A far cry from the war jungles lost in the Indochinese peninsula, Vietnam is now a fast-growing emerging economy of 87 million people undergoing the most exciting period of change in its history. From being one of the poorest countries 20 years ago, Vietnam has made giant economic strides and is attracting the world's elite luxury developers.
Its world-class integrated resorts have hit their mark, according to the 2010 Virtuoso Luxe Report, which identifies Vietnam as one of the hot new destinations of well-heeled travellers seeking golf, beaches and heritage.
The report found 41 per cent of high-end travellers prefer to rent a villa rather than a hotel room so that they can 'connect with loved ones in a private setting'.
The Laguna Lang Co project in central Vietnam, by the Banyan Tree Group, will incorporate seven international hotel and resort operators, award-winning spas, a Nick Faldo-designed championship golf course, and resort residences. Beachfront units in the Angsana resort were launched in Hong Kong this month.
The location is culturally rich, with Unesco World Heritage Sites to the north and south, yet quite remote, hemmed in by the sea on one side and coastal mountains on the other. Angsana units range from one-bedroom apartments of 80 square metres to three-bedroom residences covering 345 square metres. Prices are from US$300,000 to US$2 million. All units have amazing sea views.
'They appeal to the three generations, where parents, children and grandparents vacation together to enjoy relaxing leisure time they can't get in a hotel,' says Dan Simmons, worldwide head of property for Banyan Tree Residences and Laguna Property.
Another luxury property in Vietnam is Dai Phuoc Lotus, a landmark resort-style urban development, covering half of an island on the Saigon River. David Blackhall, deputy managing director of VinaCapital Real Estate, says this resort combines the best in ecological planning, creative design and modern living comforts. 'The 200-hectare project will transform the area. In addition to residential homes, there will be an 18-hole golf course,' he says. In phase one, 332 villas of two to five bedrooms are priced from US$180,000.