I was lucky enough to be invited to the Novotel Phu Quoc Resort for a media familiarisation, and can truly say that it was an unforgettable experience.
At the airport arrivals hall we were greeted by the Novotel shuttle bus for the 9 km journey to the resort.
It now being lunchtime, the group was told that we would be having lunch after a quick freshen-up. It’s the little things that make a big difference, so the complimentary fruit platter with personalised welcome message and bag with some local specialities provided a sense of personal service for such a large resort. After a quick rainfall shower and change of clothes it was time to come to grips with what else the Novotel Phu Quoc Resort had to offer.
First Culinary Impressions
Seated at a lovely pool-view table in the all-day dining restaurant, Food Exchange, it was time for the indulgence to begin. Food Exchange offers an extensive buffet selection as well as an a la carte menu. There were many stations around the restaurant serving Western, Asian and Vietnamese fare, with the famous Phu Quoc seafood featured in many of them.
As a seafood lover, I wasted little time in sampling some of the freshest squid, shrimp and scallops I have tasted in Vietnam. I’m not a big lunch eater, and diligently restricted myself to a frugal three plates. My favourites were the seafood curry, Hungarian potato salad, seafood pasta and the refreshing variety of salads.
Pina Coladas by the Pool
After a satisfying lunch, we were given an opportunity to relax and enjoy the resort’s facilities. First stop for me was a quick retreat to my room to get some work done. I was lucky enough to have been given a Superior Suite on the third floor. If it wasn’t for the sun shining in a cloudless-sky and the temptation of a pina colada by the pool, I think I may have not left the room for the rest of the stay.
The suite featured a separate living room, standing bathtub, rainfall shower and a double-sized balcony with spectacular views over the pool, surrounding villas and all the way to the Long Beach area. The design of the resort aims to maintain the feel of a traditional Phu Quoc fishing village, with the smallest beachfront buildings being the One Bedroom Villas with private pool that resemble traditional fishing huts. Away from the beach, the buildings become progressively larger until you reach the main building housing 366 rooms.
On my way to the beach, I passed the spa and decided to grab a nice cold drink at the beach bar to enjoy while sunbathing. There I noticed the fantastic range of homemade ice creams for only VND40,000 per scoop. Being adventurous with ice cream flavours, I tried the blackcurrant and Phu Quoc pepper. It first gave the tongue a kick of the hot pepper, then instantly soothed by the cold blackcurrant creaminess. Perched on a lounger under the merciful shade of a well-manicured palm tree, I enjoyed a few hours of swimming, relaxing and reading – an idyllic afternoon.
A Sunset to Remember
As the sun began to set, we were lured to the beach-bar area by the enchanting melody of the in-house band that performs six nights a week. We were treated to some simple yet delicious Vietnamese-inspired canapés to accompany a few glasses of wine whilst watching one of the most spectacular sunsets I have ever seen.
That night we would be dining al fresco at the beautiful Phu Quoc Seafood Restaurant. Sampling the island’s best catch is obligatory for any selfrespecting seafood-lover. We were each given a cold, refreshing towel scented with lemongrass and ginger, which truly awakened the senses.
For starters, we were silver-served a tangy salad followed by a smooth and creamy lobster bisque. After selecting our items from the a la carte menu, they were exquisitely presented on a haring platter. Shrimp, squid, scallops, whole crab and cobia (also known as black salmon) were all on offer, but my hands almost subconsciously reached first for the Oysters Kilpatrick, which didn’t disappoint.
A very relaxed and conversation-filled meal ensued, enjoyed at a leisurely pace with some of the group beginning to fall into a siesta in the large, comfy chairs. To round off the evening, we were served a scoop of the homemade vanilla ice cream served on a bed of honey-drizzled mango and a master-crafted sugar tuile, which again sparked the table back into conversation.
The following morning, we received an a la carte champagne breakfast back at the Phu Quoc Seafood Restaurant. Not being one for morning alcohol, I started the day with my routine ca phe sua da while enjoying the fresh fruit platter.
A Sunday breakfast in a 5-star hotel on Phu Quoc is always a treat and this was no different. After considering a few options, I settled for one of my favourites (which, no matter how hard I try, I have never been able to perfect at home): eggs Benedict. Being from Scotland, my preferred accompaniment would have been smoked salmon, but sadly I was informed that it was not available. An alternative offer of smoked ham turned out to be a more than suitable substitute.
As most of the group were booked on earlyafternoon return flights, the hotel organised a whistle-stop tour of Ho Quoc Pagoda and the famous Phu Quoc Market.
After two strenuous days of relaxing, sunbathing, wining and dining, it was now time to relieve those niggling aches and pains with a rejuvenating massage at the hotel spa. I decided to go for the sports massage and a facial. The massage was exactly what the doctor ordered: firm, focused and just the right amount of time spent on each area. This was my first ever facial, and I couldn’t stop laughing when the products were being applied: they felt ticklish and made me giggle like a little schoolgirl; even the therapist, Ms. Huong, had a chuckle to herself.
Some people might feel the prices here are high compared to their normal VND250,000 massage in a local Ho Chi Minh City spa, but you cannot compare hamburgers with Kobe beef. Novotel Phu Quoc Resort has searched far and wide to employ only the most highly skilled professionals. My masseur at the spa, Mr. Quy, has 15 years’ experience in the industry and was hired from Saigon. My therapist has six years’ experience and relocated from Binh Thuan. For me, anything to do with your body and well-being should focus on quality over price. I’m sure we’ve all heard about someone’s horror massage that left them walking like the hunchback of Notre Dame.
What Could be Improved
With an unobstructed view of the sky and ocean, my room enjoyed the sun non-stop from dawn till dusk. Even with the A/C on maximum setting and net curtains drawn to block direct sunlight, it felt too warm.
However, when the sun relented on the second day, so did this small issue. On the first night of our stay, the hotel was hosting four corporatefunction events entailing a gala-dinner and musical entertainment, which can be a bit noisy if you are in relaxation mode.
Address: Duong Bao Hamlet, Duong To Commune, Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc, 20 October 2016: Novotel Phu Quoc Resort recently announced its new five-star certification by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT). The announcement was made at a ceremony held on the site, which saw the resort become the first internationally managed property on the island to receive this accolade for its service and facilities.
The ceremony was presided over by Mr. Vu Van Thanh, Head of Hotels Department of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, and was notable for attendance of dignitaries including Mr.Nguyen Chi Thanh – Vice Director of Kien Giang Department of Tourism; Mr. Tang Chi Uyen – Head of Tourism Management, Kien Giang Department of Tourism; Mr. Doan Van Binh – President of CEO Group; Mr. Nguyen The Lam – Vice President of CEO Phu Quoc Investment & Development JSC; Mr. Tran Dao Duc, General Director, CEO Phu Quoc; Mr. Doan Tien Trung - Deputy General Director CEO Phu Quoc Investment & Development JSC; and the resort’s General Manager; and Mr. Lee Pearce.
Upon presenting the certificate, Mr. Thanh remarked: “The five-star certification recognizes the on-going efforts of AccorHotels and the CEO Group in the past year. Our government has made the development of the Phu Quoc tourism industry a key priority. The island has been especially earmarked to be one of the centerpieces of the national tourism industry, led by companies operating to international standards and supported by a series of policies regarding investment, infrastructure and visa exemption to boost tourists from over the world. Novotel and CEO Group have built a wonderful resort on this wonderful, sun-drenched, white-sand, blue-sea island. The extensive experience of CEO and Novotel in developing and managing a resort to this standard will offer a tremendous boost to the development of Phu Quoc, and the five-star certification is both a reward and an incentive for this resort to continue to enhance and improve upon its offering and to become a highlight for visitors to Phu Quoc.”
VNAT sets rigorous standards for its star ratings, with five stars denoting the highest possible standards of physical facilities, service quality, and the ability to meet the diverse requirements and demands of the world.
Thanking VNAT after the ceremony, Mr. Pearce said: "Phu Quoc is a destination with boundless potential and limitless opportunities. As the only international five star resort on the entire island, the Novotel is ideally positioned to capture an emerging, upscale segment of the island’s tourism market. It takes a bold and visionary company to recognize this potential and we are lucky to have CEO Group behind us, as just that kind of investor. We are confident their investment and their faith in Phu Quoc will pay dividends as the island continues to grow. Indeed, as the nearby airport continues to increase uplift, both domestically and with the addition of new international flights, the prospect for our resort to be at the center of the emergence of this destination is tremendous."
Novotel Phu Quoc’s holding company, CEO Group’s Mr. Duc concurred and further thanked local authorities for their support, stating: “We have invested nearly VND5 trillion into this project, and are committed to future investment in Phu Quoc. We have received strong support from local authorities and the provincial People’s Committee, and are immensely proud to be awarded this five-star certification today. We look forward to the ongoing efforts of Accor to continue to bring five-star amenities and services to travelers visiting the island time and again in future.”
The 366 room beach-front resort opened in January 2016 and is situated just fifteen minutes from Phu Quoc International Airport. Novotel Phu Quoc Resort is not only the first resort project of CEO Group, but also the largest internationally branded resort operating on the island.
"With six hotels and resorts and 1,362 rooms in Vietnam, Novotel represents AccorHotels’ largest brand presence in the country. Novotel Phu Quoc Resort is the region’s flagship beachfront property located on an island that is becoming well known for its beauty, eco-tourism attractions and cultural offerings. Receiving the five-star certification by the Vietnam Administration of Tourism nine months after opening is a testament to the Novotel brand and its consistently high service standards, as well as the resort team’s diligence and service-from-the-heart," said Mr Paul Stevens, Vice President Operations Novotel, Mercure, ibis for Upper Southeast Asia.
The resort is situated on Bai Truong and features unique architecture inspired by local fishing villages. Its 366 rooms include beach-front villas - some with private pools, suites, superior rooms and family rooms. The main five-story block overlooks the resort's two swimming pools. All rooms include sea views as well as vistas over the site's expansive 60,000 square meter landscaped gardens, offering guests a sense of complete relaxation.
Other resort amenities include a day spa, gym, Kids Club, two tennis courts and an extensive MICE offering including a 400-seating, 470 square meter ballroom along with three multifunctional meeting rooms. The resort has a strong focus on food and beverage recently launching a new menu in their acclaimed Seafood Restaurant and guests continue to enjoy the resort’s main restaurant, Food Exchange and two poolside bars – Lounge Bar and Ocean Bar.
In June 2016, these efforts were recognized when the Novotel Phu Quoc Resort received five awards at the Vietnam Property Awards (VPA), including "Best Hotel Architectural Design"; "Best Hotel Interior Design"; "Best Green Development "; "Best Hotel Development" and "Best Condo Landscape Architectural Design."
The resort, owned by CEO Group, will see 96 new luxury villas open by the end of December this year, as well as shop houses occupied by vendors and local restaurants, adding a vibrant atmosphere to the precinct.
The CEO Group is known as a pioneer in driving the growth of Phu Quoc, and is one of the three largest and most reputable investors working here. The Group recently announced its intention to buy two more projects totaling 160 hectares. CEO is at the forefront of a group of 180 businesses set to create the next wave of investment in Phu Quoc, with a registered investment capital of nearly US$9 billion. The Group is aiming to build up the largest and most synchronized complex of tourism, leisure, shopping and entertainment in the center of Phu Quoc.
The Rise of CSR in Phu Quoc’s Hospitality Industry
As with any popular tourist destination, Vietnam’s gorgeous island of Phu Quoc is not short of resorts. Island-wide, a growing range of accommodation caters for every budget and holiday experience. However, with such growth come concerns about sustainability and consideration for the island’s ecosystems. Thankfully, an increasing number of resorts in Phu Quoc’s hospitality industry are showing consciousness about their effects on the environment, social landscape, and local economy.
Resorts in Phu Quoc Realise That Staff Are People Too
Fusion Resort Phu Quoc is the pinnacle of relaxation and privacy for discerning travellers. The secret to the resort’s success, though, lies not in obsession with profits, but in the exceptional treatment of its employees. Staff receive a higher pay than at most resorts on Phu Quoc island and enjoy the “luxury” of two days off per week - uncommon in Asian hospitality businesses. As a result, employees enjoy a living wage and high job satisfaction.
Image source: agoda.net
Additionally, employees report feeling that there is a family environment at Fusion that encourages growth, collaboration, and high staff retention. The management at Fusion Resort Phu Quoc have it figured out - if you take care of the employees, they will work hard and ultimately keep guests satisfied.
At the family friendly resort of the new Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc, hired staff that are not local recruits are assisted with relocation costs and employees are provided with return flight tickets to allow them to visit their hometowns and families. Bonus allowances are offered for special life events and through company awards, and employees’ families are gifted discounted stays at the resort. Along with a comprehensive training and career plan, Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc knows these actions go a long way to keeping a happy staff, which then benefits their guests.
Image source: Mervin Lee
Preserving Phu Quoc’s Natural Beauty
Along the shores of Ong Lang Beach stands Mango Bay Resort, seamlessly integrated into the natural landscape. Unfortunately, many resorts are built at the expense of the natural ecology of the island; however, Mango Bay is different. When building the resort, the architects worked hard to avoid environmentally negative actions, such as cutting trees and clearing native vegetation. In addition, the landscape design includes only indigenous plant species.
Mango Bay has also taken measures to protect the coral reef in their section of Ong Lang Beach by discouraging fishing and educating guests to prevent further damage. Other resorts and businesses on Phu Quoc, and throughout Vietnam, could do well to take note of Mango Bay Resort’s initiatives to help preserve the long term viability of the country’s beautiful natural habitat.
Image source: Mango Bay Resort
Hospitality in Phu Quoc: Community Involvement
Smaller resorts are also doing their part to improve social constructs. Phu Quoc Ecolodge is a Vietnamese-owned and operated boutique resort in Cua Can. As the name implies, environmental sustainability of Phu Quoc is a core value of the resort. They use solar panels, provide glass bottles and refill stations for drinking water, and grow herbs and vegetables on site. The rooms remain delightfully comfortable and the property is breathtaking while maintaining a low carbon footprint.
Most notable, though, is the dedication to the local Phu Quoc community of the owner, Phong Bui. He regularly works with clean up efforts in the area and, though it’s a slow process, he patiently impresses upon his neighbors the importance of reducing plastics, keeping trash out of the water, and properly disposing of waste. Additionally, he supports the local economy by providing Phu Quoc-made and environmentally-conscious products at Phu Quoc Ecolodge. Change is easier when motivated by economic viability.
Image source: tripadvisor.com
Phu Quoc’s Plastic Reduction and the Use of Sustainable Materials
It has been impossible to escape the global plastic reduction movement in recent years (for good reason) and encouragingly, this trend is also gaining momentum with top resorts in Phu Quoc.
Supporting this movement in Phu Quoc is the company Bamboo Step, who are supplying a number of the island’s major hotels and resorts with premium quality bamboo drinking straws to ease the burden of single use plastic. Some of the best Phu Quoc resorts such as La Veranda, Fusion, Best Western Sonasea Phu Quoc, JW Marriott and Radisson Blu are all playing their part by using bamboo, grass or metal straws instead of plastic ones.
Image source: shutterstock.com
Going a step further at the plush Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island, bamboo and grass straws are used as standard. Ceramic containers for bath products are included in all rooms, and carafes of filtered water are available for a small fee to cut down on purchased plastic bottles. Biodegradable and renewable materials such as Accoya wood were used in the construction of Salinda, showing that the sustainability commitment was present from day one.
Image source: shutterstock.com
It is clear that there is a lot of positive work being done at some of the excellent resorts in Phu Quoc, which gives good reason to be cautiously optimistic for the future of sustainability on the island. However, there is always much more that can be done and there are still plenty of challenges to making more significant progress; policies that are environmentally and socially responsible usually hit a resort’s bottom line, at least in the short term.
If the growing trends of sustainability and environmental protection gather increasing local and governmental support, then Phu Quoc, as one of Vietnam’s best places to visit, will continue its rise to becoming a sustainable tourist destination in all regards.
Phu Quoc island has seen a rapid rise to become one of Vietnam’s most popular vacation destinations and a rising star amongst Southeast Asia’s finest islands. It’s easy to see why - if you’re looking for some of the best beaches in Vietnam, alongside beautiful nature, delicious seafood, fresh ocean breezes and gorgeous sunsets, then Phu Quoc should be your first port of call when travelling to Vietnam. Phu Quoc attracts visitors of all types and the ‘Pearl Island’ also offers plentiful attractions and activities.
In recent years, the dramatic increase in Phu Quoc’s luxury accommodation options has meant that discerning travellers are now spoilt for choice when selecting a top class resort on the island. To prepare for your next stunning beach vacation, read on and discover some of the very best luxury 5-star resorts on Phu Quoc island, Vietnam.
Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc is one of the newest luxury beach resorts on the island. Located around 10 minutes south of the airport and overlooking a lovely beachfront along Phu Quoc’s gorgeous western coast, this thoughtfully designed resort boasts excellent options for any traveller, from romantic couples and families, to business people travelling to Vietnam.
Image source: Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc
Enjoy accommodation from modern guestrooms and comfortable suites to stunning three-to-five bedroom villas with their own private pools, all with quality furnishings and luxurious amenities. For families with younger children, there is a brilliant deal where two kids (under 16) can stay for free in their parents’ room, including the daily buffet breakfast.
Image source: Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc
A fine variety of delicious international and Vietnamese cuisine is served at the resort’s Essence Restaurant and Oasis Pool Bar (with swim-up bar), and you mustn’t miss the stunning sunset views across the island and ocean with refreshing cocktails and delectable food at the romantic rooftop CView Sky Bar.
In addition to the two main pools and two kids’ pools, Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc resort offers fun beach activities, the tranquil Thala spa, Nemo kids’ club, complimentary bicycles, modern fitness centre, free airport transfer, and excellent business and meeting facilities.
Best Western Sonasea Phu Quoc’s magnificent lagoon pool is Vietnam’s longest. At 300 metres, it is the gorgeous centrepiece of the resort for you to relax and float around in true luxury and enjoy one of the best accommodation options in Phu Quoc.
This peaceful spa resort is a perfect getaway to experience the height in personalised luxury in Phu Quoc island. Upon arrival, you will be assigned your very own “Fusionista”—an attentive point of contact (read: butler) for all your needs during your stay.
Image source: Fusion Resort Phu Quoc
Fusion Resort Phu Quoc is an all-villa resort with each one of the stunning villas enjoying highest quality furnishings, a private garden and its own pool for secluded relaxation. Pick from beachfront or riverside views to complete your getaway amongst Phu Quoc’s nature.
As an “all-spa inclusive” resort, Fusion Resort Phu Quoc uniquely offers guests complimentary treatments per night’s stay at its fully equipped spa and wellness facility, certainly one of the best on the island. The extensive spa menu helps you find the perfect route to relax and reinvigorate while enjoying this luxury resort in northwestern Phu Quoc.
Other facilities include an oceanfront infinity pool, tennis court, fun kids’ club, beach games and a multi-purpose room for meetings or weddings. Families can enjoy an active time together exploring Phu Quoc with the chance to ride bicycles along a well planned cycling route.
Whenever your appetite calls, Fusion Resort Phu Quoc offers outstanding culinary options. Dine in style in your villa, at the spacious Secret Garden or the seafood-inspired, ocean-facing Pezca, or kick back with a refreshing drink at Soul Kitchen. The Beach Bar is the perfect spot for cocktails and a gorgeous sunset with the sand of Fusion’s 2.5km beach at your feet.
Image source: Fusion Resort Phu Quoc
Start off your day the right way with the complimentary “Breakfast Anywhere, Anytime” service. Just as it sounds, enjoy a delicious and nutritious breakfast from the comfort of your private villa or garden, across any of Fusion Resort Phu Quoc’s lovely dining venues, or even on the beach!
Set in a magical French colonial seaside mansion, La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc’s setting evokes posh garden parties and leisurely afternoons spent sipping wine and gazing at the sea from under a wide-brimmed hat. The saltwater swimming pool is surrounded by greenery and winding garden pathways and features a large children’s pool that is the perfect depth for little ones to splash in. The resort is part of AccorHotels group’s exclusive MGallery Heritage Collection.
Image source: La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc
One of La Veranda’s main draws is its world-class Peppertree restaurant, which is rated as the best restaurant on Phu Quoc island and #4 in all of Vietnam by TripAdvisor (at the time of writing). The restaurant combines the techniques of gourmet French cuisine with the spirit and recipes of a traditional Vietnamese kitchen. La Veranda’s famous breakfast includes crowd favourites like the made-to-order waffle/pancake/crepe bar and fresh smoothies that change daily. Weekly F&B events spice up the evenings with special seafood beach barbecues, complimentary wine tastings and afternoon tea services - all fantastic ways to enjoy the best in food and drink in Phu Quoc.
Each garden or ocean-view deluxe room, suite or villa at La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc has a story to tell. Historically accurate paint colours, furnishings and artwork, as well as personal touches added by the resort’s creator, Madame Catherine, create a personalised feeling in the rooms. Luxury service touches, such as the nightly gifts and handwritten letters at turndown, go above and beyond the typical resort experience.
Image source: La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc
La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc will soon become the top destination in Vietnam for health and wellness travellers with the inclusion of its signature Wellness Center due to open in 2019. The center will include spa treatments, day passes and all-inclusive wellness packages combining health-centric food options, meditative activities and classes related to mindfulness for true relaxation and pampering during your Phu Quoc vacation.
Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island epitomises tropical luxury. The resort is enclosed in a lush landscape featuring more than 100 types of trees and flowers, giving an atmosphere of an enchanted garden complete with butterflies and birds. The greenery goes all the way down to one of the nicest private beaches in Phu Quoc, where mango trees help block strong winds during the rainy season. The best place to truly experience the beauty of Salinda Resort is from the infinity pool where you can gaze out at the calm seas in true luxury. The pool itself is naturally treated with activated carbon and salt without unnecessary chemicals.
Image source: Salinda Resort Phu Quoc
Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island offers a selection of deluxe rooms, suites and villas. From the private balconies, guests can take in the setting sun as the evening sky is filled with a spectacular array of sunset colours. Premium linens, bathrobes and luxury beauty products make the experience one of pure comfort.
Salinda Resort is also known for its world-class F&B options, rated as some of the best on the island. Namaste India is Salinda’s finest dining option with Chef Liladhar preparing gourmet dishes from his native New Delhi. The atmosphere is all about candlelight, jewel-toned linens and top-notch service. Casa Italiana brings authentic Italy with perfectly prepared pizzas, pasta and wine. Salinda Restaurant showcases a stunning display of Hoi An silk lanterns on an open-air patio. The restaurant serves some of the best traditional Vietnamese cuisine in Phu Quoc during the evening, and an unbelievable breakfast buffet complete with sparkling wine.
Image source: Salinda Resort Phu Quoc
From minimum plastic to eco-friendly pesticide and a chemical-free swimming pool, Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island is very much in the leading pack in terms of sustainability and environmental awareness in both Phu Quoc and all of Vietnam.
The InterContinental brand’s reputation is splendidly maintained with this beautiful beachside resort only a short drive from Phu Quoc International Airport. The “InterCon” is a class act throughout, from the comfort of its accommodation and high-class dining options, to its excellence as a family vacation and its wide range of excellent facilities - a true destination resort in Phu Quoc.
Image source: InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort
From a range of spacious rooms and suites in its resort wings, resident-style accommodation in the Sky Tower, and ocean-view villas, the InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort invites you to live in the lap of luxury with no detail left to chance.
For foodies, the InterCon’s five stylish venues provide fantastic choice, including fresh seafood, Japanese-Viet fusion, classic Italian and beachside barbecue on Phu Quoc’s western coast.
Facilities feature four swimming pools (including one separate kids’ play pool), 24-hour fitness centre, large kids’ club, a range of daily activities for all, wedding ceremony planning and indoor event/business venues. The soothing lagoon setting of the spa is perfect for re-energising your body and soul after a day exploring the resort or Phu Quoc island.
The expansive InterCon resort benefits from superior quality decor and impressive attention to detail. There is little need for anything other than exploring Phu Quoc’s attractions.
Image source: InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort
INK 360 is the breathtaking sky bar at Intercontinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort. In fact, it is the highest sky bar in Phu Quoc and the place to survey spectacular sunset views with exquisite craft cocktails, accompanied by sundown beats and party tunes.
Previously a 19th-century French university, the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa retains a classic design alongside all the 5-star comforts and modern conveniences you could need for your beachside vacation in Phu Quoc. This majestic resort features a wide range of rooms and suites, gorgeous private pool villas, and even an incredible seven-bedroom oceanfront residence with its own infinity pool facing the sea. All accommodation types display a unique character with plush furnishings, high ceilings and bright, spacious layouts.
As a fantastic family resort in Phu Quoc, there is a huge variety of scheduled daily activities from morning till evening for adults (bike tours, lantern-making and cookery classes) and children (dancing, painting, magic shows and treasure hunts).
More laid-back travellers can take it easy at the three beautiful swimming pools or enjoy a dip in the ocean and the JW Marriott’s private beach. Enjoy deeper relaxation by indulging in the soothing class of the Chanterelle Spa.
The JW Marriott Phu Quoc features its very own walking street, Hoi An-style, where guests can wander around at their own leisure. Here, you can peruse the classy selection of shops, visit the spa, or dine at the resort’s several F&B venues, featuring fantastic views of the island with options of fresh seafood and French cuisine, tasty tapas and signature cocktails.
Video source: Great Tours
The JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa seems almost like a fairytale village, with its colourful building facades and mini castle-like structures that offer a fantasy-style vacation in beautiful Phu Quoc.
If you’re looking for a secluded resort to escape in luxury in Phu Quoc, there are few better options than Nam Nghi. Set in a private location on the north-west coast of Phu Quoc, this gorgeous resort will surround you with lush greenery, breathtaking views, natural wooden architecture and stellar service.
If you prefer a spacious villa, there is the option for ocean view or a tranquil private garden view. All accommodation is tastefully designed with luxurious touches and natural materials used with sustainable design in mind to help preserve Phu Quoc’s inherent beauty.
Image source: Nam Nghi Phu Quoc
Nam Nghi Phu Quoc is around 30 minutes’ drive from the island’s main Duong Dong town but a free shuttle bus service is provided. In the peace and quiet of this hideaway resort, there are plenty of facilities and activities to enjoy. Sunbathe on the lovely private beach, take a dip in the ocean or the beautiful pool, go kayaking or snorkelling, use the well-equipped gym or indulge in a treatment at the restful spa.
When you’re hungry, Nam Nghi Phu Quoc resort doesn’t disappoint with its top quality offerings, from the excellent breakfast buffet to exquisite cuisine at the fine-dining TreeHouse Restaurant.
Image source: Nam Nghi Phu Quoc
Nam Nghi Phu Quoc’s very own private island offers a delightful little beach and the exclusive Rock Island Club bar—a sublime spot to take in a spectacular sunset with a refreshing cocktail.
Nestled at the south-eastern tip of Phu Quoc, the 5-star pool villa resort of Premier Village is draped over a large expanse of natural beauty, where guests, families or larger groups can enjoy true seclusion and luxury.
Each one of the Premier Village’s stunningly designed pool villas includes a private infinity pool, generous living areas, and elegant, modern decor with plentiful natural light from the floor-to-ceiling glass doors and panels.
Image source: Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort
Premier Village’s extensive facilities include numerous bright turquoise swimming pools and a white sandy beach with loungers and hammocks, as well as kayaks and paddle boards for active guests. Beyond the pools and beach, children will be entertained by the fun kids’ club and bicycles to offer a great family vacation in Phu Quoc. The resort’s spa offers a huge treatment menu for soothing relaxation. Situated on the side of an ocean view hill, it is also a great place for amazing sunset views.
Whether it’s the excellent international and Vietnamese cuisine at The Market restaurant or the fresh Mediterranean menu at Corallo, Premier Village offers delicious culinary options for all. Enjoy a swim and a drink at the Pool Bar or savour the self-explanatory Sunset Lounge’s location with a delightful drink.
Image source: Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort
If you choose a beachfront villa at Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort, be sure to take advantage of the private chef barbecue service just for your group—perfect for celebrating your special island vacation in mouthwatering style.
Banner Image source: InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort
Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc & Sustainable Tourism
Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc not only focuses on setting the standard for comfort and exceptional service, but also leads the trend for sustainable tourism.Best Western Premier Sonasea wants to be Phu Quoc’s first plastic-free resort. As The World’s Largest Hotel Chain®, with over 4,200 hotels worldwide and over 70 years in the hospitality industry, Best Western Premier takes pride in making upscale hospitality a sustainable and successful business model. With Green Hotel Design and development prototypes that use locally-sourced products in order to boost the local economy, Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc seeks to be an eco-friendly and socially responsible resort.
Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc is familiar with the challenges facing this pristine island that makes part of an ecologically diverse 28-island archipelago in Vietnam. As such, the resort has planned in advance with sustainable measures in an effort to be a leading, positive influence on the island, rather than a neutral one.
When it comes to sustainable tourism, the three main challenges facing Phu Quoc island are: leveraging green practices against the rapid growth in the tourism industry; lack of available and qualified local residents to take on jobs in the hospitality sector; and waste management throughout the island.
It’s clear that Vietnam has become internationally known as a highly desirable tourist destination. As such, a commitment to eco-friendly initiatives and sustainable tourism is paramount in Phu Quoc island’s development, as one of Vietnam’s top three tourist destinations. With an added focus on attracting tourists comes corporate and social responsibility.
Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc is proud to partner with local and national authorities and support Kien Giang province’s eco-friendly initiatives to make Phu Quoc island the number one tourist destination in Vietnam. In 2017, local authorities opened a Waste Treatment Plant in Bai Bon. While Phu Quoc island does not yet have a recycling plant, there are plans for the construction of a new waste treatment plant in the near future. Best Western Premier Sonasea is keeping abreast of these initiatives and taking full part in them wherever possible.
Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc and Local Workforce Development
Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc takes pride in its commitment to improving the lives of all employees and contracted workers. Whether they are local residents, from other parts of Vietnam or international staff, under the leadership of The CEO Group, this outstanding beach resort has provided work for 1,795 builders from four different construction companies (Hoa Binh, Alliance, Serifico, and Nem).
The hotel’s fully operational workforce will include 420 employees from over a dozen provinces across Vietnam, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Danang, Vung Tau, An Giang, and of course, Kien Giang province. The international staff hails from countries such as France, Japan, Australia, Ireland, and India.
While providing desirable jobs, Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc offers training for the development of local residents as well as the local business sector. With new investment comes a new network of partners, developers, and local entrepreneurs. Establishing supply chains of locally sourced products and agriculture, along with improved import and export infrastructure, helps Phu Quoc’s economy to thrive in the short-term as well as the long-term.
Employees Are Well Taken Care Of At Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc
Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc realises that employee benefits packages need to be competitive and responsive to the needs of all of its great staff. Employee Benefits include free meals and accommodation, as well as three types of insurance: social, unemployment, and health. In addition, there is personal accident insurance for all employees, plus private health insurance for those travelling overseas.
For employees that come from other provinces in Vietnam, relocation costs are covered and the hotel also provides a return ticket as an added convenience for those visiting their families. Staff are offered bonus allowances during special events such as birthdays, weddings, and Best Employee awards, while also treating employees’ families to discounted stays and other perks.
Taking employee retention seriously, Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc aims to provide working conditions that emphasise teamwork, professional development, and self-improvement. All employees receive assistance in creating their own Personal Development Career Plan which provides them with mandatory and supplementary training opportunities and incentives, along with clear paths towards promotion.
The staff’s General Training and Orientation includes 11 modules on safety, hospitality, customer service, brand awareness and plenty of hands-on technical training. With team-spirited support, the company values mean that employees are trained not just on how to deliver great service, but also the reasoning behind the methods.
Whether the focus is on how to document a guest complaint or on best practices for food hygiene, BWP Sonasea Phu Quoc believes that quality training involves analytical thinking by employees. Further, by creating mentorship opportunities within the workplace culture, a friendly working environment is created that focuses on caring family values, not just an employer-employee relationship.
Best Western Sonasea Phu Quoc Is An Eco-Friendly Beach Resort with a Proactive Approach to being Plastic-Free
Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc operates under the belief that more is not necessarily better. As such, the resort’s sustainable practices send a clear message of awareness and conviction to its guests. Capital investments in the management of waste is championed through a dynamic approach in the reduction of plastic throughout the resort. An emphasis on local sourcing of ingredients and products, such as pepper, fish sauce, seaweed and bamboo, helps create a sustainable destination for both local visitors and guests from around the world.
Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc’s aim to maximize the comfort of guests while keeping balance with environmentally conscious practices means that its rooms are almost 100% plastic free. With the exception of water bottles and basic amenities, there is a strict policy on plastic use that is positioning this hotel to become Phu Quoc’s first 100% plastic-free resort.
Each room comes with a standard offering of two Dental Kits, a Vanity Kit, a Sanitary Bag, and the resort’s signature soap, while other plastic amenities (such as combs, shower caps, and shaving kits) are available upon request to reduce single-use waste. This sends a message to our guests that “less is more” and that the best in comfort is not about quantity but about quality. Creating awareness takes time but, by taking incremental steps to provide quality, sustainable accommodation, BWP Sonasea is clearly stating its position on the environment for all to see.
The upscale room amenities are proof that Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc is focused on the details. Following a green policy for the laundering of sheets and towels, the process is done in-house with the aim to reduce emissions. In addition, all nail files are wooden, not plastic, while the exclusive soap is palm-free and cut in a traditional non-factory brick-cut. Handmade, the soap is made from locally sourced lemongrass and recycled coffee as an exfoliating feature.
Vanity Kits and all dry amenities have cardboard packaging, including soaps, toothbrushes, and earplugs. Instead of providing guests with single-use plastic bottles, resin dispensers are filled on a daily basis from large 20-litre containers that provide guests with shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion.This means that Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc saves four plastic containers per room per day. At full capacity, that amounts to a saving of over 2,200 plastic bottles per day or more than 803,000 bottles per year!
Other plastic reduction features include non-plastic ear plugs and straws - both made from locally-sourced bamboo. There are no plastic bags in the resort and it provides reusable woven beach bags to guests while the staff make use of paper bags for all operations. In addition, Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc has a polystyrene-free agreement with local food delivery companies, which it is hoped that other resorts and hotels will follow, creating a positive ripple effect that will be felt across the island.
Waste Management and Reduction at Best Western Sonasea Phu Quoc
Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc has regular garbage collection throughout the resort and regular sorting of aluminum cans, cardboard paper, and plastic bottles - all of which are recycled.
Biowaste from food is collected in the kitchens and used for pig farming, while cooking oil is recycled and the collection of grease must be placed in grease bins. There are upcoming plans for a vegetable garden that will be used for food composting and, as and added benefit, for enhancing the ingredients available for seasonal fine-dining.
BWP Sonasea keeps the use of electricity to as reasonable a limit as possible with energy-efficient LED light-bulbs installed throughout the resort and managed on a strict schedule. All guest rooms contain air conditioning systems which feature an automatic turn-off cooling system that turns off automatically if the balcony or a window is opened. Additionally, high quality insulation of the hot water and AC networks throughout the main building are in place in order to minimize heat loss.
A new sewage treatment plant was recently built with a number of chambers in the ground which will put water through a filtration system containing sand and charcoal to help filter the water to then be used for irrigation. Water regulation technology includes low-flush / high-flush options throughout the resort along with water regulators in bathtubs that reduce water usage without affecting speed or pressure for the maximum enjoyment.
Furthermore, a sprinkler system in the ground gardens as well as the balcony gardens on each floor is set to water plants at night in order to maximize water use. Finally, there is the use of recycled water, also known as “grey water”, for irrigation, gardening, and watering. Rainwater is collected from villas to enhance the resort’s irrigation system.
Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc is proud to embrace environmentally conscious business development principles to the finest of details. This can be seen through strategic partnerships and local workforce development, the use of locally-sourced products, as well as dramatic reductions in plastic use, waste management, and resource reduction practices. All of this hard work, points clearly to Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc as an industry-leading resort in eco-friendly hospitality and sustainable tourism in Phu Quoc.
Image source: Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc - by Mervin Lee
The Phu Quoc development plan announced by the government in 2004 and adjusted in the summer of 2015, makes provision for a massive investment and a huge development of large parts of this idyllic island. In the revised plan, land dedicated to tourism will cover 40 sq km; land for mixed tourism and housing 33 sq km, whilst forestry gets 374 sq km. In addition there is a 66 sq km buffer zone with close on 40 sq km given over to agriculture. This is not a small development. At the end of 2014 there were just 1,500 rooms for rent on the island, by the end of 2017 that will have risen to 10,000, with many more planned over the next 15 years.
Phu Quoc lies off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand. It is a mere 10 km from the Bokor National Park on the outskirts of Kampot. It is the largest of Vietnam’s islands with a total area of 593 sq km and one that has been the cause of constant argument of ownership between Vietnam and Cambodia. The capital of the island Duong Dong is situated on the west coast of the island at about the north-south mid point. This town will change beyond recognition as part of the development plan.
The government has decided that Phu Quoc is to become the biggest island destination in the whole region and they are pulling out all the stops to make this happen. It seems inconceivable that this beautiful island could become the next Bali or Phuket, but that is what they want. The resort style developments are already starting to arrive and are totally taking over the west coast of the island. From the enormous Vinpearl hotel and resort in the north to the newly opened Novotel in the south, huge swathes of land and being carved up and built on.
Broadly speaking the island’s development is being handled by two groups. Vinpearl will take on the north of the island, whilst responsibility for the south falls to the Sun Group.
Already open in the north is phase one of the Vinpearl hotel and resort, Vinpearl Land amusement park, Vinpearl Safari Park, the Vinpearl Golf Phu Quoc and the Vinmec Phu Quoc International Hospital. Impact on the local ecology has been huge. Local people are seeing big increases in the local economy and most seem content that this is good for the island. To the north of these opened attractions, the second phase of the Vinpearl development is underway, with one of the biggest building sites on the island just opening up. Based around a 17 hectare lake, it is simply massive. Whilst slightly south another huge development for Grand World has begun. It is rumoured that the country’s second giant casino, after the the Grand Casino at Ho Tram Strip, will be built here.
VinPearl Phu Quoc Resort & Villas on Long Beach, Phu Quoc - Source
The southern development along Long Beach is slightly different. The hotels and resorts here are generally speaking smaller and more eco-friendly, though this certainly depends on your definition. On Phu Quoc anything is classed as an eco-resort as long as less than 50% of the land is built upon. This of course raises as many questions as it does answers. No provision is made for sustainable building materials in the definition.
The Mercure Phu Quoc Resort & Villas at the northern end of the southern development has at least tried to make their resort genuinely eco-friendly. The impact on the local ecology here has been positive. This small hotel is virtually invisible until you arrive at its door. The 67 bedrooms are by way of individual villas, dotted around beautiful gardens, rich with trees and greenery. They even grow their own vegetables in and around the villas, supplying the kitchen with pumpkins, tomatoes, potatoes and other ingredients.
Moving south from the Mercure, you’ll find the Sunset Sanato resort and Luxury Villas (under construction); the Pullman hotel and resort (construction soon to start); the Novotel Phu Quoc (opened in February 2016) and the 17-storey InterContinental (under construction). The Sofitel is also coming here. The whole of Long Beach is being snapped up by developers who are facing a backlash from locals demanding access to what are, after all, public beaches. The government has said that some kind of access road 50 metres from the beach has to remain in place, but in some cases clearly no provision has been made for this. The famous pearl farm here is on borrowed time.
Moving across the island to the eastern beach area of Bai Khem, work is well underway on the large JW Marriott hotel and resort. This 5 star luxury resort will forever change this small but beautiful beach. The plans for the it do look beautiful and tastefully done. The Marriott is in the process of building a new road to the resort.
There is also a cable car ride being built connecting the island’s second largest town of An Hoi with the island of Hon Thom, also called Pineapple Island. The 8 km ride will be the longest aerial ropeway cable car in the world. As it passes over the islands of Hon Dua and Hon Roi, the towers will reach 160m in height. Construction started in 2015 and is expected to be completed in 2016 with the ride being fully operational by 2017. It will be capable of carrying 3,500 people per hour to the so far undeveloped Pineapple Island.
Many resorts are being planned for long Beach, including the Vinpearl Premium Villas - Source
Development on this scale of course requires a huge change to local infrastructure. New roads are planned and a widening and upgrading of existing roads is underway. The island currently has two landfill sites, a large one in the north and a smaller one in the south. At present the island manages all its own electricity needs but this is about to change.
Building an incinerator to fuel the island is planned, but this is fraught with difficulties: the island doesn’t create enough waste (yet) to keep an incinerator going full time. However an underwater cable is also being built to the mainland and the national grid; this was started in 2014.
In 2012 the new Phu Quoc International Airport opened its gates to the public. Short-lived flights to Singapore and Siem Reap were soon shelved, but new international flights are planned for 2017.
All this large-scale change will inevitably affect the micro economy on the island. Small bars will undoubtedly spring up everywhere, local restaurants will increase in number and probably quality. Phu Quoc is already famous for its amazing seafood and of course locally grown pepper.
Regardless of anyone’s opinions on the relative merits or disadvantages on the future of Phu Quoc, this tiny tropical island will never be the same again. Life for the 100,000 inhabitants is about to change, irrevocably.