Life in Phu Quoc has always revolved around the water. Nearer to Cambodia than Vietnam, the island’s economy was driven by fishing and, to a lesser-extent, pearl diving before luxury travel landed here in 2006, with the opening of La Veranda Resort, now an MGallery property.
Since then, brands like JW Marriott and InterContinental have staked claims on stretches of sand. But on April 19, the Regent Phu Quoc shook up the island’s luxury scene in a grand and glamorous way.
The resort sits on the longest beach on the island, the aptly named Long Beach, as part of an “integrated resort complex” with fellow IHG property, InterContinental Phu Quoc. And like its new island home, water is at the centre of the Regent Phu Quoc.
It has five massive shared pools, including two rooftop infinity pools, countless koi ponds, lagoons dotted with lotus flowers and a towering, hand-blown glass coral water feature in the lobby’s grand entrance hallway. Plus, all of the resort’s 126 villas and some suites have private pools.
“Phu Quoc has a beautiful sea culture. But it’s not only pristine waters and sandy beaches. It’s an island that has a beautiful energy,” says general manager Juan Losada. “Guests can take long walks on the beach and watch the most beautiful sunsets in Vietnam.”
Designed by Asia-based Blink Design Group, the resort thoughtfully blends cream colours and cypress wood with Emperador marble and subtle Vietnamese influences noticeable in the villas’ scallop-tiled roofs, vaulted ceilings and custom-made Bovi pattern. Inspired by the wooden trusses found in traditional Vietnamese homes, the latter tastefully adorns the living room rug, candle shades and the transparent screen behind the matte black tub.
The story of “The Legend of the King’s Well,” a Phu Quoc folk tale, is colourfully illustrated on the bathrobes alongside peppercorns and the fish used to make fish sauce—two of Phu Quoc’s claims to fame. This motif is subtly placed throughout the resort; you can even spot it on the umbrellas and the sommelier’s pocket square.
While the Garden Pool Suites and Terrace Pool Villas are arguably the most private options, the four-bedroom Lagoon Pool Villas and seven-bedroom Beach Pool Villas are the largest. Like all the villas, they come with a private kitchen outfitted with everything you need to cook a family meal or welcome a private chef. Along with 48 others, these villas have access to the Regent Club and its array of perks like all-day breakfast, free-flowing alcohol, afternoon tea and complimentary childcare. Later this year, the resort will debut Serenity, the island’s only luxury catamaran, for champagne cruises and snorkelling sessions to the Biosphere Reserve protected reef.
For a resort with 302 keys, Regent has done a remarkable job at making the place feel intimate and serene. You’ll also get a feel for how lush with palm fronds and ferns it is as you cycle around the resort on your personal bicycles. Other exercise options include their top-floor Technogym-equipped gym and separate yoga studio with floor-to-ceiling views of the Gulf of Siam in the distance. The Spa has ten rooms, including several treatment suites equipped with trendy amenities like a Quartz Crystal massage bed, a Spa Wave Bed and a Bastien Gonzalez nail salon.
Vietnam is serious about its food culture, especially breakfast, and the resort is no different. Mornings start at Rice Market with a Vietnamese coffee, followed by a trip to the phở station and the make-your-own bánh mì area, alongside a wide variety of Western options. For lunch or dinner, order a mixture of Vietnamese and Chinese dishes like Wagyu and pineapple salad, addictive dim sum and local wok-fried tiger prawns.
As the sun starts to set, the rooftop is the place to be. At Fu Bar, bartenders craft cocktails from 23 types of gin while live music serenades thirsty beachgoers. Ocean Club, open for lunch and dinner, serves creamy pastas, island-caught squid and a standout scallop ceviche. In October, Oku, an omakase counter meets steakhouse, and Bar Jade, a sultry speakeasy, will draw guests in with premium cuts of beef and an island-inspired bar menu. Rates start at around £295.