Life Resorts has broken ground on a resort in the northern province of Ninh Binh, blazing into territory previously off the map for most visitors to Vietnam.
Life Resort will be the first international resort complex in Ninh Binh province
“In Ninh Binh, we are trying something completely different and very special,” said Chris Duffy, general director of Life Resorts Management. “We have designed the resort to look and feel like a village, with cottages, stone houses, cobbled streets and proximity to a 500-year-old temple.”
Life Resorts manages two properties in Quy Nhon and Hoi An, and is working on a dozen more projects in Sapa, Halong Bay, Phan Thiet and Phu Quoc. Life Heritage Resort Sapa is designed with 28 French villa suites, 18 deluxe hillside chalets and four hillside mountain lodges while Life Heritage Halong will have 22 private deluxe boats.
The $3 million Life Resort Ninh Binh with a spa, pool, restaurant, verdant gardens and lotus ponds will be developed on a five-hectare site that is surrounded by an additional 20 hectares of protected, private land near the Thai Vi Temple.
Bountiful cultural attractions make the region an up-and-coming tourist destination. Some 91 kilometres southwest of Hanoi, the region is renowned for its limestone karst formations at Tam Coc, a region of precipitous crags and rivers that attracted 400,000 foreign tourists last year.
Nearby are the magnificent temples at Hoa Lu, the capital of Vietnam for a brief period in the late 10th and early 11th century. Slightly further away is Phat Diem cathedral, a fusion of occidental and oriental architecture that served as a location in the film The Quiet American.
“We felt like we had discovered buried treasure when we came to Ninh Binh,” said Duffy. “Culturally, there is a lot going on here, but at the same time, the destination is far enough from the main tourist centres that we have the room, as well as seclusion, to develop a one-of-a-kind place.”
Duffy is confident that tourists will want to spend an extended time in the region, as many visitors usually just make a one-night stop before returning to Hanoi.
Meanwhile, construction has recently begun on a 54-hole golf course in Ninh Binh that will complement Life Resort, which is scheduled to open in August 2008.