I had a mad longing to return to Phu Quoc – such an undiscovered gem of an island, a mere hour’s flight from Ho Chi Minh City in the Gulf of Thailand. While the Easter break provided the perfect opportunity for a return trip, the last minute nature of our decision meant a particularly creative flight itinerary and a mere six nights on this Vietnamese island we fondly reminisced about frequently. Our go-to resort La Veranda (part of Accor’s MGallery collection) was a choice we felt deserving of a second chance. The last time we stayed here during Christmas 2013, I provided extensive commentary about our experience, therefore I won’t be providing too detailed a write up. All I can say is, what a difference a year makes.

Similar to our last visit, we were met at the airport by the resort team, offering cold towels and a warm welcome. This time we were staying in Villa 305, directly on the beach and well worth the extra spend. Something as simple as having direct access to the warm sands makes such a difference that pretty much all our prior criticisms over the guest rooms were forgiven. Overall, La Veranda continues to be utterly charming, the grounds are wonderfully lush, well kept and many of the same staff from our last visit rallied around guests in an effort to make their stay an enjoyable one. Ian on the guest relations team deserves a special mention, making sure our visit this second time around was enhanced and personable. And we were delighted to find the other Mr. Highlife’s favourite evening ritual of watching staff go from balcony to balcony lighting the little gas lamps remained intact.

We were saddened to see the toll mother nature had taken on the eroded beachfront (especially towards Davey’s), but I was assured by the GM that this was part of the ebb and flow of the tide, which would re-deposit fresh sands during the upcoming rainy season. The one area we found La Veranda still has some room for improvement is with their formal restaurant. While breakfast and the beachfront casual dining outlet continues to deliver great quality, the evening meals were a bit of a letdown.

The Verdict
The makings of a tropical island paradise are still intact. We’d love to return again in the future and hope the La Veranda team continues to maintain the special qualities, service ethos and charm of this noteworthy resort.

Hotel – 10/10
Experience – 8/10

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