This story first appeared in Vacations & Travel magazine, autumn 2019, issue 110
This five-star Novotel has an enviable position on Truong Beach, part of Long Beach.
They rush up from behind, taking me by surprise, lurching into me and throwing me off balance. I squeal before dissolving into laughter. Bending to get into an overwater hammock at Novotel Phu Quoc, I’m pounded on the back by a couple of rogue waves resulting in an unbecoming jumble of flailing arms and legs. Once appropriately reclined, it’s a ‘smashing’ sensation as waves course through the open-weave hammock setting it swinging. (Though waves are uncommon on this usually calm beach).
Phu Quoc is renowned in Vietnam as a beach holiday location and the five-star Novotel has a prime spot on Truong Beach, part of Long Beach, which extends along the southern half of the island’s west coast. Due to its protected location in the Gulf of Thailand, the water is (usually) calm and warm year-round and the palm-dotted soft, cream sand is perfect for beach activities.
Accommodation includes superior suites in the four-storey wings that form a U-shape around the top swimming pool offering panoramic views, to deluxe beachfront bungalows with private plunge pools. Two-storey villas with private pools and picket fences, resembling a Sim City creation, are popular with local families, but are too far from the beach and suburban-feeling for my liking.
There are two swimming pools: the serene top pool edged by urn-studded reflection ponds, and the free-form beachfront pool whose infinity-edge underscores palm-fringed sunset shots. In between, lawns, gardens and expansive lily-covered ponds add a lush tropical feel
Food Exchange is the main restaurant overlooking the top pool, offering a selection of international and Vietnamese cuisine; Phu Quoc Seafood Restaurant provides more intimate dining; and Ocean Bar caters for casual meals by the beachfront pool.
The hotel’s complimentary shuttle visits the main township of Duong Dong, 30 minutes away, and it’s only 15 minutes to the international airport.
There’s a kids’ club, small gym and two In Balance spas, where treatments embrace the nutrients of seaweed and freshly harvested raspberries. But really, it’s all about the beach, from morning stretching to sunset yoga, the Insta-worthy overwater hammock and swing, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking, or building sandcastles with the kids, followed by lounging with a cocktail on beanbags.
Prices start from VND1,820,000 (about A$110) per room, per night.
Find out more: novotelphuquoc.com