Where We Get Our Honeymoon Just the Way We Want It
Getting into Vietnam was not easy. We were in Cambodia, and wanted to go to the Southern Coast and eventually work our way over the land border in Ha Tien. It was only about an hour from where we were so this felt like it should be easy. Repeat after me: nothing is ever that easy in Southeast Asia. Doing research beforehand, we knew that we needed a visa before getting to any border in Vietnam.
Through this, we found an E-Visa policy that is an email that you can print out and bring to the border. Great! We got to Kampot, applied for a visa, and figured we would be on our way in two days. Well, little did we know, this takes three WORKING DAYS to get sent to you. So instead of the two days we originally planned, we were looking at four. And on that fourth day, we checked our visa status, and realized…we sent an incorrect picture, the process had to start all over again. At some point, we realized that this system is less than a year old, so it has many flaws while its working out the kinks.
We were so distraught. What the heck do we do now? Should we skip Vietnam? Should we go somewhere else in Cambodia? Through a thorough Google search, we found that we could get a same day visa in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, a two hour bus ride from where we were in Kampot. Sihanoukville was a town we were planning on skipping, it has a reputation as being a backpacker party scene that has taken away from the culture of the town.
Desperate, off we went. First bus out and hoping to get to the Vietnamese consulate as soon as we could to hop back on a bus right back to Vietnam and at least get across the border. So we get to the consulate, ask to get our visa back within an hour and we’re immediately shot down. Another loss for team MLT. After an attempt at bribing, we were told to come back at 5:00 and our visa will be ready then.
Being the responsible travelers, we arrived back at the consulate at 4:00 in the hopes of getting our visa a little early. As soon as we get there, the man working the counter stops us and says “5:00”. Ok, no problem, they had air conditioning, so why not wait? The whole time, this fine gentleman proceeded to watch YouTube videos, play games on his phone, and look up dinner recipes. Fantastic. 4:45 comes about, and the man pulls a pile of passports from his desk–a pile that did not move the entire time we were there–and gives us our passports with stamped visas, Vietnam, here we come!
Finding our Luxury
Through all of this trip, we had to keep reminding ourselves, this is our honeymoon! We want to travel and see as much as possible, but you know what, we need to treat ourselves to something nice every now and then too. And with that being said, we knew about the beautiful beaches in Southeast Asia and figured we could do something special while we were there. And after this visa fiasco, we were going to do this right. So when we found Phu Quoc island, we were not skimping on the resort for our real honeymoon.
Through hours of hotel research, we came across a brand new resort, the JW Marriott in Phu Quoc. All of the reviews and pictures made it seem like it was the most perfect place possible. Even though we were unable to swing the overwater villa or private pool, it felt like it was worth it because we knew the setting would be so perfect. So we booked and were ready to put our toes in the sand!
As soon as we arrived, we knew we made the right choice. How could this place even be real? It felt like a private beach and a massive resort were merged into one in the most perfect way. When we walked into our room–we were expecting your standard Marriott hotel room–we walk up the stairs and stare in awe. Our room takes up the entire floor, we have two balconies, a massive tub, a Nespresso machine, a sitting room, and just about every single other amenity you could imagine. It was the perfect room.
After all of this, all we wanted to do was go swim in one of our three pools–again, so luxurious!–and go put our feet in the perfect water on the beach. We opt for beach first, we’re walking and swimming around so in love and thinking this is the most perfect place on earth. I even said to Alicia “this is the softest sand I have ever walked in” seconds before my feet were jolted with pain.
I tried to run–mind you, still in water–and just hurt my feet even more. What the heck was going on? We finally get out of the water–I was actually carrying Alicia at the moment so she was able to avoid the pain–and my feet are bleeding. Yuck. Ow. Everything hurts. So we walk up to the sports activity area and ask, what just happened? Sea urchins. I just stumbled upon an entire family of them.
Ouch. They spray my feet with a white vinegar solution which helps reduce the stinging a bit, and I assume that I am totally fine now. Two days pass, and my feet still do not feel right. I show more staff members the result and everybody immediately stops in their tracks, there are still stingers in your feet, you need to get them out ASAP. So now we both start freaking out.
Fortunately, JW Marriott does have a nurse on site, so they call him in–his reaction was WOW– and he proceeds to take over 10 out of my feet, and recommends rest for the night. A major bummer but just happy to get this taken care of. A scary moment, and something the Marriott really needs to make more known–those little guys are everywhere. Just happy my toes are ok.
Besides this obvious not pleasant experience, the Marriott was incredible. We were constantly astonished by how beautiful this setting was and how great the staff was as well. The resort was not perfect, it had it’s typical flaws, the food was overpriced and not great–more on this coming.
The pools were beautiful. They have three different pools and they all had their own feel to them. They were all perfect and a great place to sit or get a quick swim. The staff was so quick to bring you a water and a towel before you even sat down.
Now, as I mentioned, the food was iffy, attempts at Western food that frankly just was not very good. However, with all of this being said, the Marriott put all of their effort towards one meal, breakfast. It was a full breakfast spread with every station imaginable, omelettes, pho, traditional American breakfast, fresh coconuts, Vietnamese iced coffee, and the star of the show, the pastry table. We found out that a Swiss pastry chef came to the resort last year, and has been making all pastries on the grounds since it opened. I am not a sweet breakfast person, it has never been my thing. These were the best croissants, danishes, and muffins I have ever had. Each and every one was simply perfect.
We typically tried to go to breakfast late in the morning and we honestly did not get hungry until dinner time–even that was stretching it. It was a treat every single day on the resort. While some things were a little disappointing–the noodles and fried rice left much to be desired–it was a great breakfast.
The resort overall was everything we asked for and more. It felt luxurious, it was comfortable, and it had every single amenity you could ever want. It felt like a proper honeymoon, something that we had felt was missing until this moment. We cannot thank the Marriott enough for that. It is the kind of resort where we would tell people to go out of your way to visit it, it is that incredible. If and when we go back to Phu Quoc, we will be back!
Pools: Three pools on the resort, all were very nice to swim in and had great chairs. You could order food from all three so you do not even need to leave the pool.
Breakfast: As mentioned before, an experience in itself. Spring for the breakfast when booking here, totally worth it!
Room: We had the least expensive room and it was massive. Room was comfortable in each and every way.
Drinking Water: This is an issue in Southeast Asia so this is important! The hotel was constantly giving us bottles of water. Very helpful.
Service: The staff was very helpful and would go above and beyond in every way they could. Very good.
Lunch and Dinner: Food was just not great. We tried Western and traditional dishes, they were very average.
Price for everything on resort: Expected, but even more than we realized. The resort is at least a mile or two from the road. You cannot easily buy water, beer, or any other treats. There is no store in the resort either.
Service: It felt like we were constantly trying to get more information about my urchin stings and no one took it seriously. Only when someone actually looked at my feet did someone realize they needed to contact a medical person for me. With them knowing about the sea urchins, they should have been more prepared for this.