Resort Review: Con Dao Resort

Con Dao Resort offers an affordable getaway on one of the island’s best beaches

Set on the long stretch of An Hai, a scenic, sweeping beach just south of town, lies the Con Dao Resort. With 93 comfortable rooms in two hotel blocks (one newly built), the resort is ideally situated to help you make the most of your Con Dao getaway.

While the island has its share of guesthouses and mini-hotels, Con Dao Resort is unique in that it is the only property with rooms starting at less than USD100 that boasts its own swimming pool and its own wide stretch of private beach, two must-have amenities for any perfect beach vacation.

Con Dao Resort - Image by James Pham-80 (OiVietNam_3N)

“The sand here is fine and sugary,” says General Manager Bui Luong Ran. “The salinity of the water is ideal as well. It doesn’t hurt your eyes and you can swim all day without your skin feeling sticky.” The resort is backed by lush green mountains and fronted by calm, blue waters, so guests have a choice between mountain or sea views. When your perfection quotient has been met by lazing about the Bay of Con Son or taking a dip in the palm-fringed swimming pool or playing a set of tennis on one of only two courts on the entire island, Con Dao Resort offers tours to explore the other parts of the island including the historical sites of the famed prisons and the spiritual Hang Duong Cemetery where Vietnamese tourists flock at midnight to say prayers; picturesque Dam Trau Beach by the airport with its long stretch of golden sand; hiking through the jungle to Ong Dung Beach; or trekking up to the former So Ray Plantation for expansive views of the bay below. Off-island day trips include visits to the island of Hon Tre Lon (Large Bamboo Island), where General Secretary Le Duan was imprisoned by the French, and the island of Bay Canh, where sea turtles come to nest.

Con Dao Resort - Sea View Suite - Image by James Pham-50 (OiVietNam_3N)

Whether your itinerary has you exploring the national park and diving the clear waters or simply catching rays by the sea, Con Dao Resort makes for a stylish yet comfortable home on the island. CoCo Restaurant with its floor-to-ceiling windows affording views of the pool and the ocean beyond serves up a hearty buffet breakfast in the mornings with a live egg station, hot dishes and fresh fruit. Come back for Asian and Western favorites at reasonable prices served during lunch and dinner including Thai Seafood Salad (VND150,000), Grilled Chicken with Honey (VND120,000) and Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs (VND140,000). Seafood can be cooked to order at market prices and the bar serves up beer, cocktails and spirits.

Within walking distance of the resort is also a row of seafood restaurants where you pick your still-living protein (shrimp, crab, lobster and more) and your cooking style (steamed in beer, stir-fried with tamarind, crispy fried), all to be downed with a few cold beers. Venture a little further and you’ll get to town, an orderly and very walkable area filled with museums, cafés and a picturesque boardwalk where kids come out at dusk to play beach football. Walk in the other direction and find your way to the Van Son Pagoda on Nui Mot Mountain with panoramic views out to sea. Motorbike rentals are available just across the street from the resort for USD5 per day.

Con Dao Resort - Image by James Pham-59 (OiVietNam_3N)

Those lucky enough to visit Con Dao can look forward to getting away from it all. With stunning beaches, friendly locals and a quiet, laid-back vibe, Con Dao is by all accounts what Phu Quoc was 20 years ago, before the unfettered construction and unsightly ills of mass tourism ― pristine, blissfully underdeveloped and value-for-money.

The Con Dao Resort has five room types, beginning with the Standard Mountain View (doubles start at VND1,600,000) up to the luxurious Sea View Suites which have the best uninterrupted views of beautiful, palm- tree lined An Hai Beach. All rooms include buffet breakfast and airport transfers. Expect friendly service, reflecting island hospitality, where guests are welcomed as family. For more, visit Con Dao Resort

Images By James Pham

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