If you haven’t already read the many travel articles urging you to visit, it turns out Vietnam is the new big hotspot for travel. And why wouldn’t it be, with its beautiful scenery, intriguing culture and insanely delicious food – not to mention the friendly exchange rate! Well, if the urge to visit hasn’t struck you yet, Condé Nast Traveller wrote about one luxury hotel that is giving you an extra incentive to stop by. Last year, Six Senses Resorts in Vietnam offered an eco-volunteerism project to prospective hotels guests: if you were staying with them for 3 days and signed up to volunteer for a few hours a day within their community, the hotel would comp you an additional 3 days. Uhh, 6 days at a fancy hotel for the price of 3, AND you get to do community service in a foreign country? Sounds awesome to me! Apparently the response was good because Six Senses in Ninh Van Bay is continuing this offer during select months in 2012. And lo and behold, it turns out that my good friend Alexis stayed at this resort when she visited back in November. While she was unable to take part in their volunteer project, she did tell me about her fantastic stay as I sat there wide-eyed, adding “oohs” and “aahs” to every amazing detail. Like how the resort is accessible only by boat. And that when they arrived, the entire staff was at the dock to greet them with big smiles on their faces. And how they had to walk 126 steps to get to their hotel room each day (which was the most remote villa there) and felt like they were the only guests there the entire time due to the amazing layout of the resort. Yeah, you wish you were there right now too, don’t you. Check out some of Alexis’ photos from her stay there:
Through the eco-volunteerism project, you would spend 4 hours each day between helping out a local orphanage, doing clean up at a coral reef/beach, and working at an aromatic garden. With the clean up you even have the option to snorkel – wow, even their volunteering is luxurious! I know four-star hotels aren’t usually on a typical backpacker’s itinerary, but for those out there looking to splurge for a week this sounds like a pretty good way to do it. Volunteer vacations (aka voluntourism) with hotels isn’t a new concept – many hotels have always been environmentally aware and take note that guests are interested in giving back as well. If you are interested in this sort of thing but just don’t know when you’ll be in Vietnam next, you may be able to find some closer alternatives. For instance, last year RockResorts in the US/Caribbean had a similar program called “Give & Getaway” that offered discounted room rates as well. Next time you’re looking to book a week stay somewhere, make sure to check out if the hotel you’re staying at offers volunteer opportunities. Or do some research and see if there are any ways to get plugged into local volunteer efforts on your own. You’ll come back with some great stories that extend beyond lazing at the pool, I guarantee that.
Fun Fact (courtesy of Alexis): Six Senses in Ninh Van Bay is so exclusive that it even has its own timezone!