Big resorts are particularly popular amongst families, and for good reasons. Family resorts are often made up of a large hotel, plus surrounding facilities and venues like restaurants, pools, or private beaches where you can spend a relaxing holiday with your kids. While most of the largest resorts in the world have been established in the USA, we found one in Vietnam that was more than large enough to spend a week or two there, or even a whole month! Shame we only had a few days to enjoy it. This resort is Alma, in the amazing area called Cam Ranh, near the southern city of Nha Trang.
Not that neighbouring resorts were much smaller: it seems that, thanks to its wide and long beach and the lots of land available, the Cam Ranh peninsula has attracted the investment of big groups who went for large plots and built family-friendly resorts. These attract both locals from all over Vietnam (and this was the case during our stay, due to summer local holiday season) and foreigners from different part of the world.
Alma the resort
Back to Alma, resorts don’t get much more comprehensive than that: 14 bars and restaurants, 12 pools, a private beach, a cinema, a kids’ club, a science museum, a Spa, a mini-golf course, an amphitheatre, a cinema, a VR games room, a water sports centre, a waterpark with slides, a mini market, a fully equipped gym, a youth centre and a conference centre.
I was immediately impressed by the huge lobby with its very high ceilings and its special architecture; from there we could see the amazing resort grounds all the way to the sea. We followed the staff to the check in lounge, and we walked through amazingly manicured gardens. The landscaping is fantastic, hands down to the gardeners team for maintaining such perfection around the resort greeneries.
The lounge was spacious with check in facilities and complimentary cookies, fruit, tea and coffee. Despite the resort looking very busy, we were welcomed by lovely staff and received a VIP treatment, which Leonardo enjoyed very much. The higher level of organisation could be seen from the very first 30 minutes we spent at the resort.
Their Director of Marketing Communication, Mildred Amon, was at the lounge while we checked in, and we had a nice chat. I discovered that the resort was running at 100% occupancy and that at that particular time, Alma had 3200 guests, serviced by 800 staff! She also told me about the amazing site of the plot where Alma sits: 30 hectares. Alma is so vast that a whole team drive dozens of golf buggies, whizzing around the resort’s paths, collecting customers from any point, and dropping to wherever within the resort they wish to go, 16 hours a day.
Mildred then escorted us to our room, on the 14th floor of the North Tower. The stylish suite was remarkably spacious, at least 80 sqm, with a large terrace from where to marvel at the entire resort, and at the ocean. A spectacular view Leonardo and I enjoyed for the whole of our stay at Alma. Our suite had a huge lounge with a small service toilet and a fully-equipped kitchen which had a large fridge/freezer, four hobs, an oven and a microwave, a fancy coffee machine with pods to use, and a bottle of quality red wine as a welcome drink.
The sofa was so comfortable and the TV was large and Smart, though Leonardo and I did not get to use it much. The double bedroom had an en-suite tub and a shower room with bathroom amenities of very good quality, and the bed was amazing. There is more: housekeeping was done twice daily by wonderful staff who did an excellent job.
One thing Alma is good at is food, and for a reason. First of all, they have 14 (yes fourteen!) between bars and restaurants.
The breakfast buffet at Alma Garden was huge and had a wide range of choices of asian and western dishes, and many different cooking stations for everything you could wish for – and more – including pastries, hams and meats, eggs to order, Vietnamese noodles and a machine for help-yourself pancakes (a hit with kids). Some room rates include breakfast choice at La Casa for Italian great options.
For food and snacks outside usual meals hours can be had at the American Bar, at the Beach Bar – with its menu of soft drinks, cocktails, beers and light bites – and at Chilli’s Snacks & Bar, two American food trucks set up outside the amphitheatre, where they shows movies under the stars.
Meals can be had at Italian restaurant La Casa (dinner only), which serves Italian favourites plus an amazing pizza, at the beachfront restaurant Atlantis, and at the Alma Lounge and Alma Garden. All restaurants are lovely in style and always had something to eat, whether it was Asian style or European.
But let me also mention the resort Food Court, a casual dining spot with rotating food trucks – Little New York, The French Bakery and The Noodle House to name some – for an easy-peasy self-serve meal; and the supermarket, where you can buy stuff to eat/cook later in the comfort of your room, and that helps a lot when you have a picky kid.
And for the kids?
Well, the kids at Alma get extremely spoiled, to the point we can state that Alma is the perfect place for your next family getaway, believe me. There are full indoor and outdoor activities to keep them busy
Offsprings can be booked into the Kids’ Club, complete of ball pens, climbing frames, an arts and crafts area, library, nap zone as well as piles of toys and games, as well as a huge kids-only pool complete with mushroom fountains and water games. They also have periodic singing and dancing lessons, cooking classes and team games. Leonardo enjoyed his time there.
There is also a Youth Club where teenagers can enjoy billiard, table tennis, table hockey and video games, as well as a chill-out space with bean bags. Leonardo’s favourite was the virtual reality game. There is also a minigolf area.
Water seems to be the biggest kids’ attraction at Alma. The top feature is the Splash Park, Alma’s signature water park. It’s huge and it features a wave pool, kid’s pool and water slides, as well as an amazing lazy river with a strong current. Then there are the pools. 12 of them! They start at the lounge area and cascade down all the way to the beach. One day we treated ourselves and tried them all. Some are more suitable for kids as they have a wide, shallow water area with chairs and fountains. In some the water is deep so they are not ideal for toddlers without inflatables. Leonardo is an excellent swimmer and showed off his skill in each of the pools. The pools are kept very clean, and there is never a problem finding a sun-bed despite the high number of guests in the resort. We ended the experience with a snack BBQ and a drink at the beach bar, then took a stroll along the pristine beach.
Let me also tell you what we didn’t get to do at Alma, mostly for lack of time. There is a Science Museum promoting interactive learning through a host of exhibits focused on mind-boggling wonders. There is a 400-seat, 1000 square metre Amphitheater ideal for outdoor events. There is a 75-seat private Cinema airing three films a day with movies for all ages. There is a Karaoke Rooms comprising five sound-proof karaoke rooms. And last but not least, the sporting facilities range from a water sports centre kayaking and bodyboarding, a beachfront football field, and tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, an outdoor archery range, an 18-hole putting green, open-air exercise stations and a giant chess board.
And for the guests’ necessities, there is an internal minimart selling vacation essentials, a Gift Shop offering souvenirs such as local handicrafts, and a Tour Desk helping guests orchestrate day trips and excursions in the local area.
The Alma team
All the above could not be possible without Alma’s lovely and attentive team. We were impressed by the complete hospitality of the staff, by the fact that despite the property was extremely busy, everything seemed under control and we could always see smiles on everyone’s face. The staff in general were friendly and accommodating, professional, polite and welcoming. They all went out of their ways to make sure we felt comfortable, and made our stay even more unique.
Alma for us has been one of the best resorts in our trip to Vietnam. Alma made us feel at home, and there’s so much to keep children of all ages entertained – both day and night – that I never heard the words “I’m bored” from Leonardo.
It certainly took a lot of stress out of me when I needed to relax a bit.
The quality at Alma is high, and prices are affordable; the only thing i could wish for was to have more days to spend there so we could explore everything on offer.