Welcome to Salinda Resort and Spa

By: City Pass Guide

Welcome to Salinda Resort and Spa

Salinda Resort and Spa is a centrally located five-star luxury resort on Phu Quoc Island.

Salinda Resort and Spa in Phu Quoc Island is incredibly detailed. I mean, you walk around some corner and find a lamp in a style you have not seen before. The piece in itself is just beautiful, but it’s just one small discovery out of hundreds.

There is a well that looks like an overflowing ancient Greek jar; at another point you have a peaceful Zen garden; and there are even handmade clay cups at the spa that contain specially brewed ginger tea that helps your body to relax.

Salinda Clay Cups

The first impression is crucial, so when we arrived at Salinda resort on Phu Quoc Island, we immediately got welcomed by the Guest Relations Manager of Salinda.

His warm smile and friendly, casual conversation, accompanied by a glass of sweet and refreshing iced tea made us feel instantly at home.

When he saw that my colleague is Vietnamese, he switched from English to fluent, confident Vietnamese to welcome Mr. Thoai.

And he was not the only one. Actually one of the main reasons why I enjoyed my stay at Salinda Resort from the very beginning were the friendly smiles and the natural behavior of the staff members. I had conversations with many service members, and all were unobtrusive, relaxed and smiling. You soon get the feeling you’re surrounded by friends.

Salinda Villa

During the check-in formalities, which involved only our passport and ID card, but not us personally, we got a short and informative introduction to the facilities of Salinda. After just a few minutes, we were lead to the room at one of the cozy garden view villas.

You see, there are different rooms and room types at the Salinda resort on Phu Quoc island, starting with the Deluxe Hill View room up to the luxurious Suite Sea View Villa.

You can check the available rooms here.

Night at Salinda

The walk through the relaxing lounge areas of the mango garden towards the villas revealed not only carefully planned green areas and water gardens, but also a beautiful, unobtrusive light design. The thoughtfully placed light sources lit up the path and surroundings just enough to see and create a mystic ambience. The green areas are amazing. Over a hundred different plant species ensure that there are flowers blooming all throughout the year. And since I mentioned the mango garden, yes, during mango season, there are fresh mangos available, as well as bananas and other fruit that just grow on site and are used in the fruit baskets, as well as the Salinda restaurant.

I tried a sim berry one day and it was quite tasty. The white plums were not yet ripe though.

Cozy Cozy Salinda

On the way to the villa, it suddenly struck me: This is the perfect honeymoon location. It is quiet, cozy and simply beautiful. Actually, they keep the area with the villas as adult as possible, so they especially appeal to couples. On your honeymoon - or other romantic vacation to Phu Quoc Island with your partner, you should consider either a garden view or sea view villa.

The sea view villas at the five-star luxury resort are more spacious and follow an ocean theme. Lamps, mirror frames and other decorations are made of mother-of-pearl that blends modern style together with the aura of a mermaid palace.

Salinda Bathroom

The garden view villas are more grounded, woodier and cozier.

Salinda Restroom

Upon entering the room, the warm colors and the placid interior design set me at ease with the world and I suddenly missed my fiancé a lot. The villas at Salinda are really a place for couples.

Salinda Restroom

Silent, private and comfortable.
Natural materials like cotton, rattan and coconut fibres create a warm and cozy atmosphere. And it is again the tasteful lighting that pulls everything together to create an enthralling blend of traditional Asian elements and modern Western amenities.

Later I discovered that every material has been carefully selected for a reason. The sand-colored volcanic rock, that covers the buildings is from a quarry in Da Nang. It does not collect the heat from the sun, so the landscape garden stays cool and comfortable, even in the afternoon.

The Accoya wood that makes up a part of the exterior is free of chemical residues and adds to the healthy and relaxing atmosphere at Salinda Resort. The windows and spacious glass doors that let in the daylight are imports from Germany and soundproof, to grant you an undisturbed night’s sleep.

On the table we found a nice fruit basket, some of the fruits like the mango and the bananas right from the trees outside, and a hand-signed welcome note from the Guest Relations Manager.

The first and most important thing to check was of course the Wi-Fi. At the moment, the entirety of Vietnam suffered from unbearable slow internet connectivity.

Not Salinda. It was fast, as they promised. The Wi-Fi is connected with the Smart TV set, which also functions as an information center, like a list of attractions on Phu Quoc Island, information about the resort, or the menu for in-room dining.

Salinda Wines

The next thing to check was the selection of drinks and teas, and it did not fail to impress me. The fridge was well stocked with Pellegrino mineral water, soft drinks, fruit juice, coconut juice and beers. There was a selection of different tea bags, packaged and branded by Salinda. White and brown sugar, a tasteful tea pot with two cups, cashew nuts and other snacks you might desire without calling the 24-hour room service.

Many hotels and resorts in Vietnam use Lipton, and those of my readers who follow my blogs about traveling in Asia already know my opinion about Lipton and that it’s not very high. To keep it polite.

Salinda Resort and Spa uses Ahmad tea in the villas and Ronnefeldt in the excellent restaurant that is located below the villas. They also plan on upgrading the tea selection in the near future, so guests can look forward to high quality teas at the five-star luxury resort on Phu Quoc Island.

The house bar contains a selection of spirits: Jägermeister, cognac, vodka, gin, rum and two sorts of whiskey.

It was time to refresh and have a nice shower after the hustle and bustle at the airports. The bathroom contained everything one might desire. The dispensers for shampoo, bath gel, conditioner and lotion were made of ceramic and especially crafted to fit the interior. The shampoo smelled of natural lemongrass and I could finally relax.

Well, not really, it was almost nine in the evening and we haven’t had dinner yet. Since food and restaurant business is one of my great joys, I was already extremely curious what they would serve at the restaurant of Salinda resort, the five-star luxury resort and spa on Phu Quoc Island.

Two more things I need to mention here:

First, the swimming pool is awesome. They use a technology that involves salt for water treatment, which ensures that the water is clean and good for your skin. Swimming in this pool is a bliss!

Second, the souvenir shop. You will ask, what’s so special about a shop that I have to write about it? Well… All the items in Salinda’s boutique are of highest quality. You can purchase hand-crafted clay cups like the ones they use in the spa or the tea sets used in the villas. Phu Quoc Ridgeback plushies make an excellent gift for kids and the beautiful patchwork blankets are from Mekong Quilts. They even offer original artwork, painted by Nguyen Van Manh, a Vietnamese impressionist.

Complete relaxation at Salinda Spa

At the Salinda Spa, which is fortunately open to visitors from the outside and not reserved to the guests of Salinda resort only, you can find traditional and modern forms of treatment for body and soul that leave you totally relaxed and rejuvenated.

The spa is managed by Guru Spa, and when I entered the area, I was welcomed by a refreshing bouquet of scents and friendly staff.

You start relaxing as soon as you enter, and as a starter on your replenishing journey, you get a handmade clay cup filled with delicious, cold tea that releases muscle tension.

Salinda Spa

Now that’s an excellent beginning, don’t you think?

You get pampered with a blend of traditional Vietnamese and Thai philosophy. Every room is themed in its own unique way, from the steam bath that opens up your skin to absorb the natural oils and herb essences, to the traditional Thai massage room, where mattresses are placed on the polished wooden floor. There is even space for couples to enjoy the balancing atmosphere of Salinda Spa together with one of their couple packages.

Salinda Spa Treatment

The treatments at the spa include nearly everything you might know from other high-level spa experiences. Energizing deep-tissue treatments, facial care, scrubs and aromatherapy, foot reflexology and soothing herbal body wraps.

The spa rooms are simply beautiful and, like the whole Salinda resort, blends traditional Oriental elements together with the modern amenities of a five-star luxury resort.

If you are curios about Salinda Spa, check out current promotions here.

In my opinion, Salinda is the perfect location for your honeymoon. The rooms are great, but the villas are absolutely stunning. Everything is so detailed and carefully designed to relax body and mind. The restaurant, which is also open to “outsiders”, offers the most delicious picks out of the Vietnamese, Italian and Indian cuisines, and the spa is the ultimate experience of tranquility.

More about Phu Quoc Island

While you are enjoying your stay at Salinda Resort, you may also want to take a look at the beautiful Phu Quoc Island and the many attractions there.


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


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


Phu Quoc’s Hospitality Boom: The Future of Travel in Vietnam?

By: Angee the Diva

How is Phu Quoc meeting the demand for accommodation?

What kind of travellers are visiting Phu Quoc?

Are Phu Quoc’s hotels meeting the demand for high quality service?

How does Phu Quoc’s hospitality boom impact the rest of Vietnam?

All around Saigon and Vietnam, you see (and hear) the signs of change. The economy is rapidly growing and many companies are leading the way with modern buildings, innovative businesses, and international amenities.

But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. The infrastructure of Vietnam is having to work very hard to try to keep up with the rapid development. Waste disposal issues and slowly changing habits of many locals are obstacles to the success of new establishments. So how can the country adapt to growth while improving current conditions? Phu Quoc’s hospitality boom may be at the forefront of some solutions.

The Hospitality Boom in Phu QuocImage source: tripadvisor.com

Accommodation for the Masses in a Phu Quoc Paradise

Phu Quoc has changed dramatically in the last decade. Expansive resorts, scenic restaurants, and trendy bars now stand where trees and sand used to be. And there are no signs of this slowing down.

Pullman Phu Quoc Resort and Hotel is currently under construction. Premier Villas is in the works as well. Regent Residences Phu Quoc is set to become the first 6-star resort in Phu Quoc Island by 2020. Once complete, the Regent Residences will include 76 villas, 42 sky villas, and 120 hotel rooms, all exuding the highest standards of luxury and comfort.

The Hospitality Boom in Phu QuocImage source: hospitalitynet.org

The three major development investors in the area have carved out their own portions of Phu Quoc as well. CEO Group is developing the Sonasea Villa & Resort Complex in the Bai Truong area, consisting of internationally-recognized luxury hotel chains Novotel, Best Western, and Intercontinental, as well as smaller, mid-level hotels, villas, and hostels. The area is to set be a hub for leisure, amusement and eco-tourism in Phu Quoc.

Vingroup has taken over a chunk of northern Phu Quoc island through the Vinpearl Phu Quoc complex. Vingroup has built an amusement park there and the world’s second largest wildlife safari alongside premium accommodations in the hope of attracting foreign and domestic tourists.

The south of Phu Quoc is the new home of Sun Group, who opened the world’s longest cable car ride over sea in 2018 - one of our recommended best attractions in Phu Quoc. As part of the Sun World Hon Thom Nature Park, the cable car connects An Thới Town and Hòn Thơm Islet. Tourists have plenty of experiences available with nature and top-of-the-line luxury in the 1,000-room Sun Group resort and hotel complex.

The Hospitality Boom in Phu QuocImage source: vinpearl.com

With a total of 15,000 rooms rated 3-star and above, Phu Quoc has long passed the days of accommodation shortages.

Visitors to Vietnam’s Pearl Island of Phu Quoc

So who’s going to be staying in all those rooms? Airlines are getting in the game to shuttle new tourists to Phu Quoc. AirAsia now includes regular direct flights from Kuala Lumpur, which also connects the island to traffic from Europe. Regular charter flights bring visitors from China and Russia. Vietjet is planning to expand to flights direct from Seoul. Additionally, all domestic airlines have increased daily direct flights to the Pearl Island. As a result, Phu Quoc International Airport is expanding to meet the demands, aiding the process to swell the tourist population to five million annually by 2020.

To accommodate the differing nationalities of tourist, resorts have begun quite a curious trend. Resorts and hotels are catering their services around the general tastes and cultural sensitivities of their target market of guests. For instance, some resorts tailor their services around Chinese tourists, with daily buffets including traditional Chinese dishes as well as Vietnamese fusion. Well-known European brands follow luxury standards that guests from that region would naturally expect.

Still others, like Fusion Resort Phu Quoc, welcome guests from many different locales by offering unique services that can appeal to all nationalities. Fusion Resort’s “Fusionistas” are available to communicate with guests 24/7, in the guests’ language of choice, via their choice of messenger platform. Part butler, part concierge and part guide, the Fusionistas work hard to ensure that every guest, regardless of nationality, has an enjoyable stay at Fusion Resort Phu Quoc.

The Hospitality Boom in Phu QuocImage source: Fusion Resort Phu Quoc

Resorts Raising Service Standards on Phu Quoc

Transportation to get tourists to the island year round - check. Bountiful accommodations to fit a range of budgets - check. High quality staff to cater to all guests needs - well… While most foreigners living in Vietnam try to understand and accept the way things are done in Vietnam, many have been frustrated by the difference in hospitality industry standards to what they are typically used to. Particularly when on vacation, people expect a carefree and enjoyable experience. Fortunately, various hotels and resorts in Phu Quoc are leading the way here as well.

Phu Quoc has long had an issue with maintaining adequate staff to meet the demands of its visitors. There simply aren’t enough local Vietnamese living on the island that are highly qualified to serve the influx of foreign tourists in all of the luxury hotels and resorts. But the people are coming, so how is the demand for hospitality staff being met?

Several resorts are partnering with vocational colleges and schools to recruit and train workers from mainland Vietnam, as well as from Phu Quoc. The resorts provide accommodation and ongoing training to help ease the transition. Additionally, a few of the resorts take things a step further by providing above average wages, better benefits packages, and more opportunities for advancement. And their efforts are evident.

The staff at Fusion Resort Phu Quoc, for example, happily care for the guests with an unmatched standard of service, express high job satisfaction and familial relationships with management. This translates to higher retention rates than many of the other resorts on the island.

At Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc, employees are provided with a good range of insurance coverage (from social and health to personal accident), and those from outside of Phu Quoc are helped with relocation costs being covered. In addition, return tickets are offered so non-local staff can visit their families. Again, this kind of effort by a resort helps to create a higher level of employee happiness, and happy staff usually means happy guests.

The Hospitality Boom in Phu QuocImage source: Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc

Another facet of maintaining guest satisfaction is preserving the pristine nature of Phu Quoc. People go to the Pearl Island to bask in the glory of nature, but it can be easily destroyed if everyone on the island isn’t mindful of responsible preservation. To this end, over half of the island remains a protected wildlife preserve, even with growth plans for the next 20 years.

Furthermore, resorts and hotels in Phu Quoc are working, to varying degrees at the moment, to reduce waste, keep the island clean, and educate staff, the local population, and guests on sustainability practices. Perhaps one of the best examples is Mango Bay Resort. Their luxury villas have been seamlessly built into the natural landscape, they carry out great efforts to maintain the coral reef in their area, and staff are required to regularly participate in Phu Quoc clean up efforts in conjunction with local waste removal groups.

Video source: Contact BSTB

Phu Quoc Tourism is on the Right Path

In many ways, Phu Quoc feels like a sort of science experiment. Clearly, there is a demand for luxury resorts and hotels and higher standards of service in a pristine environment. And these resorts and hotels are proving that it is possible to maintain profit margins while being conscious of the sustainability of the island. Of course, there is still work to be done, but Vietnam on a whole can look to Phu Quoc as a good example of what can happen in the rest of the country.

The Hospitality Boom in Phu QuocImage source: steemitimages.com

If Vietnam is to meet its goal of being an internationally recognized “developed nation” in the next five to ten years, the country has to find the balance between proper waste management, infrastructure improvement, internationally recognized service standards AND economic development. Phu Quoc is at the forefront of positive development in Vietnam and set to be the most popular tourist destination in Vietnam. Time will tell how successful Phu Quoc will continue to be, but the future looks bright for the Pearl Island.

Banner Image source: premiervillage-phuquoc.com


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

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