A paradise of golden beaches
2009-12-28 (GMT + 7)
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 one of the best in town. The site was originally found by Frenchman Daniel Arnaud quite by accident.
The story occurred during Arnaud’s second trip to Phan Thiet. A local taxi driver took him along the track to Mui Ne, but when the car stopped he could not see the beach or the sea at first sight. He then got out of the passenger seat and had to walk through a forest of coconut trees and over several sand dunes before seeing an endlessly long beach stretching with crystal clear water 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 people who initiate new ideas, and so it was for Daniel and his wife Jutta. 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, after managing resorts and hotels for many years 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 single 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 the opportunity to hire our staff locally, and since none of them had received any prior training, it was easier for us to show them our concepts of hospitality and service,” Daniel says.
When it came to marketing and “selling” Coco Beach, Jutta gave her husband a hand and word spread quickly amongst 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 welcomed 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 there to watch the spectacle, which happens only once in every many decades. During this, the tourists were also taken in by Mui Ne’s stunning sea and landscape.
At the 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 well-deserved reputation for its high-standard service. After 15 years Coco Beach has grown from having from 15 staff members to nearly 100, and has doubled in size.
The charming thatched bungalows on stilts and the villas – discreetly reached by a series of small pathways – provide total privacy, with their own private terraced areas, they all face out to the resort’s private strip of beach. Although up to international standards and with modern amenities– the rooms include 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.
The emphasis on relaxation is evidental, televisions are not provided in the rooms. The resort’s facilities extend to a landscaped pool with an adjoining bar, a white sandy beach with plenty of beach chairs, a snack bar, a thatched massage pavilion, two restaurants and even an English pub! As a mother of two beautiful young daughters both born in Vietnam, Jutta was also successful in making Coco Beach an extremely attractive place for families with young children.
A children’s playground, a 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. Daniel and Jutta’s patience has been well rewarded.
They look relaxed and completely happy in this little paradise, where there is also the option of doing absolutely nothing”, Coco Beach is without doubt the perfect place to enjoy and celebrate life.