Unique venues are still a must-have, according to AMEX’s 2019 Global Meetings and Events Forecast. The same report says that with rising costs, marketers and event organisers are looking beyond obvious locations – Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore – to second-tier countries, including Vietnam.
Phu Quoc, a 28-island Vietnamese archipelago off the Gulf of Thailand, is primed for this development.
Home to an abundance of forests and beaches, Phu Quoc isn’t an obvious choice for events, but the special economic zone is fast becoming an emerging MICE destination. The government has a visa-free policy for the region, and Phu Quoc International Airport is well-connected.
JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay, the first international luxury hotel to open on Phu Quoc Island in 2017, is an attractive proposal for events, big or small.
A 15-minute drive from the airport, the hotel is located on Khem beach, one of the most pristine beaches in Vietnam. Bill Bensley, a Bangkok-based designer who has left his mark on many Southeast Asian resorts, has spun a fantastical tale about the hotel’s history. According to Bensley, the 243-key hotel sits on the campus of a fictional university named after Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a real French naturalist who made huge contributions to evolutionary biology. Founded in 1880, the university fell into ruins after 1940.
As a result of its ‘history’, the hotel grounds are divided into different ‘departments’: zoology, astronomy, herpetology, conchology, and so on. The design is maximalist at its finest, with both indoor and outdoor spaces dressed in art deco motifs. Interiors are bright and airy, with plenty of floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights
The hotel offers a range of indoor and outdoor spaces - all of which can be calibrated to suit individual needs, from dreamlike weddings to top-level maanagement conferences. Marketers and event professionals could also enlist the help of a dedicated catering and conference services manager for marketers and event professionals.
Event and meeting spaces are usually standard at their best, and drab and weary at their worst. Spanning a total of 1953 sqm, each of the six meeting and event spaces at JW Marriott Phu Quoc brims with character, making them ideal for themed events.
Take the 688 sqm Grand Ballroom for example. Ideal for conferences and gala dinners, it is decorated with vintage atlases and can host up to 750 people in a theatre setting, and 420 in a banquet setting. Meanwhile, Artist is a 100sqm meeting room that takes its design cues from American abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock.
In addition to the indoor event spaces, there are also a variety of outdoor spaces, including a running track (treasure hunts, anyone?), Place de Lamarck, designed to look like an European public square, and a beachfront with sweeping views of Emerald Bay - perfect for weddings.
The hotel provides a plethora of options for breakout activities and incentives. On-site activities include cooking classes and surfboard yoga sessions, both of which can be tailor-made according to your group’s needs.
The hotel’s dedicated events team can also help organise bike tours, jungle treks and kayak excursions to ensure that you make the most of the island’s natural treasures. Trips to the nearby UNESCO-protected Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve, Pearl Farm, Pepper Farm and Fish Sauce Factory can also be arranged. Within the hotel, there are three outdoor pools, a 24-hour gym, and a Chanterelle – Spa by JW.
There is a variety of dining options along Rue de Lamarck, an atmospheric paper lantern-lit passage-way built to resemble the ancient streets of Hoi An. While Pink Pearl serves authentic French cuisine, guests could consider Red Rum, a beach-side grill that specialises in seafood, or Tempus Fugit, proffering a wide range of international and Vietnamese cuisine for more informal fare. Meanwhile, Department of Chemistry Bar is a cosy haven serving cocktails and tapas.
Agile and well-equipped with gorgeous views of Emerald Bay, JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay is one of APAC’s best-kept secrets - but not for long. To start planning your next event at the hotel, visit www.jwmarriottphuquocresort.com.