MGallery hotels are known for their memorable experiences. Although it is under the Accor and Sofitel umbrella, an MGallery hotel is always its own unique concept. It still takes into account the international standards set by its parent brands, but there are elements that elevate it beyond something satisfactory. An MGallery experience has a slightly higher aim: more than luxury, more than amenities, it aims to make its guests feel like they are part of the family. This, La Veranda does exceptionally well and one might even say it has an unfair advantage.
There have been many occasions throughout La Veranda’s lifespan where both guests and staff were sad to see each other part ways. Guests from thousands of kilometers away have become regulars, returning multiple times a year. And then there is the advantage of the island.
Phu Quoc, after a violent period as prison camp grounds, has returned to its roots of fishing and farming, and more recently, tourism. Forty long years of peace and stability have granted locals (and now expats living on the island) a calm, friendly demeanor. While courteous and polite, locals working at La Veranda never come across as overly polite, awkwardly pushing to please, as is common in many city hotels. They talk to you like you’re a friend, a family member, and their smiles are genuine. They enjoy their work, they enjoy the island, and this makes a world of difference. It’s the unfair advantage of an excellent work environment that many city hotels cannot claim - fortunately for guests it works out in their favor.
Not to say La Veranda is not luxurious or has wonderful amenities. It does, and they are a big part of the experience. It all begins from check-in.
Rooms & Amenities
Guests get free airport transfer - front desk staff take down your flight number to ensure they know of any delays beforehand, and act accordingly.
Upon entering the garden-covered grounds, you are greeted with an open-air reception area, and led through a stone-covered path walled by tall plants and flowers. While your room is prepared, you lounge at the ocean view bar (Le Bar), a complimentary Vietnamese peach tea, fruit skewer, and orange and pineapple juice with chopped mint by your side. You are then led to your room.
From the amorous Ocean View Villa down to entry-level Deluxe Garden units, every room has a personality. Since opening, the hotel has relied on a single Parisian designer for all design, furniture and decor decisions - and the result is a realized vision of early-20th-century French colonial luxury, a highland retreat on a tropical white-sand island. It’s fairy-tale like, which explains the princess beds.
Comfort and amenities are spared little expense. A down mattress topper, multiple pillow options (down, cotton, synthetic), ultra-soft comforter all make for a deep, satisfying sleep. Bathroom amenities are 100% natural, thanks to Accor’s Planet 21 initiative, and are high quality and a pleasure to use. Every room comes with fresh local fruit and homemade cookies.
We stayed in the Classic Villa. Spacious, beautifully laid out, and with bathroom amenities that will sooth any weary traveler, this was a joy to stay in - the backyard garden was refreshing to sit in come nightfall. In fact, all the rooms we’ve visited exhibited similar qualities. Couples are recommended the Memorable Moments room, which is cozy, has a standalone bath that comes out to the balcony and two sinks.
Ocean View Villas are undeniably luxurious, with a backyard that stretches out onto the beach, large balcony, sun loungers, and a room layout that any honeymoon couple would kill for. Entry level rooms like Executive Premiere Garden and Deluxe Garden Rooms still look charming, have the same bed options as the highest level rooms and have their own advantages. Whatever you pick, you won’t be disappointed.
Trained to Sofitel standards, staff is skilled at building rapport, as well as always trying to find a solution instead of saying no. It’s a rare practice in Vietnam, where creative problem solving is not so common among lower hospitality staff - this is usually reserved for managers and executives.
At La Veranda, everything has to be perfect, and that means being professional and flexible no matter what the situation. When we visited, one of the wait staff dropped a glass on his way to the bar. Instead of shrinking back, freezing up or panicking (the usual reaction of diffident personnel), another staff member quietly and swiftly swept up the pieces, and the server who originally dropped the glass was back on duty, serving and chatting with us without losing face or enthusiasm. In the room, a call to the front desk leaves no minute question unanswered - from times of morning yoga, to the differences between their available packs of cigarettes - every inquiry is accommodated for.
Staff understand cultural specifications, from halal to kosher to vegan. The resort is wheelchair accessible, something sorely missing from most of Vietnam’s facilities. The private beach has wait staff service and security. Surprise treats are given at random times to guests. It’s 5-star service all the way through, with a personal touch of island friendliness and an extra drive to accommodate all needs.
In fine dining, anticipating guest needs is a must. Service distinguishes the good from the great, and luckily La Veranda has already put such an important emphasis on attention to detail and accommodating guests that it naturally blends into the hotel’s F&B sector.
Their main restaurant, The Peppertree, is led by a skilled team. Their sous chef won 2nd place in this year’s national Golden Spoon competition, and last year they won Gold. While La Veranda considers itself fine dining, the familial staff, garden environment, and pool and ocean views are meant to inspire a homestay feel - and it does. It’s not hard to feel comfortable at The Peppertree, and the servers make you feel at home.
As for the food itself, the biggest emphasis at both The Peppertree, and the all-day dining Le Jardin is the quality of the ingredients. La Veranda has its own organic garden, which guests can tour, and even makes its own high-quality compost. Some vegetables and all greens come from this garden, and the difference is tasted. Their Microgreens salad and Hummus from Le Jardin use their fresh garden greens to great effect and are recommended for anyone who wants a healthy meal between stuffing sessions.
Their meatier sessions occur during high season (October-May), when nightly buffets offer everything from Vietnamese boats filled with ice and fresh caught seafood (Monday and Saturday nights) to their Vietnamese Xin Chao buffet (Wednesday, Friday, Sunday).
Low season (June-September) sees few foreigners, so the buffets all but cease. The Peppertree’s a la carte menu provides a nice substitute, and their Ginger Chicken - made before you by the sous chef on a portable stove - and their Volcano dessert make for a filling, flavorful meal. Everything is “homemade” - including bread, dips, sauces, pastries and so on. Even cocktails such as their best-selling mojito, and signature Spicy Attraction use herbs from the garden.
Prepare to be surprised by the breakfast buffet, which is consistently excellent, from freshly squeezed bottled juices to homemade bread pastries to getting bacon just right (a difficult feat in Vietnam).
The facilities are beautiful. Stone-covered steps lead through narrow, vegetation shrouded paths that connect the buildings. The organic garden is fascinating, and staff can give you a tour, explaining about the natural garlic-chilli pesticide, the Japanese microorganism compost mix, the microgreens, and other features that show La Veranda’s organic knowledge.
Le Bar is connected to a recreation room with computers to use, board games to borrow, books in many languages and plenty of DVDs - all complimentary. MICE facilities consist of a section of The Peppertree and a small board room, nothing special but enough for a small meeting in a peaceful environment. Of course, there is also the serene saltwater swimming pool that’s excellent for a midday or even late afternoon swim.
There’s a kid’s club, and with it comes the VIK package (very important kid). This is popular during the low season, and the free version allows families access to games such as giant checkers and giant bowling, has staff hosting games such as sand castle competitions, treasure hunts and beach olympics, and treats for kids. The paid VIK package has classes that teach kids about future careers: there’s Little Scientist, Little Tycoon and Little Chef.
The spa at La Veranda is something unique - and it’s not the ambiance (which is nice) or the products (which are completely natural), but the skill. Some time ago, the owner flew in a South American massage expert that taught the management team at the spa advanced tension relief techniques.
Their Neurological treatment is a two to four hour session of palm, elbow and thumb techniques to relieve all tension and fix physical problems. Before the massage begins, staff sit down with guests to learn about their work habits, past physical ailments and preferences. The process for this is meticulous and requires precise movement and focus - something the spa team is practicing on every day with proper breathing during their sessions as well as daily morning exercises that keep them fresh all day. For those who do not want to go as deep as the neurological treatment, there is the oriental massage, highly recommended for the shoulder and neck.
What Can Be Improved
Honestly, we found nothing wrong with our stay here.
What People Say
The resort have 1,300+ reviews with an average of 4.5 bubbles on TripAdvisor. Praise given to every aspect, from architecture to F&B to service. Some cite it as the best thing they’ve experienced in Vietnam, others as the best resort they’ve been at.
La Veranda has a one-of-a-kind tour that is a must try for any traveler. You and your group set out from La Veranda with a bartender, chef and waiter. You come down to An Thoi, where you are shown the day market and then get on a large, private boat all to yourself, where you get complimentary sea urchins. You can relax on the boat or listen to staff explain about the fish markets, life of fishermen and other insights. You then come upon a secluded island with a private beach, and the get the beach all to yourself. As you tread over the white sand and volcanic rock, the chef makes lunch and the bartender prepares a bottle of sparkling wine, white wine and freeflow beer. If you have the chance, take this tour - it’s unforgettable.