Hotel Review: Six Senses Con Dao

View from the Six Senses Con Dao Spa
View from the Six Senses Con Dao Spa

Read more from this trip – Spring Break in Vietnam:

Introduction

  • Dates of hotel stay: 4 nights – March 16-20, 2020
  • Where: Côn Đảo, Vietnam
  • Paid stay / points: Paid

Six Senses Resorts & Spas opened its first eco-friendly luxury resort in the British Virgin Islands back in 1995. Since then they’ve expanded to 20 locations worldwide and discerning travelers are taking notice. Travel + Leisure readers voted Six Senses the World’s No. 1 Hotel Brand for the past 3-years.

The Six Senses Con Dao opened its doors in 2010 with 35 private pool villas and 15 residential pool villas modeled after a Vietnamese fishing village.

Six Senses Con Dao – Three Things I Love and Three Things to Consider

What I love:

  • Every villa has a private infinity-edge pool and ocean view
  • Excellent food and service
  • The resort is kept super clean and insect free

Things to consider:

  • The Duplex Villas are not handicap friendly – if mobility is an issue book one of the 12 single level Deluxe Pool Villas
  • Some seaweed washes ashore in the morning. Staff at the resort clear it daily, but during my stay this wasn’t completed until after noon
  • The Spa attendants were a bit pushy trying to sell additional treatments and products

Location

Con Dao National Park is comprised of an archipelago of 16 islands off the southern coast of Vietnam. The Six Seasons Con Dao is located on Con Son, one of the only inhabited islands in the archipelago. The island is served by Côn Sơn Airport (“VCS”), which can be reached via commercial flights operated by Vietnam Airlines. The 145 mile journey is a quick 45-minute flight from Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City (“SGN”).

Pro tip: Flights from SGN to VCS don’t readily show up on flight aggregators like Google Flights. Search directly on Vietnam Airlines website or contact Six Senses to help arrange your transportation.

Meet and greet airport arrival assistance is included in the price of your stay. A Six Senses van will take you the 5.4 miles from VCS to the resort in luxury. The ride is complete with Six Senses bottled drinking water and snacks.

First Class Giraffe History Lesson

Con Dao is so beautiful it’s easy to forget the island’s sordid past. During the French Colonial era the island was used as a prison for political opponents, a tradition that continued through the years of the Saigon regime. Remnants of the prison and infamous “tiger cages” have been turned into a tourist attraction, which you can visit during your stay.

Lobby / Check-in

There’s no lobby at the Six Senses Con Dao. Upon arrival at the resort you’ll be met by your 24-hour GEM (Guest Experience Maker) butler. My visit was during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak so a thermal temperature scan preceded check-in formalities.

My GEM, True, met me and welcomed me to the resort with a smile. She gave me her cell phone number and encouraged me to contact her at anytime. I could immediately tell this was going to be a fantastic stay. Cold towels and a welcome drink were then provided. True informed me that the rest of the check-in formalities could be completed at my leisure in my villa.

Room Details

The path leading to the villas is immaculately landscaped with simple but profoundly beautiful flowers. You can call for a buggy to take you around, but I always opted to walk and take in the scenery. It’s worth noting that the privacy of the villas is excellent. You can’t see into any of the villas from the walking path.

I booked an Ocean Front Duplex Pool Villa. The 1-bedroom, 1.5 bathroom villa is massive coming in at 2,090 square feet. The villa’s bedroom is located on the upper level. Due to the steep staircase people with mobility issues should book another villa category.

The bedroom has a super comfortable king sized bed with silky soft linens. Do you like a certain type of pillow? If so, you’ll most likely be accommodated. The pillow menu has 13 different options!

In my opinion, the best feature of the room is the panoramic ocean view. Don’t be put off by the mosquito net over the bed. I didn’t need to use it during my stay and never had an issues with mosquitos while on the resort.

Ocean view from the 2nd floor bedroom at the Six Senses Con Dao

The 37″ LED television is complemented by a powerful Bose sound system. I was easily able to pair my iPhone with the sound system and jam out to some tunes while overlooking the South China Sea.

Some reviews of the duplex vila raise issues with the main bathroom being located on the ground floor. It’s important to note that there’s an en-suite half bath located on the second level so I didn’t find it to be bothersome. The villas do use natural ventilation in bathrooms, but they have hand fans in case you get steamy while on the commode.

Directly in front of the bed is a small terrace with a chair and small bench. The signature Six Senses green cushions add a bit of flare to the space.

Giraffes love to watch the sunset and First Class Giraffe is no exception. I spent my evenings on the terrace enjoying some Six Senses Con Dao homemade kombucha or a glass of Champagne watching the world go by.

Sunset view at Six Senses Con Dao

The villa features tea-and coffee-makers including an espresso machine. Upon arrival I was disappointed to find that the espresso machine didn’t close properly. Jet lagged giraffes need espresso! I mentioned the issue to my GEM at breakfast and she had it replaced before I got back to my villa. Now that’s service.

Minibar snacks include dried mango, cookies, Mexican crackers, Con Dao nuts and cashew nuts. Liquor options were limited to middle tier Smirnoff Vodka, Johnny Walker Black Label, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and Gordon’s Gin.

Next to the booze you’ll find complimentary Six Senses bottled still and sparkling drinking water. Each Six Senses property treats, purifies, mineralizes and bottles its own still and sparkling drinking water in reusable glass bottles on site. Greta Thunberg would approve.

The refrigerated minibar contained Coke, Coke Light, Sprite, Schweppes Tonic Water, Schweppes Soda Water, Saigon and Tiger Beer. You’ll also find the in-villa safe to the left of the beverages.

The downstairs area has a large open plan bathroom with a bathtub, closet, double vanities/sinks, outdoor rain shower and separate indoor toilet. The bathroom amenities are furnished by Shanghai Tsang and contained in eco friendly ceramic refillable bottles. 

On the outside of the first level there’s a private terrace with sun loungers, infinity-edge pool and a staircase that provides direct beach access.

The view from the infinity pool is breathtaking. They say a picture is worth a thousand words:

Private infinity pool at the Six Senses Con Dao

Fitness Center

The fitness center is well equipped for a resort of this size. The cardio and weight machines will help you burn off some of the calories you’ll be taking in from the delicious food at the resort. I only made it to the fitness center once during my stay and the air conditioning was off. I know that Six Senses prides itself on being eco friendly, but it made for a hot and steamy workout session.

The view from the cardio deck is of the Six Senses Con Dao organic gardens. During my stay gyms were closed in NYC due to COVID-19 and I felt incredibly lucky to have the privilege to exercise with such beautiful scenery.

Coffee Shop

Head to the coffee shop for barista-crafted espresso drinks, kombucha or tea. I can attest that the homemade kombucha is excellent.

Coffee shop at the Six Senses Con Dao

The Six Senses Con Dao also infuses their own gin. Flavors include apple, coconut and chocolate. The shop also sells culinary flavored slats, culinary herbs and loose teas. On to the pièce de résistance: complementary ice cream and waffle cones! Fun fact: calories from ice cream don’t count in Con Dao so go for a double scoop.

Breakfast

Breakfast is served at the By the Beach Restaurant. It is without a doubt one of the best hotel breakfast spreads I’ve ever seen and it’s included in the price of your room.

By the Beach Restaurant - Six Senses Con Dao

Beverage options include fresh mixed basel, orange, pineapple and watermelon juice. The detox juice changes each day and vegan smoothies are also available. In case you’re feeling too healthy from your detox juice head to the bakery station. White baguette, brown baguette, brown toast, white toast, healthy bread and bread rolls will help satisfy your carb cravings.

Delicious pastry options include croissants, pain au chocolat, cinnamon rolls, carrot & pineapple loaf cakes and granola oat bars. Not decadent enough? You can add a bit of their homemade jams including such flavors as mixed fruit, pineapple, orange marmalade, raspberry, passion fruit and strawberry.

A cold room contains even more delicious and healthy options. Make your own salad with romaine or spinach as your base. Then head to the “deli” section and add some tomatoes, green olives, black olives, pickles, and capers. Dressings options include pesto, balsamic, lemon and olive oil.

I was pleased to find a dedicated cereal station. Options included all bran, cornflakes, granola, bircher muesli, strawberry yogurt, greek yogurt and tropical fruits. Fresh dragonfruit, pineapple, pomelo and watermelon round out the healthy options.

If you’re craving something sweet to put on your greek yogurt a variety of homemade honey is available including some exotic options like ginger and passion fruit.

There are several Vietnamese street food offerings including noodles and Vietnamese steamed rice rolls.

I got the seafood rice noodle. It was delicious.

Seafood noodles

You can also order Western food à la carte. Breakfast options include hot oatmeal, cacao chia seed pudding, pancakes, french toast, crepes and waffles. A variety of egg dishes area also available. Not pictured is the D.I.Y. Bloody Mary and Mimosa bar.

Lunch

I had lunch at By the Beach Restaurant when I first arrived at the resort. I started with the green & crispy salad. It consisted of crisp lettuce, watercress, cucumber, grapes, asparagus, herbs, crumbled feta and green goddess dressing. It was excellent.

For my main I got the Con Dao fish burger. It had a sesame fish fillet, lettuce, tomato and lime aioli. It was so fresh and delicious. I might come back to Con Dao just for this burger. You can see the full menu here.

Elephant Bar

The Elephant Bar was a nice venue for pre-dinner cocktails. There were a few cocktail and wine options on special each night. You can check out their full menu here. None of the cocktails I tried stood out and they tended to be on the sweeter side.

Organic Garden & Vietnamese Cooking Class

I signed up for the Vietnamese cooking class, which I highly recommend. The venue is in the center of the Six Season Con Dao’s impressive organic gardens. They have 30 types of plants including fruit, vegetables and herbs. Six Senses commitment to sustainability really shines here. Bio-waste from the kitchen is added to the soil as fertilizer and the garden is watered with treated waste waster.

I let my GEM know ahead of time that giraffes don’t really know their way around the kitchen. The 4-course meal included Vietnamese salad (goi buoi), beef wrap in wild betal (bo lat lot), caramelized fish in a clay pot (ca kho) and banana tempura for dessert.

Activities

The resort offers a variety of complimentary activities including kayaking, bocce, body boarding, stand up paddle boarding, volleyball, beach tennis and mini golf.

One of the paid activities that I highly recommend is Feed the Fish Golf. You get to hit Six Senses EcoBioBalls golf balls into the ocean towards Elephant Mountain. The balls remain for around 2-days and then dissolve into fish food.

Overall Verdict

First Class Giraffe Approved

If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam take a quick flight to Con Dao and stay at the Six Senses. The beach, food, rooms and service were all phenomenal. This was my first time at a Six Senses resort, but it certainly wont be my last.

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