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Review: the new Regent Phu Quoc resort, Vietnam – our first look at IHG’s Regent brand

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This is our review of the brand new Regent Phu Quoc in Vietnam.

We don’t normally accept reader reviews of hotels. However, there are a few reasons why we wanted to run this:

  • we have never reviewed a Regent hotel before, and since IHG now owns this luxury brand it is about time we fixed that
Regent Vietnam review
  • Rob is due to stay at Regent Porto Montenegro next month, and the opportunity to cover two (ie 25%!) of the chain in one month was attractive
  • there is an extra reason to stay at Regent Hotels & Resorts in 2022 – until the end of the year, you can redeem your InterContinental Ambassador ‘free weekend night’ certificate at a Regent outside China, and you can use it on any day of the week

Where can you find Regent Hotels?

In March 2018, IHG acquired 51% of Regent Hotels & Resorts for $39m, ie peanuts.  For comparison, the refurbishment of InterContinental Park Lane a few years ago cost three times that.

The reasons it was so cheap is that Regent Hotels & Resorts only ran seven properties:

Montenegro is reportedly the best of the four, with the advantage of also being somewhere ‘different’ and of course having a fantastic location in the port. We’ll hopefully be able to run a review of this in early September.

Since buying it, IHG has opened just one new hotel which we are reviewing here – Regent Phu Quoc in Vietnam.

InterContinental Hong Kong will (re)brand to the Regent name once its refurbishment is complete.

Review: the new Regent Phu Quoc resort, Vietnam

Inside Regent Phu Quoc, Vietnam

With that introduction to Regent Hotels out of the way, let’s hand over to reader Tim:

“With my partner moving to Vietnam to work for a year or two, we’re taking the opportunity to visit different parts of the country when I visit him. In June we visited the island of Phu Quoc, staying in the newly opened Regent hotel.

Regent Hotels & Resorts is IHG’s newly acquired and expanding luxury brand, and I’d had an eye on staying in their hotel in Montenegro for a while. When I saw there was a brand spanking new hotel in Vietnam I couldn’t resist.

The hotel is still in ‘soft open’ mode, with a full opening in August. It was not running at full capacity but certainly was running at full service. I was assured that some works were still going on, but there was absolutely no impact or noise and I would never have known except for some pathways still being closed off.

Booking Regent Phu Quoc

The price point, for Vietnam, is fairly high, but was a steal on IHG points. For our three night stay rooms were 42,000 points per night, compared to about £300 for cash. I got over 0.71p per point compared to the HfP average valuation of 0.4p. Other nights were as low as 38,000 points, so at almost 0.8p it would be double the HfP estimate. Breakfast is also included as standard.

I had enough points for two of our three nights so I booked the first night through Emyr at Bon Vivant. This locked in $100 to spend during the stay and a room upgrade, although I was confident in an upgrade anyway with my Platinum Elite status.

Note that the hotel is exempt from honouring Ambassador benefits in their first year, although it was clear they recognised my IHG status and did upgrade accordingly.

Where is Regent Phu Quoc?

For those not in the know, Phu Quoc is an island off the southern coast of Vietnam, actually closer to Cambodia. It is is fast developing as a resort location ringed with beaches, competing with the likes of Koh Samui etc.

The flight from Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon if you prefer) took 45 minutes. I’d opted for us to be met by the resort’s Range Rover for a small additional charge, although it would have been very easy and cheap to use the Vietnamese version of Uber, called Grab, to get an air-conditioned ride for a couple of pounds.

We were met by a hotel representative who led us to the car and handed us over to the chauffeur who gave us chilled towels, and a 15 minute ride later we were arriving at the resort. The presence of a hotel representative at the airport was a nice touch, and actually turned out to be a godsend for our return trip. The amazing Sandra tenaciously negotiated with the airline desk for us to be moved to an earlier flight after a significant delay to our scheduled Vietjet return flight.

Like most of the resorts the hotel is on the west coast of the island, next to the established InterContinental hotel and under the same ownership as its IHG sibling.

The hotel has 2 main blocks of hotel rooms seamlessly linked at ground floor level. There are 176 ‘suites’ with a further 126 ‘villas’ between the main block and the beach.

Review: Regent Phu Quoc resort, Vietnam

First impressions were slick, with bags whisked from the car while we were settled on an airy sofa surrounded by infinity carp-filled pools, with an iced fruit tea in hand.

No standing at a check in desk here. While one person processed our IDs and credit card, the knowledgeable Andy was filling us in on the critical info about the resort before helping top up my Vietnamese phone account and then giving a tour of the facilities while our room was readied for an early check in.

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

Ocean View Suites at Regent Phu Quoc

I had booked the entry level room, the King Bed Ocean View Suite, in the main building. The rooms are spacious, with the promised ocean view and surprisingly good size terrace. Here is the bedroom:

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

…. and the bathroom:

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

You get a good view, albeit not too close to the ocean:

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

Garden View Suites at Regent Phu Quoc

With Virtuoso / Platinum Elite we were to be upgraded to a Garden View Suite, the standard ‘when available’ upgrade for IHG status members. This is in one of the villas towards the beach, and comes with an outdoor space and private plunge pool, although you sacrifice the view.

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

Here is the inside:

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

Here is the private plunge pool:

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

…. and a luxurious bath tub:

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

Terrace Pool Villas at Regent Phu Quoc

I had dared to scroll down the app when booking and spotted the Terrace Pool villa, which seemed a significant step up from the Garden View Suite. Having had such a deal using points, I was feeling flush and I was able to agree a cash upgrade.

A short golf buggy ride took us to the front door, where the suite was on the first floor, above two Garden View suites.

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

I may have ruined my hotel game for life. The suite was beautiful, with a huge living area, full kitchen, large marble bathroom and the game changer – a private pool running the length of the suite and accessible from the bedroom and living area.

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

As a welcome gift was a large bowl of exotic fruits, a half bottle of Louis Roederer champagne on ice, and three cakes. What really impressed was the details in the room, with books scattered about the tables, bottle openers and a cocktail making kit, and the kitchen was truly fully fitted. I noted that they would even stock it with groceries on request.

I definitely appreciated the free minibar of beers, soft drinks, snacks, sweets, which was restocked twice daily during housekeeping.

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

There was even a second minibar in the bedroom, so no chance to ever run short! They also provided a weblink to order the most comprehensive range of extras, from the usual ice and housekeeping to inflatable armbands or bikes to be delivered – at no cost of course.

The bathroom was spacious, with a free-standing bath and large shower, every amenity I could think of (pumice stone anyone? ginger or mint toothpaste today?) and well stocked with Jo Malone products. A choice of bath salts and candles around the room added to the romantic potential.

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

Finally I can’t overstate the joy of a private pool. Coming in from the sticky Vietnamese heat, the room was icy with air conditioning, and with a slide of the balcony door we could drop into the cool pool, which was long enough to get some lengths in too. I found myself swimming morning, noon and night. Pairs of loungers were at either end of the terrace, and towels replenished along with everything else, twice daily.

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

Pools at Regent Phu Quoc

Not that the resort was short of pools, there was another at the rooftop gym (with its complimentary fridge full of replenishing drinks and, er, Red Bull!) as well as a yoga room and terrace. Another is found on the rooftop ‘Fu Bar’.

A large infinity pool with a child area sits between the two sides of the villa complex, surrounded by loungers.

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

My favourite though was the beach-front pool, ideal for splashing around or a good solid swim (it seemed to be a full 50m wide!), and conveniently next to the ‘Ocean Club’ beach bar. It was an ideal place to catch the sunset with a cocktail, and even came with a shiny beachside Instagram-friendly “Regent” sign.

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

…. and the Ocean Club:

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

In the main building was also a lobby bar, where we had been plied with our fruit tea, and the rooftop Fu Bar, and Regent Club for those with access. I was rather surprised by the naming of the Fu Bar, which sounded quite edgy given my understanding of that term as an acronym, but on enquiring they were oblivious, with ‘fu’ being the Vietnamese for ‘wind’.

Fu Bar was another place to catch sunset views, of course with another infinity pool. As we were closer to the beach side of the resort we used the Ocean Club more, however it would be convenient for anyone staying in the main building. I can’t vouch for the offering at the Regent Club – the additional cost for a room with access seemed very steep, although the bar looked lovely.

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

Breakfast at Regent Phu Quoc

We had breakfast each morning at the ‘Rice Market’ restaurant, and it must be the largest spread I’ve experienced. There was a ‘to order’ menu of Vietnamese and Western options, as well as buffet for local and standard breakfast fare, including daily specials. There was a bakery:

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

…. salads and fruits:

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

…. and a healthy options bar. I had pho noodle soup one morning:

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

To use our $100 credit we also dined at Rice Market one evening, with a wide menu of Vietnamese and Chinese dishes, although the atmosphere was a little lacking as the resort is still quite quiet.

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

Later in the year, two more venues are promised. ‘Oku’ is a ‘Salon de Boeuf’ that will offer “contemporary Japanese French cuisine” and ‘Bar Jade’ promises to be a speakeasy style cocktail bar.

Resort facilities at Regent Phu Quoc

At some point we decided there must be more to life than eating, drinking and swimming, and we did explore more activities. The staff were happy to recommend a hiking trail which we enjoyed and provided great views of the island, although it was so very humid and therefore quite an effort on the way up! We also checked out a local night market and bars in the main town.

Sadly we didn’t make time for the very south of the island, where an 8km cable car (yes, 8km!) carries you across to smaller islands where there are other sights and a water park, and reef diving is meant to be good.

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

At the resort we were able to use the free watersports. We resolved to paddleboard but on seeing the afternoon wind we went safe and had a sea canoe session, under the watchful eye of the beachfront staff.

The beach area has everything you’d want from tropical paradise views, although we were perhaps spoiled by the resort being quiet empty. However I was surprised about the amount of rubbish in the sea, which was quite shocking given how pristine the beach was. Canoeing amongst plastic bags and other manmade rubbish was a shame and did undermine the image of the beach paradise.

Review: Regent Phu Quoc hotel resort, Vietnam

Conclusion

I was genuinely impressed by the bar set by the Regent. It was clear that the resort has been carefully designed and no expense spared in the design or detail, both in rooms and in the venues and services.

The staff were excellent, on brand and polite but also empowered and encouraged to show their personalities which made it a delight to chat to them and ask recommendations. The prices are high for Vietnam, but I can’t think of anywhere else worldwide I’ve seen this standard of service for the cost it was at Phu Quoc, and especially with the points redemption.

The inclusion of a free minibar in all rooms made expensive minibars in other hotels look shameful and redundant, and other free activities also meant you felt free to indulge without racking up costs. I imagine this would be even more liberating for those with a family. Above all else, I still miss my private swimming pool.”

How to book Regent Phu Quoc

Suites at the Regent Phu Quoc start at $359 per night or 48,000 points for a midweek stay in September. You can find out more, and book on the IHG website here.

If paying cash, you may find it better value to book via Emyr, our luxury travel agent partner, as Tim did.

Since 2017 we have partnered with Emyr Thomas who runs Bon Vivant, a London-based luxury travel agent. He works with Regent (amongst other luxury brands) as a Preferred Partner and is able to guarantee a range of additional benefits when you book through him, including:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Breakfast for two daily for duration of the stay
  • $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit once per stay
  • 2pm check out

You pay on departure as usual.  You can contact Emyr via our online form here.

Our partnership with Emyr has been going for five years now and you will regularly see readers praising his service in the comments. It is well worth dropping him a note if you have any high-end hotel stays planned.


IHG One Rewards update – August 2022:

Get bonus points: IHG One Rewards is offering bonus base points on all cash stays between 18th May and 31st August.  You earn double points on your 2nd to 5th nights, triple points on your 6th to 14th nights and quadruple base points from your 15th night. Our full article is here. Click here to register.

New to IHG One Rewards?  Read our overview of IHG One Rewards here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on ‘What are IHG One Rewards points worth?’ is here.

Buy points: If you need additional IHG One Rewards points, you can buy them here.

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from IHG and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

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