Amid a Trance of Nature & Nurture at Amanoi

Akanksha Maker | May 29, 2023 | Life

As one grows older, a search of experiences that add value to your life begins. For life is only worth living in moments that in hindsight, expand your horizons and alter your perception to see things differently. Counting life in stories, I take on an exploration in a national park in Vietnam – in the lap of nature and quiet luxury – at Amanoi. 

Situated in the Nhin Thuan town of South Vietnam, Amanoi is the magnum opus of the region. It is nestled in the Nui Chua National Park and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. 

Aerial view of Amanoi in Nui Chua National Park & the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  

For those who aren’t aware of Aman Resorts, is owned by Indonesian businessman – Adrian Zecha’s legendary vision come to life. A business journey that started back in 1988 as a luxury resort in Phuket, Thailand, is today the epitome of the service industry. I say service and not hospitality, because a stay in any Aman in the world (there are 34) is an experience that you’d remember your entire life. Why, you ask? This is because the Aman staff is trained to make your stay a seamless cruising experience, from the time you step out of your aircraft. With a 4-1 staff to guest ratio, they invite you into their “home” and with their intuitive and connected staff system, they ensure your time here is a fluid dream – one that can be best described as a trance. 

Interior details of Amanoi feature symmetry, warm tones & sustainable materials.

An ideal backdrop to the experience created by Amanoi is its architecture that’s led by the award-winning Jean-Michel Gathy of Denniston architects – known for his works including the Four Seasons Tokyo, the Four Seasons Bangkok, and One&Only Portonovi, Montenegro. The soul of the design is a blend between Vietnamese traditional elements and modern functionalities. “Elegant interiors contrast with the rugged environment enhancing the resort’s sense of tranquility. A lively interplay between layers of rocky outcrops, valleys, views and the dramatic coastline is celebrated in the design,” says Jean-Michel Gathy of Denniston. 

Torn between spending time at my Pool Pavilion, the Cliff Infinity Pool that overlooks larger than life views of the surrounding national park and biosphere, and the beach (which features another pool), I carefully map out my days to soak in each destination of the resort. Making your stay interactive and personal are a list of experiences that are designed to put you in the centre-stage of cultural nuances – including Vietnamese culinary lessons, snorkelling excursions in the Vinh Hy Bay, private dinners followed by the blessings of a Cham (indigenous people of the region) priest, treks to nearby clifftops and waterfalls and art lessons with a local Vietnamese artist. 

The Sacred Cham blessing experience & the local temples one can visit from Amanoi. 

In an attempt to further strengthen my creative expression, I take on the art lesson with the local artist as one of my experiences. While the Vietnamese artist doesn’t speak English, the staff translates his directions as he carefully helps me recreate what I see in front of me – the azure waters of the sea with the backdrop of daunting mountains and a theatrical sky. Ironically, I’d paint beaches as a child and never thought I’d find myself in Vietnam painting a real one – but here I am. Almost two hours later, with painstaking directions by the artist, I create my first work of art. 

At dusk, I dive into the ocean, where I embark upon a snorkelling trip in the waters of Vinh Hy Bay, stumbling upon schools of vividly coloured coral fish, sea urchins, starfish and the wild underwater plants that dance to the rhythm of the water. I feel alive and one with nature; in the midst of the currents that are teeming with corals and tropical fish


The turquoise waters of Vinh Hy Bay are teeming with marine life. 

Back at my villa, the only sounds I hear are those of the animals that call Nui Chua National Park their home. I’m visited by large squirrels, salamanders and crickets who have invited me to their abode. Dipping in the warm water of my private pool, I feel a sense of peace and calm – aptly so, as Amanoi translates to a place of peace in Sanskrit.

Jean-Michel Gathy has integrated the Pool Pavilions within the natural formations of the surrounding mountain region. 

In the nights, as I look up, I’m awed by the number of stars that shine quite brightly – and I lose count on their number. Amanoi carves out an ideal platform to interact and be one with the natural surroundings of this UNESCO Biosphere and National Park. The luxury is subtle and minimal and the “opposite of opulent” – as described in the vision for Aman. There’s a quietude in the air which embraces your senses and the resort acts as a catalyst to reinvigorate your senses which are bombarded with the woes of city life.

Spending three days at Amanoi, interacting with the local staff, hearing their stories, indulging in fine cuisine of Vietnam in Aman style, I leave as an enriched traveller. I depart knowing I chose an experience that substantially added a sense of serenity and wholesomeness to my life.

Words by Akanksha Maker.

Images via Aman Resorts.

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