Refined Relaxation

Luxurious wellness experience awaits you on idyllic island at InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort

Wellness tourism is a rapidly growing sector of the global economy, valued just two years ago at a staggering USD639 billion annually. This is in no doubt due to the growing demand from proactive consumers wanting to embrace alternative and holistic therapies. We are prioritizing our health and wellbeing in the pursuit of achieving a better balance with our mental, physical, emotional and social states.

I too am in search of calm, seeking a leisurely, relaxing and yes, healthy escape. With this in mind, it was time for a wellness break and InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort beckoned.

Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s largest island (and the largest in the Gulf of Thailand) and is part of the UNESCO designated Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve. The biosphere aims to protect the land and marine resources that are so abundant in this southwestern corner of the country. Also included in the protected area is Phu Quoc National Park, a forested area covering more than half the island. The surrounding sea has a rich diversity of marine life such as dugongs and hawksbill turtles, swimming among coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass ecosystems.

Located on Bai Truong, one of the longest beaches on the island, InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort nestles on its own secluded and private white sand beach surrounded by the turquoise sea and rolling hills of lush karst forests. This location for a health and wellness break offers not only the unparalleled InterContinental luxury and hospitality, but in an environment of almost magical beauty.

INK 360

And as part of my wellness and tranquility reboot, I make a beeline for the HARNN Heritage Spa. The HARNN Lifestyle brands of aromatherapy, bath and spa, fragrance and soaps are a multiple awardwinning product line from Thailand.

With beautifully appointed treatment suites that appear to ‘float’ on the lush Lotus Lagoon, HARNN Heritage Spa is a place of natural serenity offering guests a unique and luxurious wellness experience inspired through the long tradition of healing Asian therapies.

Embracing the Eastern wisdom passed down from generation to generation perfected over thousands of years, this international award-winning spa incorporates Dong Y, traditional Vietnamese medicines into their treatments with a focus on the balance of different sources of energy (Qi) through our Outer Body and Inner Body philosophy.

Dong Y is based on yin and yang principles and the five elements (fire, earth, water, metal, wood), and the interaction of these on your internal energy. The therapist will determine your element in order to provide the most soothing aromatherapy oils used in your session. Signature treatments use local botanicals of herbs and spices, along with indigenous bamboo, coconut and natural pearl. This very distinct sense of place is epitomized by the spa’s signature scent: black pepper and lavender, an exotic combination and very refreshing. Guests can choose a range of healing services including Vietnam, Thai, Ayurveda and more aromatherapy for rejuvenating mind and body. Part of what the spa calls its Inner Body philosophy, it is balanced with an Outer Body philosophy. The Outer Body is calmed by the fact the spa is hidden away in a secluded corner of the resort, providing a haven of compete relaxation and renewal. The bamboo treatment suites appear to ‘float’ on the tranquil lotus-dotted lagoon.

Since each suite also has open-air spaces shielded with bamboo louvers, the Outer Body is further soothed by a blurring of the line between indoors and outdoors. This is the ultimate in rejuvenation and rebalancing and I cannot get enough of it. Afterwards I levitated out the door.

Ombra

The healthy balance continues with the resort’s six restaurants and bars, an eclectic but thoughtful mix of the island’s unique produce and seafingood, along with five-star international cuisine. One lunch we enjoy the herring salad at Sora & Umi, the Vietnamese-Japanese restaurant. The added bonus with Phu Quoc is the abundance of prized local specialties such as the high-quality fish sauce and peppercorns. Our salads are strewn with fresh tropical herbs and punchy fish sauce. The Sea Shack (on the beach!) for another lunch is grilled grouper served with fennel salad and my partner enjoys the Phu Quoc chicken salad with shredded cabbage and fresh mint. Ombra, an Italian restaurant by the pool, a perfect place to rest after some challenging activities at the beach, serves the coolest homemade detox and garden salad that will totally change your mind about “eat clean”. All restaurants offer a variety of local fruits if you’d prefer for your dessert and a great mix of healthy drinks if you’re abstaining from alcohol.

Herring Salad

Sora & Umi

I can hardly drag myself away from the spa (or that lovely beach), but the range of activities is just too good to miss. Mornings start with yoga by the beach to set the chill intention for the day. Those days passed with beach volley ball, kayaking and kite flying. There is a 24-hour gym with equipment for light and intense workouts, and personal trainers to help motivate you. Aqua gym activities are at the Oasis or Vista pools and you can do laps at the latter as well. Rotating daily activities are great for adults and kids, and include cultural tours and excursions to pepper and pearl farms, while high energy adventures include hiking, water sports and islandhopping. The Planet Trekkers Children’s Club will also keep kids entertained, as will the family pool, resplendent with inflatable toys and water slides.

The other thing I can’t get enough of here is sundowners. That has to be at INK 360, the tallest rooftop bar on the island, located on the 19th floor of the resort’s Sky Tower. Sure, there’s a famous giant squid-like sculpture (a ship-eating mythological ‘kraken’ to be exact) tentacles waving and embracing the bar, but it’s the deck outside that holds my attention. If my mind and body weren’t already so putty-relaxed, this would have been the clincher.

InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort western location on the island and this sky terrace combine for sunset Shangri-La overlooking beach, sea, hills and beyond. As the flaming ball of pink-orange languidly drops into the horizon I order a drink. Normally, I’m a beer woman, but the ingredients in the Uncle Ho Penicillin cocktail are too inviting to ignore: Scotch, lime juice, ginger syrup, smoked lapsang souchong tea, Phu Quoc honey and black cardamom. There’s just something about being on an island that makes these heady cocktail ingredients pop. Our conversation drifts into comfortable silence as the sky darkens to deep violet, inviting the stars to come out and join in the heavenly show. We are loose-limbed, relaxed and rejuvenated. The wellness and tranquility reboot worked.

Images Provided by InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort

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