Alma, a 196-pavilion and 384-suite resort that commands 74 acres of beachfront, 14 sublime food and beverage outlets and a cascade of 12 beachfront swimming pools, opened in Vietnam’s new “it” destination on May 31.
Bold, spacious and emblematic of Vietnam’s maturation as a destination, the independently owned and operated luxury resort is breaking new ground in Cam Ranh, a peninsula on Vietnam’s south-central coast that first found fame as Southeast Asia’s greatest deepwater harbor and is now rising as an upscale alternative to nearby Na Trang.
Alma has unveiled an awe-inspiring host of world-class facilities, such as an eclectic selection of restaurants helmed by leading chefs, a food court with an array of local and international cuisine, a classical bar, pool bar and beach bar, and mini supermarket. Other drawing cards include a science museum, waterpark, 13-treatment room spa, art gallery, cinema, convention centre, amphitheatre, youth centre with virtual reality games, kid’s club, water sports centre, gymnasium and yoga room and an 18-hole putting green.
After opening in December 2019 for the Vietnamese market, the resort’s opening to the international market was delayed due to the onset of COVID-19 and Vietnam closing its borders to international arrivals. Vietnam opened up domestic air routes on April 16 and is looking forward to a resumption of arrivals from abroad possibly from July.
As a complement to Cam Ranh’s aquamarine waters and dramatic headlands, Alma’s design sets a contemporary tone with a neutral palette of whites, earthy colours and soft blues, accentuated with modern yet minimalist decor. Floor-to-roof glass panels usher in an abundance of natural light in the resort’s 580 oversized accommodations that all afford spectacular vistas of Long Beach, where sampans and coracles ply the waters and islands loom offshore.
“With a broad spectrum of inspiring things to see and do, this ambitious resort is emblematic of what Vietnam is just now becoming — a destination not merely for travelers but for people on holiday,” said General Manager Herbert Laubichler-Pichler, an Austrian hospitality veteran with life-long experience including 14 years in Vietnam managing three of the country’s most acclaimed hotels.
Alma‘s nine categories of spacious accommodations include one-, two- and three-bedroom ocean view suites spanning 71, 114 and 165sqmrespectively, and the two- and three-bedroom ocean view and oceanfront pavilions ranging from 144 to 224sqm. All suites and villas feature master bedrooms with soaking bathtubs and separate rainwater showers, huge living rooms with massive sofas, kitchens and dining areas. The three-bedroom pavilions and two-bedroom ground floor pavilions boast private swimming pools, and the two-bedroom upper floor pavilions feature private jacuzzis. Inland from the villas, the suites are housed in two V-shaped towers, affording panoramic sea views.
Fourteen diverse food and beverage venues entice diners from outlets casual enough for gourmet burgers and refined enough for a grand piano. Alma Garden beats at the heart of the resort with live cooking stations that evoke a marketplace atmosphere. Asiana brings the finest in modern Asian cuisine to Cam Ranh, and Atlantis, with its vast deck for al fresco dining that sits above Alma’s strand, specialises in fresh local seafood. Serving evening meals in true Tuscan style direct from its open kitchen, the sophisticated Italian trattoria La Casa prepares a wide selection of classic Italian dishes. Alma Food Court is a happening culinary hub with six different food outlets, and the resort’s rousing bar landscape comprises Alma Lounge, American Bar, Pool Bar and Beach Bar.
In 13 separate treatment villas named after Vietnamese flowers, Le Spa leverages Aromatherapy Associates product for treatments that range from massages and facials, to body wraps and scrubs to nail care and hair care.
The 12 pools cascading down to the beach include a 75-metre beachfront pool for laps and an adults-only pool. Cabanas and loungers dot the pools’ terraces. A lazy river runs through Alma’s 6000sqm Splash Water Park, which also features a wave pool, kid’s pool, water slides, and two American-style food trucks.
Adjacent to a huge kids-only pool with fountains and water games, the Kids’ Club is home to trampolines, ball pens, climbing frames and arts and crafts. The Active Youth Club lures teens with virtual reality games, table football and billiards tables.
One of the first of its kind in Vietnam, the Science Museum promotes interactive learning through exhibits focused on discoveries that changed the world such as electricity generation, moving images, magnetic fields, pulley systems and more. Seating 400, Alma Amphitheater hosts live concerts and cultural shows, and the Alma Convention Center is comparable to convention centres found in major cities worldwide. A 70-seat cinema, complete with a popcorn concession, airs three films daily, and the art gallery sells works by local artists and holds art classes.
Sporting facilities include a water sports centre offering pursuits such as kayaking and bodyboarding, a beachfront football field, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, an outdoor archery range, 18-hole putting green, open-air exercise stations and giant chess board.