For those wanting to combine a thirst for adventure with a desire for luxury, you can’t go far wrong with the Regent Phu Quoc.
Situated off the tourist trail on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc island, this new resort is the Regent brand’s flagship property and knows it: this place is staffed to the brim, immaculately trendy and with acres of sunlit daybeds simply begging to be used. In other words, paradise.
Phu Quoc is perhaps Vietnam’s best kept secret: a tiny, secluded island far to the west, just off the Thai coastline. With resplendent white-sand beaches, miles of blue ocean and a tropical climate to die for, Phu Quoc is a tourist destination on the up.
Though the entire place is slowly being devoured by high-rise hotel developments, they don’t come much nicer – or more luxurious – than the Regent Phu Quoc.
Situated on the southern tip of island’s dreamy west coast (and fully open to the public since April this year), the Regent is pure wish fulfilment at the highest level, boasting multiple restaurants, stellar staff and gorgeous views. Everything needed, in other words, for a long relaxing break.
Every square metre of this place screams relaxation. It’s minimalist in the extreme, designed to blend into the natural landscape: think artfully tended pools of water frothing with koi fish, black stone walkways and glass walls giving out onto jungle and ocean. At the ocean-side itself, hammocks and daybeds perch just by the sea, inviting you to drop in and spend a few hours.
The stand-alone villas are low-rise and discreet, there’s greenery everywhere and calming music plays as you walk down the shaded pathway to the hotel’s restaurant area. Breathe in and feel your blood pressure drop.
Food & drink
The Regent boasts three restaurants that span the gamut between Mediterranean and Vietnamese.
Top of the list is Rice Market: the main one of the bunch, which offers a breakfast that truly has to be seen to be believed. Picture whole rooms dedicated to baking, cold cheeses and meats; there are fruits galore, gallons of coffee and even a station to try traditional Vietnamese pho (noodle soup); basically, it’s the adult’s version of a sweet shop.
For lunch and dinner, it offers up Chinese-Vietnamese fusion food including Wagyu beef salad (ridiculously melt-in-the-mouth), fried rices and all the noodles you could eat: delicious, but a tad heavy on the stomach for those who have overindulged at breakfast.
Not to worry: Ocean Club, situated as it is right by the sea, serves up the Mediterranean, fish-centric food of dreams. I drooled over the butter-slathered lobster roll, and the pan-fried squid with homemade sriracha sauce and fennel salad was indecently good (as was the homemade pasta strewn with freshly-seared beef and capers). We topped it all off with a coconut panna cotta that melted on the tongue like chocolate: delicious.
There is one more restaurant, the beef-centric Oku (it serves up Japanese-French cuisine dedicated to all things meat), but it was closed the days we were there – more’s the pity.
And should you feel a tad antisocial, don’t worry: the hotel also offers a (huge) Floating Champagne Breakfast that will be delivered to your room in the morning. Why floating? The whole thing comes in a wicker basket that will bob around on the surface of your pool. Perfect for sitting back, cracking open a book and eating your way through the morning.
With all that to contend with, do also make time to visit the resort’s two bars: Bar Jade (which was closed at the time we visited), which offers more of a speakeasy vibe, and Fu Bar. Situated poolside on the tenth floor, we sipped our cocktails and watched the sun go down in style. Yum.
Anything you want, the Regent has. There’s a gym, stacked with top of the range equipment; there’s even morning yoga at 7am on the top floor. There’s a beautiful little spa tucked away at the bottom of the hotel, surrounded by running water, which offers treatments ranging from crystal bowl quartz meditation to pedicures and Alpha Quartz Sand Cocoon Therapy (which is what I had: basically, a massage on a bed of hot sand that managed to be both sweaty and relaxing).
And pools? There are pools aplenty – the huge Family Pool down by the Ocean Club lets you relax on daybeds shaded by palm trees, but our favourites had to be the infinity pools on the hotel’s two rooftops. Situated on the tenth floor, they gave onto the open sky and made us feel like rock stars.
There’s even a yacht, for which you can book a sunset tour excursion for around 4 million Vietnamese dong (or £120). The views were spectacular and the on-board catering was spot-on. Champagne on the open ocean: the stuff dreams are made of.
There isn’t actually a whole lot to do on Phu Quoc, thanks to the island’s reputation as an off-the-beaten-track kind of place — and the Regent’s excellent service means you probably won’t want to leave.
That said, those thinking of heading out face a short drive to one of the island’s famous seafood markets for some of the freshest fish in Vietnam. Duong Dong’s busy night market offers grills, vegetarian food and coconut ice-cream to gorge on (follow the local crowds for the best seats).
Outside of Duong Dong, Phu Quoc is also an excellent place to beach-hop: try Sao Beach, Long Beach and Thom Beach to get your fill of crystalline waters and golden sand, while further inland, a trip to the huge Phu Quoc National Park demands a motorbike to be enjoyed properly (especially as there are no hiking trails).
Every room here is gorgeous. Most have their own private pools and range from super-private villas (essentially a stand-alone house in the resort grounds) to city-living style apartments. That said, we’d especially recommend the Sky Pool Villa. Situated in one of the hotel’s three high-rise buildings, the Sky Pool Villa is an apartment that boasts its very own infinity plunge pool as well as a huge bedroom and living room panelled with glass.
The best thing about this room (apart from the massive bathroom) is the view: get a room as high up as you can, and let your eyes feast on the vista as you sip your morning Vietnamese coffee (strong and served with lashings of sweetened condensed milk). Artfully designed buildings that blend into the jungle, white sand and the ocean: yes, please.
When to go?
Though most people come in December and January, when the weather is at its best (clear skies, calm seas, not too hot), there’s something to be said for the off-season (April-May), when the Western tourists have gone and the hotel descends into a peaceful, empty solitude. It also means you’ll be able to grab some of the best rooms for better prices – a win in anybody’s book.
Couples in need of a long, relaxing break in the sun – though be prepared to splash the cash while you’re out there.
King bed ocean view suites are priced from £350 per room per night including breakfast. To find out more click here