A “resort within a resort” at InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort
A small, tropical island getaway less than an hour from Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc has for years been groomed as Vietnam’s next “It” destination. Shedding its reputation as a backwater hideaway, the emerald isle has emerged as a bona fide destination for discerning travelers looking for bliss to accompany their beach. Not only have a number of international 5-star resorts appeared on the scene, like the 1000th IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group) property to open within the Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa (EMEAA) region, the resorts are upping their game to compete with legendary beach destinations like Bali and Phuket.
Tempted by the idyll of a “resort within a resort”, we booked a Club InterContinental stay at InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort. A week before our arrival, we experienced a tantalizing glimpse of the personalized service waiting for us when our butler called to see whether he could pre-arrange anything for us. We reiterated that we would have a 10-year-old in tow, and were interested in equal parts family time as well as couples’ time.
On check-in, our butler escorted us to the plush Club InterContinental Lounge with its gorgeously thick carpets and contemporary artwork drawing inspiration from the blues and golds of the beautiful stretch of beach down below. Our butler led the way to our Club InterContinental Panoramic Suite, a corner of heaven on earth with its sweeping ocean views. Over the next few days, we quickly made ourselves at home in the spacious suite combining elegant indoor living with sun-kissed outdoor space, spending lazy afternoons on the oversized balcony or watching a familyfriendly movie before bed.
Waiting in the room was also a Planet Trekker’s Welcome Pack, chock full of puzzles, games, and other goodies. Our daughter giddily filled out her name tag before we all headed down to Planet Trekkers, the resort’s ginormous 250 sqm Children’s Club filled with interactive games and edutainment activities put on by the enthusiastic staff. As a family, we were able to enjoy the mini-water park known as Splash! with its fun fountains, water slides and freeform family pool, staying until everyone was happily prune-skinned and sufficiently bronzed by the sun. One night, we also visited the resort’s 130-seat Theater, the only one on the island. Complimentary for guests, we stuffed ourselves with popcorn, snacks and refreshments, while taking in a movie in this very exclusive setting.
The Club InterContinental Lounge, accessed by special key card, soon turned into our second home at the resort. In the mornings, staff greeted us by name and once they learned our individual preferences, including exactly how we liked our eggs and what our favorite drinks were, gourmet a la carte items appeared at our table as if by magic while we grazed the amazing buffet spread. In the afternoons, while our daughter was away at Planet Trekkers or living out her culinary dreams at the Kids Can Cook kitchen, we lounged around the beautifully landscaped private pool overlooking a postcard-pretty lagoon and the sea beyond. Over the next few days, we often returned in time for a cultured afternoon tea or an evening cocktail and canapés before dinner. We were even able to invite a friend to join us, another perk of being Club InterContinental.
Phu Quoc is known for its amazing sunsets and sunrises, and one early evening, we stake out the perfect spot at INK 360. At 19 floors up, this Ashley Sutton-designed rooftop bar is Phu Quoc’s highest point, with completely uninterrupted views of the island’s west coast. Other families join us on the outdoor wraparound terrace, nibbling on pre-dinner snacks like Phu Quoc crab cakes and beer-battered black cod with chips, drinking in the magnificent views. After putting our little one to bed, we return to the fantastical lounge where giant sea creatures emerge from the walls and hang down from the ceiling in the form of whimsical chandeliers. Sipping signature cocktails like the Coral Mule, a refreshing concoction of Triple Sec, Aperol, Luxardo Fernet Branca, ginger beer, Calamansi and lemon, and the Three Way Mirror, with its eclectic flavors of St. Germain elderflower, strawberry and turmeric dust with a splash of London Dry Gin and sparkling wine, we toast being part of the club.
Images Courtesy of InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort