Paradise Peak, Ha Long, Vietnam

Discussion in 'Luxury Hotels' started by Price123, Dec 12, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Price123

    Price123 Silver Member

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    Not really sure where to post this, but Paradise Peak is pretty much a luxury hotel on water, so we'll try it here.

    Pictures and more information are here - too many to post here.

    Once an underwater mountain range, raised above the water level by tectonic forces then eroded by aeons of rainfall, Ha Long Bay is now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is quite simply visually stunning. It is hard to believe it exists on the same planet as the rolling downland of Sussex, The Swiss Alps or even the African Savannah. Standing in the bow of a cruise ship floating serenely through its landscape is an awe inspiring treat. There is such a rich mixture of experiences here to delight even the most experienced traveller. From simple floating fishermen's villages to deep caves, astonishing hidden lagoons, rural villages where old women make medicine to recipes unknown in the outside world, wild macaque monkeys with rock climbing skills to make you dizzy, sea eagles constantly riding the thermals, milky sunsets and some of the best sea food in the world.

    After much consideration we decided to entrust our dollars to Paradise Cruises and we did not regret it. Paradise Peak (there are also the larger Luxury and smaller Privilege boats) has 8 suites ranging 38-42 square metres. They would be perfectly acceptable in a good hotel, so are outstanding for a boat. We had reserved a Premium Suite however, for that ultimate experience of lounging on your own private deck while the ridiculously shaped landscape drifts by. The suite had a great bathroom with large rain shower, beautiful bath with views and plentiful hot water.

    There is a spa on-board with two treatment rooms divided by a sliding partition so it can be considered a couple's room. We tried the Spa, each having a 1 hr oil massage. It was our only disappointment with our cruise. The treatment rooms are right at the stern of the boat so you can hear and feel the engines and any guests who are passing. It's a little unfair to judge a spa in these circumstances but really, I would save your money.

    The boat is all inclusive and the food was fantastic. We had the best seafood platter we have ever eaten and all meals were tasty and very plentiful. A reasonable choice of international wines were included, as well as soft drinks.

    Paradise Peak is so luxurious we felt slightly aggrieved at having to transfer to Paradise Explorer, the day boat, on our only full day in Ha Long Bay. We needn't have worried. Explorer has a huge sun deck, so there was no shortage of lounger space. When we talk together about our 2013 Indochina tour, we agree that the excursions from Paradise Peak were the highlight. Riding our borrowed mountain bikes across Cat Ba to the village of Viet Hai, seeing the primary school children during their post-prandial nap, watching the nameless old woman slowly shredding the root (a little like galangal but greener) and spreading it out to dry to make a traditional stomach ache remedy. These were truly humbling experiences. Next time we go (and there WILL be a next time) we will take books, pens, notepads, anything we can carry, to donate to the village school. Launching an ocean kayak, paddling up close and personal with those limestone karsts, passing through a dark tunnel, emerging, blinking into a secret lagoon, casting off your clothes and swimming in cosseting warm tropical water, heavenly.

    Other than the spa, the one blip with our trip was that they forgot to pick us up from the airport. A terrible start, but the company were apologetic and we were treated well throughout. Our butler was wonderful - he really looked out for us during excursions and was the perfect blend of professional and friendly, talking to us about his life. Paradise Peak is expensive, but we felt it was good value and the ideal choice for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
    uggboy and MSYgirl like this.

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