InterContinental Halong Bay Resort and Residences

A fresh new standard for experiential design in this UNESCO World Heritage-listed destination


Halong Bay, Vietnam


4-hectare site; 175 guest rooms; 60 apartments; 41 villas

In recent years, the areas in and around Halong Bay have seen tremendous change. While Vietnam in general has maintained its strong appeal towards traditional French Colonial and Indochinese architectural styles, there has been a steady rise in the development of new ideas and expressions that are unique to the country. Finding the right balance between contemporary, context and culture, the InterContinental Halong Bay Resort and InterContinental Residences Halong Bay set a fresh new standard for experiential design in the area, becoming the perfect setting for the internationally renowned brand’s pioneering luxury travel heritage.

The beachfront location directly faces the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Halong Bay in northern Vietnam. The four-hectare parcel is located along the southern edge of a larger, 248-hectare mixed-use development and has been meticulously master planned to maximize programming potential and views on what is a relatively small, flat and irregularly shaped site.

Adhering to five site planning principles – maximum efficiency, unique character, all-about-the-view, experiential, and luxury and exclusivity – the site’s contour is sculpted to create various levels and layers of resort environments, introducing opportunities for unique, private experiences that create a sense of anticipation, discovery and delight, while also ensuring that each room has an outlook across the bay.

Vehicular access and parking to the villas are concealed with tropical landscaping; multiple floor and lock-off configurations are developed so that the villas occupy a smaller footprint; taller villas are positioned towards the back to ensure that views are in all aspects; and water features, such as lagoons and swimming pools, are designed to maintain maximum privacy for guests, while also creating a resort setting that feels natural and authentic in its surrounds.

Architecturally, the exterior and interior spaces are an expression of the vibrancy of the area and the natural appeal of Halong Bay. Drawing inspiration from ancient legend and the raw, striking surrounds of land, ocean, and the famous Halong Bay islands and islets, key architectural features are inspired by tradition and context but reimagined in fresh and new ways.

Stone and masonry are used throughout, complemented by modern glass and metals. The hotel and villas have a strong vertical orientation, accentuated by geometric planes, features and lines – a nod to the islands of Halong Bay which rise magnificently over the water, some with exposed, abstract stratified layers of limestone rocks.

Large stonework that surrounds the hotel and residence tower motor courts are inspired by the local legend of Halong Bay. The sunken courtyard in the spa, with large rock boulders at its center, is inspired by one of the many hidden lagoons in the bay. Subtle details such as the carved base in the guest-wing block mimics the edges of the islands, worn down by water over thousands of years.

InterContinental Halong Bay Resort and InterContinental Residences Halong Bay have broken ground and are expected to open in 2023. You can find out more about the project on InterContinental’s website, here.