New Cluster General Manager for Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort

By: City Pass Guide

As of January 10, 2019, AccorHotels have appointed Mr. Axel Harmand as Cluster General Manager for two new resorts in the south of Phu Quoc, Vietnam, invested in by the Sun Group. The resorts - Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort and Premier Residences Phu Quoc Emerald Bay - have also appointed two new Executive Managers.

Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort

Before returning to Vietnam to take this position, Mr. Axel Harmand gained extensive experience in the hospitality industry within countries such as China (Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) and Laos (Vientiane). During that time, he worked at many famous hotels brands such as Hilton, Marco Polo, Sofitel, Sheraton, Langham and most recently the Kempinski Hotel.

Mr. Harmand’s career journey has been extremely diverse with nearly 40 years of outstanding experience. In 1985, his starting point was as an intern for a 3-star Michelin restaurant in France. Later, he became the Executive Chef for a 1-star Michelin Restaurant after experiencing work environments at more than eight other Michelin-quality establishments, before continuing his career path as Party Manager at the 5-star Novotel Peace Beijing Hotel. The next stage of his career path was also varied, with management positions including Deputy General Manager, Business Development Director and General Manager. As a result, he has a deep knowledge of a wide range of hospitality markets and professional international hotel management fundamentals.

Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort

Born in France, Mr. Harmand’s management experience in many countries around the world means that, in addition to a high level of English, he can speak other languages such as Spanish, German, Chinese, Laotian and Malay, to varying degrees of proficiency.

During his first time on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island, Mr. Harmand shared: “Vietnam is not only an attractive destination for me as a tourist but also a fascinating challenge from a hotel management perspective. I am confident that Phu Quoc, with its fantastic potential, will give visitors an exciting and refreshing experience.”

Mr. Harmand officially took over the position of General Manager for two stunning new resorts: Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort with 217 luxurious private pool villas at Mui Ong Doi and Premier Residences Phu Quoc Emerald Bay with 745 modern condotels at Khem Beach. Both resorts recently opened in 2018 and are already widely known and highly regarded as being among the top accommodation choices in Phu Quoc. Along with the new General Manager, the resorts have also appointed two other executive managers: Mr. Daniel-Brian Smith – Resort Manager of Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort and Mr. Karim Meziane – Executive Assistant Manager of Premier Residences Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort.

Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort

In 2019, with the appointment of the new General Manager and two executive managers, both resorts promise to offer even more interesting programs to help tourists explore the beauty and tranquility of southern Phu Quoc. The opening theme for 2019 will be “A Rendez-Vous Amidst Nature” for Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort, and “Phu Quoc It Your Way” for Premier Residences Phu Quoc Emerald Bay.

Image source: Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort


Travelling from Hanoi to Phu Quoc

By: Laura Hill

Getting to Phu Quoc from Hanoi is fast and convenient by air.

Explore cheap and easy land transportation to Phu Quoc.

By air, land, or sea, Phu Quoc is easily accessible from Saigon.

Steeped in history and filled with the sights and sounds of Vietnam’s rich heritage, Hanoi is a fabulous city to explore. Showing the influence of foreign rulers of the past, the narrow streets of the old quarter, and attractions across the city, will provide ample opportunity to create memorable moments as you sample the cuisine, culture and local lifestyle of the city.

However, after a journey focused on exploration, and surviving the chaos of the busy streets, you may feel that it is time to put your mind into the mood for relaxation. There is perhaps no better way to do so than to treat yourself to some time on the beach, enjoying the sumptuous surroundings of La Veranda Boutique Beach Resort, Phu Quoc where you can continue to sample Vietnamese heritage in the charming beauty of Madame Catherine’s French colonial mansion.

With 1754 kilometres to navigate between Vietnam’s capital city and Phu Quoc Island there are a number of different options that you can take to get to La Veranda Resort.

Travelling to Phu Quoc

Flying to Phu Quoc Island from Hanoi

Of course, the fastest and most convenient way to travel to Phu Quoc is to fly. Noi Bai Airport services the capital and is the largest airport in Vietnam. Home to Vietnam Airlines, the national flag carrier, and also a hub of Vietjet Air and Jetstar Pacific, there are a number of flights available each day. Flight times to Phu Quoc from Hanoi are around 2 hours 10 minutes, so you are never too far from a delicious meal at the award-winning Peppertree restaurant or a rejuvenating spa treatment in the luxurious TĨNH Wellness Sanctuary at La Veranda Resort MGallery Collection by Sofitel.

Getting from Hanoi city centre to Noi Bai Airport is simple. Taxis are readily available and the transfer from the city centre takes around 30 minutes. Make sure that you get a taxi with a meter and expect to pay between 320,000VND to 350,000VND ($13 - $15). Travel agents in the city will also assist you with making transfers to the airport and many hotels provide shuttle services for an additional charge. Local buses are the cheapest option at 5,000 VND per person but you should expect a transfer time of around one hour when taking either the number 7 or number 17 bus from the city centre.

Travelling to Phu Quoc

When you arrive at Phu Quoc International Airport, why not start your escape as soon as possible by arranging an airport transfer with La Veranda staff? You will be transferred from the airport directly to the resort in La Veranda’s comfortable shuttle. You may not even notice the short journey of approximately 20 minutes go by as you refresh yourself with cold towels and bottles of water provided by La Veranda. Taxi transfers to La Veranda are also available.

Travelling Overland Between Hanoi and Phu Quoc Island

If you have more time to spare or are looking to experience more of Vietnam as you make your way to La Veranda Resort and Spa then you may wish to consider a different option.

The North - South Railway, also referred to as the Reunification Line, covers 1,600km and links Hanoi in the North of Vietnam with Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon) in the South. Constructed in the 1880s, during the era of French colonialism, the line also passes through Hue, Da Nang and Nha Trang before arriving in Saigon. This extended journey allows for many opportunities to sample more of this incredible country. Expect a journey time of around 31 hours, if you choose to take the train directly from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. However, if you desire to make a few stops along the way the only limit is how much time you have to spend.

Modern-day train travel may not always mirror the classical elegance of the days of steam engines and polished wood interiors, but the sense of excitement and romance still prevails. Departing from Hanoi’s train station will stir images of vintage leather cases and pressed linen travel suits; an exotic adventure through the tropics just hours away.

Travelling to Phu Quoc

Comfort levels have improved in recent years, and for longer journeys, VIP sleeper berths are available on some trains. Providing premium levels of service on board, these cars not only provide comfort for passengers with soft sleeping berths and air conditioning, but additional extras such as bespoke bedding and complimentary snacks.

Alternative classes of tickets are available, but during peak times bookings should be made in advance to avoid disappointment. Visit baolau.com for full details.

From Saigon to Phu Quoc - By Air, Land or Sea

After travelling the length of the country by train and arriving in Saigon you can opt to take a flight to Phu Quoc or continue your journey over land and sea.

If you choose to fly from Tan Son Nhat airport, flights depart throughout the day and will whisk you to Phu Quoc and a world of luxury at La Veranda Resort in just over an hour.

If you opt to take the overland route from Saigon you will need to make your way to either Ha Tien or Rach Gia, where you can then take the ‘fast’ ferry to the island.

Travelling to Phu Quoc

The ferry transfer connects the mainland to Bai Vong on the east coast of Phu Quoc and takes approximately 1.5 hours (Ha Tien) or 2.5 hours (Rach Gia). Popular travel operator Superdong charges 360,000VND from Rach Gia and 230,000VND from Ha Tien for a one-way ticket. From Bai Vong, La Veranda Resort and Spa is just 20 minutes away and your journey through the Land of the Blue Dragon will reach its conclusion.

However you choose to reach La Veranda Boutique Beach Resort, a tranquil and luxurious retreat awaits. Whether you desire a walk in the organic garden, a swim in the saltwater pool or simply to enjoy the views from your private beach villa or superior room, you will not only have time to indulge in the experience of creating memorable moments, but also to reflect upon those that you’ve made along the way.

Image source: La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc


Phu Quoc: Toward a Plastic Waste-Free Island

By: WWF-Viet Nam

Long celebrated as the “Pearl Island” of Vietnam, 
Phu Quoc in recent years faces a severe crisis: WASTE!

THE SITUATION

As 200 tons of waste is produced daily, the largest island in Vietnam finds itself inundated with overwhelming waste, especially plastic waste, and the consequences are overtly visible. 

Visit any public beach that is not managed by a private resort, one can easily spot patches of plastic bags floating among the waves, remnants of styrofoam boxes, and plastic containers beached in the sand. Stand on Nguyen Trung Truc Bridge overlooking the Duong Dong River below, one can observe a stream of assorted waste dumped by locals, waste that will follow the river current heading out to sea. Driving to the north-west of the island one has to pass the infamous open landfill dump right by the road, this has unfortunately grown into a small hill and is now covered by a temporary fence to hide it from obvious view.

Plastic Waste-Free Phu Quoc IslandA landfill on Phu Quoc island © WWF Vietnam / Duong Quoc Binh

This waste situation is not only impacting the tourism business on the island but also damaging precious native marine ecosystems, including the local seagrass beds, which are essential habitat for blue swimmer crabs - a valuable main source of income for many fishermen communities on the island.

LOOKING FORWARD

To help protect the native environment and address plastic waste issues, WWF-Viet Nam began the Phu Quoc - Toward a plastic waste-free island project. Sponsored by USAID and implemented by WWF-Viet Nam, this project is working with many different stakeholders such as the local government, schools, local communities and businesses who are expected to cooperate with each other within a public-private partnership platform to reduce single-use plastic, and move towards a plastic waste-free island.

Plastic Waste-Free Phu Quoc IslandA plastic waste polluted beach on Phu Quoc island © WWF Vietnam / Duong Quoc Binh

In engaging with the local government, the project is working with the District’s People Committee to commit the whole island to reduce single-use plastic. Over 60 teachers and school representatives from more than 30 schools have attended a two-day training on plastic waste and have begun adopting plastic-reducing practices into their schools’ policies. Two villages adjacent to the seagrass beds - Da Chong in Bai Thom commune and Bai Bon in Ham Ninh commune - are setting up a better waste management system where plastic waste is separated and better collected, reducing the chances of discharging waste directly into the ocean.

With technical support from WWF-Viet Nam, participating businesses are exploring ways to reduce single-use plastic in their daily operations. Effective practices like removing plastic straws, using refillable dispensers for shampoo, replacing plastic packaging, using glass bottles, separating waste etc. are being implemented by many businesses. WWF-Viet Nam hopes to facilitate a group of businesses committed to reduce single-use plastic products, in which members can advise one another and inspire interested businesses to join. WWF-Viet Nam will also connect this group to the local government, further advocating for collaboration among different stakeholders to tackle the plastic waste issue together.

Plastic Waste-Free Phu Quoc IslandOpen dumpsite leaking waste into the environment of Phu Quoc island, Viet Nam. © WWF-Viet Nam

IN CONCLUSION

At the end of November 2019, 37 businesses in Phu Quoc had officially agreed to participate in the project. With the support from Visit Phu Quoc (visitphuquoc.info), WWF-Viet Nam hopes to map out these businesses, so that any tourist who wants to help the plastic-reducing cause can support these businesses and spread the word. 

Please help our beautiful island, minimize your footprint by at least saying no to single-use plastic!
For more information or if you would like to get involved, please contact Ms. Quynh at quynh.nguyenmy@wwf.org.vn

Banner Image source: WWF-Viet Nam

IS THERE A STORY OR TIP

YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US?

GET IN TOUCH