Rachael Oakes-Ash rounds up the spas you won't want to leave - ever.
Vietnam was late to the spa trend that took over neighbouring Thailand. For a long time, massage held red-light connotations from the years of the Vietnam War. Not any more. Today's Vietnam is embracing the holistic spa revolution with urban day spas, resort spas and destination spas that rival the world's best.
Urban day spa
La Maison L'Apothiquaire, Ho Chi Minh City
Enter the French art deco villa known as La Maison L'Apothiquaire, in District 3, and prepare to be pampered. The bougainvillea-laden grounds down a discreet driveway in the heart of bustling Ho Chi Minh City provide respite from urban madness, complemented inside with chandeliers, velvet curtains and cool white-tiled floors.
Twenty-one individual beauty treatment rooms, a terrace yoga studio and pool complete the picture. Ask for a hotel pick-up in the spa's vintage Rolls-Royce.
Must-have Make a half-day of it and book in for a multi beauty or relaxation treatment including pick-up and spa cuisine.
Just Massage, Hanoi
This aptly titled day spa offers exactly that, just massage. Not just any massage but massage served up by visually impaired therapists who are more touch-sensitive and able to provide a fine-tuned massage for each customer. Just Massage provides vocational training to youths who are visually impaired and from difficult economic backgrounds so you get double the feel-good factor with every massage.
Fusion Maia, Da Nang
On the shores of the famous China Beach sits Asia's first all-inclusive spa resort. Bed down in 87 pool suites, spa villas and beach villas, each with a private pool, safe in the knowledge that all spa treatments are included in the accommodation rate. The Maia all-inclusive spa features 16 treatment rooms, steam rooms and saunas, eight couples' jacuzzis, a spa library, yoga room and relaxation room. Add yoga, tai chi, meditation and a healthy-living residents' program and you may want to consider changing permanent address. Seven-day wellness programs are also available.
Must-have Aromatherapy facial, reflexology, salt body scrub - why not have them all and more as they are all included in the room rate, from $US451 ($440) for a standard pool villa for two adults and two children under 12.
Life Wellness Resort, Quy Nhon
The seaside town of Quy Nhon, once the capital of Cham culture, is home to the beachfront Life Wellness Resort Quy Nhon. Mass tourism has yet to hit this town so expect an authentic Vietnam wellness experience. The Life Spa wellness program includes all daily spa cuisine meals, designed for optimum health, and a five-day spa and wellness program of facials, massages, saunas, yoga, tai chi, exercise, cooking classes and more.
Must-have You'd be mad not to try the Vietnamese synchronised four-hand massage.
Island eco spa
Six Senses Con Dao
Six Senses is the first five-star resort in the archipelago of Con Dao, a national and marine park area 45 minutes by plane from Ho Chi Minh City. Fifty villas on a private stretch of white beach make the lightest of carbon footprints and are protected by forest hills. The tropical garden spa comes with private pools, yoga and meditation pavilion, juice bar and outdoor salas. Four treatment rooms and a Thai therapy room offer traditional Vietnamese healing practices using local herbs and flower essences. In a word? Bliss.
Must-have Any of the SLOW LIFE - sustainable, local, organic, wholesome, learning, inspiring, fun, experiences - treatments on offer.
The Nam Hai, Hoi An
There is luxury and then there is Nam Hai, with all the butler-style trimmings expected from GHM properties (the Chedi brand). Each of the 60 one-bedroom villa retreats at Nam Hai offers intimate privacy on pristine Hoi An Beach with views of the South China Sea. The spa's eight treatment pavilions sit on a lotus lagoon filled with koi fish. Each pavilion is completely private with a relaxation deck featuring a deep soak bath. Add one serious-looking health club, tennis courts and complimentary meditation and yoga.
Must-have The two-hour "ila Bio-rhythm Envelopment for jetlag" with Kundalini back massage, Marma face massage, energy body polish and mud wrap.
Pilgrimage Village Resort & Spa, Hue
In the quiet countryside outside Hue sits the Pilgrimage Village Resort & Spa, surrounding tranquil gardens. Traditional Vietnamese-style villas are built in a village set-up with local artists creating carved products in peaceful surroundings. Visit nearby Hue or spend a gruelling day in the artisan Vedana Spa with jacuzzi, sauna, herbal steam and all-natural treatments passed down through generations. Expect to enjoy some serious relaxation.
Must-have The Vietnamese body treatment with gentle strokes, pressure points and suction cupping to release toxins.
Anantara Mui Ne Resort & Spa
If the 89 guest rooms, suites and pool villas on Mui Ne beach don't tempt you, the sunset cocktails on the resort pool deck will. Also, stay between now and December 25 next year and indulge in complimentary unlimited spa treatments every day (conditions apply). But back to the spa's five double treatment suites with natural light and lush gardens (one with steam room and jacuzzi). Natural juniper, chocolate, aloe vera, dragon fruit, caviar serum, vanilla and indigenous elixirs are used in an extensive menu of beauty, body and relaxation treatments.
Must-have The Synchronised Massage package, where you get a four-hand, 60-minute therapeutic body treatment that includes a floral foot bath and use of the jacuzzi.
Six Senses Ninh Van Bay
Luxury isn't just for adults. Kids will love the rock formations of Ninh Van Bay on the East Vietnam Sea. The Six Senses resort is built in among the cliffs, mountains and beach like a private hideaway perfect for kids' imaginations. Two-bedroom villas on the beach provide family-style accommodation and hilltop villas near the spa even come with a personal spa suite for in-house treatments. The open-design day spa complete with private waterfall has a spa menu designed for the young ones, with Youthful Yoga, OPI Shrek Nail mini-manicures, Moving Water and Powers of Imagination spa treatments.
Must-have Mum & Me or Dad & Me massage workshop for some touching bonding time.