Marilyn Lum takes us on her golfing adventure in Hoiana Resort & Golf
Hoiana Shores_04 by @garylisbongolf
Hoiana Shores_04 by @garylisbongolf

Marilyn Lum takes us on her golfing adventure in Hoiana Resort & Golf


What can make a better vacation than the perfect combination of sun, sea and sand? Sand was what Marilyn Lum enjoyed the most on a golfing getaway in central Vietnam.

Together, balmy weather, endless shorelines, swathes of pristine greenery, and empty floodplains with commanding mountains in the backdrop make the most unbeatable ingredients for a golf resort. And Vietnam, with its rapid growth in prosperity and modernity, has been building world-class courses at a break-neck pace. Today, it stands head and shoulders above all its South-east Asian neighbours for being the go-to spot for luxury golf experiences in the region. Vietnam’s breathtaking central coast, in particular, is the epicentre of the country’s burgeoning golf hospitality scene. It is here, at the new Hoiana Resort & Golf, where Marilyn Lum and her husband Shaun Tay found respite from frantic city living and indulged in a four-day escapade, with their two kids in tow. The agenda: the spectacular 18-hole course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr, and some much-needed family bonding.

In this travel diary, Marilyn shares with us the surreal, faraway beauty of the destination, and highlights her most unforgettable experiences.

First impression

“Upon arrival at Da Nang International Airport, we were immediately received by the Hoiana team after disembarkation. From going through immigration to boarding our car transfer, the chaperoned experience was seamless. We were promptly on our way to the property in no time – just 30 minutes.

Helmed as Vietnam’s first and finest integrated resort, Hoiana certainly lived up to that reputation. I was certainly impressed with the level of service and attention to detail demonstrated as we arrived at the stunning beachfront resort.

Managed by multi-property hotel manager Jimmy Lopez from the famed Rosewood group, Hoiana sits on a massive estate that is home to several properties, namely Hoiana Hotels and Suites, New World Hoiana Beach Resort, New World Hoiana Hotel, Hoiana Shores Golf Club, and Hoiana Residences. The last, situated right next to the golf course, was our home for the next few days.

We were put up in a three-bedroom serviced apartment, which was spacious and luxurious. There was a small kitchen and a sizeable dining and living area, catering to all our needs. My favourite part of this accommodation was the view from the balcony, which offered a breathtaking panorama of the sparkling coastline with the Cham Islands in the distance.”

The swing of things in Hoiana Resort & Golf

“The majestic Hoiana Shores Golf Club is located along a beautiful coastline with arresting views of the Eastern Sea and Cham Islands. Built in 2019, it spans over 985ha of land along 4km of beachfront.

I was most excited to play on the course, for it is designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr, who has an impressive resume of over 300 golf courses globally and is also well-known for his environmentally sensitive approach. The golf club also boasts multiple prestigious accolades awarded by various publications – Top 100 Golf Course in Asia, Asia’s Best Golf Course, and Best Golf Course in Vietnam.

To my delight, Hoiana Shores did not disappoint. The sand-based golf course features the resilient TifEagle Bermuda and Zeon Zoysia turf grasses, which stand up well against inclement weather conditions, keeping the golf course in pristine condition all-year-round. Its immaculate design also has an uncanny ability to command the attention of golfers from all directions. With every hole guarded by savage rough, deep bunkers and narrow strips, I felt like I was embarking on a new challenge each time.

Shaun and I managed to play two consecutive rounds, and each outing presented a different set of challenges, especially in the face of unpredictable wind conditions and a tricky layout.

Signature holes 15 and 17 were strategically placed right by the coast, and provided a gorgeous view off the tee. The strong wind conditions coming in from the ocean made the holes quite the adventure, with a long carry from tee to green. The lightning-fast speeds on long breaking putts made for a dramatic challenge on the green, and an unforgettable golfing experience for us. I would highly recommend opting for an early tee-off time to catch the stunning sunrise over the golf course.

After we packed up the clubs, the golf manager gave us a quick tour of the compound. The Hoiana Shores clubhouse was designed with an old-world charm that is reminiscent of early 20th century architecture. Apart from the appealingly nostalgic design, the clubhouse also has modern amenities such as a fully equipped pro shop and two dining establishments, Shores Café and 1552 Bistro, serving a variety of both local and international cuisine. At the latter, we tucked into a must-have meal of beef pho and fresh spring rolls.”

Family time

“One will never go hungry in a culinary paradise like Vietnam, what more at the nation’s top integrated resort? With over 20 restaurant concepts to choose from, including Mediterranean and Korean barbecue, my family and I were spoilt for choice. On the first day, we tried Restaurant Yue by Chef Chong Chee Wah, who specialises in traditional Cantonese cuisine. Serving only the most premium of ingredients that range from beluga caviar to Kitauchi beef, the restaurant also flaunts a stylish interior that complements our dinner’s sumptuousness.

On our second day, the wonderful team at Hoiana arranged for us to have afternoon tea at The Edge. Located on the 16th floor of the Hoiana Hotel and Suites, the restaurant has a cosy and peaceful ambience with an unobstructed sea view.

As guests of the Hoiana Residences, we were still able to enjoy the facilities at its sister properties, such as the fitness centre, swimming pool and children’s play area. There are complimentary all-day programmes for the kids, and includes such activities as lantern-making, kite-making, finger-painting, archery and kite-flying. If water is their element, the complimentary poolside classes of aquafit and swimming, as well as foam parties, will surely keep them busy. Families may also partake in a group kayak lesson or beach volleyball among a slew of other options.

If it’s your first visit to this destination, I suggest hopping on one of the resort’s specially curated tours to the Cham Islands or the historic town of Hoi An. My family and I were treated to a sunset boat ride on the Thu Bon River and attended a lanternmaking class, both of which are deeply symbolic to Hoi An. A picturesque Unesco World Heritage Site, the lantern-lined town is a fusion of unique indigenous culture and foreign influences that span Chinese, Japanese and European.

Our stay at Hoiana has been an exquisite blend of luxury and adventure. Experiencing the rich cultural heritage of Hoi An, the thrilling rounds of golf, the magnificent scenery and the staff ’s warm hospitality has made this trip truly memorable. We will definitely be back!”