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Built on a rocky escarpment near the summit of a scared mountain, Victoria Nui Sam Lodge offers tasteful, well-appointed rooms with views over acres of rice paddies, canals, and hills. A stone’s throw from the Cambodian border, in the southwestern corner of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, the Nui Sam Lodge is the sister property of Victoria Chau Doc Hotel, located a few kilometres northeast, on the banks of the Mekong River. Room rates at the Nui Sam Mountain Lodge are very reasonable for the standard of accommodation, making it a great place to rejuvenate after several days travelling through the Delta, or before crossing over to Cambodia. I first treated myself to a night here after completing the Mountains in the Mekong Loop. [Average rates are between $50-$100 a night. To check current rates, availability & make a reservation for Victoria Nui Sam Lodge please BOOK HERE]
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REVIEW: VICTORIA MOUNTAIN LODGE
Address: Nui Sam Mountain, Chau Doc City, An Giang Province, Vietnam [MAP]
Price: $50-$100 | Phone: (+84) 76 3575 888 | www.victoriahotels.asia
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A narrow road winds up the eastern edge of Sam Mountain. Victoria Lodge is located about halfway up, on the southern slopes. The lobby, concierge and restaurant is an open, circular ‘bird’s nest’ with French doors onto a large terrace and raised viewing platform. From here, there are fantastic vistas across the fertile delta plains and into Cambodia. It’s a great first impression.
The buffet breakfast (included in the room price, but lacking the variety and quality you might expect from a hotel such as this) is served in the ‘bird’s nest’ restaurant, and there’s also a good selection of Asian and Western dishes available for lunch and dinner. The food is good, and dining out on the terrace in the mornings or evenings, when the low light picks out every detail in the vast landscape, is wonderful.
Below the restaurant, steep stone staircases lead down to the guest rooms and a swimming pool. (There’s no elevator, which might be something to consider if you have limited mobility or small children). Stone and brick rooms are arranged in rows, descending down the hillside in several terraces. Each room has a large, tiled, private patio with a bench, plants, and stupendous views over the rice fields. There are three rice harvests every year in this part of Vietnam: if you’re lucky, the rice will be ripening in the fields when you visit and the landscape will be a sea of green; if you’re not so lucky, the rice will have already been harvested and the landscape will be a patchwork of beige streaked by smoke from the burning of the stubble.
Superior and deluxe rooms are set on the hillside, overlooking the pool. Simply but elegantly furnished with wooden tables, chairs, desks, wardrobes, and beds raised on plinths above the red-tiled floors, all rooms are comfortable and cool. The white bedding, terracotta-coloured walls, and dark wood create a colour scheme that feels very Mediterranean but is also in keeping with the natural environment here – perhaps it’s the rocky, dry mountainside that reminds me of Greece or southern Spain.
At the bottom of the staircase leading down through the rooms, the swimming pool occupies a fantastic position on a platform high above the rice fields. Although I wish the pool was just a little bit longer, it’s still good for a cooling dip and a few laps. There’s a poolside bar, showers, tables, chairs, and loungers to catch some sun and soak up the excellent views in the late afternoon.
Up and to the left of the pool, a cluster of large, adjoining rooms are perfect for families. The interiors are tastefully decorated, there’s plenty of space, bathrooms have bathtubs, and the balconies have perhaps the best views of all: hence these rooms are know as Sky Villas. The dawn is a particularly impressive sight from here, when the orange orb of the sun rises over the flat and fertile plains.
The entire property is nicely landscaped, including lotus ponds, brilliantly coloured bougainvillea, and a herb garden which provides ingredients for the kitchen. Staff are friendly and keen, mostly from local towns and villages in the Mekong Delta. The manager, Mr Tuan, is engaging company and has worked for Victoria hotels in this area for over 10 years.
Staff can arrange all number of excursions in the local area and beyond. Sam Mountain is riddled with temples, tombs, shrines and pagodas which make for an interesting (if a little hot and strenuous) walk from the hotel. South of the mountain, Tra Su Bird Sanctuary is well worth a visit for the ethereal boat ride through a flooded forest of cajeput trees.
In general, this is my favourite corner of the Mekong Delta, and Nui Sam Lodge is a comfortable place from which to view and explore the surrounding area. I’ve enjoyed several stays at Victoria Nui Sam, most often as a rest stop on my way through the western Delta: either on the Saigon to Phu Quoc Loop, or the Mountains in the Mekong Loop. It’s also an ideal stop on the way to Cambodia, either by river via Chau Doc, or overland via Ha Tien. [Average rates are between $50-$100 a night. To check current rates, availability & make a reservation for Victoria Nui Sam Lodge please BOOK HERE]
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