Best Ever Marriott Redemption? JW Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort and Spa

If you haven’t been to Vietnam yet, put it on your list! Beautiful country, wonderful people, amazing food and so much history and culture. Vietnam is also very affordable. It is also home to my absolute favorite worldwide Marriott property for point redemption value: the J.W. Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay.

My husband and I went there in March and we both loved the resort, perched on a tiny island in the Gulf of Thailand. This five-star hotel is perhaps the best value in the entire Marriott Rewards portfolio at 35,000 points per night

Getting There

You can get to Phu Quoc from many places in Asia, including Bangkok and all major Vietnamese cities. Inexpensive flights on low-cost airlines are plentiful and Phu Quoc airport is compact but very modern.

The resort is located on the southern tip of the island, the cab ride from the airport takes about 20 minutes. The hotel can arrange for a car to pick you up but we just took a cab for about 300,000 Vietnamese dong or $13.

JW Marriott Phu Quoc is about a 30 minute ride away from the main town of Duong Dong, where most of the other resorts are located. This is important because if you want to go to town, you’ll need to plan your trip a little bit ahead of time and take the travel time into account.

Check In

JW Marriott Phu Quock Resort Lobby.

JW Marriott Phu Quoc Resort Lobby.

When we arrived at the resort, we were greeted by a guest services representative and offered delicious cold drinks. They ushered us into what looked like a beautiful living room, definitely not your standard hotel lobby. No standing in like to check in at the counter at JW Marriott Phu Quoc!

The resort is designed as a mythical university, and no detail is too small. The theme is carried out with such precision, you really do feel like you stepped back in time into a beautiful and magical place.

The resort if fashioned after a mythical university.

The resort if fashioned after a mythical university.

Our Room

We didn’t have to wait long, the guest services representative took us in a golf cart to our room. My husband is Gold Elite with Marriott and I’ve contacted the resort ahead of time and requested an upgrade. We were given a beautiful ocean view room, just steps away from the beach and the family pools. Our room was on the ground floor so we had a big patio with a grassy area in front.

Our room At JW Marriott Phu Quoc

Our room At JW Marriott Phu Quoc

I had also let the hotel know that we were there to celebrate our wedding anniversary and they offered to make us an anniversary cake. I had to let the resort know that I am gluten free and they were happy to accommodate. The service at the resort is incredible, and this is just one example of the exceptional service we received there.

Our gluten free anniversary cake

Our gluten free anniversary cake

Our gluten free anniversary cake

Goodies we got for our anniversary.

What can I tell you about the room? In one word, incredible. I’ve never seen anything like that, the décor is truly unique, like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Our room had an enormous bathroom and a separate half bath with a toilet and a sink.

The room was not huge but the bathroom was almost as big as the room itself! Double vanities, huge walk-in shower, all done in beautiful marble.

Bathroom in our room at JW Marriott Phu Quoc

Bathroom in our room at JW Marriott Phu Quoc

Marble everywhere | JW Marriott Phu Quoc

Marble everywhere.

One of the sinks in our beautiful bathroom | JW Marriott Phu Quoc

One of the sinks in our beautiful bathroom.

"<yoastmark

Each building is named after a university department, we stayed at the Department of Zoology.

Our building. No detail is too small.

Our building. No detail is too small.

Beach

Before my trip I’d read a lot of conflicting things about the beach and the water in the Gulf of Thailand. Being able to swim and to enjoy the beach are two most important factors I consider when deciding on a beach destination. Some articles said there’s a lot of trash in the water and it washes up ashore, depending on the current. Some reviews said the water was crystal clear and the beach is pristine. I decided to take a chance and I was not disappointed!

Perfect beach for swimming.

Perfect beach for swimming.

The grounds crew are the unsung heroes of JW Marriott Phu Quoc. They are on the beach day and night cleaning and picking up an occasional piece of seaweed that washes up ashore. And yes, I’ve seen an occasional plastic bag in the water but the water was crystal clear and calm. The water does look green, the name Emerald Bay is very apt.

The beach is not huge, but very picturesque. It looks exactly how you imagine a beach in Southeast Asia would. The beach never felt crowded, there’s plenty of shade and beach chairs for everyone.

"<yoastmark

Right now, JW Marriott is the only resort there, however, there’s a big new hotel and condo development going up on the other side of the beach. If you’ve been considering this place, go now before the crowds arrive and spoil the impression that you have the island all to yourself.

We were there at the beginning of March, there was barely any wind or surf and I’ve spend hours enjoying warm, calm water of Emerald Bay. At night, the low tide comes in and the water recedes pretty far. It was a lot of fun looking for starfish and other sea creatures buried in the sand during low tide.

Beach at low tide.

Beach at low tide.

To sum up, my fears were unfounded and we enjoyed the beach and the water a lot!

Food

Because the rest of the resort is so fabulous, I expected the food to be fabulous too. The price of the food at the resort is definitely more Western than Vietnamese. I can’t say that the food was bad but it wasn’t very special.

The breakfast buffet was very nice, lots of Asian and Western choices, and there’s even ice cream! When we stayed there, Gold Elites got free breakfast, but right after we left, the resort changed its policy. Now you need to be Marriott Platinum Elite to receive free breakfast. The cash price is about $17/person, so take that into account, especially if you are traveling with your family.

The new Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card comes with $300 Marriott statement credit, so that should help offset the cost of food.

We ate at Tempus Fugit, the resort’s main restaurant and Red Rum, the beachside grill. Both were OK, but not remarkable. We enjoyed little snacks and ice cream at French & Co Deli, a beautiful French café style pastry shop.

The French Cafe

The French Cafe

 

Delectable sweets.

Delectable sweets.

There’s also Pink Pearl, a Thai restaurant.

The Pink Pearl

The Pink Pearl

The resort is big, but there are only 234 rooms, so the bars and restaurants always looked half empty.

The Resort

The Main Street

The Main Street

Shops on Main Street

Shops on Main Street

The whimsical décor throughout the resort is what makes it really special. The “main street” is beautifully lit at night with Hoi An-style lanterns. A side note – if you go to Vietnam, you absolutely have to go to Hoi An, a little gem of a town and UNESCO World Heritage site.

Hoi An style lanterns

Hoi An style lanterns

There’s a gym, but after stopping by a couple times I had never seen anyone inside. I guess everybody was outside enjoying the beautiful weather.

There are three pools, the main seashell-shaped pool is adults only and it was never crowded or loud. There is also a family pool and another pool on the other side of the resort. For some reasons, there was never anyone there so if you want to swim laps, it is perfect for that, you won’t be disturbing anyone.

There’s no nightlife to speak of, although there’s a bar where they have a band for a couple of hours each night, but this resort is very quiet and relaxing.

The Department of Chemistry AKA the bar

The Department of Chemistry AKA the bar

It is important to know that the resort is pretty isolated from the rest of the island. You can’t just scoot over to town for lunch, everything is at least a 20-30 minute cab ride away. The resort has a shuttle that goes to the main town of Duong Dong every night. It departs from the resort at 6 p.m. and picks you up in town at 9 p.m. The shuttle costs about $4, cheaper than a taxi. Lots of people go to town to eat at the night market or its many restaurants, but we only went once and spent the rest of the time exclusively at the resort.

#nofilter | I took this picture on our last day there. I was really sad to leave this magical place.

I took this picture on our last day there. I was really sad to leave this magical place  #nofilter

How to Book?

JW Marriott Phu Quoc is a category 5 hotel. Right now, you can book it for 35,000 points/night. Starting in 2019, you will need between 30,000 to 40,000 points/night depending on the season.

This would make the price per night even more affordable, making this place even better value. The cash price fluctuates between $300 in low season to $600 in high season, so if you’ve been on the fence about this property, book it now. I predict Marriott will make it a category 6 property soon.

You can earn Marriott points by opening Chase Marriott Premier Rewards personal and business cards. Click here to learn more

American Express Starwood Preferred Guest personal and business credit cards and Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Card also earn Marriott points.

Final Thoughts

Both my husband and I loved our time at JW Marriott Phu Quoc. The beach was fantastic, the rooms were incredible, the service impeccable. The only downside was the food. It was quite expensive but not very special. We didn’t mind that the resort was so isolated, we enjoyed the quiet time. I think at 35,000 per night it’s an incredible value, especially if you take advantage of the fifth night free five nights. Just be aware that the food is pricey, and there’s no easy way to get to other places to eat.

I highly recommend this place, the resort is whimsical and beautiful and the natural setting is private, clean and highly unique.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. I have to concur. My wife and I spend up to two months a year in her birth Country, Viet Nam. We’ve been to the JW Marriott Emerald Bay Resort twice, both times on 7-night hotel and air packages. Charging for the evening shuttle to town must be new, as we weren’t charged during our last stay in February.

    We also took a cable car ride on the recently opened Hon Thom cable car. It’s a spectacular ride across the archipelago and a must do IMO. A while back, I read something about a St. Regis being built on Hon Thom island, which makes sense because it would be fairly well isolated. If it doesn’t happen, it wouldn’t be the first time Marriott planned a hotel in Viet Nam that never got built. Lots of politics, corruption and tea money involved. It’s well worth a week’s stay here, even if you have to pay $4 for 30-minute shuttle ride into town, where there are some great restaurants. The ocean water is near bath temperature but so nice you can stay in all day! Best months to visit, Feb, Mar, April IMO.

  2. I stayed at this resort for 8 nights in April and while I fully agree the hotel grounds and rooms are stunning, I cannot in good conscience recommend visiting this resort or to Phu Quoc in general due to the rampant disregard for the environment. I have read numerous reports that there is no sewage treatment facility on the island and hotels are simply pumping out sewage into the ocean. Furthermore, if you stroll along the beach just beyond the boundary of resort, you will see so much garbage that you could easily mistake it for a landfill. It is not only disgusting but incredibly sad. The resort staff do a good job of cleaning up the garbage every morning right in front of the resort and constantly throughout the day but I still came across a lot of trash will swimming. I will not be returning to Phu Quoc until the government takes action to protect the environment.

    • I think it is, especially if you are getting 5th night free, but it’s a matter of personal taste and preference. The resort is so beautiful and so unusual and whimsical, we loved it. Oh and the beach is incredible, they work so hard to keep it clean.

    • @ Ryan, +1
      Much better redemptions in Vietnam considering the high price of this hotel in an inexpensive destination like Vietnam. Much better values to be had.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.