The best weddings I have been to, always carried an element of surprise for its guests throughout the day. So, as we board our private speedboat and make a very Bond-like transfer to the Six Senses Spa Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam, I realise, this is one destination ready to thrill and amaze couples and guests alike.
This barefoot luxury resort has been designed in keeping with its natural surroundings. As the speedboat turns a corner, clusters of wooden thatched villas discreetly hidden between palm trees and dramatic rock formations, are what greet us. I know from my research that the resort is large but what is so beautiful, is that you can hardly see it at all.
The long golden stretch of sand that frames the bay is also untouched with only a few wooden thatched beach umbrellas suggesting that just maybe someone has been here.
Of course, life does exist on Six Senses Ninh Van Bay and as the boat docks, we are enthusiastically welcomed onto the jetty by a team of warm and smiling staff. Our private butler (yes that’s right – every guest has one) introduces himself as Luan and we are once again whisked away in a whirl of anticipation to our villa accommodation.
A wedding at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay can be held in one of three stunning spots; on the glorious stretch of golden sand that frames the resort, the picturesque Jetty that leans out into the bay or in the panoramic hill top wedding pavilion. All three locations provide a striking backdrop of Vietnam’s mountainous terrain and spectacular sunsets.
As Luan introduces us to our Beachfront Villa, he tells us that it is the perfect place for a bride and her wedding party to get ready, particularly because it is one of two villas with its own private access to the beach via a quaint little bridge. As we enter the villa it is hard not to be wowed by these traditional yet luxurious abodes.
They are vast and set on two floors providing guests with four beautifully decorated areas to explore. The indoor outdoor bathroom is one of the largest I have seen and is dominated by a freestanding, handcrafted wooden bathtub, which, when filled to the brim with lemongrass bubbles, is an experience not to be missed. As we wander upstairs we find the lounge area and a teak daybed overlooking the sea.
A coconut ice bucket sits nonchalantly above the villa’s mini wine cellar, subtly combining our modern day whims with Robinson Crusoe escapism. Luan is right, I can see how this could be a wonderful space for a bride, her mother and bridesmaids to prepare for the big day, as she looks out onto the East Vietnam sea. Downstairs, the four poster bed is romantically draped with a mosquito net, ready for some amorous occupants.
The bedroom’s large wooden bi-fold doors open up to dramatically reveal a private garden and plunge pool. This retreat really is an exotic love nest waiting to be embraced.
Whilst one could easily be lost in these charming hideaway villas for weeks (and I’m told that many a celebrity and honeymooning couple are) It is also nice to know that when you do eventually feel like emerging, whether from your Hill Top, Beachfront, Rock Pool or Water Villa, there are a whole host of places to dine, activities to partake in and spa treatments to indulge.
The spa is what calls during my stay and so as I hop onto one of our villa’s complimentary bicycles and take a short ride past the rich aromas of the resorts herb garden, I arrive at the Six Senses Spa.
Described as a ‘Sanctuary for the Senses’ I am already overwhelmed by the sights and smells of this spa which is like no other. Giant pebble stepping stones sit over a zen-like waterway entrance, aromatherapy oils scent the air and as I’m taken to the quiet of my treatment room perched on the side of a hill, the sounds of nature become magnified. I opt for two local spa treatments – a detoxifying Vietnamese Green Tea Body Scrub and traditional Vietnamese massage.
The beauty of these treatments is that they can be seamlessly carried out by therapists’ one after the other, providing a full 90 minutes of pure relaxation. As I’m scrubbed from head to toe, I am informed that the caffeine in the Green Tea helps reduce water retention whilst the sea salt leaves my skin silky soft. I’m moisturised, then expertly massaged with Blanda and Penduliflora oils from Northern Vietnam. My therapist’s fingers are strong but supple allowing her to smoothly knead each knot until it has melted away. I emerge smooth, glowing and energised.
The spa is of course, just one of the highlights of a romantic stay at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay. Couples getting married can expect a dedicated wedding planner to ensure every detail for their big day is co-ordinated, from flower arrangements to food options and all other accessories. Once married, honeymooners can enjoy a host of activities from Paddle Boarding, snorkelling and diving to excursions outside the resort in which one can further discover the real Vietnam.
End the day with a private sunset cruise complete with cocktails and canapés followed by a romantic dinner ‘By the Rocks’ or ‘By the Bay’ or – my favourite – ‘In the Wine Cave’, a cosy but elegant space authentically built into a hillside cavern.
So if you are looking for the ultimate escape, a wedding destination to wow guests and a tropical location with a surprise at every corner, then this is it.
For further information on getting married or staying at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, visit: sixsenses.com