Starstruck on Phu Quoc

The perfect summer getaway at La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc has recently popped up on the travel world’s radar as Vietnam’s next up-and-coming beach destination, with a handful of international chains making their belated appearance. But as the Grand Dame of Phu Quoc, the first 5-star international hotel to open on the island, La Veranda Resort MGallery by Sofitel has a thing or two to show the upstarts how it’s done.

Tucked down a quiet lane on pretty Truong Beach, just minutes from the main town of Duong Dong and the popular Night Market, La Veranda is all about Heritage, Serenity and Signature. Conceived as a 1920’s Indochine-chic mansion by the sea by founder Madame Catherine, La Veranda features period furnishings, high ceilings, and handstenciled accents, a throwback to a time when travel was synonymous with glamor. The serene surrounds are home to just 70 gorgeously-appointed rooms, tucked behind magnificent, mature gardens for a sense of intimacy so often missing in larger resorts. A highlight of our Deluxe Garden room was throwing open the louvered doors and inhaling the tropical scents wafting in from the garden. We felt La Veranda’s elegant signature touch throughout our stay, from the ruby red welcome tray with a fruity cocktail, a shot of sim liqueur (a Phu Quoc specialty) and a raspberry meringue cookie, to coming home to delectable afternoon treats thoughtfully left in the room.

Our days are spent lounging on La Veranda’s pretty stretch of white sand beach and tanning by the sapphire blue pool with a good measure of lazy afternoon board games on the veranda, fans whirring overhead. We notice other families playing Giant Checkers on the lawn or building sand castles on the beach, part of the resort’s Very Important Kid summer program.

Trio of Spring Rolls - LVR Phu Quoc

One evening, after visiting the Night Market and noshing on its eclectic array of grilled seafood and handmade ice cream, we return to La Veranda for a proper dinner. We opt for a casual meal at Le Jardin, and sink into oversized chairs while sipping on a refreshingly spicy concoction of pear, ginger and Phu Quoc pepper. With the doors thrown open to the ocean breezes and the sound of waves washing up on shore, we savor a fine summer feast of BBQ pork ribs, meaty and falling off the bone, accompanied by a tropical slaw and a generous portion of fries. It’s the kind of meal you eat with your hands and your heart.

Wanting to explore the island, we sign up for La Veranda’s Bai Sao excursion, visiting Star Beach on the island’s southeast coast. Known for its crystalline waters and fine, sugar-like sand, Bai Sao figures in on almost every island tour. However, like the resort itself, the excursion is stylishly exclusive and wonderfully intimate. We’re escorted to Paradiso, a beach club at the northern end of the beach, separated from the circus-like atmosphere of the southern end by a stretch of undeveloped jungle. Under the shade of palm trees, we stretch out on comfy sun loungers and order non-stop lime sodas and fruit shakes. The calm, shallow waters make for family-friendly good times, as does the occasional ice cream man who rides by on his scooter touting frozen treats.

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Back at La Veranda, we finally make it to The Peppertree for a beautifully presented buffet breakfast. Considerately open until 11 am, the spread is a gorgeous mix of East meets West, with restaurantquality dishes so well-prepared, each could easily stand on its own. But taken together with a cooler full of at least 12 healthy drinks, including a smoothie of the day and fresh juice blends, La Veranda’s breakfast is a standout. We claim a table on the veranda, eye level with the palm fronds and overlooking the beach, a lasting vignette of the perfect summer holiday.

This summer, Deluxe Garden rooms start at just USD160++/night, including a host of complimentary activities for the whole family. Visit www.laverandaresorts.com to explore the resort’s summer packages for your family

Images Provided by La Veranda Resort Phu Quoc MGallery by Sofitel

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