WE ARE on our way to five-star luxury at the Novotel Phu Quoc Resort with our guide Kong who proudly informs us that our temporary home is "beyond your dreams!"
As we arrive at this contemporary property, on the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand, we are welcomed with a refreshing iced tea and the scent of lemongrass on a cold towel while we watch a traditional dance in front of a seriously inviting swimming pool. There isn’t a cloud in the sky, it’s 28 degrees and I’m officially in holiday mode.
General Manager Lee greets us and introduces his charming staff members, who take us by golf buggy to our beachfront bungalow. We travel past tennis courts, a second swimming pool with a bar, restaurants and a day spa as the ocean appears in view and continues as far as the eye can see. Kong wasn’t lying; this place is a dream.
I step off the buggy and walk through the front door of an exclusive, private bungalow fit for a king or, in this case, a Queen. There’s a luxurious bed, a bath, Nespresso coffee machine, an outdoor area with day beds and the best part; a private plunge pool that has my name written all over it.
I unpack, put on my swimmers and take my first dip in the plunge pool. After walking a mere 10 steps to the beach, my toes are in the softest sand and I take a moment to sit and watch fishing boats pass by in the distance. I order a fresh coconut to enjoy before hopping on an ocean swing for the first obligatory Instagram shot of the trip.
With some balance in mind for this trip, I wake early to the soothing sound of the ocean. I plan to go for a swim but I am distracted by a yoga class, which is about to begin on the shoreline. After yoga and another frolic in the crystal clear ocean, I ride a bicycle up to the buffet breakfast of Vietnamese coffee [if you have a sweet tooth, this brew is for you!), fresh fruit, freshly made omelettes plus a traditional breakfast of congee, dumplings and rice.
After visiting a local fishing village, where I pick out my very own pair of locally grown pearl earrings, and eating my way through the night market, I return to my villa and slip on my robe and slippers. The biggest decision to make right now is whether I should go to the spa or for a swim before breakfast tomorrow. What a dilemma.