JW Marriott Phu Quoc : indulge in tropicool sophistication
Story & environment
For its mix of authentic and touching citizens, breathtaking natural beauty, delicious fresh food and overall uplifting atmosphere (partly due to its 8% GDP growth), Vietnam has possibly grown to become our single most favorite destination in the world.
Needless to say that after experiencing the fabulous, award-winning Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula in May 2016, we were more than excited to experience the brand new JW Marriott Phu Quoc, which shares the same owner and designer. And let’s say it upfront : yes this new destination manages to rival its Danang sister property, and may even manage to surpass it…
Isolated on the southern tip of Phu Quoc, a vast isolated island west of Vietnam (and actually much closer to Cambodia), JW Marriott Phu Quoc benefits from an ideal setting « off the beaten track » on this fastly-developing island (which just got a new international airport with direct flights to Europe…). Spread over a long strip of coastal paradise, the resort’s various and numerous buildings, although colorful, blend nicely within the local environment.
Visually, JW Marriott Phu Quoc is an absolutely unique place, a designer’s accomplished dream of realising an absolute « concept hotel » with a story behind it. This concept is developed over the historic presence of a university called Lamarck, built in 1880 and active until 1940, where war came along. Leveraging this history, the resort plays with the codes of a vast university campus. Each building’s different style echoes a nature-focused academic course : science, history of arts, astronomy, agriculture,… with a particularly attention to the details.
The three large pools and the clean beachfront will more than satisfy the hungriest water-goers. But for those that don’t crave sunbathing all day-long, JW will keep you more than busy with full-day schedules of free activities, including yoga, bike tours of local attractions, paddle, kayaking & diving, cooking classes,…
The resort comprises 250 rooms, ranging from 50 m2 king bed rooms to large private villas. Our king bed room, nestled within the « agriculture » building, had a with balcony overlooking the bay, which is a particularly enjoyable place to rest after a full day of activities. The room itself is well appointed and has all the usual modern necessities. Our highlights would go for the outstanding bedding and the fully open marble shower in the bathroom.
As an improvement area, we did not find the clothing cupboard so practical to use compared to the rest, although it was a very nice piece of furniture.
Food & Drinks
In the emerging Phu Quoc island, where food options are still pretty limited outside hotels and resorts, you will here be walking into a feast paradise. Under the supervision of Japanese and french-trained chef Satoru Takeuchi, the resort lays out an impressive offer of great, fresh and generous food options :
- Department Of Chemistry Bar : sophisticated cocktails and 6pm not-to-be-missed happy hours in a crazy professor’s laboratory setting overlooking sunsets
- Tempus Fugit : French and Vietnamese gastronomy in an impressive restaurant. Also where the breakfast action takes place, for a maze of ’round the world options which only pictures can really describe
- Red Rum : fresh seafood grilled and enjoyed by the sea. Our favorite spot for dinner
- French & Co : a franco-american coffeeshop with generous, hard-to-resist pastries
While we’re obviously pretty demanding on the food side, we were really impressed with the diversity, freshness and sophistication of the gastronomy across the resort, which is also well able to accommodate vegetarian guests. Strolling around the resort, chances are you will often run into chef Satoru Takeuchi, which is always there to make sure guests are enjoying themselves : make sure you have a chat with this great fellow !
The Chanterelle Spa is built around the study of mushrooms, probably because the treatments there may have psychedelic effects on you ! From the staff’s warm welcome smiles and the customised suggestions to the tender yet firm massages, the spa delivers an outstanding all-around experience which will leave you in a state of well-being and full relaxation.
As gym-goers, we would also like to mention the well appointed Department of Physical Education, which boasts a high-end mix of equipment to work out with.
To conclude, JW Marriott Phu Quoc is the successful accomplishment of Bensley’s touch applied in idyllic remote island setting. The mix of history-filled concept, impressive attention to details, outstanding food & beverages, paradisiac pools and above all, warm and friendly staff all make this rather expensive destination way worth the investment. And you can trust designer Bensley when he says : « Out of 200 hotels designed in 30+ countries, this may be our best success ! ».