Review: JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa in Vietnam

Let me cut straight to the chase: to date, the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa is my favorite resort I’ve ever stayed in. Nearly everything about the resort is perfect, and the few things that aren’t, are really not a big deal (and also could be very easily fixed).

First, Two Small Negatives

Since there were so few negatives to the stay, let’s start with those. The resort is huge, and there’s no resort map in the rooms. We didn’t learn until the last day of our stay that there was a whole other pool that we hadn’t even discovered yet! We did check it out, and it wasn’t our favorite so it was okay, but a resort map would have been really awesome.

The undiscovered pool. You know things are good when this is your least favorite pool option.

The other negative is that while the resort offered cool classes (the whole resort is actually modeled after a mythical university named Lamarck University), the classes had very limited space and usually needed to be booked days in advance.

A face mask making class was one of the many options for furthering your education at Lamarck University.

Now for the Good Stuff

Other than those two very small negatives, I have nothing but great things to say about the JW Marriott Phu Quoc.

The Room

Even the base level rooms are huge. We were upgraded to a room with a better view and a balcony, but it was still the smallest size room on the property. It basically felt like a small studio apartment (sans kitchen). The bed was big, fluffy, and comfortable. If the rest of the resort hadn’t been so amazing, I might not have wanted to leave the room at all.

The Bathroom

Again, probably the best bathroom of any hotel I have ever stayed in. At first, we didn’t know for sure if we needed to draw the blinds in the bathroom in order to use it in privacy due to the large window, but the glass that goes through to the hallway was sufficiently blurred that we didn’t need to worry about it. I loved the large rain shower and I’m a huge sucker for baths (especially with amazing bath salts which were provided as an amenity). The bath amenities in general were some of the best I’ve ever been provided with at a hotel.

The Restaurants and Bars

There were a lot of different dining options at the resort. Prices were expensive for Vietnam, but reasonable for a resort. The Chemistry Bar was my favorite place to hang out – especially in the evening – and have a drink or two.  We also ordered room service and had some seafood at the other restaurant during our stay. The oysters, while expensive, were divine.

The Breakfast

There could be a whole post devoted just to the breakfast at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc. If you have Gold status or higher with Marriott, breakfast is included. In the week we were there, I didn’t even have a chance to try everything because it was just too much and too good. There were plenty of both Western and Vietnamese options, fresh fruit, sushi, and more! I could honestly go back just for the breakfast.

The Service

The service was very good. It’s not a small enough resort that all of the staff knows the name of each hotel guest, but the service was very good. My favorite part was that I got a cake for my birthday!

I was sick for a part of the stay (due to some street food I ate), and the hotel staff called to see if I was feeling better a couple of times, sent up ginger tea, and even sent me a get well soon cake (though I wasn’t quite in the mood to eat it).

Things to Do

There were plenty of things to do without even needing to leave the resort. Of course, you have all of the classes (assuming there’s space). In addition to the face mask making class, there were other fun ones like beer yoga, a couple of food preparation classes, mixology, and bike rides. There’s also a nightly shuttle to the night market in Phu Quoc, about 30 minutes away from the resort.  If organized classes aren’t really your thing, you could play pool or use surf boards, stand up paddle boards, and boogie boards for no additional cost. 

Of course, there’s also nothing wrong with just hanging out on one of the hammocks along the perfectly clean beach.

Or lounging at one of the beautiful pools.

The Cost

If you want to pay with cash, the JW Marriott Phu Quoc isn’t cheap. The least expensive room during the time we were there (early December) cost about $400 per night.  As of right now, this hotel is a Category 5 Marriott property, meaning that it costs 25,000 Marriott points per night to book — which is a killer deal! On March 6, 2018, Marriott is raising this hotel to a Category 6 property, so it will cost 30,000 points per night to book (honestly, still a great deal). This hotel can also be booked with Marriott Hotel + Air packages.

Final Throughts

I absolutely loved this hotel, and I’m seriously considering booking another stay before it goes up from a Category 5 to a Category 6. The main problem is, I don’t have solid plans to be back in Asia in 2018 or early 2019. However, I’ll gladly book another stay here someday even at Category 6 prices.

19 thoughts on “Review: JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa in Vietnam

  1. Tricia

    I agree. My husband and I stayed there in November and loved it. We still keep in contact with some of the lovely staff that we met while we were there.

    1. Caroline Lupini Post author

      It was hot, but not uncomfortable so (imo). I’d say that the highs were in the 90s and it did rain a little bit a couple of days.

  2. Vet&Banker

    The biggest issue I’ve heard is that the water at the resort isn’t good for swimming (too rough for snorkeling). Do you have any thoughts?

    1. Caroline Lupini Post author

      I agree that it wouldn’t be great for snorkeling. It is a little wavy and the churns up some of the sand so it’s not super clear. There is a good day snorkeling trip that you can go on from the nearby town, from what I hear, but I didn’t do it myself.

    1. Tuan

      Funny that I saw this post today! I just got back from a two day stay there and found that it didn’t live up to the hype. I visited during the tail end of Tet, Vietnamese New Year. Many of the stores and even some of the restaurants weren’t open because of the holiday.

      The physical product was very impressive. I received an upgraded room and had the same great bathroom. Unforunately, I found food options to be drab. The Asian options. minus the build your own banh mi, tended to be more Chinese, Japanese or Korean than Vietnamese. The outdoor seafood grill couldn’t compare to the other options on the island. The Chemistry Bar didn’t offer any food options during Happy Hour, but we could order room service while having a drink. (This could be because of Tet.)

      While the spa menu is extensive and very cheap to Western standards, I found my masseuse slightly lacking skill wise. The spa also has glass walls (covered by curtains) and also has zero sound proofing. I could hear the organized soccer game for two hours while I was getting my treatment.

      I suggest getting out of the resort to see Phu Quoc. Taxis can be rented for roughly $15 for 4 hours.

      I would stay there again, but I would temper my expectations.

      @ramzi – Easiest point redemption would be Delta SkyMiles or Flying Blue for the 30 minute from SGN to PCQ on Vietnam Airlines. I wouldn’t recommend using points because walkup fares on VietAir or JetStar are only $50 to $60 USD.

      1. Caroline Lupini Post author

        Tuan, always good to hear someone with a different experience! I agree that the food was better & cheaper out of the resort, but found that food options there to be reasonably good. The Chemistry Bar did have some snacks during happy hour when we were there.

      2. MommaTraveler

        I had a very similar experience to you, Tuan.

        I thought the resort itself was phenomenal and very well executed. The concept of being a University was awesome and the buildings and decor were out of this world. So well done. In some ways, though, it seemed a little “Disney-esque” because it was so perfectly executed!

        My biggest disappointment was the food. It was very ‘blah’ for such a fantastic resort. The breakfasts were fantastic in terms of being such a wide selection of food, but the evening meals seemed boring and dull. Fortunately, there are lots of restaurants to visit outside of the resort.

        This is, however, my only criticism of the resort. Everything else was completely fantastic. I took advantage of using some category 1-5 certificates and it was a perfect use of those. But, I traveled there on my own and wish I could have taken my husband and daughter. They would have loved it.

        I suspect I will re-visit at some point in the future!

  3. Christian

    Was there a club lounge, and if so, how was it? Also, it looks in the picture like the shower was not enclosed. If this is correct, did water go everywhere? TIA.

    1. Caroline Lupini Post author

      No club lounge, unfortunately, but breakfast is included in the restaurant for Gold and Plat elites. The shower wasn’t enclosed, but the shower area is absolutely massive, so water didn’t get out of the shower area.

  4. Christine Hall

    Great review, Caroline. I had a blast there and it is my favorite resort ever, too. I want to go back! My favorite thing was the world-class breakfast. Wow! (I was a big fan of the French toast.) I sat there for nearly two hours every morning, enjoying Vietnamese coffee, the food, the view, and the ambiance. I can’t speak to the other restaurants because I was so full from breakfast I skipped lunch every day. That bathroom and massive shower were just amazing. It felt like I was taking a shower outdoors. I completely missed the other pool. Where was it? I would gladly pay 30,000 points/night to go back.

    I was so impressed with the architect, Bill Bensley, that I’m heading to another of his properties this weekend–InterContinental Hotels Danang Sun Peninsula Resort. I can’t get enough of him.

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