The seemingly untouched island of Con Dao is a new addition on my bucket list. Mainly because I want to visit the five star Six Senses resort located there! Unfortunately, I still haven’t made it over but Vassiliki took her family there in Feb for four nights. Con Dao, in southeastern Vietnam is accessible by 45 minute flight from the capital, Ho Chi Minh City. She advises there’s not much to do outside the resort with kids but it is very relaxing and the perfect place to unwind.
Who: Vassiliki & husband and their two children (4 and 2 years old)
When: 14-17 Feb 2013 (partly cloudy weather which was nice as not worried about kids sunburn. Warm enough for swimming but windy at times.
Direct online which meant we could benefit from the early booking offer. We paid USD $2478 incl. taxes for room and breakfast for the four nights.
We booked our flights directly online with Vietnam Airlines from Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City. Then with Air Mekong from HCMC – Con Dao (45 mins). I would recommend booking Vietnam Airlines for both flights, as the connection time is much better with less waiting time. Note, there is a short transfer time and factor in the walk for the change to the domestic airport.
I recommend organising visas in advance to save time transferring through Ho Chi Minh City Airport
The hotel was about 15-20 mins from the airport. The minivan that picked us up seemed to have worn shock absorbers which made for a very bouncy ride.
This was absolutely amazing, it was the best part of the resort. We booked an Ocean Front Villa on the beach, which was a bit more expensive than the ‘beach view’ villas, which are further back. We had read reviews saying the beach-view villas were split level and had no aircon in the bathroom which was uncomfortable. Both rooms have amazing views, the set up is beautiful. Everything is very rustic with extensive use of natural wood.
The bathroom at the back of our villa (slight split-level up 3 steps) was very, very large. The bathroom included a very large bath, an extensive wardrobe area with double sink, toilet at the back, and then an outdoor shower in a private area – it was lovely to be outside hearing the ocean while taking a shower. They set up 2 x kids beds, and there was still enough space in the room and it didn’t feel cramped at all.
There is direct access to the beach from the villa pool area. The Beach villas are set back from the beach with 2 short sets of stairs down to the beach (this is why we also kept doors closed with a ‘no children allowed outside without Mama or Papa rule’. The water is on the lowest steps at high tide, and then goes a long way out with an extensive beach at low tide.
Upside… The resort was more child friendly than we had expected. Each villa has a personal butler, our butler asked what our children like to snack on and we arranged for fresh cut fruits and milk to be delivered to our room daily. It is also possible to organize tours, babysitting etc. There is a small playroom which was enough to keep our two busy. They have organized events for the kids everyday, and also set up the room with a movie every night so the kids could all watch whilst they had dinner together. Parents were able to eat close by, or in the lower restaurant, and the minders would bring the child back to you if there were any concerns. All of this service was at no extra cost (i’m not sure about babysitting).
Downside… The villa pool did not have any shallow parts for children, you need to watch the children closely or keep doors closed. There are ungated stairs which lead to the beach from the Beach Villas – certainly part of the charm but you do need to keep an eye out with young children. The hot water in the villas was dangerously hot – be very careful with children. The resorts main pool did not have lights installed yet so it is very dark around this area and a safety hazard for young children at night. We were advised they would be installed next month.
Overall the resort was very family friendly – we didn’t realize this would be the case until we got there. We did find we needed to push the butler to give us ideas for things to do with the children (might just have been our butler)
The resort was amazing, it is still quite new, in a very beautiful setting. One side is the ocean and the other is sheltered by green forested hills, the villas are stretched along the sandy beach. There has been an obvious intent to keep the setting as natural as possible. If you wish to be close to facilities, request a villa closer to main reception. There is also a golf buggy service. We enjoyed being further away and would walk along the beach to the restaurant every night and ride the buggy home.
The restaurants were good, and had a reasonable selection and theme most nights. They would also tailor anything to suit requests. The service could be better, if we compared to other resorts we have stayed in.
Children under 5 eat free.
You can request your butler to organize local tours. We went to the ‘Epochal Village Tour’ and saw a few temples, a fishing village and the local market. Unfortunately, we visited during the Lunar New Year so things were very quiet and most places were closed. I have since heard you can hire motorbikes and tour the island (leaving children with babysitter) which sounded amazing. Unfortunately we were not informed about this. I have also heard diving is amazing. There is a shuttle bus which visits the local village daily in the evening.
Bring your kids favourite snacks as hotel is remote and hotel shop doesn’t have snacks available. Ask for fruit daily.
If you do not manage to book Vietnam Airlines for HCM-Con Dao, you may have a longer stopover with Air Mekong, so consider to spend a few hours in Ho Chi Min City. We visited the Ben Thanh Market and area around it which was good fun.