HONORS CIRCLE: VIETNAM
InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort
Duong To Ward, Phu Quoc, Kien Giang Province, Vietnam
Vietnam’s largest island may have no shortage of places to stay these days, but for spectacular sunset views and laidback luxury at its finest, InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort offers an unparalleled experience. Situated at the southern end of Phu Quoc’s most famous stretch of sand, the resort’s setting will enthral families and couples alike, with landscaped gardens and lagoons backed by vivid green mountains and fronted by the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Accommodation comes in the form of 459 rooms, suites, and beachfront villas, all featuring deep bathtubs, Vietnamese silk accents, walk-in rain showers, floor-to-ceiling windows, and spacious balconies or terraces.
Guests of all ages will be spoilt for choice by the recreational facilities. Expect four swimming pools, a games room and 24-hour fitness center, a kid’s club supervised by certified teachers trained in child-care and first aid, a Kids Can Cook cooking school for younger guests, an array of water sports (including hydro biking and locally inspired basket boat trips at sunset), and—best of all—plenty of sun loungers for tired parents. Yoga and beachside Zumba sessions are also part of the mix. As for off-site excursions, the concierge can help organize boat trips to surrounding islets, tours of Phu Quoc’s renowned pepper and pearl farms, and tickets for the Phu Quoc Cable Car, an unforgettable aerial adventure.
Back at the resort, guests can indulge themselves at the serene HARNN Heritage Spa, whose bamboo-clad treatment suites are arranged around a lotus-filled lagoon. The spa focuses on restoring the natural balance of body and mind through healing treatments inspired by the traditions of Vietnam and Thailand. The signature Bamboo Therapy, which uses heated bamboo rollers and warm massage oil to relieve tension and knots, is a must-try after a long day of exploring the island.
As for dining and drinks, there are half a dozen establishments to choose from. Signature restaurant Lava specializes in fresh seafood and imported meats cooked to order with local herbs and ingredients, while Sora & Umi dishes up authentic Vietnamese specialties from each region of the country: think bamboo-grilled chicken wrapped in banana leaves and Hanoi-style bun cha, a dish of chargrilled pork and noodles with sweet and sour fish sauce. Set beside the main swimming pool, Ombra serves homemade Italian cuisine and gelato alongside fresh juices and healthy bites; Mercado, the resort’s deli, also turns out a leisurely high tea. And right by the ocean is Sea Shack, a rustic-chic spot for barbecue dishes and tiki-inspired cocktails enjoyed to the sound of gently lapping waves.
When night begins to fall, however, the place to be is INK 360, perched on the 19th floor of the resort’s Sky Tower. Created by award-winning Australian designer Ashley Sutton, this avant-garde aerie has the added distinction of being the highest bar in Phu Quoc, with sophisticated mixology to match. The panoramic ocean and mountain views alone are worth raising a toast to.