Ahhhh one of the pitfalls of being an expat — the goodbyes! It’s always a little easier if you plan something fun, which is just what we did with our girls’ weekend at Anantara Mũi Né!
With one weekend to go before she boarded her flight to South Africa, Leandré, Alyshia, and I decided a chilled out weekend in Mũi Né would be the perfect send-off. It’s an easy few hours from Saigon by bus or train, so we could avoid the need for flying, and it had exactly what we wanted — the beach, the pool, and the sun.
I’m so grateful for Anantara Mũi Né for collaborating with us on this trip. They truly made it so special, and we had such a blast with everything they set-up.
If you want to plan your own weekend getaway and want to splurge, I cannot recommend Anantara enough! The staff is amazing — relaxed and funny and, of course, on top of everything. Here’s a little look at our weekend!
Getting to Mui Ne
First up was getting to Mũi Né! Usually you can take a sleeper bus or a train, but we instead had this luxury shuttle to make the 4 hour ride even smoother. Not only is it decked out with snacks and wifi, it also has Apple TV! Let’s just say a lot of Youtube was played there and back.
Once we arrived at Anantara, we were greeted with some refreshments and a little shoulder massage while meeting Rose in person finally! Those coconut cookies, by the way, are delicious, freshly made the morning of, and you can only get them at check-in. Apparently a few regular guests have begged to buy them to bring home with no luck.
Checking in to Our Pool Villa
After we checked in, Rose and Liễu led us to our pool villa. Ours was a Two Bedroom Family Pool Villa, which meant we had two separate rooms and shared a little courtyard with our own private pool.
There are other options include premiere, deluxe, and deluxe ocean rooms, ocean and two bedroom suites, one bedroom, one bedroom beach front, two bedroom residence, two bedroom duplex, and two bedroom beachfront pool villas!
All villas are designed with a traditional technique called manh tri, which helps absorb salt and moisture better than more modern methods and makes buildings last longer. Additionally, we learned when commenting on how comfortable the mattresses were that they were quite new!
The bathroom is equally as well thought out. If you stay in the same pool villa as us, definitely call dibs on the room with the king-sized bed because that one has the massive stone bathtub. Luckily Mũi Né was getting pretty cool at night, so I could take advantage later. I may have also packed my L’Occitane lavender foaming bath just for this :p.
The best surprise, though, was this sweet welcome from the GM, Kurt with desserts specially prepped by Chef Minh! Did we wind up eating all the cakes for lunch? Maybe… Also how cute are those little suitcases?
Once we settled in, we had a few hours before we had plans on heading over to the beach to meet Rose for happy hour and then dinner. So naturally we took full advantage of having our very own private pool. Let’s just say lots of photos, hanging out in the water, and maybe one attempted cannonball that was more of a jump because the pool isn’t that deep.
Then it was time to get a lil gussied up for some pre-dinner drinks! Flow Bar is right at the end of the pool so you can either sip on your drink at their swim-up seating or on one of the loungers overlooking the beach. We chatted with Rose in the lounge area and had some drinks while we watched our dinner get set up right in front of us.
Dining by Design
Okay, if you really want a special dinner, I cannot recommend the Dining by Design option enough. There are a few special locations around the property, but by far the best is right on the beach. Anantara’s beach is actually quite unique as it’s incredibly wide and all of its sand is completely natural (meaning unbleached). The hotel has done a lot to fight against beach erosion, something that plagues a lot of the resorts and properties in Mũi Né.
On the beach, there are a few tables decorated with fairy lights. Each table is far enough away so that you won’t have to worry about overhearing your neighbor’s dinner. I’m sure it’s more for couples on a romantic holiday but it’s equally as fun with your girlfriends!
In addition to a specially designed menu, you can add on entertainment. We had a lovely saxophone player, but you can also ask for a cham dance performance, fire show, drummers, violins, or guitar!
Meanwhile, there’s always someone about to make sure you’re taken care of the whole time. Shout out to Loan and Binh who were the loveliest!
Of course, the real star is the food itself. This has actually become one of my favorite meals in Vietnam because every dish was just so delicious and portion-wise it was perfect.
Everything is prepared by the executive chef, Chef Minh, who began his career at New World Saigon and has worked all over the world for a variety of luxury brands — from Manila with Star Cruises to St. Regis Abu Dhabi to The Vakkaru Maldives Resort and more!
Our menu was based on the Gourmet & Traditional Local Barbecue menu, though there are even more options including a vegetarian one. While the main dishes will stay the same, your soup, salad, and dessert all depends on the season. Since we had cooler weather, ours was made to create more warmth and boost our immune system. If you visit in the summer during rainier weather, yours will look a bit different.
To start off we had bread and a mixed green salad with beetroot, walnut, and garlic as well as some fresh oysters.
To follow was this tom-yum soup with prawn. To be honest I wanted a giant cup of that broth to drink, it was so flavorful!
So by this point we were happily on our way to being full when either Binh or Loan placed this giant, freshly grilled seafood platter in front of us. Think lobster, crabs, shrimp, octopus, scallops and any catch of the day. We were in heaven. It reminded me of a much more civilized version of what Autumn and I ate in Essaouira.
Anyway just as we were getting quite full from the seafood, we were surprised with another dish, this with the turf portion of our Surf & Turf Platter! By the time were polished everything off, we were positively stuffed.
To top off our dinner by the sea, we had this light Yuzu crème brûlée served in a coconut shell with sugar sand and little meringue shells.
After hanging out and letting our food digest, we ended the night at Chill Out Bar, which is owned by a lovely guy Alyshia and Le met on their previous trip. He once worked on international cruises, so his drinks are 10/10! I got a virgin mojito the first night but actually I highly recommend getting the strawberry daiquiri instead.
We got back quite late but I did manage my bubble bath before passing out.
Morning Breakfast & Tour
You know I love a good hotel breakfast. Anantara’s is held in L’Anmien restaurant, which faces the lagoon and has indoor and outdoor seating. As if we weren’t still full from the night before, we dove into the different food stations, both Western, continental, and Vietnamese. We also met Thanh who makes a mean cà phê sữa đá!
We then walked off breakfast with a little tour of the resort with Rose who told us more about Anantara’s history and more about the Mũi Né property specifically.
For example did you know the logo is comprised of a water pot and two triangles? The triangles represent the shape of the pillows that, with the water pot, Thai monks used to leave out for travelers and visitors as a sign of hospitality. Additionally, “Anantara” is old Sanskrit for “never ending,” so when you see the logo and name together, it’s meant to represent never ending hospitality.
With the Mũi Né location specifically, they’ve done a lot to make it sustainable. When the property was built, it was built so as to not disrupt the flow of water from the mountain into the sea, which is why you can find little streams all around.
Also, if you look carefully, you’ll notice buildings are constructed with nha ruong, a technique once used only for the royal family in Hue. This technique makes it so the wood is interconnected instead of connected by screws and allows the buildings to last for a much longer time.
There’s a lot to do on the property, and, of course Mũi Né itself, but we had one objected of the day after our tour — the pool! Anantara’s infinity pool has been around for about a decade and is massive. Even on Saturday when it would’ve been busiest, we never felt like it was too busy or noisy.
We immediately made ourselves comfortable at the beach end and took up residence on the swim-up portion of Flow Bar.
Did I maybe order mango tangos way too many times in a weekend? Probably, but they were worth it! The bar has a whole menu of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks as well as some lighter dishes for lunch. Also I did manage to swim a few laps so I got *some* exercise in.
We broke up our pool time with some massages at the spa! Ours was the 60-minute Anantara signature treatment and so relaxing. If you want something longer, they also offer a 90-minute Vietnamese experience massage!
Refreshed and relaxed, we changed back into our swimsuits and headed right back to the pool for the rest of the afternoon, ordering some calamari and chicken wings from the bar! We were still pretty full from the last two big meals and we didn’t want to fill up too much before dinner.
Dinner, Drinks, & Dancing
While Anantara has a seafood BBQ on Saturdays, we were craving Italian and Alyshia and Le had loved this spot called Good Morning Vietnam from their last trip. It’s actually insanely good — definitely some of the best in the country! I would skip the buffet if that’s an option and instead order a la carte — the creamy gnocchi Alyshia and I split was incredible.
For our final activities of the night, we went back to Chill Out Bar for drinks and then a little dancing at Dragon Beach since this was Le’s last Saturday after all! Dragon Beach was such a random spot but so fun if you’re looking for some nightlife in Mũi Né!
If you can’t tell from that evening itinerary, we were out super late! I remember rolling out of bed around 9:15 and dragging myself over to breakfast so I wouldn’t miss anything before it closed at 10. Luckily, Thanh was there and he whipped up his special cà phê sữa đá. I mean, look how beautiful that thing is!
Alyshia and Le weren’t feeling well and decided to sleep in, so Thanh also thoughtfully insisted on bringing some fruit and water back to the room for them so they could get something in their systems.
Sunbathing & Swimming
Once breakfast had settled for me and Le and Alyshia were up, it was right back to this glorious pool! I mean we’d all already done the big sightseeing things in Mũi Né, so why would we want to be anywhere but here with the beach in front and the pool behind?
I even finished the book I was reading — Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray. Not exactly a light beach read lol.
To be honest, we probably got a little too much sun since all three of us left with sunburns and my forehead started peeling the next day… Oops!
Can you blame us though? The pool was practically empty, and we didn’t leave until 4pm! It was the perfect setting for lots of laughs and chats and forgetting to reapply our sunscreen.
And that’s it — the perfect weekend to pretend Le wasn’t leaving us a few days later! Thanks again to Anantara Mũi Né for such a fun few days. Obviously, this was a relaxing weekend, so if you’re looking for advice on sightseeing, check out my guide on what to do in Mũi Né and Phan Thiết!
for more on vietnam
I’ve really loved being in Vietnam and getting to know the country more! On my first trip, I bopped around Saigon, did a day trip to the Mekong Delta, experienced all the best things to do in Hoi An, checked out the Marble Mountains in Đà Nẵng, experienced the stunning Halong Bay, and finished off finding all the cool things to do in Hanoi.
Now that I’ve been back, I’ve gotten to know Saigon even more, like exploring all the temples and dim sum of Cho Lon in District 5 and the ramen shops of Little Japan in Hem 15b Le Than Thon. I’ve even explored parts of Vietnam I’d barely heard of before like Sapa where we learned about the Red Dzao tribe, Phong Nha, Mu Cang Chai, historic Hue, Vinh Long and Can Tho in the Mekong, and the very cute Dalat.