A slice of paradise

Date: 1/25/2010 10:30:22 AM - view1672

With its inviting beaches, blue waters and bright sun, Mui Ne has become one of Vietnam’s top tourist attractions for more than a decade. Once an easygoing fishing village, the town is now home to some 70 beach resorts.

With its inviting beaches, blue waters and bright sun, Mui Ne has become one of Vietnam’s top tourist attractions for more than a decade. Once an easygoing fishing village, the town is now home to some 70 beach resorts. 

Among them, the Coco Beach Resort was the first to reach international standards, and these days remains among the very best that the town has to offer. The site was originally found by Frenchman Daniel Arnaud quite by accident.

The story goes that during Daniel’s second trip to Phan Thiet, after persuading a local driver to take him by dirt road to Mui Ne, he reached the desired site but still couldn’t spot sand or sea. Frustrated, he walked out of the car, climbed over several sand dunes into a forest of coconut trees and was suddenly struck by the beauty of an endlessly long stretch of white sand and crystal clear water opening up in front of his eyes.

He knew immediately that he wanted to set up a resort on that deserted beach. The beginning is always difficult for pioneers, and so it was for Daniel and his wife Jutta Arnaud. There was nothing in the town but the beauty of unspoiled nature. It was just a quiet fishing village, with no clean water, no electricity and no telephone lines. There was not even a road. Luckily, through many years of managing resorts and hotels, the couple knew exactly what they were doing.

In June 1995, Coco Beach opened its doors to tourists. At first, the entire resort was powered by a generator, and the telephones and switchboards were directly linked to the Mui Ne post office. “Those were mostly technical hurdles, but on the good side, we had an opportunity to hire our staff locally, and since none of them had received any prior training, it was easier for us to include in their training our concepts for hospitality and service,” Daniel says.

When it came to marketing and “selling” Coco Beach, Jutta gave her husband a hand. Word spread quick and wide among the expat communities in Ho Chi Minh City. The idea of going to a new destination off the beaten track attracted many people, and Coco Beach gained its first guests in that way, by word of mouth.

Then a “Total Solar Eclipse” took place in Mui Ne in October 1995, and thousands of international tourists flocked to the site to see the magic moment, which happens only once every several decades. And at that time, the tourists were also taken in by Mui Ne’s stunning sea and landscape.

At Coco Beach, they managed to fit 150 guests into the 17 existing bungalows while maintaining their high levels of excellence. And after the eclipse, the resort gained a great and well-deserved reputation for its standards. After 15 years of development, Coco Beach has grown from 15 staff members to nearly 100, and has doubled in size.

The charming thatched roof bungalows on stilts and villas – discreetly reached by a series of small pathways – provide total privacy, with their own private terraced areas, and they all face out to the resort’s private strip of beach. Although of an international standard with all modern amenities provided – rooms feature air-conditioning, mini-bars, hairdryers, IDD telephones, room safes and stylish bathrooms – Coco Beach still offers a laid-back, traditional rustic charm, with tasteful ethnic décor both inside and out.

To emphasise the relaxation element, televisions are not provided in the rooms. On-site resort facilities extend to a landscaped pool with an adjoining pool bar, a white sandy beach with plenty of beach chairs, a snack bar and a thatched roof massage pavilion, two restaurants and even an English pub! As a mother of two small beautiful girls both born in Vietnam, Jutta was also successful in making Coco Beach an extremely welcoming place for families with young children.

A children’s playground, table tennis area and comfortable hammocks throughout the gardens are also available. To give young parents some time to enjoy themselves, babysitting services are also provided on request. The patience of Daniel and Jutta has obviously given way to sweet fruits.

They look young, relaxed and completely happy. Just as it is introduced by the Arnauds, as “a little paradise in Vietnam, where there is also the option of doing absolutely nothing”, Coco Beach is without a doubt the perfect place to enjoy and celebrate life with wonderful people.

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(Date: 1/25/2010 10:31:57 AM)