This was our first visit to Chen Sea, and having stayed in hotels and resorts all around SE Asia, we know what we as a family need for a relaxing and fun break. Having read some of the previous reviews - and the robust replies from the management - we were a little apprehensive, mainly in two areas: the cost of the food and relative scarcity of convenient alternatives, and the 'remoteness' of the resort itself.
The pick up from the spanking-new international airport was arranged by the resort, and proved to be seamless, though some sections of the road were unsurfaced and in poor conditions after days of rain. Chen Sea is indeed quite remote, though this wasn't a problem for us in the event.
Arrival was pleasant, with fruit drinks under the shade of a beautiful tree outside reception, and our pool villa charmed all of us at first sight, including our two children (boy and girl both aged 7).
Our four night stay was excellent - we ate in the restaurant or downstairs bar every evening, and sampled a wide range of food from the menu, as well as one or two dishes specially cooked. All of the food was tasty, with fresh ingredients, and reasonably 'authentic' (my wife is Vietnamese and a keen cook). We drank wine by the glass with our evening meals, and also had one or two 'sundownders' on the lovely purple bean-bag chairs watching the sunset. Our final bill for food and beverages was very reasonable indeed, and much lower than we'd be led to expect by some of the contributors on the forum.
I confess that we hardly ventured out of the resort - our kids were perfectly content to splash alternately in the villa's pool and beautiful infinity pool near to the beach. We did buy cheaper drinks from the little shop a few hundred metres from the main gate, and eat lunch one day at the first hut along the beach (not 'Thuy's House', as it was closed). It was (just) OK, but not cheap, (two thirds of the resort prices) and I couldn't recommend it to other visitiors.
The villa itself was very nice indeed, though the main double bed was far too soft for my liking (I have back trouble) and so I ended up sleeping in one of the kid's single beds downstairs which proved to be firmer. I also agree with an earlier contributor on the expanses of concrete used in the decoration of the villa. I understand the objective of keeping 'natural' materials in the design, and it largely works in the upstairs area, but the downstairs lounge is rather underfurnished, with a single sofa and a large expanse of cold concrete that really needs rugs or cushions to break up the monotony of that particular room.
Otherwise, our stay was great - Eric, the DM, talked to us on a regular basis, and he was amusing and frank with his comments, which we really appreciated. All of the staff were friendly and helpful, and the resort is generally immaculate. We visited during the monsoon season, and were very fortunate to 'lose' only one morning to heavy rain - the rest of our visit was perfect, with breezy evenings in the bar or open-air section of the restaurant. Perhaps next time we'll try to return during the more settled weather periods, but return we will!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled discreetly in a secluded bay surrounded by a tropical rain forest, Chen Sea Resort & Spa invites you to lay down. This exclusive hideaway offers spectacular view on the Gulf of Thailand. Chen Sea Resort & Spa lies perfectly along a private and pristine beach offering privacy and serenity, everything is about peace and heaven. The Architecture of the Resort is inspired by the local environment with the use of natural material that is traditional to Vietnam. Chen Sea Resort & Spa offers 36 unique and spacious Villas. The open plan layout design invites our guests for both indoor and outdoor experience. Traditional oriental simplicity and refinement are the inspiration for the design and furnishings of all the villas. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chen Sea Resort And Spa
- Chen Sea Hotel Phu Quoc Island