by Jennifer Hallowed
A romantic getaway is the perfect way to put a little extra spark in your relationship. Whether it is a quick trip somewhere close or an extended weekend at a lovely resort in Southeast Asia, it’s sure to please.
International: Evason Ana Mandara Resort and Six Senses Spa—Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang is located approximately one hour from Ho Chi Minh City by plane, just below the lip of the Cai River. The beach affords fantastic views of the surrounding five islands, instantly providing a feeling of relaxation.
Staying at the Evason Ana Mandara Resort and Six Senses Spa is the perfect answer for a romantic getaway. Ana Mandara means “beautiful home for the guests” and upon arriving at the hotel, my husband and I quickly understood why that name was chosen. We were greeted by the always-pleasant staff and led through the open lobby full of lush greenery, tropical flowers and a koi pond to our individual hut only steps from the beach. While the beach was definitely beautiful, neither of us could help but visit the spa first. We decided on massages, Swedish for me and Vietnamese Cupping massage for my husband. The spa caters to couples in many of its treatments, including the “Adam and Eve” massage package that includes two masseuses, their Aphrodite mix of essential oils to set the mood, and a bottle of sparkling wine to complete the experience (¥16,500 for 80 minutes). For those couples looking to spend a bit more time in the spa there is the Romance half day package which includes Steam and Sauna for two, a Vietnamese Flower Bath for two, Aroma Indulgence: Full Body, Face and Scalp and Six Senses Signature Tea (¥18,500 for 120 minutes).
In the evening we decided to go into town to walk around. The streets were filled with mopeds, traveling cooks, and women selling handicrafts to locals and visitors alike. The entirety of Nha Trang city took about 40 minutes to cover, so we ducked into a bar called Why Not and watched the world go by as Jimi Hendrix played in the background. We returned to our resort for a divine dinner of Vietnamese cuisine, poolside.
The remainder of our time in Nha Trang was spent taking a boat ride to the surrounding islands, snorkeling and lying on the beach—perfect spot to spend a long weekend with that special someone.
Evason Ana Mandara Resort and Six Senses Spa
Tel: +84-058-524-705, Fax: +84-058-524-704
Rates vary depending on time of year from ¥15,000 to ¥22,500 in high season.
Domestic: The Fujiya Hotel Miyanoshita—Hakone, Japan
Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and a destination that offers much to do, including the popular onsen, mountains, lakes, and museums, making this the perfect romantic weekend get-a-way.
Start the weekend off right by taking the Odakyu Romance Car from Shinjuku Station to Odawara and switch to the Hakone Tozan Railway for a pretty, if somewhat harrowing, climb up the mountain. We decided to spend the night in Hakone instead of just taking a day trip and got off the train at Miyanoshita station to make our way to the Fujiya Hotel.
Staying at the Fujiya Hotel is like being transported back in time to 1878. It is definitely the most beautiful and majestic old hotel in Hakone. The Japanese garden, with stone walkways, provides a nice quiet escape. And the indoor and outdoor hot springs help relaxation. A private hot spring can be reserved ahead of time for just the two of you. The Miyanoshita hot spring is known to help with many ailments including nerve pains, digestive orders and skin irritations. For the ultimate in old world romance, reserve a room in the Flower Palace, an annex built in 1936. The rooms with tall ceilings, antique furniture, and architecture reminded us of an old Japanese temple—they definitely are full of charm. Also make sure to make a reservation for the Main Dining Room, a French/Continental restaurant, before you go because it books up quickly, especially in high season. Afternoon tea in the Orchid Lounge is also a nice afternoon break.
While leaving the beautiful surroundings is hard, we did also manage to see some of Hakone. High on our list was the Hakone Open Air Museum. The natural surroundings are breathtaking in themselves, but that plus the 700 pieces of sculpture, make it a very interesting and unusual destination. We also took the cable car to Sounzan, the Ropeway to Togendai and finally a boat trip across Lake Ashi, providing stunning views of Mount Fuji.
The Fujiya Hotel
Tel +81-460-2-2211, Fax +81-460-2-2210
Rates vary greatly depending on room type and time of year, ¥23,000 to as high as ¥115,800 for a suite.