I recently hosted my first ever Travelling Guy small group tour to Vietnam, with a fantastic group of fellow devotees with the desire to travel and to engage with local customs and cuisines.
The response has been encouraging enough for me to begin planning for my next expedition ... but first let me tell you about how I wound down at the end of what was a big first venture for me.
I knew I would be feeling like a decent break after months of planning and the responsibility of hosting a bunch of new travelling buddies (even though everything went well and they all returned home safe, sound and happy!).
My breather location was once again chosen on the basis of brand loyalty. Accor hotels have always delivered for me, and having the club and loyalty memberships only add to the convenience. Regular travellers, I'm sure, would agree.
I arrived at Danang's Pullman Beach Resort surprisingly swiftly; the drive from the airport is a mere 15 minutes. Winner! The beachfront pool was servicing me sooner than later.
The resort is based on what may be compared to Australia's Gold Coast: beautiful long stretches of beaches with golden sands that seem endless.
I realise that scenario might not appeal to everyone, as some find the Gold Coast - and particularly Surfers Paradise - a little over the top and over crowded. Well, the beauty of the Pullman is that it is a few kilometres down from Danang central - which gives it more of a, let's say, Currumbin feel.
You are not overshadowed by high-rise hotels and the pace is a lot less hectic.
The hotel itself is a winner for many reasons.
Although we are talking a 5-star experience, it is a totally relaxed resort feel. Being positioned right on the beachfront probably helps with its chilled-out vibe. You don't have to get around in your best resort wear; walking straight from the surf to your room in your swimwear will certainly not be frowned upon.
The large beachfront pool takes up prime position and allows you that choice of switching between a little sand between the toes or chilling in one of the day beds, which are happily placed right next to the beach bar. If you insist!
There are two main dining choices, apart from the much-loved room service and pool-side snacks.
Firstly, there is Epic, and that's what you will be saying after you have had your first breakfast there! Wow, the amount of options to get your day heading in the right direction seem endless.
A couple of standouts for me are the live kitchen, where the chef will create eggs and extras any which way you can think of, and the breakfast desserts section, that I do my best to avoid but I confess I sometimes fall into that sweet, sweet, rabbit hole!
Epic is the largest restaurant at the resort, seating up to 240 guests, but it is generously roomy so do not fear it being overcrowded. It also has a lovely alfresco balcony, which overlooks the expansive grounds and water features. Try to book outside for a lunch or dinner date as it's an all-day affair.
Oh, and make sure you try the nitrogen ice-cream, that's Epic in itself!
Then there is the Azure Beach Lounge. Stylish but still with a laid-back feel, Azure delivers beachfront dining featuring the perfect mix of tapas-size and more substantial offerings
Rooms at the Pullman are the standard you would expect from a 5-star establishment: roomy, tastefully decorated with deliciously comfortable beds, the popular pillow menus and all the mod cons. However, if you would like to step it up a notch, maybe the 130-square-metre penthouse with its hotel garden and beachfront views, or one of the family friendly cottages might be what tickles your fancy?
As with most of my Accor hotel experiences the staff are always trying to surpass the standards that are set from the top and that was definitely the case here at the Danang Pullman Beach Resort. Love that Vietnamese kindliness.
I often talk up flying with a country's national airline, and in most cases I haven't been disappointed. Vietnam Airlines are quite an impressive operator and have been awarded a 4-star service badge for the last four years. They fly direct to Ho Chi Minh from Sydney and Melbourne daily and you can often get great deals throughout the year.
Check out www.vietnamairlines.com for the latest specials.
- Scott McRae was a guest of Vietnam Airlines. Follow @scottythetravellingguy on Instagram and Facebook www.thetravellingguy.com.