Time To Stop Making Sense At The Brilliant Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô

Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô

It doesn’t make sense. At Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô, between Quy Nhon and Tuy Hoa, there’s only 73 villas spread across 98 hectares of wooly beachfront hills, serene paddy fields, and perfect crescent of sand. It’s a fittingly remarkable, rustic and remote second destination in our city escapes series.

Đọc bài viết bằng Tiếng Việt

Then there’s the artisanal attention to detail which doesn’t make sense either. There’s the extensive use of materials that wear characterfully, like clay, thatching and wood – or that wear quickly like the unvarnished wood they use as steps leading to the beachfront villas, some of which have to be laboriously replaced every year. 

“A lot of luxury brands use the same interior designers and architects all over the world and the hotels look the same wherever they are. We want Zannier Hotels to be recognised for a quality experience and unique interiors,” Arnaud Zannier explained when Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô first opened.  

Hilltop villas at Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô
Longhouse-inspired hilltop villas at Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô.

So, while most resorts would be happy to sprinkle soulless identikit villas across their plots of land, Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô villas adopt four distinct architectural styles. There’s mountain longhouse-inspired hilltop villas scattered along the ridge with their speckled slate roofs and beyond them two imposing grand bay pool villas at the far end of the bay. Then there’s beach pool villas with their pitched roofs and outdoor showers, which, as the name suggest, are set right on this strip of secluded beach. There’s the quaint and cosy fishermen-style paddy villas settle in spaces beside the beach or against the rice fields. And finally, there’s the main building which was inspired by the communal houses of the Banhar tribe.

All those touches alone would be noteworthy enough, but Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô also looks across one of the most beautiful bays in Vietnam. 

Paddy Villas at Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô
While most resorts would be happy to sprinkle soulless identikit villas across their plots of land, Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô villas adopt four distinct architectural styles.

Zannier Hotels Amplify Local Culture 

Zannier Hotels was founded in 2011. And, since the beginning, the hotel brand has looked to amplify local culture through architecture and design as Arnaud Zannier and family have sought out secluded, culturally-rich locations in which to create their next hotel. But first came Zannier Hotels Le Chalet, in their home country of France. The 12-suite mountain retreat settled seductively into the ski village of Megève. And critics called it: “the alpine paradise of your dreams.”

Then there’s Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang in Siem Reap with its 45 villas on stilts that was inspired by traditional Khmer villages, the 10-hut Owambo-style lodge in the Namibian wilderness called Zannier Hotels Omaanda, and another in Namibia, called Zannier Hotels Sonop, that’s made up of 10 luxurious tents that feels like a safari lodge at the edge of the desert. 

And then, at the end of 2020, came Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô as the fifth and latest project from the brand (although there are two more hotels coming up, one on the French Rivera and the other on Spain’s Menorca Island).

Reception at Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô
The Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô reception in the main building that was inspired by the communal houses of the Banhar tribe.

Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô On Its Rustic Coastline 

Considering the previous four hotels carefully selected locations, there feels something like the inevitability of a star-crossed couple about Zannier finding Phu Yen. Indigenous culture. Check. Off-the-beaten-path location. Check. Wild nature. Check. 

Although Quy Nhon is fast developing, with talk of it becoming a leading travel destination in Asia, heading south into Phu Yen Province, the road that runs along the rustic coastline on the way to Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô – that’s slightly nearer to Quy Nhon than it is to Tuy Hoa – is lined by single-story houses, quán cơm shacks, sun-bleached petrol stations and coffeeshops with hand-painted signs. 

Arriving at Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô
A magical silence pervades until you’re over the bluff and into Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô.

Eco-Chic Interiors And Homely Touches

As you turn down the village road that leads onto the peninsula past farmers playing cards in their yards after a morning tending their fish farms, the surrounding sweep of hills creates a magical silence that pervades until you’re over the bluff and into Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô and the peace is interrupted by the sea crashing into the rocks at the far ends of the beach. Between them waves chase and fall over each other up to the shallow shore. 

But up here, at the main Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô building, the windows and L-shaped balcony look imperiously across the wide expanse of bay. 

Inside, the eco-chic interior of the reception with its rustic stone walls is full of antiques and objects that look lifted from a traditional home. In fact it all feels homely, from the blankets hanging on the backs of chairs which you can wrap yourself in as nightfalls to the real-wood fire smoldering in the fireplace in the all-day dining restaurant Nhà ở. Beside it is a intimate cocktail bar, with hushed lighting and two curves of sofa banquettes and some tall stools lining the bar stocked with lots of made-in-Vietnam spirits. The bartender, admirably, reaches for a Baigur Gin, a spirit that’s distilled in Saigon, as the first option when we order a gin martini. 

There’s an outside bar too, beside the pool, and an L-shaped terrace whipped by breeze. And nearby a spiral red clay staircase leads down to the spa’s treatment rooms and tea room, hammam, sauna, and relaxation areas. 

Spa at Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô
A spiral red clay staircase leads down to the spa’s treatment rooms and tea room, hammam, sauna, and relaxation areas. 

Time To Stop Making Sense At Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô

Down there, on the beach, is the open-fronted, wooden hut-style Làng Chài (which means fisherman’s village) serves languorous lunches of freshly caught seafood beside a shack where they cook pizzas. In front, swings replace the stools that you’d usually find there. On the other side, there’s a bar and lounge in another chic wooden beach shack. 

Beach in Phu Yen at Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô
The white sand on the perfect crescent beach is so fine it squeaks beneath your feet like freshly fallen snow.

There, the white sand on the perfect crescent beach is so fine it squeaks beneath your feet like freshly fallen snow. Which doesn’t make sense. But, by now, things stopped making sense long ago at the brilliant Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô.


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