In Vietnam, a doyenne of food expands to tasteful lodging
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NEW YORK, March 20 — Maison Vy, a stark-white, colonial-style hotel, is from Trinh Diem Vy, the doyenne of food in Hoi An, a charming Unesco World Heritage town in central Vietnam. Vy (pronounced “Vee”) runs four of the most popular restaurants in the town, and Maison Vy is her first hotel venture. She opened the 35-room, multilevel property in October 2015, providing a tasteful and contemporary place to sleep in an otherwise Old World city with ancient pagodas and colourful lanterns floating in the Thu Bon River. In May, Maison Vy began offering a complimentary high-tea buffet in the lobby-area restaurant where calming shades of blue are accented against paisley-patterned floor tiles. Elsewhere, black and white chequered floors line an open-air central corridor, while bamboo and wrought-iron light fixtures illuminate the property.
Da Nang International Airport is about an hour away, and the hotel is a 10-minute walk from the pedestrian streets of Hoi An’s Old Town.
After requesting a room with an outdoor shower, I was brought a mere 10 steps from the lobby to a ground-level deluxe room with a bathing area that seemed ripe for prying eyes because of its proximity to the street. I decided to forgo washing in nature for a third-floor room facing the pool. This one brought the outdoors in with a vase of fresh palm leaves and tropical flora wall art over the queen bed that faced a spacious balcony with two navy blue Adirondack chairs. There was a linen lounge sofa cater-cornered next to the standing closet, which hid a long mirror (a rare Southeast-Asia find) and two large umbrellas. A mini bar offered free water bottles and traditional Vietnamese snacks like dried ginger, peanuts and coconut, and, for a surcharge, soft drinks and beer. The bed had down pillows (another rare Southeast Asia find), while a flat-screen TV sat on a dark-wooden credenza. All rooms have air conditioning and leaf-shaped rattan ceiling fans .
Doorless showers are de rigueur in many parts of the country — with mixed results — but this one managed to keep water from the rain shower head within the designated area. The white marble sink and countertop provided ample space for one’s own toiletries, as well as those offered from the Thai-based Nature Touch Group.
In addition to the requisite welcome drink of fresh orange juice, there’s free bike usage and two giant daybed swings near the small pool and palm-thatched bar. The hotel also offers a unique “Taste Vietnam Privileges” program, which, depending on the length of one’s stay, provides guests with discounts at Vy’s other restaurants, Mermaid, Morning Glory, Cargo Club and Vy’s Market, in addition to cooking programs. The hotel’s new complimentary high-tea buffet from 3 to 5pm daily includes sweet and savoury snacks like finger banh mi sandwiches and cupcakes.
Breakfast, which is included in the room rate, is served in Le Picnic Café, an al fresco spot next to the lobby. The robust spread features classic Vietnamese breakfast food such as pho beef noodle soup, as well as American-style egg dishes, a large variety of fresh breads and pastries (including a perfectly moist pineapple Danish), local fruits and juices. In-room dining offers items like hand-cut fries with sour cream or Vietnamese potato and carrot curry.
Good value for those seeking contemporary comforts and amenities alongside local flavours and flair.
Maison Vy, 544 Cura Dai, Hoi An, Quang Nam; 84-510-3862-231; maisonvy.com. Rates: Doubles from US$120 (RM532). — The New York Times