Travel Spotlight

First Look: Azerai Can Tho, Vietnam

Like many days on Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, a stay at Azerai Can Tho begins on the river. Set on a private islet only accessible by boat and surrounded by languid waters and mangrove trees, the resort is a tranquil oasis that allows guests to immerse themselves in the fascinating river culture.

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Azerai Can Tho is the second property in the Azerai collection, the latest venture from Adrian Zecha, the legendary hotelier and founder of Aman. Azerai aims to deliver the same refined design and exceptional service as an Aman property, but at a more affordable price point. As such, the rooms are smaller, but the dedication to detail is the same.

Related: The Aman Founder's Next Act: An Exclusive Profile

Befitting of its setting, the Azerai incorporates natural design elements like rattan, local woods and long-stemmed lotus flowers. The soaring lobby opens up to the open-air Lounge and Bar, which serves snacks and cocktails throughout the day. The heart of the Azerai is its sleek 32-meter pool, surrounded by lounge chairs that overlook a lotus pond and a grove of banyan trees. At the far end of the pool is the Café, where authentic Vietnamese dishes like pho and banh mi are served alongside Western fare. The third restaurant is the Grill, where seafood and steaks are barbecued nightly.

Rooms are housed in freestanding pavilions scattered throughout the grounds. The interiors are simple and elegant, with warm woods, high ceilings, natural light and a creamy color palette. Bedside lamps recall Vietnamese conical hats, and a tall vase of lotus flowers creates a sophisticated sense of place. Glass doors lead to the terrace, the best of which offer views to the river through a leafy scrim. The bathrooms are spacious and well-lit, with dual sinks and rainforest showers. There is no bathtub, but there is a large dressing area with plenty of luggage storage.

On property, active travelers can keep busy in the well-equipped gym, Pilates studio or on the tennis courts. For less strenuous pursuits, the elegant spa offers eastern- and western-inspired massages, body scrubs and salon services. Younger guests are welcomed and there is a separate family pool and kids’ club.

The city of Can Tho has many trappings of a modern metropolis, including a gleaming new airport, but the centuries-old floating market remains an essential part of local life. The Azerai is just minutes from Cai Rang, the largest floating market in the Mekong Delta. Every morning, hundreds of boats gather to sell their harvests in a colorful burst of bustling commerce. Winding through the traditional sampan boats with their produce piled high is a highlight of a journey through Vietnam. The Azerai can arrange early morning tours led by a Can Tho local who uses insider connections to create a truly special experience. When the market quiets down, guests can continue on to explore the river, stopping at an exotic fruit garden to buy fruit directly from the farmer or ride pillion on a motorbike to explore the rice terraces and local villages along the riverbank. And at the end of a busy day, the Azerai beckons, a serene and sophisticated retreat cocooned in the watery wonders of the Mekong.

Getting There:

Direct flights to Can Tho are offered from Hanoi (2 hours 10 minutes), Danang (2 hours 20 minutes), Phu Quoc (45 minutes) and Con Dao (45 minutes). The airport is a 30-minute drive to the resort’s welcome pavilion and private pier and the boat ride takes 10 minutes. Alternatively, guests can drive from Saigon (3.5 hours).

Who Should Stay: Families and couples seeking a meaningful cultural experience with plenty of time for poolside lounging.

Published onFebruary 20, 2018

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