This stylish five-star hotel in Phu Quoc offers a luxurious beachfront island escape in a laid-back sleepy setting and a great base from which to explore the south of Vietnam, with direct flight connections to Ho Chi Minh City, as well as to the capital Hanoi in the north of the country.
Cradled by the crystal green waters of Emerald Bay, the sprawling beachfront resort is nestled on the sandy white powdered coast of Khem beach in Phu Quoc, the largest island in Vietnam, just off the coast of Cambodia. It is around a 20-30 minute drive (about 10 miles) from Phu Quoc International Airport and Duong Dong, the closest main local town offering a night market, restaurants and bars.
Style & character
Modern and elegant with a charming fairytale-like feel, the retro-themed hotel, featuring bright candy-coloured facades and a French colonial architectural style, was inspired by French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. Under the guise of “Lamarck University”, the resort – the brainchild of renowned hotel architect and interior designer Bill Bensley – was designed to be a restored historic university campus, complete with several “departments” where guestrooms and other facilities are housed.
Claimed to be the first-ever “experiential hotel” built entirely around a fictional story, its whimsical character and elaborate fake history is tastefully portrayed throughout the property (including in its striking lobby offering high ceilings, a stylish reception desk that could looks like a bar at first glance and a giant swinging sofa bed), from its all hand-painted walls, original vintage furniture and photographs of sports teams bearing the school’s logo to staff wearing throwback Twenties- and Thirties-style uniforms.
Service & facilities
The hotel’s characterful spa facility has a playful Alice in Wonderland theme, featuring colourful lime green interiors with female staff wearing Alice-style dresses and a unique corridor (etched with quotes from Lewis Carroll) of offset arches meant to create the subtle illusion of falling down a rabbit hole. The relaxing treatment rooms have a cavernous feel and offer treatments using products from L’Occitane.
Guests can access a well-equipped small gym, three large outdoor pools and free classes (including a Vietnamese coffee-making class) as well as a free buggy ride service for transport within the property, operated by the friendly, welcoming and accommodating staff.
- Fitness centre
- Kids’ club
- Room service
- Steam room/hammam
- Tennis court
The hotel’s 244 rooms (spread across several “academic department” buildings, each themed around various subjects from biology and zoology to architecture and fine arts) is bright, airy and spacious, each featuring a private balcony and beautiful interiors with European-style furnishings and Asian touches, including in the lofty Turquoises suites. They include four-poster beds, high ceilings, striking giant Vietnamese lantern-shaped ceiling fixtures with large tassels, floor-to-ceiling windows and an expanded terrace with a daybed, sofa and tables. The marble bathrooms come with spacious walk-in showers, tubs and toiletries from Aromatherapy.
The hotel’s presidential suite and villa (the “dean’s quarters”), which sleeps up to 21 people across seven bedrooms, also houses a 50m-long infinity pool – claimed to be the longest pool in a presidential suite in all of Asia.
Food & drink
Restaurants on offer include the beachfront Tempus Fugit where a breakfast buffet is served with a large selection of international cuisine options, offering everything from pastries, fresh juices and other European fare to Vietnamese, Korean and other hot foods.
The open-air beachside Red Rum showcases fresh local seafood dishes, while French & Co cafe offers French pastries and drinks, including a creamy and sweet Vietnamese coffee, in a laid-back setting. The Department of Chemistry bar offers live music in an atmospheric beachfront setting with a circular bar featuring comfy daybeds looking out to the sea.
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