabin fever and do need to get out, the Grand Ho Tram Resort & Casino is a five-minute taxi ride away. While most facilities are exclusively for hotel guests, it does have a number of top class restaurants worth visiting.
A great lunch spot is the adjoining golf club and restaurant – The Bluffs (designed by Greg Norman) – where you’ll find the Infinity restaurant overlooking the 1st tee (above). There’s a courtesy bus that runs from the foyer at The Grand to the Bluffs each day.
A day trip to the resort town of Vung Tau, about an hour south, is also worth considering. Meliá’s guests services staff can arrange a taxi for four or five hours, quoting an agreed price with the driver.
I paid 2.1 million VND (about $140 Aussie dollars) for a five hour return taxi trip to Vung Tau. The driver dropped us at all the main sights and even waited while we had lunch. It couldn’t have been easier.
For adventurers and explorers, the Phuoc Buu Nature Reserve is just 10 minutes drive from Meliá’ Ho Tram.
Each of the 152 air-conditioned rooms in the main tower has its own private balcony with sweeping views of the coastline and out to the South China Sea. Rooms range in size from 47 sq metres to 88 sq metres. My room on the 17th floor was modern, spacious and comfortable with fresh seaside inspired touches. It included a fully-stocked mini bar, 43″ LCD TV, free wi-fi, an in-room safe, bathrobe and flip flops. The bathroom was modern and sleek with an outside-facing window. Amenities like shower gel, shampoo and conditioner – and the free bottled water – were restocked daily. Meliá also offers 61 standalone two-, three- and four-bedroom villas with their own private pools, BBQ areas, outdoor showers and gardens.
The YHI Spa – located between the main reception and the main tower – has 10 treatment rooms, two of them double rooms with jacuzzis. There’s also a sauna and steam bath and open-air relaxation areas. There are a range of full body treatments available for the mind and body. When making a reservation you’ll be guided through a menu of options, including various types of scented oils for your massage, from lavender and rose petal to more masculine woody scents. It’s an hour well spent when there’s nothing else to do.
Cleanliness: it’s probably the most important word when it comes to hospitality these days. And Meliá Ho Tram scores top marks on this front. The room was always well maintained with housekeepers changing the towels daily and restocking toiletries and other amenities. The pool and bar area was regularly cleaned and the YHI was spotless. Since the coronavirus pandemic, Meliá has ramped up its hygiene playbook. A range of new measures have been introduced, including more intensive cleaning of public spaces and new processes to guarantee adequate social distancing. Worried guests can even buy a COVID-19 amenities kit that includes a mask, gloves and hydro-alcoholic gel.
Melia has a shuttle bus that runs from Ho Chi Minh City to the resort at Ho Tram Beach twice a day (2pm and 8pm). The shuttle service was complimentary with our booking, although I’ve seen some reviews where people said they had to pay. If you’re a guest at the resort you shouldn’t have to pay for the shuttle. While at the resort, taxis will your best friend – it’s the only way to get anywhere. Ask guest services to arrange a taxi for you if you want to explore the Ho Tram strip, or places further afield like Vung Tau. Forget about hiring a private car – they’ll end up booking you a taxi anyway.
We had an early morning flight so settled our bill the night before. It turns out the coffee pods in our room were not complimentary after all, but they kindly waived the charge anyway. (They really should put a notice on those pods.) When we left at 5am, the golf buggy was waiting to take us to our taxi at the front reception. And as a nice touch, we were given a breakfast box that included tiny sandwiches, pastries and bottled water.
I booked a seven-night deal for two through Luxury Escapes and was incredibly impressed both in terms of the value for money and the standard of the resort. The package deal also included a complimentary spa treatment and cocktail each night. As a side note, if you want to avoid bill shock when checking out, be aware that drinks at the Breeza Bar tend to cost a little bit more than you’d pay in other parts of Vietnam.
Pros: If you like being pampered, you’ll love Meliá Ho Tram Beach Resort. It’s modern, sophisticated and luxurious.
Cons: It’s fairly isolated, so don’t plan on making too many day-trips outside the resort. The Muối Vietnamese restaurant was superb, but only opened on Fridays and Saturdays when I stayed in March. Book in advance or you might miss out. And if you dine at the Breeza Beach Club, here’s a tip: skip the Fritto Misto. I’m no food snob but this was unpleasant: processed/frozen seafood that turned to rubber bullets when cooked. I lost count of how many tables sent the dish back.
NOTE: To her credit, the restaurant manager offered us a complimentary drink as an apology for the over cooked seafood, but we politely declined and said it was fine. Two nights later she sent us a complimentary glass of wine anyway.
Would we stay again? Absolutely.
© 2020 Bernard O’Riordan (Travel Instinct). All Rights Reserved.
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