Need to know
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from $198.00, excluding tax at 15.5 per cent.
Rates don’t usually include breakfast, which is US$20 a person (plus service charges and tax). It’s a flat fee, giving you free reign of the buffet and à la carte menu, which includes Vietnamese dishes and Western options like pancakes and pastries.
If the hotel’s sleek and restrained design seems oddly familiar, it might have something to do with the fact that Azerai is the brainchild of Adrian Zecha, the founder of Aman.
At the hotel
Spa; tennis court; gym; hair salon; kids’ club with indoor and outdoor play areas; lush gardens; free WiFi throughout; laundry. In rooms: flatscreen TV; minibar; tea and coffee; free bottled water; air-conditioning and Elemis bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The three room types are the same on the inside – the only things that change are the views. River Rooms make up the top tier, commanding sweeping views over the Bassac River, a tributary of the Mekong. If you’re not looking to splash, the Lake and Garden Rooms aren’t much of a compromise, overlooking the Lotus-topped lake and tropical gardens respectively.
The 31-metre pool is at the heart of the resort – and it deserves to be pride of place. Two-tone tiles trace a geometric pattern beneath the water, and taupe sunloungers line the terrace around the outsides, giving sunbathers a view across the gardens and lake. An open sided pavilion sits at each end – one is home to the Café, a casual, all-day eatery serving light Vietnamese dishes, the other is a cocktail bar. The pool’s very family-friendly, too, with a clearly marked shallow end and a lifeguard keeping an eye on things from 8.30am to 4.30pm daily.
The spa building runs along the side of the canal, shaded by the canopies of banyan trees. There’s a sauna, hammam, several ice therapy fountains and eight treatment rooms, two of which are for couples. A team of skilled therapists provides a range of massages, body scrubs and hand-and-foot therapies, many of which draw on ancient Vietnamese healing techniques. The oils and scrubs are made with local products like Mekong rice, almond oil and coffee, showcasing the richness of the Mekong delta. You can join a free yoga class on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings, or work up a sweat in the state-of-the-art gym, which has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the river.
It’s worth bringing your good camera to capture the whirl of colour at the floating markets.
All the public areas are on the ground floor and are wheelchair accessible, but there are no specially adapted rooms.
All ages are very welcome. There’s a dedicated kids club with indoor and outdoor play areas, shady gardens for running about and a paddling pool for little Smiths to splash about in. Babysitting is available for US$20 an hour; four hours’ notice is needed