The reason for this is simple: Everything at the Six Senses Con Dao is done differently. It ticks all the boxes. No matter if you are here for great food, the simple, yet sophisticated surroundings, the history, or even just nature; this is the place to visit, and forget about the rest of the world.
Unusual for a resort of this kind, the history of Con Dao is particularly dark, and still attracts the local population to the island. Con Dao is the place where Vo Thi Sau-a martyr of the country’s struggle against French colonialism-is buried, and you will see numerous people come here with flowers to commemorate this woman’s tragic fate. But, there is more to this island’s tragic history. The prison that the French opened here in 1862 gained a reputation for the brutal treatment of inmates (one of which was Vo Thi Sau), and was given the nickname “hell on earth”. All that remains are abandoned prison blocks that are slowly falling apart.
The remains of this tragic part of Vietnam’s history are slowly disappearing, leaving only the island’s rugged, barely touched nature, which is remarkable. Pristine water, mountains, dense vegetation, and of course the rich fauna make this an incredibly beautiful place. What makes it even more special is that staying at the Six Senses, you almost feel like you’re one with the surroundings. This does not feel like a cut-off enclave of luxury, but rather, part of the ecosystem. Not surprisingly, preserving the island’s nature is the Leitmotiv of the hotel. As much of the decoration as possible is sourced from recycled, or locally available material.
Staying in the resort’s villas makes you realise how much thought has gone into designing these. Of course, all of them have terrific views of the sea, their own pools, and enough space to make you believe that you are all alone in the world. What makes the experience here special, however, is the personal butler. Not only will he arrange everything for you, but by picking up on your preferences, he will inform the hotel’s staff about them. Thus, if you happen to go somewhere, you will find people who already know what you like, and what not. That is service of an effortless quality that very few hotels in the world deliver.
Staying in a place as remote as this means that the food here is important. At the Six Senses Con Dao, you have a general manager who worked for Alain Ducasse among others, and thus understands just how much good food adds to a hotel’s charm. A perfect illustration of this would be the eggs Benedict served at breakfast. Finding good eggs Benedict is not as easy as you might think. The best version might well be that of Richard Ekkebus at Amber, but the ones served here are equally good. Whilst the eggs are great to start the day, you should try the Vietnamese food. Eating classic Vietnamese street food here somehow makes you see just how rich this country is gastronomically. Another great experience is that of the chef’s table. Chef Richard Lee cooks beautifully with produce sourced from Japan and Australia. The food he serves, easily beats that of many Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, without being too complicated.
The final part of staying here is the spa. Comparatively inexpensive, it is the quality of the service and the skill of the people working here that make this one of the best spas we have experienced in Asia. The attention to detail is amazing, but the idea of integrating even the spa with nature makes this a truly special place.
Finding a resort that is so well conceived, and run is a rarity. In most places the food, spa, or service will let you down. Not at the Six Senses Con Dao. It offers one of the most complete, and special experiences we have had. Anywhere.