Maia Resort Quy Nhon: Vietnam’s First Culinary-Focused Resort Now Open To Visitors

Travellers looking to enjoy Vietnam’s beautiful beaches, amazing culture, and mouthwatering cuisine will have something to look forward to come March 15 2022, as the country is set to reopen its borders to tourists after a nearly two-year travel ban due to the coronavirus pandemic. Full details on quarantine and test requirements have yet to be announced, but the opening seems confirmed–so it might be a good idea to plan in advance if you’re keen on spending the summer in Vietnam.

Quy Nhon on Vietnam’s southern coast is an underrated gem. Photo: Lê Hồ Bắc, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Still cautious about visiting crowded spots? There’s the coastal town of Quy Nhon, an hour’s flight from Ho Chi Minh City. Like Nha Trang, its sister city to the north, Quy Nhon is blessed with gorgeous sandy-white beaches and a rich history, with 11th-century Cham-era buildings peppered across the city. But unlike Nha Trang, which has seen an explosion in resorts and malls catering to tourists, Quy Nhon is much more low key and relatively untrodden by tourists.

If you’re in town for a laidback, relaxing holiday, consider checking in to Maia Resort Quy Nhon, a 94-villa luxury resort by Fusion Hotel Group, which focuses on gastronomic-driven experiences and wellness. Soft launched in late 2020, the resort only recently celebrated its grand opening in December 2021, as it cut the ribbon on its final villas.

FEAST

The journey to any traveler’s heart often requires a detour through the stomach, especially in a place like Vietnam, with a rich culinary tradition shaped by diverse influences. Understanding this, Maia guests have the choice of dinner or lunch, in addition to the complimentary breakfast; or an indulgent spa therapy, as part of the nightly rate.

Maia has two restaurants, Vị and ad hoc, along with an open-air pool bar. The casual all-day dining option Vị, can host up to 146 guests, with indoor and outdoor seating, and celebrates the abundant seafood and produce of the region. Take in the sights and smells at the live cooking stations, as you enjoy the view out over Phuong Mai Bay.

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ad hoc is a more intimate affair that can host a maximum of 96 diners. Indulge in seasonal menus, prepared with fresh ingredients scoured by the head chef from the local markets daily. The restaurant offers a communal dining experience, akin to gathering for a feast with family.

The resort also offers a range of signature culinary experiences, including Once Upon a Table, a four-course chef’s table style experience at ad hoc; Barefoot Destination Dining overlooking the ocean; a private BBQ with a personal chef served up in the guest’s villa; an in-villa high tea service; and Breakfast by Design, which includes the option of an Insta-worthy floating breakfast tray.

INDULGE

Guests who are more wellness-inclined can opt for a daily spa treatment, instead of half board. Vēla spa is a ten-treatment-room oasis that draws inspiration from the surrounding landscape with natural design elements including granite, teak wood, and flora indigenous to the location. The ecologically-minded spa follows a jungle to jar concept with treatments built around local ingredients. Other facilities include an expansive pool and state-of-the-art fitness centre.

REST

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A day out enjoying sun and surf as well as the area’s idyllic charm and culture demand for a restful night’s sleep. Maia’s 94 villas range in size from one and three bedroom villas, most with private plunge pools and gardens. Accommodation options range from 61-square-meters for a semi-detached villa to a palatial 264-square-meters for the Three Bedroom Beachfront Pool Villa. The interiors all follow an earthy color palette, with pops of various ocean hues throughout. The link to the earth continues throughout the property with the use of reclaimed elements such as preserved driftwood, copper, and rattan making up the core materials used for the overall design.

The entry category of room starts at USD 185 nett per night, inclusive of half board or one spa treatment per adult per room.

More info and bookings on: quynhon.maiaresorts.com

**Cover photo and images courtesy of Balcony Media Group.

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How A Malaysian Resort Company Is Weathering The Coronavirus Pandemic

What with travel and movement restrictions worldwide by the coronavirus pandemic, the hospitality and travel industry is undoubtedly one of the most impacted. But while many hotels struggle to stay afloat and running despite empty rooms and cancelled reservations, one company in Sabah is proving that it pays to diversify.

Formed in 2007 in Kota Kinabalu, Echo Resorts – a family business which owns Gayana Marine Resort, Bunga Raya Island Resort and Borneo Eagle Resort –  is keeping busy amidst the worldwide pandemic. Founded on the principles of family and community values, it has a wide range of interests covering hospitality, environmental conservation and wellness – and while its hotel division is not operating due to global travel restrictions and the Movement Control Order in Malaysia, it’s business as usual for the other divisions.

Organic Food Supply

Its Borneo Eco Fish Farm by Bayu Aquaculture Sdn Bhd and Green-Os organic vegetable farm has seen a rise in orders from consumers and restaurants since the pandemic began. The fish farm rears an assortment of fish and prawns, including the Backcross Grouper Fish and the Echo Grouper, a hybrid produced by back-cross of a male giant grouper and a female hybrid grouper. The farm adopts environmentally friendly practices, including chemical and antibiotic-free organic feed, to ensure product quality and safety.

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Green-Os organic vegetables, locally farmed without the use of pesticides or chemicals, is popular for its variety of organic vegetables grown in healthy, fertile soil created by quality compost and organic fertilizer.

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“As a result of the Movement Control Order and a conscious desire to adopt a healthier lifestyle in the midst of this pandemic, we are seeing increasing delivery orders from the public. We are pleased that the public are recognizing the benefits of consuming natural, wholesome produce,” says Gillian Tan, Echo Resorts’ owner representative.

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The supplies are also delivered to Alu Alu Kitchen, the group’s restaurant located in the city, which was opened with a mission to serve fresh, organic seafood and vegetables from the farms. Its talented Head Chef Ah Keong creates nourishing menus inspired by Chinese and Malaysian influences to bring out the fresh tastiness of the produce untainted by chemical fertilizers and obtained from sustainable sources. According to Tan, home orders placed at Alu Alu Kitchen has also increased significantly since February, with some families placing orders for the whole lockdown period.

Alu Alu-Fresh Prawn & Vegetable dish

Marine Ecology Research Centre – Corals, clams and seahorses

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In the absence of visitors, the group’s environmental conservation arm, the award-winning Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC) attached to Gayana Marine Resort, is devoting more time to research and development of its reef regeneration and giant clam propagation programmes, including caring for the Baby Giant Clam nursery. MERC’s successful efforts in the propagation of seven of the world’s giant clams found in Malaysian waters were recognized by the Malaysia Book of Records. The team has also expanded their R&D to include seahorses which have been overly harvested for supposed medicinal values. The recent births from two male seahorses have provided much excitement and encouragement into the behaviour of seahorses with the hope of increasing the seahorse population in the foreseeable future.

Health and Wellness

Reflecting the increasing current global awareness for health, Klinik Gayana and Gayana Pharma from Echo Resorts’ health and wellness division, are registering a higher demand for its supplements and medical services.

Employee Welfare

To keep employees safe and productive in this difficult time, the company has taken concerted action by providing training programmes, educational courses and encouraging voluntary work.

Tan says, “We understand it may take time for travel to return to a semi-normal state and we have decided that this is the perfect time to go back to basics and reinvest in education and training. It has always been our ethos to give back to the local staff, and this is a wonderful opportunity to take them back to school.”

With the temporary closure of Gayana Marine Resort, Bunga Raya Island Resort and Borneo Eagle Resort, 50 hotel employees are deployed to render support to Green-Os (organic vegetable farm), Borneo Eco Fish Farm by Bayu Aquaculture Sdn and Alu Alu Kitchen – aimed at helping them gain a deeper insight into different areas within the group’s approach.

Besides volunteering to man the three resorts during this lockdown period which meant sacrificing time away from their families, employees are also putting their time to good use by making 800 reusable masks for all ECHO staff.

Tan adds,” Employee welfare and wellbeing remain the very core of our business. No employee has been made redundant. These may be trying times, but it has also revealed the tenacity of our people and it has been beautiful seeing everyone rally together to weather this storm.”

As part of its community outreach during this time, Echo Resorts has also contributed towards 2,000 food packs to affected families in need on Pulau Gaya.