Firstly massive apologies for the delay in continuing my Vietnam series. Life (READ: work) got in the way. Now then, where were we? Ah, yes, Pho Quoc….
Pronounced “foo kwa” – it took me a while to get that right –is the up and coming island for many of Vietnam’s leaders and celebrities. It’s easy to understand why when you experience the naturally white beaches, sloping down into the warm ocean. It’s much more developed than Con Dao, with random English-named bars run by locals popping out as we drove down to The Shells Resort, our home for 5 days. Nestling 10 minutes away from the nearest town, it benefits from the tranquility that some of its competitors may not, which is definitely a good thing.
The Shells Resort is a new addition to the island and what an addition it is. As you arrive down the mud track, you’re greeted by freshly planted trees and bungalows that are currently under development, promising to take the resort to a whole other level.
As you turn the final bend, you’re greeted by the beautifully designed hotel with the reception area at it’s epicenter. The first thing to strike you is the glass backdrop, allowing you to look straight out across the ocean. As the team welcome you with fresh coconut at reception, you can’t help but feel you might have discovered a little bit of paradise.
Having excitedly dropped our bags off at our room and taken the obligatory smug Instagram shot, we headed down to the pool area to explore. The hotel benefits from a beautiful spa (where you receive a complimentary treatment each day), a vast pool area which is accompanied by sunken water lounge beds and cabanas…. oh and a swim up bar! Soft chillout plays from the hotel’s stereo system reminding you of those hazy blissful days in the North of Ibiza, but much nicer.
The rooms are super comfortable, all with panoramic views of the ocean – no bad views here! Girls, you’ll be pleased to hear they actually have awesome hairdryers too…. None of that puffing luke warm air onto your hair for 3 hours to end up looking like Monica from Friends… it’s the little things in life.
Every Friday evening sees a ticketed White Party sponsored by Taittinger at the hotel, so be sure to pack something lovely to show off your tan! Freshly caught local fish is delivered and barbecued in front of you along with a whole host of other yummy delights, all included with your ticket. No need for a mid-afternoon disco nap though – you’re on island time, so the party finishes just after 11. Does mean that if you have little ones, they won’t be kept awake, every cloud has a silver lining.
The breakfast buffet is second to none and the very reason I thought I’d be charged extra baggage for my love handles on the way home. The food was so delicious! The Flow Restaurant offers a wide variety of food, from traditional Vietnamese food (my fave) through to Steak and Lobster. Delish.
There are super cute sunken booths just outside of the restaurant, overlooking the pool, surrounded by shrubbery. Really special if you want to sip champagne under the stars. We did. A lot.
Whilst we were staying at the resort, they launched their beach cinema. Think comfy loungers, a massive screen with awesome audio and… wait for it… marshmallows to toast on an open fire on the beach. It truly was one of those pinch yourself moments.
There are a number of water sports available at the resort to keep you occupied if you find sunning yourself too much (or you want to lose your partner for an hour or so). We took one of the complimentary kayaks out and paddled a short distance to the nearest resort where there is a local bar… drinks are incredibly cheap (take some cash) – the family live there as well as working there, so don’t be surprised if you’re accompanied by random animals. I loved it.
The Shells Resort offers a much slower pace of life than much of the rest of Vietnam, which gives a lovely rest bite when you’re travelling between cities. It’s perfect for a 5-7 day stay if relaxation is what you’re after. The staff can’t do enough for you and really do make the hotel – it’s definitely somewhere that I’ll be visiting again.
The Shells Resort & Spa
Ganh Gio Beach, Dương Đông, tt. Dương Đông, Phú Quốc, tỉnh Kiên Giang, Vietnam
+ 84 77 3718 888