Many have likened a visit to JW Marriott Phu Quoc as a trip to a magical Alice in Wonderland experience with its candy coloured facades and quirky yet opulent décor. We were fascinated by it and were so happy to be able to take a trip down the rabbit hole and experience this wonderland for ourselves.
Just like Alice in Wonderland, the JW Marriott has a magical story that comes along with it. As the story goes somewhere between the late 1800’s and early 1940’s the Lamarck University was a thriving establishment filled with the children of colonial French residents and wealthy locals. When WW2 broke out in 1940 the university was abandoned and stood still like a time capsule. Over the coming years some of the buildings were reclaimed by the elements and the rest fell into disrepair. Fast forward to today and the university has been fully restored back to its former glory after Sungroup saw what it could be and commissioned the world famous architect Bill Bensley to give it his signature touch. Now it stands proud as the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay.
Touching down at the airport you are greeted by the hotel’s driver at arrivals and are whisked away by private car to the resort. You are greeted by the hotel’s majestic and grand Ridgeback mascots as you pass through the gates, immediately transporting you to another place, somewhere truly special.
Each beautiful building is a different department of the former university. We were lucky enough to spend our stay in the ‘Department of Botanique’ with the Le Jardin suite filled with artworks of botanical variety, elegant furnishings and a private garden. A short walk from the suite through the tropical gardens you are welcomed with sight of the whitest sand and turquoise clear waters.
Wandering through the grounds of the campus it’s easy to get lost as you discover everything there is to see. But after all that exploring, you are bound to work up an appetite and the array of restaurants has you covered. Tempus Fugit located in the Department of Architecture serves up some of the best Vietnamese, Japanese and Western fare, Red Rum located next to the famous shell pool and overlooking the sea offers up grilled seafood’s, BBQ meats, wood fired pizzas and pasta, or French and Co. for signature pastries, cakes and coffee. But if you’re looking to fancy it up, a night at the Pink Pearl Restaurant is something that has to be experienced and there is no wonder it has been awarded one of Asia Pacific’s best restaurants. After you have done eating, a short stroll over to the Department of Chemistry Bar will also not disappoint, serving up some of the best cocktails and wines we have ever tried. There is nothing like finishing your night with live music, cocktail in hand and the sounds of waves lapping the shore. The JW Marriott Phu Quoc prides itself in exceptional customer satisfaction and service and we can truly attest to that – everyone made our stay one of, if not the most memorable we have ever experienced. Phu Quoc Island is called the pearl of Vietnam, but the JW Marriott really is Phu Quoc’s hidden pearl.