Aboard The Vietage

Perched by the bow-shaped bar, I nurse the last of my mocktail, a liquid rainbow of roselle, lemongrass, mint and passion fruit. The hushed lounge is an unapologetic manifestation of nostalgia for the early 20th century. Rattan blinds and creamy curtains ensconce secluded corners. Dried tropical flowers spring from earthenware vases. As if part of the furniture, two dapper Englishmen perch opposite – though they grumble over laptop screens, not newspapers.

Vietnam: Beyond the Stereotype

Vietnam is awash with antiquated and orientalist fantasies. Travel media outlets manufacture nostalgia for a colonial heirloom with crowded street kitchens and conical hat-wearing hawkers. Foreign travel companies overrepresent Vietnam’s beaches as if the country exists to serve sun-starved Northeast Asians and Europeans. And although Vietnam has been at peace for over four decades, American films continue to portray a perilous place reeling from war.

Bridge to Tomorrow

The Chao Phraya, Thailand’s major river, meanders through the center of the country, linking the ruins of the former capital, Ayutthaya, to the current one, Bangkok, about 50 miles to the south. The legendary waterway, which has nurtured Thai civilization for centuries, is what inspires—and flows around—Sala Bang Pa-In, a new island re- sort by Department of Architecture, the firm’s second project for the Sala Hospitality Group, a regional chain of nine luxury hotels, spas, and boutique properties.
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