Viet Nam News
After living for more than 30 years in Europe, mostly in Prague, the Czech Republic, running a tourism company and traveling the world, Phạm Văn Hiến has returned to Việt Nam to build a ‘northern Vietnamese village’ of his dreams. The Anam, a five star resort on Long Beach in Cam Ranh Bay, opens ahead of the long Reunification Holiday this weekend. He spoke about the project to Inner Sanctum
Inner Sanctum: What is that brought you to Nha Trang?
Nha Trang is one of the most beautiful coastal cities in the country. Ten years ago, I brought my family here for a long vacation. I was very impressed: a beautiful city with long beaches, crystal clear water and the best weather one can ask for. I visited Nha Trang a few more times, but in 2012, when I visited Bãi Dài (Long Beach) for the first time, I was struck by its beauty.
For more than 20 years, I have been in the tourism business and traveled to many beautiful places around the world, but Bãi Dài left such a strong impression that I wanted to come back and build a unique beach resort that has its own style, incorporating local culture and history.
Inner Sanctum: Tell us more about The Anam’s style.
It’s a Vietnamese dream village. It has many tile-roofed single-storey houses standing amidst 3,000 coconut palms. All the palms are from surrounding area so they can adapt well.
I’ve read a lot about Vietnamese traditional architecture and the French influence in houses and villas. The houses and villas built during the 19th century combine the best of both worlds: well-ventilated structures with best materials of both local and French origins.
The Anam was built to be a Vietnamese village with a large amount of natural hard-wood crafted and assembled by the best artisans from Nam Định, my home province. All the tiled roofs have been made by experts from Huế. All the floor tiles have 19th century designs.
All the stone used in The Anam come from Thanh Hóa and Nghệ An provinces. And the palm leafed roof of the beach clubs were made by contractors from Bình Thuận, experts in making beach bungalows.
And last, but not the least, the artworks and sculptures that adorn the walls of Anam are painted and crafted by local artists living in Nha Trang.
Inner Sanctum: I just saw a documentary made by a Vietnamese director living in France about workers from Indochina who were taken to work in France in the place of French workers who’d gone to fight in World War II. The French colonial period was a sad, a dark chapter in the history of Việt Nam. Why would you want to recall it (by recreating that ambience at the resort)?
I understand what you’re trying to say. But for me, this place is first and foremost a Vietnamese village, built with the expertise of the best craftsmen we have and the best material available in the country. The structural architecture and the floor tiles are from that period because it makes the house more airy and comfortable, which is a quality resort makers want to have.
Apart from the villas, we also have a hotel where all the balconies are decorated with flowers, especially local bougainvillea, typical to the tropical climate of Nha Trang, which enjoy 300 sunny days in a year.
I want the bougainvillea balconies to remind guests of the beautiful summer houses in the Alps.
Inner Sanctum: From its name, The Anam, its style, the colonial architecture and so on, you are eyeing holiday-makers interested the history and culture of Việt Nam. What are some of its contemporary features?
From the outside, you can say that The Anam sports a classic beauty. But if you look deeper, the whole complex has met the strictest world resort and contemporary standards. We imported the best mattresses from the US, the bed linen and goose feathers are from Ireland, bath amenities imported from France.
The three public pools and villas’ private pools and many terracotta jars with little fountains in the middle scattered across the resort keep the yin-yang balance.
We want to bring the best comfort to our guests and we have been accredited by World Luxury, the famed brand of World Hotels.
Our staff have been well trained to cater to our guests’ needs. We plan to make The Anam a premier holiday destination in Southeast Asia. — VNS