Hanoi—a city for lovers? It might be. Virtuoso, a luxury travel network comprised of over 300 agencies and thousands of travel advisors across 22 countries, recently included Vietnam, along with Cambodia, on its list of the world’s top 30 honeymoon destinations. According to the company, the choices were made by some of their ‘most experienced honeymoon specialists,’ in collaboration with wedding company, The Knot. And Virtuoso’s proclamation does carry some clout, as it’s touted as being the most powerful luxury travel group internationally; its member agencies currently amass over $5 billion a year in sales.
And certainly by no coincidence, along with the announcement is now a luxury honeymoon tour offered by the network; a nine-night ‘adventure showcasing Vietnam and Cambodia.’ The package, according to Virtuoso, offers newlyweds a walk on cloud nine through South-east Asia, with ‘a journey rich in history, culture and romance’ that even includes a second ceremony for couples who want to further solidify their bond—Asian-style: ‘A traditional Buddhist blessing ceremony, performed by local monks that reside in the beautiful pagoda of Wat Damnak that will bring good fortune to your married life.’
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The nine night honeymoon includes stays at three luxury hotels in the two countries, the Sofitel Legend Metropole and The Nam Hai in Vietnam and the Hotel De La Paix in Cambodia.
The Nam Hai (Vietnam): ‘As much an icon as its legendary location, China Beach, the Nam Hai is a designer hotel and spa that has become a destination in itself. Beside the South China Sea, between the cultural hubs of Hoi An and Hué, the imperial influence is evident in its opulent-yet-zen ocean-view villas.’
Hôtel de la Paix (Cambodia): ‘Appealing to the inner cool-hunter in all of us, Hôtel de la Paix is architect Bill Bensley’s shrine to style in Siem Reap. The look is at once contemporary and Cambodian, dreamt up to make the discerning traveller feel instantly at home. The inner courtyard and Boddhi tree will bring harmony to your Angkor experience; the Khmer cuisine at in-house restaurant Meric will bring a smile to your lips.’
Meanwhile, the third, Sofitel Legend Metropole in Vietnam, is well-known for its historic presence in Hanoi. As described on its website, ‘located at the heart of Hanoi since 1901,' the 364-room hotel 'has a long history of being a luxury place for many prestigious events and popular rendezvous.’
Sometimes it’s difficult to trust these kinds of lists, released by large for-profit companies. However I don’t doubt that as an alternative to the more oft-trodden honeymoon destinations, for excited couples around the world, South-east Asia does present something of a promise for a unique and memorable experience…and some romance, of course.