Phu Quoc is Vietnam's premier tropical island destination. Less than a decade ago, the island was laid back and underdeveloped frontier closer to Cambodia mainland than to Vietnam, which shared many similarities with its Cambodian counterpart Koh Rong island, that caters mostly to backpackers and offers some of Asia's best beaches. Much has changed on Phu Quoc in the last year and island is booming with hotel development and is set to become Vietnam's answer to Thailand's Phuket. The first truly international 5* star resort on the island is the fantastic JW Marriott Phu Quoc. This hotel nestled on a stunning white sand beach in the southern part of the island and designed by the one and only Bill Bensley is very likely to keep its leading position on the island for the years to come. It is not just a beach resort, but truly unique and exciting experience in its own.
02. ARRIVAL IN STYLE
From the very first moment, we could feel we have arrived at a one-of-kind hotel, as we are used to in case of the hotels designed by Bill. The grand lobby feels so airy and bright giving us the impression we just entered a dream and at any moment we could start floating in the heights of the cathedral-like roof. The reception desk decorated with the bells of all variations accentuates the old world touch present anywhere in the hotel. Instantly, we know that our dreams about the Indochina of the past will come true at this truly fantastic place.
03. LEGACY OF THE LAMARCK UNIVERSITY
JW Marriott Emerald Bay is built around the story of the Lamarck University that was abandoned and later turned into a luxury hotel. We are more than happy to take this narrative for granted at any moment during our 3-day stay. The omnipresent artefacts from the long and surely grand history of the Lamarck university, century-old books, buildings and villas named after teaching departments, stuffed animals, scientific drawings of plants and mushrooms and perfectly fitting college style uniforms for the staff all create this unique experience. "Luxury is dead" and unique experience is what the new demanding customer is looking for according to Bill Bensley and this is exactly what JW Marriott brings to Vietnam at the scale of the full-size holiday resort.
04. THE TURQUOISE SUITE
If your budget allows, stay in the bright and tastefully decorated Turquoise suite. The suite features larger than life living room, spacious balcony overlooking the bay and exceptionally beautiful and very photogenic bathroom. However, even the basic Emerald Bay view and Deluxe Emerald Bay view rooms are beautifully decorated with private balcony, high ceilings and large bathroom equipped with spacious bathtubs. I personally would not recommend the Le Jardin rooms offering private gardens, which are not very welcoming and have rather less light due to the surrounding foliage. TIP: Try to ask for rooms on the higher floors for the uninterrupted bay views.