Solitude on rainy Hue beach
What may have been a dreary rainy day in other parts of Hue was a pleasant solitude and getaway thanks to the Ana Mandara - entry through its gates leads to a walk up a grand staircase reminiscent of the temples around Hue into a wood-paneled open air lobby and beach beyond. Rooms are elegant and maintain the air of seclusion. The nearby Buddhist burial ground only enhances the quiet seclusion. I woke to the swaying whoosh of palm fronds, wind singing in the trees, crash of ocean waves covering all. All audible and visible from the bed overlooking a marble balcony. And not a single other sound except a hardy bird chirping in the coconut palms. The rain and wind at the time only added to the sense of solitude. The staff has something that fires their smiles – always cheerful and who greet you genuinely. This is my second visit and I immediately feel I am part of the family. My wife they pleasantly greet with “sister” during our stay sensing some heritage in her own gentle appearance and smile. Everyone welcomes - including the bright smile under the conical hat of the petite landscaper who chuckled at this soggy guest coming back from an early run in the rain on a blustery day. Beach combing in the rain, I walked solitarily by the many bamboo and rattan crafted fishing boats stretched along the misty beach, day dreaming of an ocean jaunt. Ana Mandara presented a needed haven from travels around SE Asia and a great place from which to experience Hue's sites.
By John Lipsey
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