Mr Ty Collins – GM of JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay – shared with wanderlust tips his optimistic opinions about the tourist potential of phu quoc in particular and vietnam in general formed while working for the first five star resort on this emerald island.
Ty Collins has been appointed as General Manager of JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay. Having been with Marriott for 22 years, the American-born hotelier has an outstanding background in the hospitality industry. During that time, he took up different positions in different countries such as Thailand, Korea, and India.His most recent role has been as General Manager at JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa from September 2010. During his time in Khao Lak, Ty positioned the resort as one of the best resorts in Thailand and has been recognised with several leadership awards including General Manager of the Year in 2013.
Additionally, Ty served as the Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hyderabad and Executive Board Member AMCHAM India and Chairman of the Thailand Business Council.
What can you say about the development potential of tourism in Vietnam in general and Phu Quoc in particular?
I can see from my experience, that there are continuous efforts in Vietnam to compete at an international level with all the famous destinations in the world, proven by the development of Danang, Halong Bay and others.Vietnam’s government continues to encourage investment in the country’s burgeoning tourism industry, which plays an important role in enhancing infrastructure and human resources as well as entertainment facilities. Generally speaking, all the efforts aim to help people enjoy different and interesting aspects of Vietnam.
I can see that development is moving South to Phu Quoc and the advantage that Phu Quoc has, compared to the rest of Vietnam, is the destination is in the South which means guests can enjoy a pleasant escape from winter, especially people from the Northern countries. This also means that Phu Quoc is able to compete with other top-listed tropical beach paradises such as Bali, Phuket and Koh Samui.
With its great location, 45 kilometres off the Southern coast of Vietnam, and only a 40-minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City, this island has been blessed with rich marine life and is home to unique traditions and is full of wonders for curious explorers.
As the Kien Giang UNESCO world biosphere reserve, Phu Quoc Island is rich with natural resources. There are wondrous arrays of authentic charms and untapped potential that this island has to offer.
What has JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay been doing to contribute to the sustainable development of this beautiful island?
As is evident, Phu Quoc’s development is in its early stage. Its beautiful natural resources, natural parks, beaches and mountainside is one of the best new destinations in Asia and that will require sustainable development by all key stakeholders to make it successful for the next 20-30 years.
From a commercial point of view, Phu Quoc’s long-term development depends on the sustainable strategies of both the local authorities and the developers. I think there needs to be a collaborative development plan with all developers and government to ensure that Phu Quoc develops in a way that maintains beauty and sustainability and improves the cleanliness and natural beauty of the destination.
Marriott’s “Spirit to Serve” has as its goal the improvement of the quality of any community we are in, by creating jobs, sustainable development and demonstrate a sincere commitment to the community. Therefore I believe that the presence of JW Phu Quoc will contribute to the long-term sustainable development of the island as well, especially in the Southern part of the island.
Located in a dream destination of Vietnam, what are the most unique points of this resort, which makes it so popular and trendy now?
As you can see, we target affluent guests seeking for a luxurious experience, however are not limited to luxury. The resort welcomes curious travellers who are looking for a destination with unique stories. That is exactly what JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay offers.
JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay’s design narrative was developed around the concept of a mythical academy of learning, honouring French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck who laid the groundwork for Darwin’s theory of evolution. As the story goes, Lamarck University was the intellectual and educational pinnacle of Bai Khem in the early 1900’s and attended by the island’s French colonists before finally closing in the 1940’s. The talented Bill Bensley has translated the story from words into the language of architecture. His vision is to make the resort become a place where guests leave inspired. And we have proof to show he achieved that.
An evolution in the architectural style ensures that the resort feels like a collection of individual boutique hotels, rather than a large resort, and each building is modelled after an academic department. Buildings reflect early 20th century style and embrace the traditions of French colonial architecture. Every detail, down to the decorative elements and associates’ uniforms, have been carefully crafted and considered by Bensley to reinforce the resort’s overarching theme.
The Phu Quoc Ridgeback, a native dog breed, is the mascot of the hotel and design details reflecting the mascot can be seen in various areas of the property.The emerald colour of the ocean paints a perfect backdrop to the palate on which the architecture thrives.
Among the JW Marriott property, JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay is taking the exceptional stay experience to new heights with its unique design concept in which meticulously sourced original art, antiques, curios and artifacts lend a whimsical air which blends harmoniously with modern comfort and JW world-class service.
What are the exclusive excursions you suggest for the resort’s guests?
Based around the fictional university’s departments JW Marriott offers immersive field trips including, but not limited to:
♦ Cartography: Discover the hidden waterways of Phu Quoc’s National Park via kayak and explore beneath the enchanting rainforest canopy.
♦ Artisan Fishing: Heading out to the Southern side of Phu Quoc guests are taught techniques that are hundreds of years old with the aim of mastering the delicate art of Vietnamese artisan fishing (and successfully catching their own dinner!)
♦ Bicycle to Ho Quoc pagoda : A timetable of ‘extra-curricular activities’ is as extensive as you’d expect from a real university, with Vietnamese language lessons; French pastry making classes; stand-up-paddleboard yoga; lantern making classes and traditional Vietnamese cooking lessons being just some of the activities the whole family can enjoy. For kids who love the outdoors, the pristine white sands of the ‘ice cream beach’ provide the opportunity to snorkel among teeming coral reefs or kayak along the rugged coastline. Landlubbers can rent bikes and head off on an adventure to the
An Thoi open market, Coconut prison, or Ho Quoc Pagoda, or simply take in the charms of this palm-fringed island. Back at the resort there’s a games room complete with table tennis, a pool table and more board games than time to play them, perfect for families with a competitive spirit!
♦ Coconut Prison: Joining a guide on a short bike ride to Coconut Prison guests will have an opportunity to delve into the dark side of this beautiful island’s history
What kind of recreation activities can guests enjoy at the resort?
Beside the above-mentioned excursions, guests can also enjoy plenty of recreational activities at our resort from lantern making class, cooking class, hydro fit, boot camp or surfing yoga, beer yoga… at Sunrise, every guest will find some activities suited to their lifestyle.
For those who are seeking a more leisurely pace, guest can lounge at the resort’s private beach or one of the property’s 3 outdoor pools: Sea, Sand and Shell Pool.
At its very own peaceful sanctuary, Spa by JW, with 8 treatment rooms, spa lovers can enjoy an extensive range of exquisite spa treatments, including massages and body and salon services that combine the best of Eastern and Western traditions.For those looking for immersive gastronomic experiences guests can take part in mixology classes in the Department of Chemistry; learn the secret art of pastry in a lesson at the French and Co Brasserie; explore Pink Pearl’s wine cellar during an Oenology master class; or indulge in a Vietnamese cooking classes.
What are your challenges as GM of JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay in Vietnam?
From what we’ve seen and experienced here in Phu Quoc, it is challenging to hire and maintain human resources due to the small local population of the island. Therefore we have to be extra diligent in training, team building, and long term development of our associates to keep them engaged. It is not an overnight task to fulfil but I believe that it brings mutual benefits to both the local community and our guests who love to explore the local culture and people.
Thank you for joining us inAugust issue and we wish you a great time ahead with JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay.
Hong Nhung | Wanderlust Tips