If you're looking for a remote island break that's somewhere a little off the beaten path, consider heading to Con Dao, a remote archipelago off the southern coast of Vietnam.
There hasn't been much written about Con Dao so I wasn't quite sure what lay ahead for my long weekend break. After a 45-minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City, I started to see islands appearing through the plane's windows, with pretty much no human activity in sight – which was exactly what I'd hoped for but wasn't quite sure would ever be possible in the normally bustling country of Vietnam!
On landing at Con Dao airport (well it had a runway, so it just about qualifies!), I was greeted by the Six Senses' local representative at the very small airport terminal. There were a few other Six Senses guests on our flight so we all jumped into the hotel's minivan for our short journey to the resort. On turning the final corner of the drive, there was a gasp of excitement as we spied our first real glimpse of Six Senses Con Dao across the bay – a long white beach with rows of villas directly on the sand. It definitely packed a real wow factor and again, there were no people and no boats in sight!
Upon arrival, I was given a warm welcome with a refreshing drink in the lobby, with the inviting smell of incense in the air and a stunning view of the resort, beach and surrounding hills spread out in front of you. I was escorted to my Ocean View Villa, where I was greeted by wonderful uninterrupted ocean vistas from the second floor of the duplex. Within 30 minutes of landing, I was already sunbathing by my private pool, and very much congratulating myself on a good choice of destination and resort!
Six Senses Con Dao has a number of great dining outlets that give guests plenty of options, and I was impressed by the quality of food there. Given their remote location, the resort had a wide range of dishes on offer and all of the food, especially the seafood, was beautifully fresh. I had a chance to speak with the chef and sommelier, and was impressed by their list of accolades.
It was hard to peel myself away from my sun-lounger during my stay... But it was also hard not to go explore the island and discover its natural beauty. I took advantage of the activities organised by the resort, including trekking, fishing, and snorkelling. My favourite was the "local life tour" where my guide took me through the town's back roads, small dwellings and local agricultural plots.
Six Senses definitely knows how to provide their guests with the perfect holiday; the sense of escapism, peace and tranquillity, combined with contemporary stylish décor and low-key but highly efficient and extremely friendly butler service was spot on. Not only that, but Six Senses is also passionate about supporting and protecting the environment, with numerous initiatives in place at Con Dao that demonstrate its commitment to sustainability.
Despite an action-packed weekend, I was still able to spend several hours in complete relaxation. I've been to very few places where the ability to switch off is so complete – and for that reason alone, I would return to Six Senses Con Dao in a heartbeat.
By Ian Anderson