A POSTCARD OF PERFECTION FROM SALINDA RESORT PHU QUOC ISLAND
A review from ms Moly Headley – writer from Citipass Guide
The entrance to Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island hints at the luxury to be found within: soaring ceilings combine with soul-soothing Asian design, spectacular ocean views and world-class cuisine.
As our bags are whisked away by the friendly staff we are led to the High Note Bar and Lounge where the welcome drink awaits: four small glasses placed in harmony on a wooden tray. We’re told that the colours and the flavours of the cold teas (leaf green matcha, red hibiscus, cloudy ginger and yellow lemongrass) represent the four elements of earth, wind, fire and water. This is the first hint of the zen retreat that Salinda has in store for us during our stay.
It’s the Little Extras that Make Life Sweet at Salinda Resort
Our Premium Deluxe room opens up to a panoramic ocean view that we can enjoy from our private balcony. But, to be honest, the thing I want to do most is to kick off my shoes and fall backwards into the massive king bed that is dressed with luxe bedding and down pillows. The bed is large enough to fit two adults and two small children while maintaining sufficient space to avoid elbow and knee bumps in the night.
My children jump on the small tray of treats that has been left for us by room service. A card accompanying the sweets explains that they relate to the three cuisine types available at the resort. Carrot Halva, a confection made from sesame seeds and sugar, is inspired by Namaste Indian restaurant, the Salinda resort’s top fine-dining choice. Italian biscotti comes from Casa Italiana restaurant, where the Italian frescos on the walls and moody lighting evoke a vacation in Palermo rather than Phu Quoc. Finally, the passion fruit gelees and Simberry filled truffles (a rose myrtle speciality from the island) from Salinda Restaurant, centre our world-travelling palates back in Vietnam. Two coffees made with our in-room Nespresso machine complete the mini-snack perfectly.
Culinary Pleasures at Salinda Resort and Spa Phu Quoc Island
Days here are meant to be passed in the pursuit of pleasure. Thirty minutes after arriving, we’re already in our swimming suits and lounging by the pool. The 420 metres of water blend seamlessly into the environment replete with palm trees and ocean breezes. The children jump into the shallow kid’s pool while friendly staff hurry over to place fluffy towels on our sun loungers. The water itself is an experience to remember. Filtered by salt and activated carbon rather than harsh chemicals, the water feels calming to the skin and contributes to the sense of utter relaxation we’d experienced since arriving.
A private golden beach is within view, but, before any sand castle competitions begin, we decide to take advantage of the “lounge-service” option. We raise the small flag attached to the table next to our sun-loungers and a waiter hurries over. Coconut milkshakes and club sandwiches are ordered for delivery from Cyan by the Pool beach bar and restaurant as we lean back, pop our sunglasses down onto our noses and get serious about relaxation.
Fine Dining at Salinda Resort
Swim-satisfied and sun-satiated, we struggle to choose between the three world-class restaurants for dinner. Salinda Restaurant creates a magical atmosphere with its stunning display of Hoi An lanterns that mimic the glow of the setting sun. The restaurant has a selection of Vietnamese favourites, and grilled meats and seafood. A live band keeps the mood light-hearted.
Next door al fresco seating on the terrace of Namaste India restaurant is set with candles and jewel-toned linens. This is Salinda Resort’s finest dining option with Chef Liladhar taking guests on an epicurean journey into India’s spice markets and regional delicacies.
Both options look appealing but we’re finally wooed by the pizza and pasta options at Casa Italiana. The restaurant seems to come straight out of old Italy with its Roman frescos on the walls and Tuscan colour scheme.
After filling our stomachs with perfectly cooked four-cheese pizzas and a few glasses of Chianti, we return to our room where our children are overjoyed to find two little stuffed animals in the shape of the island’s signature breed of dog: the Phu Quoc Ridgeback. They fall asleep cuddling the puppies and we count the day as time well lived.
What Very Well Might Be the Best Breakfast on Phu Quoc Island
In the morning, we’re ready to experience the Salinda breakfast. If you’re anything like us, breakfast can make or break a vacation. Nothing gets the day started off wrong than an unappetising selection of cold cuts, unripe fruits and boiled coffee.
Luckily, Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island has taken it upon themselves to utterly wow us.
Chilled glasses of sparkling wine are offered as we enter the breakfast room at Salinda Restaurant. It’s 8 am but we decide “Why not?” It’s vacation after all!
The children are brought babycinos, which are the kid-friendly version of a cappuccino made with chocolate and topped with fluffy foam. “This place has it all”, says our oldest son. The youngest already has a milk moustache from his face-first dive into his chocolate milk.
The breakfast is stocked with everything you might imagine that you would like to eat, while not being excessive. Rather than creating a mile-long buffet of OK options, Salinda showcases an impressive selection of dishes made with love and expertise. Some standouts include made-to-order crepes, pancakes and waffles with homemade jams, maple syrup or honey that drips right off the honeycomb. There is creamy bread and butter pudding and a tower of muffins of all flavours as well as freshly pressed juices for a healthy start to the day.
Asian options, such as freshly prepared sushi, made-to-order pho and fried rice are available as well as salads, cheeses and a selection of freshly sliced hams. Eggs can be prepared in any style and brought directly to the table.
Whether you hail from Asia, America, France, Scandinavia or anywhere on Earth, you will find something to satisfy your breakfast cravings, and all will be right with your world.
I drop my kids at the complimentary Kid’s Club after breakfast so that I can try out the resort’s signature “Pearl Massage”. While the little ones create sand art masterpieces with onsite nannies, I head through the Mango Garden to the lush spa, which is decked out in warm wood and Thai decor. Treatments are created to harmonise the body with the wellness secrets of Thai healers.
I’m told that the pearl massage is ideal for my “water element”, but what matters most to me is that the therapist works out all the tension in my muscles, while the pearl oil makes my skin feel soft and radiant.
This is island life at its most magical.
Some of Phu Quoc’s Finest Eco Initiatives
Salinda has been bestowed an impressive amount of awards for everything ranging from “Best Luxury Boutique Resort” (2018 World Luxury Hotel Awards) to “Top 5 Luxury Hotel in Vietnam” (TripAdvisor) to winner of “Southeast Asia’s Best Relaxation Retreat” (2018 Boutique Hotel Awards), and we can see why. Every detail is taken into account by the competent staff. Things that have frustrated us at other resorts, like an overuse of plastic and overpriced water, are gently taken care of without a lot of fanfare at Salinda.
We’re impressed by the eco-friendly initiatives that seem to be perfectly built into the zen beach garden concept of the resort. Room amenities are contained in recycled bags, while the lemongrass and mint soap and shampoo are presented in sleek lacquer containers that can be refilled. All paper products in the room have been replaced with on-screen menus or recycled paper options. Even small items that we forget are contributing to the plastic problem have been redesigned, such as complimentary pens that are made out of recycled cardboard and contain a seed in the cap that can be planted when we return back home. Combs and razors are carved out of wood rather than plastic. In addition, the grounds are treated for mosquitoes with a herbal fumigation system rather than the typical harsh chemicals.
One of our favourite eco-additions is that we can order a carafe of purified water, beautified and flavoured with slices of citrus and mint, anywhere in the resort. Acqua Panna glass bottles are also available for those who prefer, but we appreciate this low-tech perk.
Our Experience at Salinda Resort on Phu Quoc Island
Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island is filled with luxurious touches that make our stay a true 5-star experience. The resort impresses right from the start with its combination of spacious design and its boutique spirit. Perhaps because of the elevated ceilings and extensive gardens, Salinda Resort feels much bigger than the sum of its 121 luxury rooms, suites and villas. The resort is nestled in lush gardens that run all the way to the beachfront, where we’re treated to nightly sunsets.
Special extras delight our youngest travellers, and every parent knows that happy children equals happy parents. The outstanding hospitality and prime sunny location of this five-star boutique resort are just what was needed for this family of Saigon-weary travellers.