Paul Chong was searching for paradise on a beach in Vietnam.
Mr. Chong, the head of business development at Singapore’s Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts, came here on a weeklong mission last August to scout sites for a luxury resort. He had journeyed by car and plane up the coast from Ho Chi Minh City before arriving at a tiny fishing village near the central city of Da Nang. In a remote cove reachable only by rowboat, he and three colleagues explored a two-mile stretch of beachfront.
“We fell so much in love with the site that we didn’t leave until it was pitch black,” Mr. Chong recalls. In March, Banyan Tree won a license to begin building the Laguna Vietnam, a $270 million complex of hotels, villas and spas.