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5 Reasons to visit the InterContinental Danang (& 2 not)

If you followed our Instagram Stories or Facebook, then you know earlier this year we did a trip to Vietnam and stayed at the incredible “InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort”. (Also, I made and posted a video of our Stories here).

This is the most amazing InterContinental hotel I’ve been to…

And we’ve been to InterContinental hotels in Bora Bora (both), Fiji, Bali, Hong Kong, Paris, Sydney, Koh Samui, Davos, and many more.

Yet, this was maybe one of the most unique and best properties I’ve been to, and yet, I doubt we’ll ever go back.

Here are 5 Pros, and 2 Cons, of why and why not to go to the IC Danang.

InterContinental Danong hotel room

1) Gondola.

While this cliffside hotel does resemble the other cliffside InterContinental in SE Asia, Koh Samui, it’s a far superior property.

The problem with these cliff resorts is that it takes 1,000 stairs to get back to your room from the beach. In the IC Fiji, which has (had?) its club rooms at the top of a much smaller hill, it was still forever away.

This hotel has you walk sideways (along your room row) to the gondola, which then takes you up and down.

To me, this is the defining feature, and I’ve only seen it at one other resort (the Hilton Waterfalls in Sharm), and this was way nicer. And in typical IC Danang style, it’s not just some ugly red box that comes once every few minutes… it’s a wooden boat with a monkey statue on the front.

A post shared by Drew and Carrie (@travelisfree) on

 

 

2) Cliff hotels are amazing, and this view is fantastic.

We also went to the Hyatt Regency Danang this trip, which is on a boring flat beach. The area where the InterContinental Danang is sits on a cliff surrounded by other cliffs. You still have a view of the ocean, but you also have a fantastic view of the green cliffs.

This isn’t a normal beach resort where you can walk to the beach. Instead, all rooms are ocean facing and can look down at the beach.

It’s just a more scenic way of doing a beach resort.

 

3) Everything is unique. Nothing is cookie cutter chain hotel.

The sister IC Koh Samui hotel also has local themed statues around, but at the IC Danang every aspect is unique.

The rooms are not only large, they are immaculate. Just take the bathroom. The vanity is carved wood. The rain shower is open and drains through the wooden slats. The bathtub has a view of the ocean but not of other rooms. And the design of everything in the room looks local.

 

Or take these pods at a restaurant at the top. They are pods with a round table, that give you the feeling of hanging over the cliff.

InterContinental Danong Citron pods

Take the bar for example…

The “Long Bar” (which is very long) has hanging pod chairs.

InterContinental Danong Long Bar swinging chairs

It has a hanging table.

InterContinental Danong Long Bar hanging table

It has a weird mechanical giant fan system. I’d say they’re going for a steampunk feel, but something tells me it’s also vietnamese styled.

 

4) Lots to do, even for a resort.

First, you have more water sports than normal. Free kayaking, snorkeling, wind-surfing, and their weird basket boats.

But they also have a lot of free activities including free shuttle to the ancient city of Hoi An, which is 45 minutes away.

 

5) Service is an experience.

By the way, the gondola basically operates exactly the same as an elevator. Big “1”, “2”, “3”, buttons that take you to your floor. Yet, they have two running, each with their own staff member.

And when you get down to the beach, there is a stand with a staff member who will store your bag, shoes or whatever.

Then as you keep walking out another one will serve you at your beach chair, but beyond towels, will also offer free water bottles, and sun tan lotion.

When we took the spiral staircase to the infinity pool above the bar, the water bottle came to us in a mini cooler. And when you want to order food, you put up the flag next to you, giving you privacy until you need something.

 

Personally, I’m not into the style of service which is to do everything for me, remember me and call me “Mr. Macomber”. I don’t need hotel staffers to make me feel important and stroke my ego.

But I love a hotel that has thought of everything, even very simple things, like keeping my water ice cold instead of roasting in the sun.

Many resorts would take the opportunity to charge me $4 for a water, or sell sun-screen for $10, or rent snorkel gear for $15. This hotel wants to give an experience, and they do.

 

Cons

1) Food is mediocre and over priced.

If you’ve never had good vietnamese food I suppose you’ll love it. But it 100% caters to non-locals, and is not flavorful.

But I could not believe how mediocre the food was. Just unbelievable.

I tried many vietnamese dishes, and every one paled in comparison to the $2 – $5 meals I had in Hanoi. So, I have less issue with paying $10 for a dish in Vietnam, and more have a problem that I’m paying more and it sucks.

To me, this was a huge disappointment after trying the Thai food at the IC Koh Samui (you must try the soft-shell crab there!). Loving food in Vietnam I figured this would also be an experience. Instead it was just so bland.

InterContinental Danong Citron food

2) Is Danang really worth a visit?

The reason they offer so many water sports is because there would be no other reason to go here except for this hotel.

This cliff side hotel is scenic, for sure. But not as scenic as Koh Samui, nor is the water as beautiful. If you love water, go to Indonesia, Koh Samui, Fiji, etc… I certainly wasn’t going to try snorkeling here (plus the water was too cold in spring).

If you love cliffs and mountains, go to northern Vietnam, the alps, or the Himalayas. If you love Vietnamese culture, definitely don’t go to a beach resort!

At the end of the day, I just don’t think I’d recommend Danang as a place to go.

On the other hand, the flight from Hanoi was like $25… at that price, there’s no reason not to try it. I just wouldn’t fly around the world to go to Danang for vacation, I would tack it on to a Vietnam trip to burn an IHG free night.

 

Conclusion

Loved this hotel. Seriously one of the best resort properties I’ve been to.

However, I don’t travel across the world to visit a hotel. I travel for culture, landscapes, buildings, nature, food, etc…

That being said, I didn’t regret paying $25 to add the IC Danang to the trip… I’m just not sure I’d fly all the way to SE Asia for Danang.

 

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9 Comments

  1. Excellent review. This resort has been on my radar. I think I will table it until I’m in the area. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Thanks! Hope you’re in the area soon, it’s a great country. 😉

      Reply
    • drew, how come every time i register on your website nothing happens.. are you current?

      Reply
  2. Da Nang has been on our radar for our upcoming Hanoi trip. I have read there are things to do here, and in Hoi An. Any update on this or Hoi An, other than the hotels?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • As mentioned, the hotel has a free shuttle to Hoi An, which is a very popular town. Danang itself is mostly a beach destination.

      Reply
  3. I liked “climbing” the marble mountain in Danang. It’s mostly stairs to caves, shrines, temples and pagodas carved in a mountain. You can walk there from the Hyatt which was great back when I was diamond. Hoi An is also great even though it gets a lot of tourists. Great food.

    Reply
  4. While I agree with most of your points. Here is where we differ. We had lunch in Maison 1888. Food and service were excellent. Lunch is half the cost of dinner. I was impressed with the food. We also did the Sunday Brunch. Again food was good and offerings and quality were impressive. We ate at Barefoot, twice. Both times we had western types of food and they did pizza and burgers, pretty decently. We had a Banh Mi at the Long Bar, terrible. Grilled like a panini, yucky cooked lettuce. We had pho at both the regular breakfast buffet and the Sunday Brunch and both were flavorful. All in all, we found the food to be tasty but at resort prices.

    You are right, flying all the way to stay at this IC, isn’t worthwhile. But staying at this IC and combining it with another destination or 2 in Asia makes a lot of sense. We spoke to other English speaking guests. All were on award stays and we all agreed that this is a very good point redemption. Although at 50K points/night for a base room, it is a little high. There are 30K and 35K/night award specials.

    The resort offers a level of service that leaves many other resorts wanting. You didn’t care for the setting. We thought the setting very beautiful and quiet. If one wants to sightsee, within an hour, there are numerous places to see. Would we go back? Yes. We plan to do just a central Vietnam trip in the future. Da Nang is gathering momentum as a destination. There are international non-stop flights from many big cities in Asia. IC Da Nang is indeed a special place. It deserves all the accolades they get.

    Reply
  5. I loved visiting Vietnam and just reading this has peaked my interest in going back. The hotel sounds great but some of the best parts of my trip to Vietnam surrounded the food.

    Reply
  6. Was really fortunate to visit this hotel on a recent trip to Vietnam thanks to the first IHG Accelerate promotion whereby I earnt two free nights in any IHG property for what was essentially 2 stays in cheap Holiday Inns – Awesome !!
    I emailed the hotel beforehand and was upgraded too. Amnot an Ambassador but am an IHG Plat (which usually gets nothing at ICs but they seemed to make an exception for me).
    It was an INCREDIBLE place. I didn’t really like having to get buggies to pick you up for some of the longer journeys around the resort, but was better than hiking up hills ! BUT was a bit irritating at the time.
    I agree that the food I had (other than at the La Maison 1888 restaurant) was mediocre and over priced. Such a shame. But I ate 2 nights in La Maison 1888 and the food was superb. Expensive but superb.
    I would return, but not on my dime !! Also I agree, other than this resort, Danag isn’t really worth visiting ! Hue and Hoi An are far more interesting.

    Reply

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We have spent the majority of our marriage traveling full time, living out of hotels.   All the while, we list our expenses publicly, budgeting $25,000 a year for our nomadic life while still staying in mostly 4 or 5 star hotels across ~20 countries a year.
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