For those who want to stay active on Phu Quoc, there’s plenty to do. In addition to the well-equipped fitness centre, trek mountain bikes are available for those wishing to explore.
If you’re not the cycling type, reception can easily arrange a taxi for the day to venture to nearby pepper farms and secluded beaches. Duong Dong, the main town, dotted with fish markets and souvenir shops, is around an hour’s walk away.
The nearby family run May restaurant is worth a visit if local seafood is on your radar. But during the heat of the day, it is the 30-metre infinity pool at Salinda that is the star attraction.
Honeymooners, as well as families with children, while the day away, choosing to swim, read, or just enjoy the cocktails on offer from the wide menu at the poolside bar.
For a sit-down dinner, we headed to Salinda’s restaurant, located on the ground floor. With floor to ceiling windows, the light and airy space has views over the lush tropical gardens and pool.
Home to the largest wine cellar in Phu Quoc, the cuisine on offer is Vietnamese, Indian, and International. I’m a little disappointed to hear that the second restaurant, Casa Italiana, is closed for the low season, but I soon discover on questioning that the full menu is available to us in the main restaurant.
I don’t usually stray from local cuisine as a rule, but when our host tells us that Chef Frederico from Veneto in Northern Italy is on site to prepare our pasta, it is an opportunity too good to miss. So it is here, on an island in Vietnam that I encounter some of the best handmade pasta I have sampled to date: ravioli stuffed with roasted pumpkin, sautéed scallops and parmesan foam. Washed down with prosecco and a scoop of lemon sorbet’.
Breakfast is superb at Salinda, after a couple of days you learn not to overindulge the night before, saving some space for the morning’s banquet. After being greeted by the sound of the grand piano, we are chaperoned to our table and offered sparkling wine (at 8.34 in the morning). A late night prosecco is still in my memory, so I politely decline and opt for the espresso instead. The buffet is an astounding display of local fruits, muesli, juices, Vietnamese Pho’, pastries, cheese and salads.
A rainy afternoon forces us to finish our stay at Salinda with a treatment at Salinda Spa, which is run by experienced Thai massage therapists. The menu is extensive, offering a range of therapies from hot stone to herbal compresses. I opt for my favourite, the basic Thai massage; a release of pressure points combined with stretching.
I’m left extremely satisfied with the overall quality, rivalling the high standards of hospitality I experienced on the Thai islands ten years ago.
In a resort this big, it can be easy to feel forgotten. But with more than 300 staff for the 120 rooms, the service remained personable throughout our stay. With warm and open with smiles all around, it was hard to say goodbye.
To sum up, this a five-star hotel without the fuss, but has all the trimmings needed for a luxury island break for families and couples alike.
Salinda Resort Phu Quoc – Where and How?
Salinda Resort Phu Quoc is located at Cua Lap Hamlet, Duong To Commune, Phu Quoc Island, Kieng Giand Province, Vietnam. For more information, visit www.salindaresort.com
By Ashleigh Mills
Photography credit: Salinda Phu Quoc