Amazing places to stay: Six Senses Con Dao

Whoever said it’s not the destination, but the journey that counts?

Tropical spa resorts are 10 a penny these days—anyone can pipe whale music into a hut and call it a luxury retreat—but Six Senses Con Dao, an hour away by plane from Ho Chi Minh City, is the real deal. Fifty jaw-droppingly luxurious villas are strung out along a beach and back onto the jungle. Each has its own infinity pool and you shower outside to a soundtrack of birdsong and monkey hooting.

At the spa, I was doused in essential oils and scrubbed with fresh coffee grounds—the guests who were detoxing sniffed the air wistfully as I passed. The main restaurant does stylish fusion food and, across a wooden walkway, local Miss Lan rustles up Vietnamese specialties to order. Or, if you’re feeling really lazy, you can have your meal brought to you at the beachfront pool. if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to eat a whole lobster on a sun-lounger, this is the place to find out.

The Con Dao archipelago is still well off the radar, so expect a smattering of celebrities (Angelina Jolie and her entourage took over five villas a few years ago), but there’s no standing on ceremony and everyone potters about on the same sit-up-and-beg bicycles.

By day three, I’d dispensed with my shoes and was sleeping better than I had in years. When I discovered that there are protected baby turtles on the beach between May and October, I seriously considered stashing one in my suitcase so I’d be turned back at the airport.

Cleveland Collection (020–7843 3531; offers an eight-night stay at Six Senses Con Dao, Vietnam, from £1,799 per person, sharing. This includes return economy flights to Con Dao via Ho Chi Minh City, airport transfers, accommodation in an Ocean View Duplex Villa and bed and breakfast.

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