Leading venue builders have teamed up with the last word in authentic Asian luxury to create a stunningly unique resort experience, perfectly timed to open as Southeast Asia comes alive again.
This is the story of the creation of Regent Phu Quoc, the new jewel in the crown of Regent Hotels, which opens its doors in April 2022 to a world eager to rediscover the romance of travel and clamoring for experiences of an authenticity seductive.
This is the story of the ultimate collaboration between a hotel brand that has become the sine qua non of elegant and timeless escapes, and the visionaries at BLINK who live and breathe destinations, immersing themselves in the vernacular and delving deep into local culture, art, crafts and design before conjuring up experiences which become a true exploration of time and place.
And it’s the story of how something very special was born on an island, going from being the best-kept secret, whispered among connoisseurs, to emerging as the region’s most sought-after destination. A statement of intent from a brand with an auspicious history, inscribed in the myth and cultural DNA of the Orient.
Phu Quoc transcends clichés as a true island paradise; a rarest jade gem resting in the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Thailand. An island comprising 99 verdant peaks, 28 pristine islets, 20 unspoilt beaches and some of the warmest smiles in Asia. Fishing villages, pearl groves and pepper plantations offer charming glimpses of Vietnamese customs spanning generations, while more than half of the island has been protected as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 2006.
It was in this context that the best design minds at BLINK were called upon to pool their knowledge and inspirations with the vast hotel and resort experience of the Regent brand and its new owner, InterContinental Hotels Group.
The goal: to create a luxury resort experience steeped in the soul and culture of Phu Quoc in an enviable location on the island’s finest and longest beach on its peaceful west coast.
The vision: a place where sunlight streams in and the glistening waters of the gulf enchant from every angle; a tranquil environment conducive to relaxation, enveloped in natural textiles and minimalist décor. A place where traditional Vietnamese design meets modern design.
Memorable spaces that touch people and place
BLINK founder Clint Nagata said the design group was honored to be entrusted with the planning, architecture and interiors of the resort.
“This is a very special project, from the brand involved, to the uniquely beautiful location and rich local culture full of traditions and artisans, to the timing of its launch,” said he declared. “It was right in our wheelhouse in terms of delving into the art of place-making; going deep into the cultures, materials and traditions of the vernacular before we even put pen to paper.”
The goal was to create an all-suite and villa luxury beach resort, consisting of ocean view suites, garden pool suites and lavish one to seven bedroom pool villas, swimming pools private infinity pools and plunge pools, as well as six dining concepts featuring Regent’s elegant take on the ‘wow factor’ and incorporating the brand’s penchant for storytelling. A grand ballroom and event spaces, a Regent’s Club and a state-of-the-art spa concept were also needed.
Informing the master plan above all else, says Nagata, was to make the most of the breathtaking gulf waters and sunset. “This meant using a multi-dimensional approach for each main guest-facing space, deliberately distributed horizontally and stacked vertically so that all guests had optimal views of the natural setting.”
The direction of arrival begins with a processional staircase leading to the lobby. Guests are welcomed into an iconic space, framed by a modern take on Vietnamese rooftops and finished with luminous lacquers with the delicate duck eggshell inlays the region is famous for.
Nagata says the initial architectural ideas were rooted in the Vietnamese vernacular. “It is a country with a strong local culture and traditional architectural heritage. One of the structural systems commonly found is the timber truss system, locally known as bovi. We have abstracted this characteristic and developed it into subtle patterns that feature on screens, mats and accessories.”
One of the key features of the master plan are the courtyard-shaped villas, each with its own infinity pool and plunge pool and layers of privacy and privacy. This is inspired by another key feature of the Vietnamese vernacular known as Gian Nha.
“A traditional house is often made up of small compartments and courtyards,” says Nagata. “These individual spaces create transition and different experiences within one home. Our spatial zoning presents a contemporary interpretation of Gian Nhablurring the boundaries of inside and outside.”
The finished product is imbued with delicate Vietnamese craftsmanship and intricate thought processes. The villas gradually reveal themselves to their inhabitants, presenting moments of joy and small epiphanies. On a practical level, it also allows great flexibility so that spaces can be separated, creating an interlocking unit for different amounts of guests in different types of occasions. The larger villas also have separate quarters for housekeepers or drivers.
Nagata said the signature waters of the gulf extend into the resort itself, mirrored and amplified by some 206 pools dotted around the villas and property.
Culinary journeys in magical spaces
Rice Market, Regent Phu Quoc’s all-day dining space, offers a glimpse into the daily lives of locals. Taking inspiration from the rice market, the restaurant spills out onto the central courtyard, inspired by the bustling street markets of Vietnam. Ingenious twists on rice mills and water wheels along with textures of burlap rice sacks provide eye candy in a relaxed mood.
OKU is the flagship gourmet restaurant, a Franco-Japanese Omakase workshop and a beef lounge. It sits at the heart of the resort, a celebration of intricate Japanese woodwork, evoking the feel of a Parisian brasserie with a dash of New Orientalist.
Meticulous attention to detail pervades, from the kitchen to the interiors. Precision and perfection were the key words for BLINK to create this icon in the making. “Just as an Omakase chef pays careful attention to the selection of ingredients to create a meal as an artistic expression, so does the carpenter because the precision and perfection of his carpentry becomes a work of art” , explains Nagata.
Classic elements of the brasserie are reinterpreted: illuminated globes, patterned floors, cozy banquettes and modern hardware details. Murals, textiles and lacquered surfaces take inspiration from traditional details and are reimagined to reveal a new design aesthetic.
A speakeasy gem with a secret entrance
Imagine yourself spending long tropical nights in a real refuge steeped in speakeasy atmospheres and offering new excursions in mixology. The Jade bar is the hidden treasure of Regent Phu Quoc, only revealing itself at dusk. Inspiration was found in the jade-colored waters of the Gulf, as well as the rich tradition of jade in Vietnamese culture, passed down from mother to daughter as an inheritance. Sophisticated jade shades and layers of complexity give an opulent, ancient feel. The arrival experience is deliberately concealed during the day.
An exclusive Regent’s Club sits atop the resort’s main tower, overlooking the entire property. The ethereal image of stark silhouettes against beautiful Phu Quoc sunsets inspires the rooftop pool design. Gradients of color on the feature wall, shimmering golden tiles mimic the reflection of the sun on clear blue waters. In the most private area of the Club, a library inspired by tropical botanical gardens and local plants provides a sanctuary for guests. The Regent Club is a perfect place to watch the sunset with a perfectly crafted Gin and Tonic.
A journey with twists and turns
Nagata says that while laid-back luxury and intimacy are key concepts for the discerning modern traveler, BLINK has strived to instill a sense of discovery in guests. “We wanted to create pockets of space and a sense of epiphany within the resort to remind guests of the natural beauty of Phu Quoc. Not only can guests enjoy the ocean view, but we scattered small landscaped courtyard spaces in public areas of the complex.
“For example, some public bathrooms will open up to a courtyard with flora and natural lighting or a hallway can also transform a corner into a natural enclosure. We wanted to remind guests of the peaceful feelings that nature and its beauty bring , and with that, enhance the soothing and relaxing atmosphere of the property.”
BLINK’s design journey also contained the unexpected. “We started this project with BIM Group, who handed over much of the design direction to us and the Regent Hotels and Resorts team,” adds Nagata. “Halfway through the design, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) acquired Regent, and we pivoted to transform our design from a more neutral color and material palette to something a little more colorful to match IHG’s vision for Regent as part of their high-end luxury brand offering.
“This change in direction, while simple in theory, was difficult to achieve without starting from scratch but also adhering to the owner’s original construction schedule.”
Oku – Regent Phu Quoc
Bai Trường, Dương Tơ
Thanh pho Phú Quoc, 92509
+84 297 3880 000