This piece originally appeared on Travelandleisure.com.
I was first introduced to The Nam Hai by Jeremy Clarkson, who, during a special 2009 episode of Top Gear, found refuge from heavy humidity alongside the luxury hotel’s three architecturally-enticing infinity pools and two-mile-long private white sand beach. Nestled amongst oversized coconut trees 15 minutes from Vietnam’s ancient city, Hoi An, Clarkson is seen sipping a Nam Hai Sling, a signature gin and pineapple cocktail. “If you’re passing, it’s worth dropping in. Actually, even if you’re not passing, it’s worth flying over there just so you are,” he says emphatically through the TV.
Five years later I found myself in Ho Chi Minh with my boyfriend, where, after a week’s worth of eating street food on a shoestring budget, we decided to venture north toward Laos. In need of a halfway-point pitstop, I could hear Clarkson’s sarcastically charming British accent egging me on. So I typed The Nam Hai, where rooms range from $700 to $3,000 per night and spa “rituals” cost, on average, $400, into Google “just to look.”