After a hassle-free airport transfer (we emailed the management the day before telling them our flight number), you'll find the resort is a cluster of wooden houses which lead down to a fairly secluded beach. You're surrounded by nature with chickens, moorhen and other exotic birds in the grounds, but even though it feels quite rustic all the rooms have great air-con - a unit on both floors in the suites. In a place like this biting insects are inevitable but the rooms are surprisingly secure and mozzies can't get in. We weren't bitten once while sleeping. I agree with other reviewers that the beds are hard - this was no problem for us as we both like a firm mattress, but this isn't for everybody as you'll read in other reviews. At night dogs will sometimes bark and in the early morning cockerels will crow - it disturbed my sleep a couple of times.
Our suite was more like a maisonette and on two floors. It was perfectly clean, in addition to the fantastic and entirely-wooden bathroom upstairs there was a room with a second WC on the lower level. This resort may pose a problem for people whose mobility is impaired, there are a lot of steps to negotiate both in the rooms and around the grounds, but for most people this is not an issue as long as you're careful. This especially so after it rains, when the wooden handrails get slippery. Basic tea and coffee-making kit is in the living room, and you get four largeish bottles of mineral water from the hotel free of charge every day. There is a fridge but this doesn't come stocked with beer or soft drinks by default, you have to ask for them to fill it up for you if you want it. We didn't. The wifi in the rooms wasn't the most reliable, but this is common in Vietnam and wherever you go some western sites (Facebook, BBC News) are intermittently blocked by the government. But you can often still load these sites via their smartphone apps, oddly.
As of December 2012 there's construction work taking place in the property next to the resort, Obviously beyond their control, but still annoyingly loud and it started at 7am after our first night. Initially we were in a suite in Building 8, fairly close to the construction work. We then asked to be moved to a quieter suite and the hotel arranged and executed this within 30 minutes, which I was impressed by. We were moved to an identical suite in Building 6 where it was much quieter - idyllic in fact. I have to say the Vietnamese will go out of their way to help you and put things right, but not if you're rude and aggressive toward them, and I do suspect this is where some of the more hostile reviewers of this and other hotels went wrong. I saw this a lot in Vietnam, particularly when the locals were barked at by guests and it really didn't do them any favours. There's often a language barrier and this resort is no exception.
I would imagine this construction work will continue for at least another six months. It's perhaps strange that all the suites are all situated furthest away from the beach, with the standard rooms nearer the sea. The flip side of this is you're closer to the restaurant, reception and front entrance if you're in a suite, but the suites are also closest to the construction work and I can see this annoying some people who have paid a premium. If you're in a standard room it's less likely to be a problem. That said, Phu Quoc is developing fast and it might be hard to avoid building work wherever you are.
I take issue with reviewers who say it was a 'long walk' to the beach from their rooms, even for a slow walker it's less than five minutes through some lovely and interesting gardens - many rooms are even closer. The beach is quite beautiful and mostly clean, although dogs will sometimes wander along the beach and occasionally do what dogs do. Long Beach is west-facing so you get some truly amazing sunsets. There's never much of a tide and it's super-shallow for a good thirty feet out; we don't have kids but those who did had peace of mind knowing they could paddle in the ocean safely. Compared to other parts of Vietnam there aren't many hawkers working this stretch of beach; you won't be hassled much. The service on the beach is okay but not as attentive as in other four-star Vietnamese resorts. You have to pick up your own towels from the desk by the pool, and if you want drinks or snacks you'll have to go to the bar and ask them to be brought over. It's a big pool so you can get into your stride if swimming's your thing.
Not once did we have dinner at the resort - instead opting to go into Duong Dong to eat at the wonderful night market, which you would be mad to miss out on, it's a short VND 50,000 cab ride from Long Beach. So while I can't comment on dinner, breakfast in the resort was okay; as normal in Vietnam there's a mix of southeast Asian and western food, there could have been more choice for westerners, perhaps. The restaurant is next to and indeed partly perched above a large lagoon-like pond. I would expect the restaurant to be mozzie-central in the evenings. You can also eat by the beach at night where they have a seafood BBQ which is also reasonably priced - not as cheap as the night market but still pretty good. In the daytime you can get snacks from the bar brought to your lounger at the beach or pool for lunch, and these are pretty good value actually - as an example I paid VND 115,000 (about £3/$5) for a tasty panini with chips and salad, not the cheapest by Vietnamese standards but by no means the rip-off some resorts will often extract from westerners in these situations. Drinks are about VND 40,000, again much cheaper than similar resorts.
My final word of warning concerns the BBQ restaurant you'll run into, if you turn right down the beach from the resort towards Duong Dong. It's impossible to miss as it sticks out on a little headland, you'll have to walk right past it to go any further north. It's not part of the resort but it's worth highlighting that this place ripped us off, saying that two seasonally-priced tiger prawns would be VND 150,000 - a perfectly fair price. This turned into an extortionate VND 450,000 when the bill came, they wouldn't back down and it caused an argument. You won't know the fair price for seasonal fish unless you visit the highly-competitive night market, but this in my experience was untypical of Vietnam - sure the locals will try to sell you things at an inflated price, but normally once you've bargained and the price is agreed they'll stick to it. I was extremely annoyed at the restaurant for behaving like this, they lost our custom for the rest of our holiday and frankly I hope they lose yours, too.
Overall I recommend this resort, once the construction work is finished and if they would just tweak a few minor things, it would be faultless.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Stretching along the pristine beach, Long Beach Resort with 72 rooms open in the first phase possesses a unique architecture of Vietnam traditional village. The resort offers a new standard of exclusive and bespoke indulgence. Our unbridled luxury with obvious attention to design, details and pure escapism making the resort stand out in the region. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Long Beach Resort Phu Quoc Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam