The Rise of CSR in Phu Quoc’s Hospitality Industry

By: Angee the Diva & Stuart Miller

An example of a beautiful resort in Phu Quoc helping to preserve the island’s natural surroundings

How can the community get involved to help sustainability in Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc’s best resorts are helping to reduce plastic and use sustainable materials

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.

Phu Quoc’s Hospitality IndustryImage 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.

Phu Quoc’s Hospitality IndustryImage 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.

Phu Quoc’s Hospitality IndustryImage 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.

Phu Quoc’s Hospitality IndustryImage 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.

Phu Quoc’s Hospitality IndustryImage 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.

Phu Quoc’s Hospitality IndustryImage 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.

Banner Image source: Mervin Lee


A Postcard of Perfection from Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island

By: Molly Headley

The entrance to Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island hints at the luxury to be found within: soaring ceilings combine with soul-soothing Asian design, spectacular ocean views and world-class cuisine.

As our bags are whisked away by the friendly staff we are led to the High Note Bar and Lounge where the welcome drink awaits: four small glasses placed in harmony on a wooden tray. We’re told that the colours and the flavours of the cold teas (leaf green matcha, red hibiscus, cloudy ginger and yellow lemongrass) represent the four elements of earth, wind, fire and water. This is the first hint of the zen retreat that Salinda has in store for us during our stay.

It’s the Little Extras that Make Life Sweet at Salinda Resort

Our Premium Deluxe room opens up to a panoramic ocean view that we can enjoy from our private balcony. But, to be honest, the thing I want to do most is to kick off my shoes and fall backwards into the massive king bed that is dressed with luxe bedding and down pillows. The bed is large enough to fit two adults and two small children while maintaining sufficient space to avoid elbow and knee bumps in the night.

salinda resort phu quoc

My children jump on the small tray of treats that has been left for us by room service. A card accompanying the sweets explains that they relate to the three cuisine types available at the resort. Carrot Halva, a confection made from sesame seeds and sugar, is inspired by Namaste Indian restaurant, the Salinda resort’s top fine-dining choice. Italian biscotti comes from Casa Italiana restaurant, where the Italian frescos on the walls and moody lighting evoke a vacation in Palermo rather than Phu Quoc. Finally, the passion fruit gelees and Simberry filled truffles (a rose myrtle speciality from the island) from Salinda Restaurant, centre our world-travelling palates back in Vietnam. Two coffees made with our in-room Nespresso machine complete the mini-snack perfectly.

Culinary Pleasures at Salinda Resort and Spa Phu Quoc Island

Days here are meant to be passed in the pursuit of pleasure. Thirty minutes after arriving, we’re already in our swimming suits and lounging by the pool. The 420 metres of water blend seamlessly into the environment replete with palm trees and ocean breezes. The children jump into the shallow kid’s pool while friendly staff hurry over to place fluffy towels on our sun loungers. The water itself is an experience to remember. Filtered by salt and activated carbon rather than harsh chemicals, the water feels calming to the skin and contributes to the sense of utter relaxation we’d experienced since arriving.

salinda resort phu quoc

A private golden beach is within view, but, before any sand castle competitions begin, we decide to take advantage of the “lounge-service” option. We raise the small flag attached to the table next to our sun-loungers and a waiter hurries over. Coconut milkshakes and club sandwiches are ordered for delivery from Cyan by the Pool beach bar and restaurant as we lean back, pop our sunglasses down onto our noses and get serious about relaxation.

Fine Dining at Salinda Resort

Swim-satisfied and sun-satiated, we struggle to choose between the three world-class restaurants for dinner. Salinda Restaurant creates a magical atmosphere with its stunning display of Hoi An lanterns that mimic the glow of the setting sun. The restaurant has a selection of Vietnamese favourites, and grilled meats and seafood. A live band keeps the mood light-hearted.

Next door al fresco seating on the terrace of Namaste India restaurant is set with candles and jewel-toned linens. This is Salinda Resort’s finest dining option with Chef Liladhar taking guests on an epicurean journey into India’s spice markets and regional delicacies.

Both options look appealing but we’re finally wooed by the pizza and pasta options at Casa Italiana. The restaurant seems to come straight out of old Italy with its Roman frescos on the walls and Tuscan colour scheme.

salinda resort phu quoc

After filling our stomachs with perfectly cooked four-cheese pizzas and a few glasses of Chianti, we return to our room where our children are overjoyed to find two little stuffed animals in the shape of the island’s signature breed of dog: the Phu Quoc Ridgeback. They fall asleep cuddling the puppies and we count the day as time well lived.

What Very Well Might Be the Best Breakfast on Phu Quoc Island

In the morning, we’re ready to experience the Salinda breakfast. If you’re anything like us, breakfast can make or break a vacation. Nothing gets the day started off wrong than an unappetising selection of cold cuts, unripe fruits and boiled coffee.

Luckily, Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island has taken it upon themselves to utterly wow us.

Chilled glasses of sparkling wine are offered as we enter the breakfast room at Salinda Restaurant. It’s 8 am but we decide “Why not?” It’s vacation after all!

The children are brought babycinos, which are the kid-friendly version of a cappuccino made with chocolate and topped with fluffy foam. “This place has it all”, says our oldest son. The youngest already has a milk moustache from his face-first dive into his chocolate milk.

The breakfast is stocked with everything you might imagine that you would like to eat, while not being excessive. Rather than creating a mile-long buffet of OK options, Salinda showcases an impressive selection of dishes made with love and expertise. Some standouts include made-to-order crepes, pancakes and waffles with homemade jams, maple syrup or honey that drips right off the honeycomb. There is creamy bread and butter pudding and a tower of muffins of all flavours as well as freshly pressed juices for a healthy start to the day.

salinda resort phu quoc

Asian options, such as freshly prepared sushi, made-to-order pho and fried rice are available as well as salads, cheeses and a selection of freshly sliced hams. Eggs can be prepared in any style and brought directly to the table.

Whether you hail from Asia, America, France, Scandinavia or anywhere on Earth, you will find something to satisfy your breakfast cravings, and all will be right with your world.

I drop my kids at the complimentary Kid’s Club after breakfast so that I can try out the resort’s signature “Pearl Massage”. While the little ones create sand art masterpieces with onsite nannies, I head through the Mango Garden to the lush spa, which is decked out in warm wood and Thai decor. Treatments are created to harmonise the body with the wellness secrets of Thai healers.

I’m told that the pearl massage is ideal for my “water element”, but what matters most to me is that the therapist works out all the tension in my muscles, while the pearl oil makes my skin feel soft and radiant.

This is island life at its most magical.

Some of Phu Quoc’s Finest Eco Initiatives

Salinda has been bestowed an impressive amount of awards for everything ranging from “Best Luxury Boutique Resort” (2018 World Luxury Hotel Awards) to “Top 5 Luxury Hotel in Vietnam” (TripAdvisor) to winner of “Southeast Asia’s Best Relaxation Retreat” (2018 Boutique Hotel Awards), and we can see why. Every detail is taken into account by the competent staff. Things that have frustrated us at other resorts, like an overuse of plastic and overpriced water, are gently taken care of without a lot of fanfare at Salinda.

We’re impressed by the eco-friendly initiatives that seem to be perfectly built into the zen beach garden concept of the resort. Room amenities are contained in recycled bags, while the lemongrass and mint soap and shampoo are presented in sleek lacquer containers that can be refilled. All paper products in the room have been replaced with on-screen menus or recycled paper options. Even small items that we forget are contributing to the plastic problem have been redesigned, such as complimentary pens that are made out of recycled cardboard and contain a seed in the cap that can be planted when we return back home. Combs and razors are carved out of wood rather than plastic. In addition, the grounds are treated for mosquitoes with a herbal fumigation system rather than the typical harsh chemicals.

One of our favourite eco-additions is that we can order a carafe of purified water, beautified and flavoured with slices of citrus and mint, anywhere in the resort. Acqua Panna glass bottles are also available for those who prefer, but we appreciate this low-tech perk.

Our Experience at Salinda Resort on Phu Quoc Island

Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island is filled with luxurious touches that make our stay a true 5-star experience. The resort impresses right from the start with its combination of spacious design and its boutique spirit. Perhaps because of the elevated ceilings and extensive gardens, Salinda Resort feels much bigger than the sum of its 121 luxury rooms, suites and villas. The resort is nestled in lush gardens that run all the way to the beachfront, where we’re treated to nightly sunsets.

salinda resort phu quoc

Special extras delight our youngest travellers, and every parent knows that happy children equals happy parents. The outstanding hospitality and prime sunny location of this five-star boutique resort are just what was needed for this family of Saigon-weary travellers.

Image source: Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island


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


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


Fusion Resort Phu Quoc: A Luxury Wellness Island Getaway

By: Angee the Diva

Private villas that maximize guest comfort.

Enjoy nutritionally balanced meals made with quality produce.

Take your vacation to the next level in ways that only a ‘personal touch just for you’ can manage.

The Deal of The Summer

Ready to celebrate summer in luxury and style? Fusion Resort Phu Quoc is offering a stellar ‘Summer Getaway’ package. Until October 2019, guests can take advantage of all that Fusion Resort has to offer on Phu Quoc Island in one all inclusive package. The package includes accommodation in a Garden Pool Villa, one set lunch per stay for 2 at Pezcá, and one spa treatment per night per adult. All of the Fusion Resort Phu Quoc signature services and amenities are also included, like breakfast anywhere, anytime, access to your personal Fusionista, and free choice of the resort’s extensive recreational amenities. 

Fusion Resort Phu Quoc

Priced at only VND5,500,000/night, this is an excellent opportunity to experience the best summer holiday destination ever!

When you want to rest and recharge in the lap of luxury, Fusion Resort Phu Quoc is available to take care of your every need. 

Spacious Minimalism Meets Ultimate Luxury

As you arrive within the gates of Fusion Resort Phu Quoc on the northwestern coast of the island, get ready to throw all of your cares away. The pinnacle of relaxation, wellness, and top-notch service, allow the calming vibes of the island to envelope you while being greeted by the warm and attentive staff. 

The resort’s contemporary and spacious villas feature minimalist furnishings and open-plan living spaces, creatively designed to give you that home away from home feeling. Each private villa is designed to seamlessly marry their indoor and outdoor living spaces, maximizing guest comfort. With your own private pool and the dazzling beach at your doorstep, relaxation and reprieve from the afternoon sun is only steps away.

Fusion Resort Phu Quoc

Delectable Cuisine, Catered to You 

Dining options abound at Fusion Resort Phu Quoc. Pezcá offer meals that are nutritionally balanced with an emphasis on healthy cooking styles and quality produce, served with an unobstructed ocean view. Enjoy breakfast or dinner at Secret Garden, located in the heart of the resort. Relax poolside day or night with a cocktail from Soul Kitchen, or sink your toes in the sand with a fresh juice or an ice cold beer at Beach Bar. Custom dining options are also available, such as in-villa dining, romantic beach dinners for two, and Fusion Resort’s exclusive ‘breakfast anywhere, anytime’ concept.

Fusion Resort Phu Quoc

Custom Service on Demand

Fusion Resorts offer unmatched customer service! Want to schedule your spa treatments, tai chi or yoga classes? Want to know the must-visit local attractions for sightseeing? Planning a romantic beachside sunset dinner for two? Simply message your personal Fusionista via your preferred smartphone messaging app and let them take care of your every need. 

Fusion Resort Phu Quoc

Warmer than a butler and more creative than a concierge, Fusionistas are your personal guest relationship specialist, there to unlock the very best this wellness destination has to offer. The living embodiment of the Fusion ‘experience’, Fusionistas speak several languages, including English, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Italian and more, and are leading a hospitality revolution, taking your vacation to the next level in ways that only a ‘personal touch just for you’ can manage.

Fusion Resort Phu Quoc

Image source: Fusion Resort Phu Quoc


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

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