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Living it up

Stanislaus Jude Chan
Stanislaus Jude Chan • 6 min read
Living it up
The Sheraton Grand Danang Resort pampers guests with exceptional service, exemplary dining concepts and exquisite spa experiences.
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The Sheraton Grand Danang Resort pampers guests with exceptional service, exemplary dining concepts and exquisite spa experiences.

SINGAPORE (Dec 24): One of the best things about Danang is “there is hardly any pollution here”, says Frank Bochmann, general manager of the Sheraton Grand Danang Resort in Vietnam. And you soon discover that he is right.

Riding around the coastal city in central Vietnam on a rented moped with a visor-less half-cap shell that passes for a helmet, the first thing that strikes you is how fresh the air feels as the cool breeze wafts inland from the East Vietnam Sea. And unlike the crazed traffic found in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the road users here adopt a leisurely pace — much like Danang itself.

Yet, it is far from a sleepy little town. Located along the coast at the mouth of the Han River, Danang is one of Vietnam’s most important port cities and one of the country’s five directly controlled municipalities under the administration of the central government. The city is also a diversified industrial centre, with industries such as chemicals, shipbuilding and textiles.

With its proximity to several Unesco World Heritage Sites such as the Imperial City of Hue, the Old Town of Hoi An and the ruins of My Son, Danang is a magnet for both international and domestic travellers. And the tourism sector plays a vital role in its economy. According to the city’s Department of Tourism, Danang saw some 6.6 million visitors in 2017, an increase of close to 20% over the previous year.

Apart from the wealth of cultural heritage sites, one of the main draws for tourists is the seemingly endless stretches of white sandy beaches along Danang’s 30km coastline. Among these is Non Nuoc Beach, which has been voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

“Non Nuoc Beach is quickly becoming the trendy upscale beach resort destination of Vietnam, with many luxury developments underway,” says Bochmann.

Sitting on the famed Non Nuoc Beach and nestled between Danang’s city centre and Hoi An, the Sheraton Grand Danang Resort is in a perfect location. But for those looking to take it easy at a luxury beachside resort, it is not quite what you might expect.

Indeed, the Sheraton Grand Danang Resort is more “grand” than it is a “resort”. Instead of a wooden Balinese-styled theme that the name evokes, the resort’s classical architecture and towering chandeliers border on the -opulent — and seem to be from a different century.

Yet, the building is assuredly new. The Sheraton Grand Danang Resort was officially opened in January this year. “It was completed in just 16 months,” says Maneeporn Koatkhao, the resort’s director of sales and marketing, with a hint of pride.

Sitting on 17.3 acres of white sand, the five-star beachfront property was completed just in time to host the gala dinner during the APEC Summit in November last year. The high-powered leaders’ summit was attended by US President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, among others.

Indeed, perhaps for that reason, the Sheraton Grand Danang Resort’s conference centre is stately. The two-storey complex offers 3,300 sq m of meeting and function space, including a 1,267 sq m Sheraton Grand Ballroom that is perfect for hosting important dinners. A scenic pool lawn and prime beachfront locations are also available for outdoor events. If it is good enough for APEC’s leaders, it is certainly good enough for a business conference — or even an extravagant wedding party.

To be sure, Sheraton means business in Danang. “With its blend of beachfront charm and world-class facilities, Danang has become one of Southeast Asia’s most dynamic destinations for meetings and events. We have seen interest in the destination grow in the last few years,” says Bochmann. “With the entry of the Sheraton Grand Danang Resort, we believe we can help raise the bar in the meetings industry by designing highly engaging, innovative and immersive experiences to enhance the effectiveness of meetings, incentives and events that take place here.”

For the business traveller, the Sheraton Grand Danang Resort is a delight. Just a tee-off swing away lie not one but two golf courses, including the BRG Danang Golf Course, an impressive seafront links designed by Australian golf legend Greg Norman. For golf enthusiasts who want to hit the fairways before catching that late-night flight home, there is also a Jack Nicklaus-designed nine-hole course that is open at night.

But while its lavishness is clearly aimed at wooing the corporate crowd, the premier resort also boasts exceptional service, exemplary dining concepts and exquisite spa experiences — hallmarks of the Sheraton Grand brand that are sure to attract leisure seekers.

The resort’s 258 rooms, including the luxurious 396 sq m Presidential Suite with private lift and helipad access, have an elevated classic decor with a sprinkling of modernity. Each room has a view of the coastline and comes with an extended private balcony.

The centrepiece of the resort is a 250m pool that seems to stretch into the ocean — the longest tropical infinity pool in Danang. The resort’s Tea Lounge, which overlooks the pool, is the perfect place for guests to enjoy the view while sipping a barista-made coffee or an assortment of teas.

The resort has six other distinctive restaurants and bars, providing a rich array of international cuisine, ranging from authentic Vietnamese dishes to Asian favourites. My favourite is La Plage, which allows you to sip signature cocktails, discover its large collection of craft beers and chill as the sun sets with tunes from the resident DJ.

Those travelling with young ones can also take a break and leave them at the Kids Club with the resort’s capable staff while enjoying a relaxing hour at the Shine Spa for Sheraton, which offers modern hydrotherapy combined with ancient Asian-inspired treatments.

“With our innovative programmes and the signature Sheraton service culture, we are confident that the Sheraton Grand Danang Resort will be one of the icons in Danang,” says Bochmann. Certainly, for travellers to the city, the resort is a breath of fresh air.

This article appeared in Issue 862 (Dec 24) of The Edge Singapore.

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