I opted however for the Banya Treatment which combines the age-old Russian cleansing ritual combined with Asian healing techniques which were held in the An Son Spa House (Peaceful Mountain Spa House) one of the two Spa Houses which can accommodate between two to four guests in their beautifully-appointed living quarters. It’s ideal for those who demand the utmost in privacy when they are indulging in their spa treatments or are signed up for one of the Individual Wellness Immersions as these two Spa Houses offers private spa facilities and therapists within their walls and don’t require you to visit the main spa building.
After sitting in the sauna for a few minutes, I was scrubbed with a sea salt from the local salt flats. After a quick rinse-off, I was told to jump into an icy-cold plunge pool! A few minutes relaxing in the Jacuzzi preceded the highlight of this treatment – being gently whipped by venik (fragrant bundles of oak and eucalyptus leaves and twigs which release essential oils and vitamins A & C). Carried out by two therapists, this was a four-hands treatment which boosts blood circulation and improves metabolism and relieves muscle tension and stress.
A super relaxing Vietnamese massage followed this stimulating procedure and as a sweetener to mark the end of this treatment, ginger and lemons grass tea together with granola cake with coconut flakes, dried fruit, honey and white sesame was served on the outdoor deck.
Saving the best for last, another experiential dinner was planned for our last night at the Amanoi. An evening meal at a local chieftain’s home in the neighbouring village of Vinh Hy was the ideal way to meet the local villagers and experience an authentic and delicious slice of Vietnamese life. Ong Bay (Ong means Mr. in Vietnamese) and his family are descendants of fishermen and have lived in the sleepy town of Vinh Hy for several generations.
Their present house has a general store located on one side while our dinner table was set up on the front porch. It was a lovely experience meeting Ong Bay and his wife who was more than happy to chat with us with the help of an interpreter. Dining on Jicama salad with watercress, Vietnamese Chicken Curry, Stir-Fried Local Green Bean with Garlic and Fish Sauce and steamed rice, all washed down Matua Sauvignon Blanc, it was a perfect way to end this incredible trip when everyone clinked wine glasses underneath a mango tree on this balmy night.
For more information on Amanoi, please visit www.aman.com