With long weekends peppering 2020, it is time to whip out that calendar and plan for the next micro-cation.
And there are many destinations around South-east Asia that are close enough for a short getaway.
If soaking up the sun and relaxing on a pristine beach is what you fancy, then check out Melia Ho Tram Beach Resort located on Ho Tram Beach, located 140km from Ho Chi Minh City.
Right from the time you are picked up at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, you start to experience the famous understated luxury of the Melia Hotels and Resorts brand.
I was instantly relieved to escape the crowd at the airport and get into the comfort of the awaiting car and begin a two-hour ride to the latest addition to the Melia family.
The initial view of the resort was as impressive as the beautifully-crafted welcome drink served in a coconut shell.
The five-star gem is nestled amid a tropical mangrove forest and fronted by the East Sea in Ho Tram, a small beach town in Vietnam where the affluent vacationers retreat to rejuvenate.
The property has a secluded, peaceful atmosphere with a beautiful balance between Mediterranean luxury and Vietnamese charm.
Guests have a choice between the suites at a 17-storey hotel tower or the multi-room villas referred to as The Level.
All suites come with a balcony that has direct views of the sea, where you can witness the spectacular sunset and sunrise across 500m of ocean frontage.
They are plush and come with all the luxuries you could want on a vacation.
If you can bear to leave the super comfortable King size bed, you can call for a buggy to pick you up and explore the various amenities around the 17 ha compound or join in the complimentary activities like canoeing or yoga.
The Level villas are great for couples or families as they come with two, three and four bedrooms.
Each villa is spacious yet intimate and features its own private pool and barbecue area. If you prefer a bigger pool to swim or mingle in, head for the two shared pools, both with breathtaking sea views. With 152 rooms and 61 villas, the resort can be crowded at times.
With this in mind, guests at The Level are treated to much exclusivity with special access to some areas like their own shared pool, lounge and breakfast area.
These are private areas reserved for The Level guests and it will certainly attract discerning travellers who prefer a quiet escape.
Melia Ho Tram also offers a massive gym, kids club and fully-equipped spa for guests to indulge in.
And like any secluded retreat, you have to have all your meals there.
There are four dining options - Muoi, Breeza Beach Club, Sasa and Elyxr cafe - and each offers a different type of cuisine.
You will find classic Vietnamese favourites and some with a twist at Muoi.
For a wider variety of Asian cuisine, head for the hotel tower where Sasa is located.
My favourite place was Breeza Beach Club, where I could sit for hours and soak in the beach vibe. The staff at Breeza were ever so attentive as well.
For one of our meals there, we decided to dine in one of the spacious cabanas that line the pool. You can lounge in your wet swimsuits and enjoy a delicious meal and ocean views.
The Cabana Experience is an unusual treat and another unique offering at the resort.
If you would rather stay in the pool, there is also the swim-up bar for casual dining. We participated in the mixology class conducted by the ever-smiling bartender Thanh, who showed us how to make some of the guests' favourites.
There is just something blissfully attractive about Melia Ho Tram Beach Resort.
The constant sea breeze, the wide open spaces framed by nature and most significantly, the warm-spirited and conscientious staff make it a wonderful place to leave your worries behind.
For rates and bookings, visit www.melia.com/en/hotels/vietnam/vung-tau/melia-ho-tram/
Source: The New Paper © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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