[this post includes a video - scroll right down for it!]
This post is about the most elaborate and fantastical hotel I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying: JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa.
Earlier this year, I managed to drag Ricardo along to South-East Asia with me. For a full six weeks! We did a whirlwind tour through Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam (and Malaysia of course but that's not counted since it's home).
While in Vietnam were lucky enough to spend a few days at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc, which seems to be the most impressive Marriott hotel I know of to date!
ARRIVING AT THE RESORT
Phu Quoc island was only a 50-minute flight away from Ho Chi Minh City, which I really couldn't wait to leave since it was so full of unnecessary noise. We flew Vietjet for under $70 each, return.
I was so excited to be on what I imagined would be a serene, noiseless island that I honestly cannot remember any details about the flight. Though it could also be frequent flyer problems.
At Phu Quoc International Airport, we were greeted by staff specially sent from the hotel to collect us. We were offered some snacks and bottles of cold water during the ride, which took barely 20 minutes.
Nevermind that our car entered the hotel grounds via a road that was flanked by a GIANT gold dog on each side, Egyptian style..
When we entered the lobby MY JAW DROPPED. I really didn’t know where to look first.
WHAT WAS THE WELCOME DRINK?
I wanted to take photos of every wall, every corner, and every piece of beautifully designed furniture that seemed to have been created or custom-made for the place.
I was so distracted that I found it hard to pay any attention to our host or notice what the welcome drink was. Did I even drink it?
THE PINK PEARL
Simply being in that room made me feel glamorous (even though I was dressed for a stroll on the beach).
Ricardo and I had dinner at The Pink Pearl one evening and it was a real treat. The resident chef is rotated every two or three months. At the time we went, the type of cuisine being served was Thai - as they had invited a chef from... somewhere in Thailand (haha).
Being there when the whole place was lit up with all those fancy lights made it a magical meal - not to mention the food was delicious.
WHERE WE STAYED | THE TURQUOISE SUITE
The Turquoise Suite is the largest suite on the property; ours was 90 square metres in size. That's bigger than our 1-bedroom apartment at home.
What I loved most were the twin showers - I'd always rejected Ricardo's attempts to shower together because I hate when it's not my turn under the shower (I get cold easily). But with this setup we could get clean together AND have a conversation whilst doing so!
LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS!
IT IS A BEAUTIFUL ROOM WITH BEAUTIFUL THINGS!
The Turquoise Suite is located in the Department of Botany, hence the plant pictures and old seed packets.
There were so many places to plant my butt that we were simply spoilt for choice. I don't think we managed to sit on all the things that were sittable things. The ratio of available butts to available sittable things was 2 : too many!
The suite comes with a huge balcony overlooking the pool and beach (Emerald Bay). Really, this is the room to get if you're visiting and want to give yourself a grand treat for a special occasion or because why not.
SCHOOL OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES
The School of Professional Studies was so much fun! It essentially contains the meeting/conference rooms of the hotel and other spaces you can lounge around in.
It was like someone's gigantic living room with lots of compartments.
We particularly enjoyed the blue room above because it seemed to have the strongest air-conditioning..
This place is truly a visual paradise!
Everywhere we looked - it looked good. It was clear to see that no detail was spared in the process of bringing to life Bill Bensley's colourful imagination.
Oh yeah, this place cost almost $250 million to build 😎
The Chanterelle Spa was easily the most beautiful spa I had ever seen.
It had a mushroom theme ('chanterelle' is the name of a type of mushroom) tied in with some elements of Alice in Wonderland.
I think this was just a clever and politically correct way to fuse magic and mushrooms into the narrative of the spa 😆
This includes picture frames that aren't straight or aligned with each other, and a hallway with arches of different sizes and heights.
I LOVED ALL THE ROOMS here. Even if you're not getting a spa treatment, it's worth coming by just for a tour of the facilities. Every room is stunning.
HOI AN LANTERN MAKING
When you enrol at Lamarck University (a.k.a. check in to the hotel), you'll be given the timetable of student activities for the week which you can sign up for.
I thought it was a really fun idea; it reminded me of being at Club Med when I was a kid.
You could visit the Fish Sauce Factory nearby (did you know that Phu Quoc Island is famous for producing fish sauce?), or cycle to the local bee farm.
On-site activities include surf yoga, Vietnamese classes, towel sculpture, t-shirt painting, and.. beer yoga.
We took part in the Hoi An lantern making class. It took some patience and good fine motor skills, but I loved the finished product. I gave my lantern to my mother - it'd been a while since I gave her a handmade-by-me gift!
THE DEPARTMENT OF CHEMISTRY
If you haven't already guessed, The Department of Chemistry refers to the bar. It also has a pink colour theme, and is located next to the Pink Pearl and also the beach.
At the bar, you're able to request a unique cocktail that will be mixed according to your preferences, or not - depending on how much you like surprises..!
Bite-sized or tapas style food is served here.
WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE?
I don't usually have high expectations, or any expectations, about eating at hotels, but the JW Marriott Phu Quoc really outdid itself in terms of the variety as well the quality of the food offered.
Let me just point out that there are five dining options at the resort. FIVE!
Ok maybe four-and-a-half since the bar/Dept of Chemistry only serves small plates.
Tempus Fugit restaurant is the main dining area, where the daily buffet breakfast is served. It was a dream to be able to have Vietnamese pho and banh mi (amongst a number of other savoury asian things) in the morning instead of what is the bane of my breakfast life: 'continental breakfast'.
Red Rum is a seafood restaurant on the beach - this was my least favourite, though we got the chance to eat GIANT CLAMS there!
French & Co is cafe style eatery that I remember for their AMAZING smoothies. I still fantasise about the green tea & coconut smoothie. And the blueberry ginger smoothie.
Then there's the Pink Pearl of course.
I'm not ashamed to say that WE ATE ALL OUR MEALS AT THE RESORT during our three-night stay. They have good food! You will be well fed.
JW MARRIOTT PHU QUOC: FINAL TIPS
- If you can only swim in one pool (there are three!), make it the Shell Pool.
- Definitely try the blueberry or green tea smoothie at French & Co.
- Rent a stand-up-paddle board or body board for free at the beach.
- Have dinner at Pink Pearl Restaurant. Go upstairs to have a peek at their private dining rooms if possible!
- Ask for a tour of the Chanterelle Spa if you're not getting a treatment.
- If you can manage it, stay in the Turquoise Suite! Otherwise, I can safely say that every other room is also a delight.
- I would recommend staying for at least three nights. I wish we could've stayed longer!
The resort is so huge that it'll take quite some time to explore. This is something you'll want to do as everything is so beautifully made, and with little quirks to be found if you look hard enough. You'll want to be able to experience at least some of the activities available; and time to enjoy all the immaculately designed rooms/areas of the resort.
WATCH OUR VIDEO!
To get a much better feel of the resort, I recommend watching this fun video we put together 🙂
This post was created in collaboration with JW Marriot Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa.