Where is it? It might sound remote but this tasteful testament to beachside five-star luxury and self-indulgence is little more than a 90-minute flight from Hong Kong. The Nam Hai is located about halfway down the east coast of Vietnam and set among 35 hectares of lush, landscaped gardens on the largely deserted Ha My beach. It is also only 10km north of the charming historic port and heritage site of Hoi An and because the resort is a mere 15-minute complimentary ride from Da Nang airport, you can be safely ensconced in your personal beachfront villa in hardly any time at all.
So another luxury beach resort then? Well, yes and no. The Nam Hai will celebrate its 10th birthday this year and is widely considered to be a cut above the rest. Paris-based architect Reda Amalou designed the resort to be consistent with local Vietnamese style and the 80-square-metre split-level villas (top) are sumptuously appointed and imaginatively planned. You can stretch out on the king-size bed or fiddle with your laptop in your personal office space while enjoying views past an avenue of palm trees to waves crashing on the beach beyond. If these villas don't prove lavish enough, perhaps a private pool villa (above) - which range up to 660 square metres, and from one to five bedrooms, in size - will do. Those deprived of a private pool can choose from three shimmering swimming areas that descend in height from the reception area to the beach. The first is ornate and suitable for families; a narrow and very long lap pool is provided for the determined athlete to crash about in; and, the last, an infinity pool lined by a small forest of palm trees, appears to be roughly the size of the Persian Gulf. Those who do make it to the farthest edge are treated to a spectacular view over the beach and of fishermen skilfully manoeuvring their circular coracles between the waves while laying nets.
Is there anything interesting to do? Activities and tours on offer for those feeling energetic, cerebral or creative range from tennis and badminton (below) to lantern-making, conical hat embroidery and the popular malt whisky and cigar after-dinner event. There is also the obligatory spa, deserted gym and access to a nearby 18-hole championship golf course. And even a library.
Is it worth venturing outside? Definitely. There is regular transport to Hoi An, a Unesco world heritage site. Up to the 19th century, this charming town was the major trading port on this coast for Chinese, Japanese and, later, European merchants but the advent of steam and the opening of treaty ports on China's southern coast left it forsaken for more than a century. The historic centre is a pleasant pedestrian zone of pretty streets lined with coffee shops, tailors, galleries, restaurants and craft workshops.
What about food? As you might expect, there are two huge top-class restaurants at the Nam Hai, serving Western, Indian and local dishes, some of which have Japanese and Chinese influences and are quite exceptional. Don't leave town without trying at least one of the famous Hoi An specialities, such as banh bao vac ("white rose") - steamed shrimp stuffed into delicate white rice dumplings with chilli, onion and lemon. There are also many great eateries in Hoi An old town, including the famous Miss Ly Cafe.
What's the bottom line? The villas start at about US$1,000 and a three-bedroom private pool villa will set you back about US$2,500 per night. For the pool villas, the price includes breakfast, airport transfers, courtesy transport to Hoi An, afternoon tea, complimentary mini-bar, pre-dinner drinks, a laundry service and, of course, the butler.
For more information, visit www.ghmhotels.com/en/nam-hai