Fusion Resort Phu Quoc is not your cookie-cutter tropical five-star resort because, unlike any other hotel on the Vietnamese island, it has a string of sensational extras. First, its 135 villas all have private gardens and pools. Second, it is an all-spa-inclusive property, meaning practically unlimited spa treatments and wellness activities at no extra cost. And third, breakfasts operate on an “anytime, anywhere” basis, so guests who miss the elaborate breakfast buffet never go hungry.
So where can you find all this? On the largest island in the Gulf of Thailand, located at the southern tip of Vietnam facing the Cambodian coast. There are daily 50-minute flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc, and Fusion Resort is on a wide white-sand beach, 45 minutes north of the international airport, while most of the international hotels have been developed further south.
The Pezca Restaurant is an informal oceanside restaurant that serves seafood.
The thatched garden-, ocean- and river-view villas are scattered around grounds that have matured beautifully in the year since the resort opened. To boot, 30 new villas along the river were added in November. They start with the one-bedroom level on 1,378 square feet, with open-plan bedrooms and bathrooms, twin hand basins, monsoon showers and the sunken wooden bathtubs that are a feature throughout.
The uncluttered décor is similar in all villas, with large picture windows opening onto the pool deck and the gardens that come in all shapes and sizes, the larger ones wrapping around the villas. Surrounded by slanting grassy embankments for total seclusion, the pool decks have dining tables and chairs and two swinging couches, and there are twin wooden loungers on the grass.
There are also two- and three-bedroom villas with ocean, river and garden views, and operations manager Mauricio Pacheco ([email protected]; 011-84-907-852-282) recommends booking as far out as six months ahead to get the best choice of accommodation.
The Maia Spa has an outdoor pool, plus indoor and outdoor yoga areas.
The oceanfront Grand Beach Villa, totaling 7,395 square feet, is the largest accommodation of its kind on the island and has five bedrooms, en-suite bathrooms, spacious indoor and outdoor lounging and dining areas, and a pool that would do a small hotel proud. Good to know: Ten of the one- and two-bedroom villas — six with river views and four with ocean views — connect to provide ideal solutions for families.
On our arrival, we were greeted by our Fusionista Nguyen Tuan Truong, one from the team of extremely charming and knowledgeable young people who do everything the best butlers and concierges do, and are led by Yana Chulochnikova ([email protected]). The Fusionistas are on hand 24/7, and Truong sat down with us to plan our stay and book our spa treatments which, he said, is best done on arrival, especially in the high season from December to May.
The Maia Spa has 27 treatment rooms, with a menu that has a wide selection of massages, scrubs, wraps and beauty treatments, and each guest is guaranteed at least two one-hour treatments per day. In the shoulder and low seasons there seems to be no limit, and we actually did four in one day, which was the height of luxury pampering. The spa also has an adults-only pool, steam and sauna rooms and a fitness center.
One of Phu Quoc’s most famous exports is pepper — the other is fish sauce — and the spa’s Pepperation Programme is the essence of this property, as guests can prepare their own pepper oil, picking the green peppercorns in the spa’s orchard and then grinding them.
The nail room.
No, the pepper scrub does not sting — it is blended with turmeric, rice and ginger powders and soothing coconut oil, and as it is an antioxidant it has anti-ageing benefits. Spa manager Le Thi Van ([email protected] and [email protected]) also suggests the Living Pepper Massage, which includes a meditation session. Top Tip: Booking confirmations are always accompanied by a spa booking link, so urge your clients to choose and secure their treatments this way.
There is a Mini Maia Kids Club, and we hear tennis courts will be added next year. Mauricio told us that guests take forest hikes and mountain bike excursions and that, off-site, it is possible to go scuba diving. All these activities are seamlessly organized by the Fusionistas who also facilitate guests who want to play golf at the 27-hole Vinpearl Club, which is just four miles away.
Other attractions on the island include its largest town, Duong Dong, a lively fishing port 40 minutes from the resort. There is a morning fish market and, in the evening, the food stalls and restaurants around the harbour serve barbequed lobsters, tiger prawns, squid and other local fish. This is also a good place to buy Phu Quoc pepper, which makes an attractive souvenir. The world’s longest nonstop cable car ride is at the southern tip of the island. The five-mile ride to Pineapple Island takes 15 minutes and affords great views over coral reefs, pristine waters and fishing villages.
The Ocean-View Pool Villas have private outdoor pool and terrace, and indoor and outdoor lounging and dining areas.
Fusion’s main circular turquoise pool shimmers in front of the turquoise ocean next to the Soul Kitchen, which does great cocktails, pizzas and snacks. In the Pezca Restaurant, Mauricio and outgoing general manager Fernando Arroyo Fassio joined us for a seafood dinner. For starters, chef Mahdi Ghenam ([email protected]) prepared a wonderful Ecuadorian ceviche —Mauricio and Fernando both hail from Ecuador — with cooked prawns, red onions, lots of lime and a fragrant hint of cilantro. The grilled lobster that followed, served with melted butter, was cooked to perfection and chef Mahdi ended with his signature dessert: A luscious, fresh coconut ice cream.
The Secret Garden Restaurant in the heart of the resort does sumptuous breakfasts, has extensive à la carte lunch and dinner menus, and hosts a weekly mini Vietnamese Street Food Buffet Market. On Wednesdays, the management throws get-to-know-you cocktails at the Beach Bar and BBQ dinners can be set up in the villas or on the beach. Nice Touch: Breakfast “anytime, anywhere” means exactly what it says; no matter the time of day, guests can have a western or Vietnamese breakfast served anywhere in the resort.
Completing Fusion Resort Phu Quoc’s wellness philosophy, the sister Fusion Resorts in Cam Ranh and Da Nang are also all-spa inclusive and, in the Fusion Suites in Saigon’s central District 1, guests get a daily complimentary spa treatment.