I have just returned from a 5 night stay at Chen La and having read all the other reviews here before going, I feel compelled to submit my own.
Location & Transport:
Yes, Chen La is about 9km from the airport, but only about 2km of the road is unsealed. I timed the trip, and it took just over 15 minutes to get from the airport (pretty much in the main town of Duong Dong) and the resort.
To get a taxi into Duong Dong cost roughly $10 USD (probably slightly less) each way, which given there isn't a huge amount to do in Duong Dong anyway we didn't consider to be a problem, we only did it once to go to the night market and the rest of the time we just rented a motorbike for the day (around $15-20 USD arranged via reception).
Resort Facilities and Rooms:
We had room 201, which was right next to the pool and one row back from the beach, but with no bungalow in front. It was simple but lovely, rustic with some quite cool industrial looking fittings. The bed was big and firm and comfortable, we slept beautifully every night. The room was big, and opened onto a large veranda with a jacuzzi/bath set into it. No problems with mosquitoes as each night staff came to spray the room and set up an oil burner that would go all night with a lovely scented mosquito repellent. The bathroom was large, with an outdoor room type shower. The infinity pool was fantastic!!!!!!!!!! Perfect depth, about top of shoulder height at the shallow end and much deeper at the deep end, with a kiddie pool section built in beside the shallower end.
The bar and restaurant area was lovely, open and breezy and relaxed looking straight out over the beach and pool. The food is good and there is a large variety on the menu, you could easily eat there every night (although on night 5 we did start to get a little bored as you would with any place!) There is a veranda area built out over the ocean where they do tai chi and yoga if you're up early enough. There are various bits of furniture to chill out on in front of the beach, day bed, large hammock, sun loungers etc. The spa pavillions looked gorgeous but I never quite made it into one of them - spa treatments looked good, and not bad prices for a resort of this standard. (cheaper than at home definitely!)
The staff at Chen La were fantastic. A special mention to Gan, Tan and Suong from the restaurant and Phu (I think that was his name) who helped us with our airport dramas.
Everything was easy, fast, efficient and friendly. On our last day there was a massive storm and when they took us to the airport and our flight was cancelled, they helped us at the airline counter and gave us advice on how best to deal with the situation (we had a connecting flight to Sydney to catch!) They came back to pick us up as soon as they knew all the flights for the day were cancelled, took us to the airline office in Duong Dong and then gave us a discounted rate for an extra night and then helped us all over again the following day as well (we finally made it out) - hint: don't go during monsoon season if you want to avoid potential transport delays!
The island in general:
Most of the roads on Phu Quoc are unsealed, and quite an adventure to travel on, be prepared to get covered in red dirt dust or slosh around in the mud, also as a pillion I suffered a very sore bum after a full day going over all those bumps!
The little fishing village and Bai Sao on the other side of the island are definitely worth a visit, there are a couple of water/beach front restaurants at both so make a day of it and have lunch. Duong Dong is quite basic, with a busy market - don't expect to do any fancy shopping - they don't really even have decent souvenir t-shirts to speak of. The pearl farm has some beautiful pearl jewelery at good prices, which make a much nicer souvenir anyway. We were curious about La Veranda, and went for a look and a drink - it looked lovely, more of the old french colonial look and much closer to Duong Dong and near one a couple of other beach front bars from other resorts, so may be better if you want to be that close. We found Chen La to be just perfect though (and the pool is MUCH better) - not too far, but far enough to encourage us to get on a motorbike and go exploring. In the few days we were there, 2 days was plenty for exploring, and the rest were relaxing in the resort. One evening we had dinner at the Night Market, and the rest we dined at the resort.
Hopefully this was helpful!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled discreetly in a secluded bay surrounded by a tropical rain forest, Chen Sea Resort & Spa invites you to lay down. This exclusive hideaway offers spectacular view on the Gulf of Thailand. Chen Sea Resort & Spa lies perfectly along a private and pristine beach offering privacy and serenity, everything is about peace and heaven. The Architecture of the Resort is inspired by the local environment with the use of natural material that is traditional to Vietnam. Chen Sea Resort & Spa offers 36 unique and spacious Villas. The open plan layout design invites our guests for both indoor and outdoor experience. Traditional oriental simplicity and refinement are the inspiration for the design and furnishings of all the villas. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chen Sea Resort And Spa
- Chen Sea Hotel Phu Quoc Island