Pho Quoc is an island often overlooked by tourists when they visit Vietnam – heading for the cities that are so well documented, but is a hidden gem. Offering some much needed rest bite, Pho Quoc is only a short flight from Ho Chi Minh and prides itself on its naturally white beaches which slope gently into the warm waters. This year saw a new addition to the island, in the form of 5* luxury hotel, The Shells Resort & Spa. You can imagine our delight when we were invited to experience the hotel first hand – our jobs really are tough at times.
The resort is located 5-10 minutes away from the closest town, which is a welcomed relief from the hustle and bustle experienced in many of the other areas. As the complimentary transfer brings you along the freshly laid driveway to the hotel, you’re greeted by the most beautiful architecture as the hotel comes into sight.
Upon entering the reception, you’re greeted by a glass backdrop, which opens the hotel up onto the ocean. Having been given fresh coconuts to drink whilst we completed our check in, we knew that we were in for a treat.
After hot footing it to our room to check it out, we took the obligatory smug instagram snap (there’s complimentary wifi throughout) before heading down to the pool to explore. Sunken loungers, cabanas and a swim up pool awaited our arrival, complimented by heady Ibiza tunes softly playing from the hotel’s audio system. We can confirm that the cocktails are amazing, although you may not want to consume too many before swimming back across the pool!
There is a beautiful spa on site, which offers daily complimentary treatments – the only work left for you to do is to decide which method of relaxation you’re going to enjoy each day. It’s a hard life, but somebody has to do it. As the hotel consists of just 40 rooms, they’ll always make time to squeeze you in too, so you’ll never go without.
The Flow Restaurant is on hand to take care of any rumbling tums, with a wide variety of food, from local Vietnamese (with their very own island salt, which is scrumptious) through to Steak and Lobster. There’s also an extensive wine list available. Delish. TIP: Take expandable clothes.
All of the rooms are incredibly comfortable. Thanks to the architecture of the building, all rooms enjoy full panoramic views out onto the ocean. Every room comes complete with day beds on their balconies, making it the perfect place to laze with that book you just can’t put down. The ladies will be pleased to hear that the hairdryers included in the rooms are amazing. No more puffing luke warm air for 3 hours to get your hair semi-dry… they’’ve thought about the details,
Where most hotels has a manager’s cocktail party, The Shells Resort has a ticketed White Party sponsored by Taittinger. Expect freshly caught local fish to be delivered by boat before the awesome culinary team cook up a treat on the barbecue. If you’re not too much of a party animal, fear not, the fun comes to an end just after are on 11, you island time, after all.
Never normally inspired by cinema nights at hotels, this blew our expectations out of the water. Comfy loungers adorn the beach, complete with a huge screen and amazing audio. However, the real magic comes from the toasted marshmallows. A large blazing fire bellows and marshmallows wait, speared onto bamboo sticks. Bliss.
There are a number of water sports available at the resort to keep you occupied if you find sunning yourself too much (or you want to lose your partner for an hour or so). We took one of the complimentary kayaks out and paddled a short distance to the nearest resort where there is a local bar… drinks are incredibly cheap (take some cash) – the family live there as well as working there, so don’t be surprised if you’re accompanied by random animals. We loved it.
Word on the street is that the resort has grand plans for expansion. They’re already in the process of building some garden bungalows (although this caused no disruption to our stay) and are planning water bungalows and a water restaurant which sound incredible!
The Shells Resort offers a much slower pace of life than much of the rest of Vietnam. It’s the perfect place to stay for 5-7 days if relaxation is what you’re after. Still incredibly well priced for a 5* hotel, the facilities are second to none and the staff can’t do enough to help. We can’t wait to visit again once the water bungalows are complete.
Ganh Gio Beach, Dương Đông, tt. Dương Đông, Phú Quốc, tỉnh Kiên Giang, Vietnam www.shellresort.com