Part 1: United First Class from SFO-NRT
Part 2: How to Get to Hotel from NRT Airport
Part 3: Andaz Hotel Tokyo
Part 4: Tokyo Itinerary
Part 5: How to get from Tokyo to Kyoto
Part 6: Hyatt Regency – Kyoto
Part 7: Kyoto Itinerary
Part 8: Shinkansen Kyoto to Tokyo
Part 9: Conrad – Tokyo Part 1
Part 10: Conrad – Tokyo Part 2
Part 11: Singapore Business Class Tokyo to Singapore
Part 12: Conrad – Singapore
Part 13: Silk Air Business Class Singapore to Danang
Part 14: Intercontinental Danang Part 1
Part 15: Intercontinental Danang Part 2
Part 16: Turkish Business Class Hanoi to Istanbul
Part 17: Turkish Business Class Istanbul to Rome
Part 18: United First Class Rome to Chicago
How Much Did It Cost?
50,000 IHG points x 4 nights = 200,000 points
How much would it cost if we had paid cash?
It would have cost ~$460.00 x 4 = ~$1,840.00 to stay at the Intercontinental Sun Peninsula Danang
How did we do it?
We each signed up for the IHG card. After spending $1,000 within the first 90 days, we each received 60,000 points. AF is $0 for the first year and is only $49 after that. After paying $49, you get a free anniversary night at any IHG hotel in the world. A popular hotel for free redemption is at the Intercontinental Hong Kong (IC HK) that I stayed at on my way to Vietnam. There is no category restriction like the Chase Hyatt card. Therefore, we think this is the best hotel card out there.
I previously redeemed the sign on bonus for IC HK. Tran redeemed his for one night and I used points earned from work stays to redeem three additional nights.
For our last two mornings at the hotel, we wanted to enjoy breakfast on site. Of all the major hotel brands, IHG is the only one that doesn’t offer free breakfast to its elite members. We paid ~$40 per person each morning for the breakfast buffet. Was the price worth it? Most definitely!
Breakfast is served at Citron, which doesn’t accept reservations. If you want to sit at the unique private dining booths then you should come early or be willing to wait. On our first attempt, we waited for 70 minutes upon showing up at 9:00am. The next morning, I showed up at 6:30am when it opened and we still had to wait 30 minutes.
The color palette of green and yellow is eye catching. There are 5 private dining booths outside that resemble the inverted Vietnamese conical hat. We happily waited for more than hour on one day in order to sit outside. We had a couple of cappuchinos during our wait. Eventually, our names were called and the waitstaff helped move our drinks outside.
The cone booth offers amazing views of the bay and lush mountains. We FaceTimed our moms to let them enjoy the spectacular views with us.
After we finished taking photos, it was finally time to get some food.
We made our way through the crowd to reach the large sliding door.
I really liked the decor of hanging inverted cone hats.
Citron offers an expansive spread of food, from Vietnamese to Western favorites.
There was a large oatmeal and congee bar.
There were smoked meats, kimchi, and sushi rolls.
There were a few dim sum options.
There was a large fresh salad bar.
There were so many breads and baked goods.
There was a pretty tasty pho bar. It offered both beef and chicken pho. Basil is available upon request (basil in pho is a Southern thing).
The made to order egg station also offers American favorites such as crispy bacon, sausages, potatoes, and hash browns.
There were plenty of fresh tropical fruits. The fruits varied from morning to morning.
I thought it was cool they set out still and sparkling water.
They had a few varieties of freshly squeezed juices.
After breakfast, we went to lounge by the pool.
We passed by the kiddie pool and hot tub on the way there.
The towels, sunscreen, and water bottles are all complimentary. The infinity pool has gorgeous view of the entire resort.
After hours of fun in the sun, we went to the concierge desk, located below the main lobby, to schedule a couples massage. Unfortunately, there was no availability that day.
In between the concierge desk and business center is an ATM machine. The fee was reasonable. I think the fees ranged between $2-4 for the ATMs we used during the trip, however I was often limited to 2,000,000 VND or 3,000,000 VND per transaction.
We then took the gondola to go back to the beach. There is a BBQ/Grill restaurant near the beach called Barefoot.
After walking through the herb garden, we went back to the beach and saw a few basket boats.
Further down is a private beach for the villas, which cost more than a thousand dollars a night. Apparently, some of the perks include a private butler and chef.
For our other meals, we didn’t try any of the hotels restaurants. Instead, we ate fresh seafood in town. We befriended one of the cab drivers and called him for all of our adventures. When he was unavailable we took a Grab. Throughout the trip, we were surprised how friendly and polite the locals were. We didn’t get scammed once, compared to bigger cities like Hanoi and Saigon where even we (we speak the language) get regularly scammed and ripped off.
At any of the local seafood restaurants, walk up and choose from any of the open tables. From there go to the seafood tanks and tell the guy what you want and how much (in grams and kilograms). Prices and labels are posted, usually in Vietnamese, so you’ll likely have to point and ask. If they serve other dishes (vegetables, fried rice, hot pot, noodles, etc.), you can ask for a menu. For beer, the waiter will ask you what kind you want, and he will bring a case and set it beside your table. You will be charged for the ones you drink. They usually don’t have cold beer (you can ask for it.) Instead, they will give you mugs and ice. It is different, but enjoy the experience. After all, you’re in Asia and not [home].
We went to Ba Cuong on the recommendation of our first Grab driver. It was the cheapest/best value of all the fresh seafood we tried, and it was so good we ate there twice. The first time, we had on choy, 200g of grilled shrimp, 1kg of steamed snails, 1kg of sauteed crab, and some Tiger beer. All in, this cost ~$70.00. We definitely over ordered. The second time we came, we ordered a more appropriate amount of food and it was ~$30.00.
We tried another seafood restaurant called Ba Thoi. There are several Ba Thoi locations along the beachfront, and it is fairly priced. Here we order on choy, 1kg of chip chip (we still don’t know what critter this is in English, but it’s similar to a clam), a seafood hotpot and some Larue beer. The food was good but we agreed that Ba Cuong was better (except for the on choy, which was amazing) and cheaper. The food here cost about $35.
Vietnam has a unique dining culture featuring open air dining around small tables along sidewalks/roadways. While we sat outside each night, vendors came around to sell fresh fruit, gum/candy, and cigarettes. We usually purchased a couple mango packages to support the locals. The package below cost 20,000 VND or ~$1.00. I also ran across the streets to get fresh coconut water or sugar cane juice.
For one of the lunches, we had banh xeo from Ba Duong. It was a bit tough to find at the end of an alley, but if you ask any cab driver they will take you to the alley entrance. Be advised, this restaurant is so popular that there are several copycat restaurants along the alley also selling banh xeo and you will pass them before you get to the original Ba Duong.
When you sit down, a waiter will drop off skewers of grilled pork sausage. Eat what you’d like, and the restaurant will charge you for only what you eat. From there you can order the banh xeo. There are two banh xeo in an order, and each order costs ~40,000 VND (~$2.00). We had a couple skewers of pork and two orders of banh xeo. With a couple ice teas, lunch was ~120,000 VND (~$6.00). The sanitary wipes were not complimentary so we just used paper napkins.
The next day we flew to Hanoi, so we took the complimentary shuttle to town.
From the drop off point, we took a cab to the airport. We got to use the Intercontinental lounge, which looked like an extension of the hotel. It was nice, but we found that only the coffee was complimentary. Food was available for purchase. We decided to hold off on ordering food until we meet up with my cousins in Hanoi.
All said, Danang is a beautiful city with amazing food, warm people, and the Intercontinental Sun Peninsula is a spectacular resort. We highly recommend you make a trip to not only visit Vietnam but also get some R&R in Danang. Let us know if you have any questions!
Check out Part One of this two part review here.