Nate Hake posing for a photo with the championship cup on his background in JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa in Vietnam

Review: JW Marriott Phu Quoc (University-Themed Vietnam Beach Resort)

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I have stayed in hundreds of hotels and resorts around the world, but none quite like the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc island. 

Here’s the thing: 

The entire resort is themed from head-to-toe like the campus of a 19th century French university (“Lamarck University”). 

That university theme really comes through in thousands of easter egg details you slowly uncover throughout your stay. There are college uniforms for the staff, championship banners in the gym, a giant racetrack in the middle of the resort, a chemistry classroom themed bar, and thousands of vintage college trinkets around every corner.

My partner Clara and I have so many thoughts (and photos) to share after our recent stay.

In this JW Marriott Phu Quoc review, I’ll tell you everything you could possibly want to know about this university-themed 5 star luxury resort in Vietnam. 

Fair warning: this is a very long and detailed review – including almost 100 photos and videos! I review every aspect of the hotel (the layout, rooms, beach, pools, dining, activities & anything else you can think of!).

If this review helps you, consider using our Booking or Marriott affiliate links to book! Or don’t pay anything – just check out my post on how I used credit card points to get free travel certificates for my stay.

Short on time? Let’s start with a quick review summary: 

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. See our Advertising Policy for further explanation. Thank you!

JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Review (Quick Summary)

Nate smiling for a photo on the balcony of their room in JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa
Me on our room’s balcony
Clara posing for a photo inside the Pink Pearl
Clara posing at Pink Pearl

Overall, the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa is a unique themed resort that is worth building an entire trip to Vietnam around. It’s a solid luxury beach resort in its own right, but it’s really the fantastical university theme that sets this resort apart. I think the JW Marriott Phu Quoc would make a memorable and unique destination for a wedding, a honeymoon, or a family vacation. 

My partner Clara and I really enjoyed the unique campus, beautiful views, friendly staff, incredible pools, and luxurious rooms. I have been to hundreds of hotels and resorts around the world and the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa is definitely one of my new favorites. 

Our experience wasn’t perfect. As I explain below, there was quite a bit of trash on the beach and we had some quibbles with the diversity of dining options. But, overall, we really enjoyed our stay and will gladly return in the future. 

Pros of the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay

  • Unique university theme makes for a one-of-a-kind experience 
  • Comfortable spacious rooms, with elegant touches & incredible ocean views 
  • Fantastic & uniquely designed pools
  • Lots of activities for adults & kids alike
  • Friendly staff & excellent 5 star service

Cons of the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay

  • Beach is beautiful, but ocean brings in a lot of trash (despite the resort’s best efforts to clean it)
  • Dining options felt limited for a resort of this size (especially for those with dietary restrictions)

JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay is best for:

  • Anyone looking for a unique and themed immersive luxury resort experience
  • Weddings
  • Couples & honeymoons
  • Family trips, family reunions, or group gatherings

JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay might not be a fit for:

  • Guests prioritizing swimming in the ocean
  • Guests looking to spend most of their time off resort (the point of booking here is to enjoy the immersive experience!)

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JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Full Review

Nate with a beach view in JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa
Get ready for lots of details & my frank opinions!

I’ve tried to create the Internet’s most comprehensive review of the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa. I’ve reviewed every aspect of the resort I could think of!

This review is long. Use these links to jump around:

History of the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa

The (fictional) story of the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa is that it was an abandoned 19th century French colonial university, Lamarck University, later restored as a luxury resort.

The resort was designed by renowned architect Bill Bensley, who was commissioned by Vietnam’s Sun Group. Bill Bensley imagined a university named after French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

The JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa officially opened in 2016. The resort’s story comes to life with more than 5,000 upcycled antiques Bensley sourced to bring his vision to every detail of the resort.

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Star Rating: 5 / 5 stars

The JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa has a privileged location on the southern end of Phu Quoc, occupying a huge stretch of private beachfront that accounts for a little less than half of Emerald Bay. 

Emerald Bay is essentially a single private development of hotels owned by the Sun Group, including the more-affordably priced New World Phu Quoc Resort. The development feels like a mini suburban-town, which puts convenience stores and a few (more affordable) restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. 

Across a highway is a more developed town, more beaches, and attractions like the Hon Thom Cable Car. You can easily use the Grab application (Asia’s version of Uber) to order cars to get around Phu Quoc or to Phu Quoc International Airport (about 30 minutes away). 

Overall, the JW Marriott Emerald Bay Resort’s location feels exclusive but not isolated, offering a nice balance of privacy and convenience.

Resort Layout & Grounds

Star Rating: 5 / 5 stars

A big statue of the Ridgeback mascot at the hotel entrance
The Ridgeback mascots guard the hotel entrance

The entrance of the resort really feels like you’re entering a university campus, complete with two giant mascot guard dog statues. 

The Instagram-worthy lobby features a seemingly endless display of books, sports memorabilia, and various university-themed trinkets. 

Nate sitting at the lobby with the championship cup on his background
You’re greeted by this championship cup at the lobby

I especially loved all the globes around the main desk:

Nate sitting on a pommel horse in the lobby of the hotel
Me sitting on a pommel horse in the lobby

The lobby opens to the “Rue de Lamarck,” the resort’s main pedestrian pathway. This is probably the most immersive part of the resort when it comes to evoking the university-theme. Along the Rue de Lamarck you’ll find most of the resort’s facilities, including the gym, french bakery, shops, conference center, and spa.

Clara smiling for a photo a the Rue de Lamarck
Clara on the “Rue de Lamarck”

The end of the Rue de Lamarck opens to a beachfront promenade home to the Pink Pearl and Tempus Fugit restaurants and the Department of Chemistry bar (more on those in the dining section below).

At night, the Rue de Lamarck lights up with Vietnamese lanterns, evocative of Hoi An.

Clara at the  Rue de Lamarck with Vietnamese lanterns at night
The lanterns are a nice touch!

To get to your guest room, you’ll be escorted on a golf cart (which are available on call throughout your stay).

One of the coolest things about the resort is that each building is themed as a different “department” of Lamarck University. 

Clara and I stayed in the Department of Fine Arts, which overlooks the Sun Pool. We also briefly had a guest room in the Department of Conchology & Botany, which features more unique decorations showcasing plant and ocean exhibits that look like they came straight from a science classroom. 

Other larger themed “departments” include the Department of Zoology, Department of Agriculture, Department of Anthropology, Department of Architecture, Department of Ornithology, and Department of Agriculture. These buildings are strung along the beachfront in a line behind the pools. These larger departments are home to the majority of the resort’s rooms, including all the entry-level price points suites.

As I explain in my room review below, I loved the fact that the Department of Fine Arts is perched right next to the beachfront above the Sun Pool. By contrast, most of the other departments are set further back. 

It was a little far, though, from the “Rue de Landmark,” which is the resort’s main strip. Between the provided bicycles and the golf cart service, this wasn’t a problem for us. But you might ask for a guest room in the more-central Department of Zoology, if you are mobility-impaired, have small children, or just prioritize convenience.

Several private villas are located behind the main departments, along a tree-covered arterial walkway. The private villas are named the Departments of Astronomy, Entomologie (study of insects), Herpetologie (amphibians and reptiles), Ichytyologie (fish), and Mammalogie (mammals). 

View outside the Department of Mammalogy
The “Department of Mammalogy” private villa

From the outside, the villas seemed enormous. Based on Marriott’s photos, they also look stunning inside. They offer extra space, privacy, and a unique theme. Best of all, the villas come with huge private pools. Still, one downside to consider before booking a villa is that it does mean staying further from the beach than any other guest room in the resort. 

Want a private building but don’t want to sacrifice those ocean views? If you really have the cash to splash, check out the two luxurious “Lamark Houses.” 

The Lamarck Houses are situated at the farthest end of the resort, in a private rocky area with a splendid bay view. With 7 bedrooms and a gigantic oceanside pool, it would be a memorable place to stay for families or large groups (or, I suppose, anyone who is just rich enough to book it because, you know, YOLO). 

If you can’t quite afford that, but want more space and ocean views, check out the unique Turquoise Suite. An Instagram favorite, this 90 square meter executive suite is located in the Department of Zoology and features incredible views over the beach.

If I was planning a honeymoon or wedding at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc, the Turquoise Suite is what I’d book for the happy couple! If it’s available, you’ll see it separately listed on Booking or on Marriott.


Star Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

Beach view at the King Bed Emerald Bay Room in the Department of Fine Arts
The Emerald Bay View rooms offer stunning views

We stayed in a King Bed Emerald Bay Room in the Department of Fine Arts. I initially booked the cheapest guest room at the resort, the Garden View King in the Department of Agriculture. That was because I was booking with Marriott Bonvoy certificates I earned with a credit card (see my credit card points guide to learn how), and it was the only room I could book with those. 

Because of my Marriott Bonvoy Elite status, however, we were upgraded to an Emerald Bay View room with a stunning view over Bai Khem Beach on the Gulf of Thailand.

Nate admiring the beach view from their room balcony

Although, to be honest, I later realized that there is actually something to be said for the convenience of the Garden View rooms.

Garden View rooms lack an ocean view and are further set back from the beach, but the advantage compared to Emerald Bay View rooms is that guests can walk directly from their terrace to the pool and beach area. 

There’s also a unique garden room called “Le Jardin” that features two towering dog statues guarding the terrace. You can separately book this room on Booking or on Marriott.

View outside the Le Jardin room at the Department of Zoology
Le Jardin room in the Department of Zoology

Still, I wouldn’t trade it for the ocean view we had. The Department of Fine Arts is positioned so close to the beach that you can clearly hear the roar of the waves crashing against Bai Khem beach. And the expansive shaded sun bed offered such a tranquil retreat from the sun. 

View at the terrace of a room in the Department of Fine Arts
I liked how close our Department of Fine Arts terrace was to the sea

I found the beds to be quite comfortable, neither too soft nor too firm and typical of a JW Marriott luxury mattress. That was good, as most beds in Vietnam are far too firm for my American tastes. 

In the room we were initially assigned in the Department of Conchology, I did notice a fair bit of dust and found dead insects under our pillows, indicating housekeeping standards may not be up to snuff for a 5 star resort. We were quickly re-assigned a second room that was much cleaner. 

Clara posing on a Bay view room at the Department of Conchology
Clara showing off a Bay View room in the Department of Conchology

The main bathroom was my favorite part of the guest room, apart from the ocean view. I really liked the dual bathroom vanities, the beautiful clawfoot tub, and the enormous open shower with incredible pressure and super hot water. Plus, it’s just beautifully designed with a high-class Vietnamese aesthetic and a deep red, white, and black color scheme. 

The one thing I definitely did not like about the bathroom was the toilet setup. The toilets are disconnected from the main bathroom, several meters away along the hallway in a poorly-lit tiny room that feels like a closet. While our toilet room did have a separate sink, it was tiny and lacked hot water. 

View from the inside of a separated toilet closet
No hot water in the separated toilet closet

It all made for a rather “dorm-like” toilet experience. If you ask me, that’s one part of college I’d really prefer to forget!  

The furnishings in our guest room were solid. I found the desk elegant and comfortable. There was a stylish red couch at the base of the bed. 

Oh, and the wardrobe was really fantastic: I loved the large luggage space in the middle, and the two closets flanking it. Be sure to open the top compartment, where you’ll find a “nón lá” (Vietnam’s signature pointed hat, made of palm trees and perfect for keeping the sun at bay). 

The Bay View room balcony was also really nice and large, with a large sofa bed and small table. One quibble: the railing obscures the sea view from the sofa bed.

In terms of amenities, the room came with most of the touches you’d expect of a Marriott resort of this caliber: a Nespresso machine, a mini bar, a hair dryer, umbrellas, luxury bathrobes, USB outlets next to the bed, a bluetooth speaker, and central air conditioning.

One amenity that Clara felt was lacking were the provided “beach bags.” Most luxury resorts provide a real beach bag for use carrying your stuff around the resort. The JW Marriott Phu Quoc only gave us flimsy pink paper bags, which felt a little cheap. 

Overall, though, it was a comfortable and beautiful hotel room. The unique themed design and the stunning ocean views are what will bring us back next time.  


Star Rating: 4 / 5 stars

I’m honestly super conflicted about how to review the beach at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc, so I’m just going to honestly tell you both sides of my mind on this subject. 

On the one hand, Khem Beach is possibly the single most visually stunning beach I’ve seen in all of Vietnam (and I’ve seen a lot of them). The ocean water has this turquoise color near the shore that melts into a sapphire blue as you look further out. 

The palm-fringed beach is wide enough to give ample space, but not so wide that you have to sit far from the shore to find shade. We loved hanging out in the resort’s beachside hammocks. Oh, and the sand is beautifully white and feels powdery to the touch. 

But, on the other hand, there is an undeniable trash problem on Khem Beach.

It’s not a problem that is unique to the JW Marriott Phu Quoc, nor is it their fault. If you dig into guest reviews of pretty much any beach resort in Phu Quoc, you’ll see the island has a reputation for having way too much garbage in the water. 

A worker cleaning trash at the Khem Beach
Workers were cleaning trash constantly

In fairness, the JW Marriott really does seem to do its best to mitigate the issue. We saw workers clearing the trash from the beach throughout our stay. Yet, unfortunately, just as soon as one piece of refuse was picked up, another floated in. 

Clara loves swimming, but we never once swam in the ocean. We did see a few guests who tried, but most were quickly chased ashore by the garbage. 

The bottom line is that the resort features a beautiful beach to look at, or to lounge on. But, as inviting as the water appears, the trash made it just too gross for swimming. 


Star Rating: 5 / 5 stars

While ocean swimming was a huge letdown to us, thankfully the pools really made up for that! 

The JW Marriott Phu Quoc features a ton of pools! There are three “main” pools, a small whirlpool, and a small kid’s pool. The villas have their own private pools. And there is another pool at the spa. 

Here’s my review of the main pools: 

Sand Pool 

Clara posing for a photo at the Sand Pool
Clara posing in the Sand Pool

The Sand Pool is the largest swimming pool at the JW Marriott, sitting at the center of the resort along the beach. The Sand Pool is definitely the best pool for families, as it’s next to the kid’s pool and also has the most loungers. What’s cool about it is that there are little islands of greenery that break it up to give it a more private feel. 

Shell Pool

Overlooking view of the Shell Pool from above
The Shell Pool

The Shell Pool is an adults-only swimming pool located in front of the Department of Conchology & Botany. Its shell-like shape and angle towards the shoreline make it one of the most Instagrammable spots in the JW Marriott Phu Quoc.

The Shell Pool was our personal favorite to hang out at because, well, no kids allowed! But we also liked that the loungers are situated in exclusive spaced-out pairs and that the back row of loungers is elevated. This means they all offer those stunning ocean views! 

Sun Pool

Overlooking view of The Sun Pool from above
The Sun Pool is the closest to the beach

The Sun Pool was the emptiest swimming pool during our stay, probably because its location is far down the beach. It is the pool situated closest to the shore, though, and also the best swimming pool for doing laps. If you have kids but still want privacy, I’d check out the Sun Pool. 

All the pools offer towel stations and bar service, plus enormous wave-shaped outdoor showers. The pools and “departments” are all stitched together by an expansive outdoor garden, which makes for a nice “jungly” environment. 

Overall, the pools at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc were just fantastic and really compensated for that poor swimming situation on the beach.

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Dining & Restaurants

Star Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars

I ate at least once at all of the restaurants, bars, and cafes at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort. While breakfast was fantastic, I was otherwise disappointed.

It’s not that the food was bad. It’s just that it wasn’t all that special, especially compared to the incredible restaurants at the other JW Marriott we visited right after, the JW Marriott Khao Lak in Thailand.  

There’s really only three true restaurants at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc. One of those is so incredibly expensive that most guests don’t eat there. And another literally feels like a cafeteria. 

Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad at a normal hotel. I mean, you can always eat off the resort. But the thing is that the JW Marriott Phu Quoc is a destination resort that is supposed to be immersive. And most guests we met were there for extended stays. 

The limited offerings are especially disappointing when you consider that the Sun Group has specifically tried to position the resort as a foodie destination. If you ask me, there’s too much focus on presentation and not enough on building a more diverse range of offerings. Vegetarian and vegan options in particular could use major improvement. 

With that said, there were some dining highlights. Here’s my resort’s restaurants: 

Tempus Fugit

Tempus Fugit is the main all day dining restaurant at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc. It’s styled like a university dining hall, with huge vaulted ceilings and multiple buffets flanked by large white Greco-Roman columns. 

Tempus Fugit is where breakfast is served, and breakfast is definitely the resort’s star meal. The breakfast buffet is one of the largest I’ve ever seen, and features great food. 

One of the breakfast buffets in Tempus Fugit
One of several breakfast buffets

Breakfast features several buffets, actually. One offers dishes from around Vietnam, including delicious banh mi. There’s also a hearty selection of Western style breakfast items, including pancakes, french toast, waffles, eggs, meats, yogurts, cheeses and (my favorite), pastries. There is even an ice cream bar (yes, at breakfast!). 

While breakfast is not included in all room rates, it’s for sure worth the surcharge in my opinion. I’d also suggest grabbing one of the outside tables for an al fresco beachside breakfast!

Tempus Fugit is also the main restaurant for lunch, dinner, and room service. 

And, well, therein lies the problem: the resort seems to rely on this one restaurant to do a little too much of the heavy lifting when it comes to food service, and I think the quality suffers as a result. 

Clara smiling for a photo during their dinner in Tempus Fugit
Clara trying her best to put on a smile during our dinner

We ate one dinner at Tempus Fugit and were totally underwhelmed. The cafeteria theme is cool for breakfast. For dinner, it is frankly a little lame. While there was table service, it felt a little too much like a school cafeteria. 

The food was fine, I guess, but totally unremarkable. The vegetarian options were very limited. It definitely was not worth the $80 we paid for a mediocre pizza, some spring rolls, a diet Coke, and a bottle of Evian water. 

Overall, Tempus Fugit delivers on breakfast, but I wish the resort didn’t rely so heavily on it to carry the dining load for lunch, dinner, and in room dining.

Pink Pearl

Pink Pearl is a 1920s-themed French fine dining restaurant. The Sun Group has tried to position it as an ultra-luxe dining destination, with exorbitant prices to match. We saw very few guests eating here during our stay, probably because it costs almost $200 per person! 

Pink Pearl only offers seasonally-rotating pre-fixe menus. With an advance reservation, the restaurant was able to accommodate Clara and I as vegetarians with a special menu. The food was solid. The portions were super small but, as Clara says, “that’s how you know it’s fancy!” 

The thing we really loved about Pink Pearl, however, was the exquisite setting. Pink Pearl is located in a renovated beachfront mansion that’s emblazoned with pink from every angle. It’s an intricate and beautiful dining room, whose ambiance was really brought to life by the string musicians playing during our dinner. 

Pink Pearl is one of the most famous Instagram spots on Phu Quoc island. That’s because of its color scheme and that large globe that floats over the elegant dining room. There’s also an interesting wine cellar down below you can tour.  

Overall, we enjoyed our dinner at Pink Pearl. 

But if you just want the Instagram shot, you could save a lot of money by just taking the free “Instagram tour” the resort offers. Plus, the tour runs during the day, when light is better anyway. 

We actually got the staff to let us in the next morning for a second set of photos with daytime lighting, as you can see from Clara’s costume changes in the above photos.

Red Rum

Dining area with a view of the beach in Red Rum
Al fresco dining at Red Rum

Red Rum is a seafood grill restaurant in an al fresco setting next to the beach. It serves seafood, barbecue, and Latin American fare.

During the day, Red Rum is a good place to eat (or order from) when spending time at the Shell or Sun pools. After 5 pm, swimsuits are not permitted and it becomes another evening dining option. 

The Red Rum under the clear blue sky with the beach in Vietnam

We ordered a few appetizers and drinks here but never had a full meal, since the limited menu was lacking hardly any vegetarian options. Still, the restaurant’s beachside setting is cool! 

The Department of Chemistry Bar

The Department of Chemistry Bar is a themed bar located by the JW Marriott Phu Quoc’s promenade. Its large French doors open to beautiful views of the sea, which you can enjoy from cushy sets and hanging swing beds.  

This bar was definitely one of my favorite parts of the resort, in terms of the depth of the detail on the theme. Tubes, beakers, and other chemistry class elements are incorporated into the experience. And the periodic table wall decorations are really cool. 

The drink concoctions were all really enjoyable. There’s a happy hour offered in the late afternoons. And I really loved the live music performances in the evening. 

On Tuesdays and Saturdays, the Department of Chemistry offers mixology classes in the afternoon. 

French & Co. 

View from the inside of French & Co.
The interior of French & Co is beautiful 

French & Co. is a deli coffee shop located on the Rue de Lamarck. Its air conditioned interior makes it a great place to escape from the heat. 

The bakery serves up a variety of artisan breads, croissants, and French pastries. I really enjoyed the ones we tried! 

French & Co. also offers a refined afternoon tea set you can experience for a fixed price of 648,000 VND (about 28 USD). 

Chanterelle – Spa by JW

Star Rating: 5 / 5 stars

The award-winning Chanterelle Spa has a unique spa theme inspired by Alice in Wonderland. The first thing you notice upon walking in is there are a ton of mushrooms in the decor. You’ll also find repeating quotes on the walls, and various other homages to Lewis Caroll’s whimsical tale. 

Services and treatments available at the Chanterelle spa include: massages, body wraps, body scrubs, eye treatments, facial treatments, steam rooms, therapy baths, and manicures/pedicures. There are also massage classes offered as part of the activity program. 

Gym & Fitness Center

Star Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

The resort’s fitness center, the “Department of Physical Education,” is another place where the spirit of Lamarck University really shines through in the details. 

The floor looks like a basketball court, a metal Lamarck-branded plate hangs from the ceiling, the lockers are university-inspired, and several pommel horses complete the theme. I also like the “championship banners” hanging from the walls, but I have one continuity quibble: they are all dated the same year! 

Aesthetics aside, the Department of Physical Education is also a really good gym. The gym features multiple ellipticals, treadmills, and bikes, plus a wide variety of free weights and machines. There is even a squat rack. 

The gym is also where you go to get assigned a bicycle, which I highly suggest for getting around the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay’s massive campus. 

It’s also worth noting that, in addition to the gym, the center of the resort features a large university-style racetrack with a soccer field in its center. It’s a good place for a morning run or to kick a ball around with your kids. 

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Other Facilities & Amenities 

Star Rating: 4 / 5 stars

There are quite a number of other facilities at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort worth a brief mention, including: 

  • Running Track – A huge college-style running track, with a soccer field. I thought the Olympic-style podium was a nice detail too. 
  • Kids Club – Available for kids up to 12 years old. Include a ball pit, clay figure painting station, and various other activities. Children under 4 must be accompanied by an adult. Nanny service is available for a fee during the day. 
  • Lantern Room – Clara took a lantern-making class here and really enjoyed it!
  • JW Garden – A nice little garden where the staff grow fresh ingredients. 
  • Chillout Music Lounge – A retro-themed karaoke room with some interesting touches. Can be booked for private events. 
  • Game Room – Ping pong and pool tables make for fun activities. 
  • Water Sport Center – Kayak, surf boards, stand-up paddle boards, and other water activities are available. 
  • Retail Shops – Along Rue de Lamarck, you’ll find various clothing, jewelry, and art stores. These include the Lotus Art Gallery, the Thuy Design House, Ngoc Hien Pearl Shop, and the Ridgeback Store. One quibble: I wanted a Lamarck-themed polo on display at the Ridgeback Store, but it was always closed. I asked the resort staff if I could buy one somehow, and they told me no. Weird, I guess I’ll keep my money. 
  • Legend Revived Shop – An in-house Vietnamese coffee shop I was never actually able to find. 


Star Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Nate holding the Student Book containing the activity calendar
The “Student Book” contains the activity calendar

Upon entering the JW Marriott Phu Quoc, you’re immediately greeted with a “Student Book” containing two activity calendars: one for kids and one for adults. There were a lot of activities on offer!

Adult (12+ years) activities available at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort during my stay included: 

  • Snorkeling
  • Sunrise Hatha yoga or a jogging tour each morning
  • A mid-morning bike or hiking tour
  • Art and craft painting
  • Massage courses at the spa
  • Candle making classes
  • Afternoon movie shows at the Chillout Music Lounge
  • Cupcake and cookie baking classes at French & Co.
  • Hoi An lantern making classes (Clara loved hers!)
  • Mixology classes at the Department of Chemistry
  • Ashtanga Yoga, Tabata, or stretching classes in the evenings 

Activities available for kids ages 6 to 12 included: 

  • Underwater treasure hunt 
  • Family football class
  • Frisbee
  • Games
  • Paper mask making
  • Conical hat painting
  • Pottery painting 
  • T-shirt rainbow making
  • Card making
  • Balloon sculpting
  • Origami 
  • Dragonfly painting
  • Play dough
  • Draw Class
  • Something called a “Smoothie Class” at French & Co (I’m so curious what this is – let me know in the comments if you find out!)

Available activities vary based on the day. Some adult activities involve a small upcharge, but many are included. All of the kids’ activities are free, except the mysterious “Smoothie Show.” 

Clara smiling for a photo while making a lantern
Clara enjoyed lantern making

Overall, I think the resort’s activity offerings were really solid in my opinion. In addition to the above, there’s also the game room, the kids’ club, and the watersports club. There are also seasonal packages for divers looking to explore the nearby coral reefs. 

Plus, of course, there are many off-resort things to do in Phu Quoc, like the Sun World Hon Thom Cable Car. For an extra fee, the resort can even arrange to have you driven around Phu Quoc in a vintage open-top 1920s-style car.

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Customer Service

Star Rating: 5 / 5 stars

In our experience, the staff at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort were truly top-notch. Service was friendly, fast, and efficient. The few issues we had during our stay were quickly and professionally resolved. 

The resort was relatively empty during our stay (if you can, I recommend visiting during March, when the weather is great, but the crowds have left). This meant the staff to guest ratio was really good. I had longer conversations with several staff members wanting to practice their English with me. All were super friendly and kind. 

Overall, the service was top-notch and noticeably better when compared to our subsequent stay at the JW Marriott Khao Lak (which, in fairness, was far more crowded). 


Star Rating: 4 / 5 stars

View of the separated toilet room and the hallway at the Emerald Bay View room
A view of the hallway and bathroom in the main Emerald Bay View rooms

As part of our hotel evaluation process at Travel Lemming, we always take time to examine how the hotel meets the needs of travelers with disabilities.

Overall, the Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort had the accessibility features I expect of a JW Marriott brand. 

The main accessibility challenge with the resort is simply its sprawling size, which might pose a challenge to navigate for mobility impaired guests. I think the included golf cart service, as well as the attentive staff assistance, could help to mitigate that.

Here are some thoughts on accessibility at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort: 

  • Wheelchair accessibility – I think most of the resort would be reasonably accessible with a wheelchair. There are wide pathways throughout the resort, and I noticed ramps in most buildings. Most doorways were wide enough, but the standard room hallways and bathroom doors were a bit narrow. The main challenge may be the size of the resort, particularly if it rains. Again, the golf cart service could help.  
  • Elevators – All of the multi-story buildings I visited had ample elevators. The elevators even included benches to sit on. 
View of the elevator at the Department of Conchology
Elevators in the Department of Conchology
  • Bathrooms – The open-plan showers do not require a step to enter, and there is a bench to sit on. There are not any grab bars close to the shower. The antique-styled tubs do have one grab bar, but I think they could be a challenge to enter. 
  • Signage & Text – Signage, menus, and written materials like the Student Book were often highly stylized. It makes sense given the theme of the resort, but the small stylized text may pose a challenge for the vision-impaired.
  • Service Animals – Service animals are welcome (note that pets are not, however).

I would suggest contacting the hotel at +84 297-3779999 with questions specific to your situation. They may have solutions for disabled guests to address some of the accessibility issues I highlighted, if they are an issue for you.

It’s important to note that I am personally able-bodied. If you have an experience with this hotel you’d like to add on this topic, please leave a comment below to help future readers.  

WiFi, Conference Business & Remote Working 

Star Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

In general, the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort is the place most go to escape from work, not to do it. But, if you need to get some work done on your vacation, its facilities should suffice.

The WiFi speeds were fast and stable. Each room has a desk. And there is a large conference room (the Lamarck Auditorium). Although I didn’t personally see them, I also understand there are meeting rooms you can use if you need to take a call.


Star Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

View from the inside of the bathroom
Despite a small issue with our first room, cleanliness was ok overall

The public areas of the resort were clean during my visit. The pools were attended to regularly, and the water was extremely clear. The restaurants all appeared clean, and the common areas were well maintained. 

As noted above, the beach also does have a trash issue, but the resort clearly knows this and has staff dedicated to constantly cleaning it. Additionally, as noted above, our first room did have a few insect carcasses under the pillow, but that was quickly solved. 

Overall, the resort was reasonably clean, just not quite at the level I’d expect for the price point. 

Value for Money

Star Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

Nate admiring the view while standing on their room's door frame in JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort
The views alone are worth the resort’s price tag

Look, the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort is not cheap by any measure. But it’s a luxury hotel with a unique theme and a lot of amenities on offer. 

If you visit during the low season summer months, the cheapest rooms start at around $300 per night, which honestly isn’t bad for a 5 star beach resort. Of course, those prices rise to more than double that during the high season of December and January.

Still, overall I think it is actually a pretty good value – especially when compared to larger JW Marriott resorts in the Americas or Europe. 

Of course, you could always do what I did and get your room for nothing by using credit card points for free travel!

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JW Marriott Phu Quoc Resort Details & Information

JW Marriott Phu Quoc Amenities

  • Non-smoking rooms
  • Suites
  • Family rooms
  • Interconnecting rooms
  • Wheelchair accessible rooms
  • Apartments
  • Penthouses
  • City view
  • Beach view
  • Beachfront
  • Jungle view
  • Garden view
  • Air conditioning
  • Daily Housekeeping
  • Laundry service (additional fee)
  • Nespresso machine
  • Wake-up service
  • Alarm clock
  • Bluetooth speakers
  • Complimentary water
  • Mini bar
  • Safe
  • Smoke alarms
  • Telephone
  • Wardrobe
  • Iron
  • Scale
  • Bathrobes
  • Hair dryer
  • Blackout curtains
  • Private bathrooms
  • Bedside sockets
  • Complimentary toiletries
  • Beachfront
  • Swimming pools
  • Parking
  • Spa
  • Key card access
  • Free WiFi
  • Gym
  • Race track
  • Bicycles
  • Kids club
  • Pool tables
  • Bars and lounge
  • Conference room
  • Coffee shop
  • Restaurants
  • Breakfast available (additional charge)
  • Baggage storage
  • Non-smoking hotel
  • Umbrellas
  • Elevators
  • Luggage storage
  • Concierge services

FINAL VERDICT – Is the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Worth It? 

Overall Star Rating: 4.8 / 5 stars

View of the beach from a pool area in JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay
Yeah, we want to go back already!

Overall, the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay is a fantastic and unique property that allows you to have the best of both worlds: an active trip when you want it, and a luxury beach escape when you want to unwind. 

Having visited hundreds of hotels all over the world, it is one of my personal favorites. Clara and I will definitely be back! 

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JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Alternatives

If the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa is not for you, here are a couple alternatives to consider: 

Fusion Resort Phu Quoc

View from the inside of the bedroom in Fusion Resort Phu Quoc
Every room at Fusion Resort Phu Quoc is a private pool villa!

Concerned about the trash issue I highlighted? Clara and I also stayed at Fusion Resort Phu Quoc during our Phu Quoc trip, and found the water at the resort’s huge private beach was considerably cleaner. 

Perhaps that’s because Fusion faces west (away from the Cambodian mainland). The westward orientation also means you can catch Phu Quoc famous sunsets from this resort.

Compared to the JW Marriott, Fusion offers a more private and intimate experience. Each room is essentially its own freestanding villa, complete with a private pool. While it doesn’t have the same number of pools and amenities as the JW Marriott Phu Quoc, it still offers a huge pool and an excellent breakfast buffet. 

Oh, and most room rates include free spa treatments!

JW Marriott Khao Lak 

View of the majestic pool at the JW Marriott Khao Lak
The JW Marriott Khao Lak has great restaurants & an unbelievable pool

Concerned about the dining issues I highlighted above, but still want to stay in a unique JW Marriott? You could go to Thailand and check out the fantastic JW Marriott Khao Lak

Compared to the JW Marriott Phu Quoc, the JW Marriott Khao Lak has substantially better dining options. There are five different restaurants, and Marriott offers packages that include meal plans. 

The other highlight of the JW Marriott Khao Lak is the pool. It’s the biggest I’ve ever seen, and winds through the entire resort! 

FAQs about JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa

View of the Shell Pool and Emerald Bay from above
View of the Shell Pool and Emerald Bay

Does JW Marriott Phu Quoc have a good location? 

The JW Marriott Phu Quoc has an excellent location on Khem Beach on the southern part of the island of Phu Quoc. The resort is tucked away in a private corner of the bay, but is still located within a few minutes of attractions and restaurants. It is located about 30 minutes driving from Phu Quoc International Airport. See our full location review for more.

How much does it cost to stay at JW Marriott Phu Quoc? 

The average price of the cheapest room at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc is between $300 and $750 USD per night, based on our searches of availability on Marriott and Booking. Prices can be considerably higher for the upgraded suites and private villas, and depend upon the season. In general, the high season in Phu Quoc is from December to February, and the low season over the summer months. 

When did the JW Marriott Phu Quoc open? 

The JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa opened in 2016. Although the resort is themed in the style of a renovated 19th century French university, this is just imaginative and no such university ever existed. 


That’s it for this JW Marriott Phu Quoc review! 

If you found this review helpful, consider using our affiliate links to make your booking: 

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