A Lasting Impression

Regent Phu Quoc is the new kid on the block along Vietnam’s westernmost island coast and it’s the perfect spot for a weekend getaway - and then some.

Here’s what many of us have been missing: Frolicking in the sun, sand, and sea, facing the Gulf of Thailand while in the plush confines of Vietnam’s newest island resort — Regent Phu Quoc. Fresh from its soft opening in April this year, the Vietnamese destination from the Regent Hotel & Resorts brand has set a new standard for luxury holiday-goers, starting with thoughtful design, a largely contributing factor that’s bagged themselves the accolade for “Asia’s Leading New Resort” at this year’s World Travel Awards.

It’s Pronounced “Foo Ku-op”

When BLINK Design Group was assigned to transform the barren land into Phu Quoc’s latest beautiful pocket, this was the goal: To create a luxury resort experience imbued with the soul and culture of Phu Quoc in an enviable location. Clint Nagata, founder and creative director said, “It was right in our wheelhouse in terms of delving into the art of placemaking; going very deep into the cultures, materials, and traditions of the vernacular before we even put pen to paper.” He shared that the greatest challenge was to materialize the design, and to make sure the grand plan fit, figuratively and literally.

Nagata explains that the approach the team took was to enhance Phú Quóc’s surrounding natural beauty, in other words, to use whatever was right in front of them. He said in a statement, “This is a country with strong local culture and traditional architectural heritage. One of the structural systems commonly found is the wooden truss system, known locally as the Bovi. We have abstracted that feature and developed it into subtle patterns that feature on screens, carpets, and accessories.”

Instances of Bovi architecture are evident. Guests have the shallow roofs and the wide spaces to thank for the generous daylight and cooling breeze that enter the expanse. Even the furniture bears the Bovi characteristic, such as exposed joints at the base of your villa’s dining table albeit for aesthetic purposes only.

Keeping it luxurious wasn’t the challenge as opposed to making it all look too perfect. “I had to get used to breaking the symmetry,” said Nagata. “Balance is introduced in the other elements, such as the vast spaces, the placement of water, and the use of colors.” Nagata gestured to the sheltered walkway leading into the foyer, flanked by the length of foliage and koi ponds. “In this case, I realized I don’t have to create a perfect duplicate for either side.”

A New Regent

In fact, asymmetry complements organic design, which works well for a resort like Regent Phu Quoc. The hotel sits along Phú Quóc’s coastal stretch that’s already home to major hotel chains and residences, such as InterContinental, Park Hyatt, and Pullman. But Regent’s presence is not just another addition to the island’s growing beachfront — it’s the debut of Regent Group’s rebranding (note the new typeface).

Taking over 11.2 hectares on Phu Quoc’s southwest, the new Regent resort boasts a private beach, six dining establishments including rooftop and oceanfront venues, a state-of-the-art spa, and suites and villas that total up to just over 300 keys. At the time of writing, the hotel is currently operating at fifty per cent capacity, which, if you’re after an idyllic getaway to Vietnam’s lesser-known locales, is ideal for a crowd-free weekend. The vast landscape allows you to explore as you please and makes it easy with the seamless connectivity between the buildings. The showstopper is undoubtedly the main swimming pool that takes over the central front and is a sight to behold with the elegant sheer drapes overhead. It is an excessive choice of functional design, considering each suite and villa come with private pools of their own. “These individual spaces create transition and different experiences within the same house,” said Nagata in a statement.

“Our spatial zoning presents a contemporary interpretation of Gian Nha (a Vietnamese vernacular in reference to the courtyard-like villas), blurring the boundaries of indoor and outdoor.”

It’s safe to say that the new Regent brand understands luxury, although that’s not saying that the hotel brand never knew it before. Regent’s new outlook is apt for a new generation of travel, especially since our confinement days during the pandemic. Leisure activities are in abundance, from the in-house speakeasy Bar Jade to the employment of the resort’s very own 12-person catamaran, Serenity, where guests can take a tour of the An Thoi Archipelago. Even the award-winning spa, The Spa (appointed the “World’s Best New Resort Spa” at the 2022 World Spa Awards) has its title duly deserved, with region-specific style of treatments (one of which involves a satisfying heated sand bath) in BLINK-styled spaces.

Admittedly, the pictures do well in capturing the resort’s beauty. But the Phu Quoc experience? You’ll have to try that out for yourself.

Gourmet Traveller