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 attractive is the fact that the island still remains undeveloped. So, if you’re the kind of traveler that wants to avoid the big tourist crowds, and experience the life at an authentic Vietnamese village, all without sacrificing comfort and style of home, then this 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 even the most demanding traveler happy. The resort is located a few kilometers away from a small village, where you will 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
I never would have imagined finding a giant shell-shaped building in the middle of Phu Quoc Island. The architecture of this resort is just so impressive that when you look at the rest of the island, it makes you feel like you’re not in Vietnam anymore.
Upon arrival we were welcomed by Mrs. Vi, the resort assistant manager, who kindly upgraded us to one of their best rooms – The Ocean View Family Suite – I can really tell that they have put a lot of thought into the design of the resort. The entire building looks stunning, and what’s more fascinating is that they are not completely done yet. The second part of the project will have some villas in the ocean and some in the forest. I would be honored to go back to The Shells just see the upcoming additions!
The Ocean View Family Suite
- The bedrooms
In my opinion, this suite can easily accommodate a couple with 2 children, 2 couples, 4 friends or just one couple.
The biggest room was part of the main area and the second bedroom had a door that divides the space from the rest of the suite.
The bedding and mattress were excellent, just like we expected them to be, but the pillows exceeded my expectations. They were so soft without turning flat. These were without a doubt, the best pillows I have 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 mounted inside wooden “treasure chests” – very original!
Besides the hangers and safe deposit box, they also had 4 umbrellas, 2 flashlights and 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! I was just pleased to have the kettle with coffee and tea bags. 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 one of 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 while I watched the sunsets… My pictures don’t lie!
- 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 shower head and this time he didn’t have to try different kind of 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 him… Me? No! I never struggle with any showers like he does. That’s one of the perks of being short, I guess.
The sink was big enough to put all of our personal hygiene products on it. But to tell you the truth we probably didn’t need any of them, The resort provided plenty of toiletries, including a body brush! Yes! A body brush…Thank God for listening to my prayers! Don’t you hate it when hotels provide body gel and they don’t give you anything else 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 giving you the facts.
Little things – Big impressions
- Complementary afternoon dessert – We were surprised with a plate of dessert or fruit every single day. So, if you’re on a diet, you should probably ask the staff not to bring you anything, because once you have them in front of you it is impossible to stick to your diet.
- Change of towels – In addition to the daily cleaning service, the housekeeping team made sure to replace our towels every afternoon, too. This service didn’t require that we make any extra phone calls.
- Turn down service – Besides folding our sheets, 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, does that sound like something you would do, too?
This whole area is quite modern and unique. Around the pool you will find:
- Super comfy pod-shaped cabanas
- Sunbeds built into the edge of the pool, perfect to keep yourself refreshed
- Pool bar – for those of you that like to have a refreshing drink while enjoying the sun, pool and ocean view. I guess you can’t beat the 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.
- Lunch & Dinner – We both had mixed feelings about these meals to be honest. We felt like some dishes were super delicious and others were just average.
But one day, we took the chef’s recommendation and I have to tell you, he blew our minds away with the fresh lobster with spring roll and the roasted mango dessert.
So my advice to you is ask the expert’s advice before ordering anything out of the menu.
The private beach
The beach is very calm and relaxed-perfect for couples and families that just want to relax. The staff does a great job keeping the whole area clean.
You’ll never feel overwhelmed with so many people around because there is guard making sure the private beach is only accessible to the resort’s guests.
The Waves Spa – unlimited spa treatments!
Nope, I didn’t make a mistake typing – unlimited spa treatment! So, you can keep jumping…I know the feeling, I’m exactly in the same boat as many of you. At first, I couldn’t believe it, I have stayed at many 4 & 5 star hotels and resorts in my life and I’ve never been offered unlimited spa treatments, so now I can testify that The Shells is not joking with you…This is real advertisement!
- The masseuses – If you’ve had many massages in your life, you know that it takes a talented person to give you a memorable massage. Are you with me on this? Amazingly, all masseuses at the Shells were incredible! Something that we find unusual, but I can honestly say that these girls know what they’re doing.
- The waiting time – we waited less than 5 minutes before we received each of our treatments. The staff always made sure we had a cool towel with refreshing essential oils, a cup of tea and ginger candy while we waited. Also a robe, flip flops and lockers are provided.
- 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.
All employees were very nice and accommodating, but there was one girl that went above and beyond. Her name is Mrs. Hanh; she is one of the receptionists at the Waves Spa. Mrs. Hanh spent a lot of time giving me valuable information about the island, what activities were available near the resort, and the culture. I love it when I get to interact with employees that 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.
The location is isolated enough to be able to relax, but only a few kilometers away from the closest village where you can experience life in a traditional Vietnamese village without the pushy hawkers, that you usually find in the main cities around Vietnam.
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 highly recommend this resort to anyone that is looking to relax and getaway from everything.
The entire facility was awesome, but as a woman, I found myself drawn to the Spa area 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 relaxed 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 for the purpose of a written review and photography services. All opinions herein are my own and have not been influenced by any arrangements we made with The Shells Resort & Spa.