There is a great chance you’ve probably never heard of Phu Quoc Island – a slow-paced Vietnamese island with beautiful beaches and impressive sunsets.
But let me tell you, what makes this island so enchanting is the fact that the island remains undeveloped and unspoiled.
So, if you’re the kind of traveler that wants to avoid big tourist crowds, experience life in an authentic Vietnamese village, and all this without sacrificing the comfort and style of home, this sure is your kind of place.
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to stay at The Shells Resort & Spa – a one of a kind luxury resort that can make happy even the most demanding traveler. The resort is located a few kilometers away from a small village. Here you have the opportunity to interact with the locals without feeling pushed to buy anything.
All I can say is that this has been one of my best experiences in Vietnam. I really loved the immense contrast between an authentic Vietnamese village and the modern world. It reminded me of how lucky I am to be able to experience both worlds.
The Shells Resort & Spa – A gem in the middle of Phu Quoc Island
Finding a giant shell shaped building in the middle of Phu Quoc Island is something I would never have imagined! The architecture of this resort is just so impressive and unusual, that, in comparison to the rest of the island, it makes you feel like you’re not in Vietnam anymore.
On our arrival, we were welcomed by Mrs. Vi – The Resort Assistant Manager, who generously upgraded us to one of their best rooms – The Ocean View family suite. – I could see that they have put a lot of thought into the design of the resort. The entire building is stunning and I found it fascinating is that they are not completely done with building the resort yet. The second part of the project will have villas near the ocean and in the middle of the forest. I would be honored to go back to The Shells to see the resort yet again, on its completion.
The Ocean View Family Suite
This suite, in my opinion, can easily accommodate any number from a couple with 2 children, 2 couples, 4 friends or just one couple!
The biggest room is part of the main area and the second bedroom has a door that divides the space from the rest of the suite.
The bedding and mattress are excellent just as we expected them to be, however, the pillows exceeded my expectations, they were super soft without turning flat. These were without doubt, the best pillows I ever had in my life!
- The Sitting Area, TVs & Closets
I loved the comfy cushions with decorative pillows they have in the main room. Not your typical living area but definitely super comfortable.
We had (2) 32” Flat screen TV in the suite, they both were encased inside a wooden “treasure chests” – very original! Besides the hangers and safe deposit box, they also had 4 umbrellas, 2 flashlights and a shoe cleaning kit inside the closets. I was glad to have the umbrella, since it rained a few times while we were there.
- The kitchenette & balcony
The kitchenette – was very basic, but who wants to have a fully functional kitchen when you are on vacation, right? Unless it comes equipped with a chef! We’re simple people, and as long as we have coffee in our room, we’re happy campers!
The balcony – I can assure you that you’ll probably enjoy the most impressive sunsets that you’ll ever experience in Vietnam from this balcony…Big statement, huh? But I really mean it, and that had nothing to do with the few drinks I had, just kidding!
- The Bathroom
The shower, toilet, sink & toiletries
I love it when hotels have a separate toilet and shower area. Great layout!
The shower was Jonah’s favorite thing ever. Why? Because, not many showers in Vietnam have a tall showerhead and this time he didn’t have to try different yoga positions to get his whole body washed. So his whole experience in the shower was a success…I guess you have to be tall to understand…Me? No! I never struggle with any showers like he does. That’s one of the perks of being short, I guess.
The sink area big enough to put all of our personal hygiene products on it, but to tell you the truth we didn’t really need to, as the resort provided plenty of toiletries, including a body brush! Yes! A body brush… Thank God for listening to my prayers! I just hate it when hotels provide a shower gel and nothing to use it with.
The bathtub, towels & robes
The bathtub was very spacious and comfortable for 2 people. But if you are sharing the space with others, you’ll probably have to send them away if you want to have privacy with your significant other. The robes were comfy and the towels fluffy and long enough to please most Westerners with big waists. I’m not trying to offend anyone here. I’m just stating facts.
Little things – Big impressions
- Complementary afternoon dessert – They surprised us with a plate of fruit or some dessert every single day. So, if you’re on a diet, you should probably ask the staff not to bring you any. Because once you have that plate in front of you, it is impossible to stick your diet!
- Turn down service – Besides folding our sheets and replacing our towels, the team left us a little shell holding a nighttime story every night. Isn’t that cute? I love it when hotels make that extra effort to ensure their guests feel appreciated.
The Surroundings & Facilities
The resort only has 44 spacious rooms and all of them have a balcony with an ocean and pool view.
This area is a bit small compared to the size of the resort, but has all the basic equipment to keep you active.
I’ll be completely honest with you. I only went to check this area. I planned on going back but I felt entertained doing other things and I never came back 🙂
The highlight of this area was the pool bar – I guess you can’t beat a pool bar experience, can you?
The Bar & Restaurant
They have done a great job incorporating little shells as a part of the decor inside the bar and restaurant. Both areas have a great view of the pool and ocean.
But one thing that really got my attention about both places was the music. I know right? Who is thinking about music when you have the sound of the ocean right in front of you? Well, somehow they have some catchy/chill out music playing all day that kept me entertained and moving my feet while we waited for our food.
Complementary Breakfast Buffet – It’s definitely worth it getting up early to enjoy the breakfast buffet. We had plenty of Asian food with a few Western options to choose from each morning.The overall flavor of the food was pretty good!
Lunch & Dinner – To be honest, we both had mixed feelings about these meals. We felt that some dishes were super delicious while others were just about average. But one day, we took chef’s recommendation and do have to say, he just blew our minds away with a superbly cooked fresh lobster with spring rolls, followed by a roasted mango dessert. So my advice to you is to ask the expert’s advice before ordering off the menu.
The private beach
This is not your surfing spot. The beach is very calm and relaxed, just perfect for couples and families that want to relax.
The staff does a great job keeping the whole area clean.
You’ll never be overwhelmed by crowds of people because there is a guard who makes sure the private beach is only accessible to the resort’s guests.
The Waves Spa – unlimited spa treatments!
I have a confession to make… when I heard about the unlimited spa treatments that the Shell had to offer, I was completely over the moon! It was unbelievable! I have stayed in many 4 & 5 star hotels and resorts in my life and I’ve never been offered unlimited spa treatments at this price. I thought, oh wow, this is no joke this is probably one of the best deals I’ve ever seen!
- The masseuses – If you have ever had massages in your life, you know what it takes to have a talented person give you a memorable massage. Are you with me on this? All masseuses at the Shells were amazing! This was something so unusual and I can honestly say that these girls know what they’re doing.
- The waiting time – We only had to wait for under 5 minutes before we received each of our treatments. The staff always made sure we had a cold towel with refreshing essential oils, a cup of tea and ginger candy while we waited. They also provide a robe, flip-flops and lockers.
- The Unlimited Spa Treatments – These are the lists of services that you will be able to enjoy at no extra cost:
• Body Treatments: bamboo body scrub, gourmand sandalwood body scrub, gourmand walnut shell body scrub, raspberry body wrap, gourmand papaya body wrap and gourmand guava body wrap.
• Holistic Body Massage: aromatherapy bliss, deep tissue treatment, hot stones therapy and pain relief.
• Facial Treatments: express facial, calming facial, anti-aging facial and intensive eye treatments.
• Other Treatments: manicure, pedicure and foot massage.
• Packages: serene flow, tsunami, tropical winds and softly monsoon.
The hotel staff was very pleasant and accommodating, but there was one girl who went above and beyond everything. Her name is Mrs. Hanh, she is one of the receptionists at the Waves Spa. Mrs. Hanh was so generous with her time and gave me valuable information about the island. She told me about the kind of activities available near the resort, and the culture of the island. I love it when I get to interact with employees who are so proud of their history and culture.
The Shells Resort and Spa is located in Ganh Gio Beach, Duong Dong Town, about 14 km away from the Phu Quoc International Airport. Transportation to and from the airport is included for all guests.
How to get around Phu Quoc Island
It doesn’t matter what part of the island you stay in, you are going to need transportation to be able to get around the island. We rented a scooter for a few days and we also used the taxis located in front of the hotel.
Would I recommend The Shells Resort & Spa?
Definitely! My whole experience at the Shells was memorable and I would positively and definitely recommend this resort to anyone.
The entire facilities were awesome. But, as a woman, I found myself drawn to the Spa everyday. I know that most men don’t admit it, but they love to get pampered, too.
So if you’re traveling throughout Vietnam, I would encourage you to stay at the Shells at the end of your trip, so you can slow down and relax before you go back to your regular life.
The Shells Spa & Resort Information
Tel: +84 077 371 8888
Ganh Gio Beach, Duong Dong Town
Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
Promotional Opening rate starts at $230 (Valid through October, 31st, 2014)
Disclaimer: We received a 5-night complementary stay at the Shells, but all opinions herein are my own and have not been influenced in any way by arrangements we made with the Shells Spa & Resort,
The Shells Resort & Spa.