Novotel Phu Quoc Resort Receives 5-star Certification

By: City Pass Guide

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 resort

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.

 Novotel Phu Quoc resort

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.


Vietnam’s Longest Lagoon Pool at Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

By: Alex Gordillo

Read all about the beach resort’s record breaking Lagoon!

At Best Western Premier Sonasea, the entire family will be happy.

Phu Quoc, the “Pearl Island” of Vietnam, is renowned for its beautiful beaches, delicious local food options, a range of natural and manmade attractions, and easy access to major cities across Asia. Phu Quoc can now also boast many top accommodation options fitting for such an in-demand tourist destination.

Lagoon Pool at Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc beach resort offers guests a complete island vacation experience for any kind of traveller - families, couples, groups of friends, and business people are all wonderfully catered for here. In addition, the resort is also home to the longest lagoon pool in Vietnam and one of the longest of its kind in Southeast Asia. The appropriately named “Sonasea” resort, which means “Sonata” or “Song of the Sea,” received Dotproperty’s nod for Best Landscape Design, demonstrating the property’s ambitious architecture and water-inspired design.

Water-inspired, Award-Winning Design in Vietnam

Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc’s remarkable design mirrors the magical allure and colorful elements that are characteristic of Southeast Asian islands. Inspired by Phu Quoc’s crystal-clear blue sea, white sand, and stretches of green coconut and casuarina trees, designers were intent in emulating nature in the resort’s architectural layout, making a beautiful mosaic of various green and blue hues. The resort’s lagoon and swimming pools resemble the sea, its roads play as the beach’s white sand, and its gardens create a protective canopy of trees.

Lagoon Pool at Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

Overlooking the vast turquoise waters of the Gulf of Thailand is a private beach of white sand that offers the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure along with gorgeous golden sunsets. And yet, it’s The Lagoon, Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc's centrepiece pool, that makes its guests marvel. The Lagoon is a destination in itself!

This lagoon-style pool flows through the resort, cascading all the way from the main building down to the beachfront and passing through a wide circular fountain as well as seven smaller landscaped circles, which mimic the archetype of Mandalas. The crystal blue lagoon waters come complete with a built-in underwater current and the whole pool measures 148 metres on each side, totaling over 300 metres in length all around. This equals over 3 Olympic-size swimming pools - more than enough to delight the resort’s guests. The Lagoon pool is truly a gorgeous way to swim, paddle, or float your way around the resort, basking in the sun or finding little pockets of cooler shade.

Lagoon Pool at Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

Perfect Phu Quoc Experiences For All The Family

Family travellers with younger guests will be delighted to bring their children to the kids pool, which is conveniently situated next to the children’s playground. Its location allows parents to easily supervise their young ones or drop them off at the Nemo Kids Club, which offers babysitting services and a full schedule of activities.

As guests continue down towards the beach, their path flanked by the soft currents of The Lagoon on either side, the Oasis Pool Bar awaits, offering the young (and young at heart) a fantastic opportunity to splash away in a tropical paradise. Measuring 4.7 x 15.9 metres, this pool is open from 06:00 - 20:00 and offers Aqua Dance and Aqua Gym workouts during sunset, four times a week.

Lagoon Pool at Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

With little doubt, Oasis Pool Bar is Best Western Sonasea Phu Quoc’s definition of cool. As part of The Lagoon and with its delightful proximity to the sea, this venue offers the perfect mix of elegance and refreshment, offering guests a laid back place to enjoy their island vacation. The allure of Oasis Pool Bar lies in the variety of experiences offered. Whether families gather for a swim while enjoying the music and beachside scenery, or couples want to spend some alone time cooling off, the ambience at Oasis is like no other. There's no need to even exit the pool for a refreshing drink - the swim-up bar takes you straight to the barman for your choice of quality beverage.

Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc takes no shortcuts when it comes to its water-inspired design, represented wonderfully by the marvelous Lagoon pool - sure to enthral first-timers and repeat-guests alike.

Image source: Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc


Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc & Sustainable Tourism

By: Alex Gordillo

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

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.

Aspiring to be the first plastic-free resort in Phu Quoc and the leading example of a Green Resort on the island, Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc’s key areas of focus are:

1) Partnership and collaboration with local and national authorities to advance eco-tourism and environmentally conscious practices and awareness in the hospitality sector

2) Economic workforce development with an emphasis on benefits for local residents

3) Reduction and management of waste as well as reduction in the usage of valuable resources while maximizing efficiency.

Top Tourist Destination Means Increased Social Responsibility

Vietnam was named “Asia’s Leading Destination” at the 2018 World Travel Awards in Hong Kong. Furthermore, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) representatives recently participated in the 39th International Tourism Fair (FITUR) in Madrid, Spain in January of 2019.

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

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).

Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

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.

Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

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

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!

Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

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.

Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

Food

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.

Electricity

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.

Water Usage

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


A Weekend in Paradise at Novotel Phu Quoc Resort

By: Jamie

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.

Novotel Phu Quoc 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.

Novotel Phu Quoc resort

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.

Seafood Sampler

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.

Champagne Breakfast

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.

Massage

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.

Contact information:

Address: Duong Bao Hamlet, Duong To Commune, Phu Quoc

Email: h9770@accor.com

Phone: +84 7 7626 0999

Website: www.novotel.com/PhuQuoc


Best Western Premier Sonasea, the Best Family Friendly Resort in Phu Quoc

By: Angee the Diva

Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc is a brand new resort fronting a beautiful stretch of beach in the Sonasea complex area. No matter what time of day, the Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc is a premier family friendly resort with a host of options for a comfortable, relaxing and fun stay on Phu Quoc Island.

Bed Time at Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

One of the most unique things about a stay at the Best Western Premier Sonasea is their “Kids Stay Free” policy. In every room, up to two children under the age of 16 can stay free of charge as long as they use the existing bedding. Additionally, the children get to enjoy a complimentary breakfast buffet each day during their stay. This special feature allows families to truly maximize the value of their vacation at this family friendly resort in Phu Quoc.

The entire range of accommodation at Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc is consistently comfortable, sleek and spacious. Featuring several classes of rooms, including suites and villas, this is an especially attractive family friendly resort. Each of the expansive and modern family suites boasts a balcony with a view of either the calming ocean or lush mountains of Phu Quoc's Western coast. Guests will enjoy a cozy night’s sleep with plush bedding in either the king or twin bed suites. All rooms are also furnished with a chaise lounge that children could comfortably use for sleeping, with extra bedding provided by the resort, if required.

Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

The two to five bedroom villas are like a home away from home. Sprawling across two floors, guests can enjoy space and privacy that isn’t available in a traditional hotel room. Each villa includes a full kitchen, relaxing living area and well-appointed bedrooms. In addition, all villas come with their own private pool for swimming anytime of the day or night. For longer stays and multi-family travel, the level of comfort in a villa is second to none.

The family suites and villas at Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc include a kitchenette with a state-of-the-art cooking hob, microwave, and mini fridge that families can use to prepare meals. With a quick call to the operator, housekeeping will gladly bring a complete set of kitchen materials for use in the room. Please note that the use of the kitchen incurs a cleaning fee, and cooking of malodorous food (durian, seafood, etc.) is prohibited to ensure the comfort of all guests.

Family Pool Time with Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

Upon walking through the double doors from the beautiful lobby, guests are dazzled by the expansive pool and glistening lagoon that traverse the length of the property. In the main pool, there is a shallow kids’ pool on the right side and a deeper pool on the left, separated by a partition. The stylish lagoon pool, which meanders down the centre of the property between the villas, is a fun and fanciful feature. Two-person floaties, giant inflatables, pool rings, and long lounge inflatables can be borrowed from the activity desk free of charge for use in any of the pools for enjoyment with all the family.

Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

Near the end of the lagoon, parents can enjoy a drink at the Oasis Pool Bar swim-up bar while the young ones splash in the shallow kids pool nearby. Guests will relish the opportunity to capture gorgeous family photos from the picturesque walkways down the midline of the pool and lagoon.

Another incredible feature of this family friendly resort in Phu Quoc is the aqua aerobics classes for adults and kids. Why not spend some time getting fit as a family in a fun way? Families can have a blast in the pools every day from 6:00am to 8:00pm.

Beach Time for All the Family at Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

The powdery sand beach fronting the Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc welcomes visitors of all ages with warm waters and calm seas. Families with even the youngest of children can relish a carefree day of fun in the ocean. This proximity to the ocean is another feature that makes this hotel a great choice for a holiday with kids in Vietnam.

To promote safety, there is a roped area for swimming, life jackets are provided for adults and children, and the floaties are available for use in the ocean as well. Please note that there is no lifeguard on duty, however in the event of an emergency, the beach attendants are available to call for help.

Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

In fact, the delightful beach attendants are available all day to provide guests with sturdy lounge chairs and shady umbrellas to keep guests cool from the tropical sun. They also are on hand to help guests enjoy all of the complimentary services on offer beachside at the Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc. If older kids are feeling a bit adventurous, they are sure to love the free use of kayaks.

Take a break from the water and enjoy a leisurely ride around the property of the spacious resort on bicycles available for use free of charge. Perhaps a fanciful photo opportunity is in order on the beach side swings. Just ask one of the accommodating staff to snap a pic or two.

Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc Offers Fun Play Time For Kids

If your children are craving more play time during your family vacation in Phu Quoc, perhaps a visit to the colourful kids’ activity room, named Nemo’s, is just what’s needed. Parents can stay in Nemo’s Kids Club with their children, or jovial attendants are on hand to keep a watchful eye on the younger guests. As an additional service, the attendants will help occupy the children for hours with a variety of games and activities suitable for toddlers to young adolescents. The delightfully bright playroom is outfitted with tot-sized tables, chairs and toddler play equipment, as well as cushy safety mats - just right for energetic youngsters. Nemo’s Kids Club is open from 8:00am to 5:00pm daily and offers the perfect place for children to enjoy a fun-packed stay in Phu Quoc.

Adjacent to the main pool is a larger outdoor play area suitable for children to socialise and a grassy area for them to run wild and free. With a play structure, mini carousel and swing set, this is a great option for kids to burn off some energy in the sunshine.

Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

Delicious Mealtimes For Kids with Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

Besides the “Kids Stay Free” buffet breakfast, children are welcomed in both restaurants for lunch and dinner as well. The restaurants at the Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc have a child-friendly menu that includes comfort foods like french fries and fried chicken, as well as healthier options. Encourage the little ones to sit at the cute kid-sized tables and parents can enjoy a quiet meal to themselves.

Parent Time at Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

A family friendly holiday in Phu Quoc isn’t complete without a little time and space away from the little ones for the parents. There are two main areas in the Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc that are strictly for adults. When parents need a bit of a break to relax, they can book one of the highly qualified babysitters, for an additional fee, to wrangle the kids for a few hours.

Perhaps some time at the spa is just what the doctor ordered. Massage away your worries and scrub away your cares in the full service spa on the property. After a few hours of relaxation, parents will be energized and ready to tackle all the chaos of parenting.

Alternatively, parents can enjoy the calming energy of the beautiful sunsets of Phu Quoc from the vantage point of the CView Rooftop Bar. The stress of the day will melt away as guests enjoy signature cocktails and light snacks in this romantic and serene spot.

Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

When travelling with a group of loved ones, a family friendly resort can make all the difference in a highly enjoyable vacation for guests with children. Whether you are an energetic family looking for a holiday filled with activities, or parents wanting to destress while the children are happily occupied, a stay at the Best Western Premier Sonasea is a fantastic family friendly resort in Phu Quoc well worth considering.

Image source: Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc - by Mervin Lee


The New Phu Quoc

By: City Pass Guide

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.

Phu Quoc International Airport - Source

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.

IS THERE A STORY OR TIP

YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US?

GET IN TOUCH