First published April 2023 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle

Tom Divers is the founder and creator of Vietnam Coracle. He’s lived, travelled and worked in Vietnam since 2005. Born in London, he travelled from an early age, visiting over 40 countries (he first visited Vietnam in 1999). Now, whenever he has the opportunity to make a trip, he rarely looks beyond Vietnam’s borders and his trusty motorbike, Stavros. Read more about Tom on the About Page, Vietnam Times and ASE Podcast.

Occupying an entire peninsula draped in tropical foliage and surrounded by blue seas and small coral reefs, Nam Nghi originally opened in 2017, but closed for 2 years during the pandemic before reopening in January, 2023. A high-end but family-owned resort, Nam Nghi is luxurious, stylish, elegant and tasteful. Blending contemporary design with traditional motifs and materials, Nam Nghi’s main assets are the build-quality and style of its private villas, its natural setting, and the stunning location of the Treehouse restaurant and island bar (under renovation at the time of writing). Nam Nghi refers to itself as an ‘eco-retreat’. Certainly, nature takes centre stage on the resort’s property, which is more than can be said for many other high-end accommodations on Phu Quoc Island, not least the VinGroup developments on the next bay north of Nam Nghi. In general, the high prices ($120-$160 per night) are matched by the high quality of facilities, décor and comfort. However, Nam Nghi’s attention to style is sometimes at the expense of function.

*To check rates, availability & make a reservation for Nam Nghi Coral Peninsula please BOOK HERE

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Address: Hamlet 4, Cua Can Commune, Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province, Vietnam [MAP]

Average Rates: $120-$160/night


The Location

Resort Grounds & Layout

Pools, Beaches & Activities

Guest Rooms & Décor

Breakfast, Dining & Drinking


More Reviews

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All my reviews are independent: I never receive freebies or payment. If you use the links on this page to book your accommodation, I make a small commission. Alternatively, please consider making a donation or becoming a patron. Thank you,Tom

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Nam Nghi Coral Peninsula | Phu Quoc Island

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The Location: Nam Nghi occupies the entirety of Móng Tay peninsula, a rocky, jungle-clad headland in the northwest of Phú Quốc Island. Móng Tay means ‘fingernail’ in Vietnamese, which gives a clue as to both the size of the peninsula and its shape: a small, slender promontory jutting directly south into the blue waters of Vũng Bầu bay. Thanks to its location, Nam Nghi can boast both sunset and sunrise views from its property. Nam Nghi also own the tiny islet off the tip of the peninsula, which functions as the resort’s very own private island bar (although at the time of research this was closed and under significant renovation: see Dining & Drinking). Accessed via a paved lane through jungle branching off the main road, Nam Nghi lies at the northern end of Vũng Bầu, one of the prettiest beaches on the island.

Nam Nghi is a good 45 minutes by road north of the airport and port, and 30 minutes from the main town of Dương Đông. But it’s only 10 minutes from many of the ‘attractions’ offered by the Vinpearl complexes on the next bay north – waterparks, safaris, golf, casinos, etc. Indeed, the latter represents some of the biggest, brashest, most environmentally insensitive developments on the island; which is in stark contrast to the serenity and natural setting of Nam Nghi, where the owners have largely left nature alone, allowing it to flourish around the resort grounds: ancient banyans growing over black rocks sculpted by the sea, birds singing in the canopy of trees, fruit bats flitting around in the dark, and clear, star-filled nights. It’s beautiful.

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Resort Grounds & Layout: Near the entrance to the property, at the beginning of Móng Tay peninsula, is a four-storey, hotel-style building. A fairly anonymous, contemporary structure, the minimalist lobby on the first floor looks and feels more like the entrance to a modern art gallery than a resort reception. As well as guest rooms, this building houses one of the resort’s two restaurants and the spa, gym and yoga studio are downstairs. Behind the hotel structure, cobbled pathways – traversed by electric buggies – curl along the peninsula between villas which branch off on either side. Nestled beneath the twisted boughs of tropical trees, or perched on rocks above the ocean, the villas are arranged according to where nature allowed space for their construction – in some cases the rooftops have been built around tree trunks so as not to cut them down. At the tip of the promontory, the Treehouse restaurant sprawls beneath the splayed branches of a large banyan tree and a long pier stretches into the sea where boats whisk guests across the isthmus to the island bar.

In general, Nam Nghi has built around nature rather than on it, incorporating trees into the resort design rather than chopping them down. Nam Nghi does market itself as an ‘eco-resort’, and there’s no doubt that nature is the main attraction here – the trees, rocks, sea, beach, breezes, islets, natural colours and sounds. Nam Nghi cherishes its natural setting and tries to protect its marine environment by prohibiting large boats from anchoring on the coral. It may not be a perfect example of an ‘eco-resort’, but it is certainly much greener than other high-end accommodations on the island, such as the VinGroup developments just to the north, all of which have bulldozed nature and replaced it with concrete.

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Pools, Beach & Activities: There’s one sandy beach and one swimming pool at Nam Nghi: both are next to each other near the entrance to the resort at the north end of the peninsula. The infinity pool is large and good for swimming lengths or splashing around in. On one side of the pool is a bar, on the other is a wooden deck with parasols and sun loungers that leads on to the beach and the ocean. Part of a small bay on the west side of the promontory, the beach is pretty and great for sunset views. There are a few rocky patches submerged under the sea, so be cautious when wading out to swim. Two tropical almond trees provide shade, and several coconut palms have been planted in the sand for additional respite from the sun and heat. The resort offers guests free use of kayaks, full snorkeling equipment (there are several small reefs just offshore) and bicycles, as well as opportunities for boat trips and island excursions. There’s also a spa, yoga studio, and a well-equipped gym.

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Guest Rooms & Décor: There are two main types of accommodation at Nam Nghi: 63 hotel-style rooms and 51 luxury villas. The former are housed in the hotel building near the property’s entrance; the latter are spread across the rest the peninsula. Of the two, the villas are far more spacious (over 100m2), atmospheric and special places to be. The rooms are good, but they have much less connection to the natural location compared to the villas. Of course, the villas are more expensive – usually around $20-$50 more than the rooms. But, if you can stretch it, the extra money buys you better accommodation and a better experience.

Most of the villas are single-storey structures built on concrete stilts that negotiate the peninsula’s complex terrain. From the exterior, the villas are solid, substantial, modern-looking structures, but their interiors feature many traditional elements, such as wooden frames, thatched roofs, and ceramic tile floors. Inside, there are lots of impressive solid stone features, such as freestanding sinks, an enormous circular bathtub and stone floors in the shower cubicle. The style is modern-and-contemporary meets Indochine-chic. It works well and you immediately feel that you’re in a special, stylish, well-built accommodation. There’s lots of space and natural light in the villas: sliding doors lead onto large decks or balconies with sea and forest views, windows have mosquito netting so that you can open them at night to let the breezes and sound of the ocean in while keeping the bugs out – such a clever idea, but rarely implemented in Vietnam. The electric lighting is subdued, soft and sophisticated; the air-con is absolutely silent; the furnishings are tasteful.

Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the décor and appointment of the villas. But not everything works smoothly and there are some small irritations that I wouldn’t mention were it not for the high price tag. Most of these are due to placing style over function. Water overflowers from the shower cubicle into the rest of the bathroom; the beds are far too soft and sweaty for a tropical climate; the splash from the stylish sinks goes all over the walls; the circular bathtub is too big to fill and the plug leaks; the venetian blinds look lovely but they are a nuisance to operate – I found myself not wanting to open/close them in case it turned into a 15-minute struggle to get the blinds drawn in the way I desired. Finally, there are several direct lines of sight into toilets and showers from the pathways and other villas across the resort which means privacy is an issue: it’s almost as if they were designed to encourage voyeurism.

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Breakfast, Dining & Drinking: Although there are two main dining venues at Nam Nghi – the Ocean Reflection Restaurant near the lobby overlooking the sea, and the Treehouse Restaurant near the tip of the peninsula beneath a giant banyan – only the latter was open when I visited, and the menu was reduced to just a handful of items. However, the buffet breakfast was generally very good. There were lots of fresh fruit juices, baked goods, European-style salads, cold cuts, cooked breakfasts and Vietnamese noodle soups. The americano coffee was nowhere near good enough for this standard of accommodation, but the espresso was better. The real treat is the restaurant itself, which is constructed around the splayed branches of an old banyan tree, its roots twisted over boulders and its boughs hanging over the sea. There’s outside seating on a wooden deck in the shade of the tree or inside with shuttered windows open to the breezes. The poolside bar serves cocktails and snacks. But, Nam Nghi’s signature drinking venue – The Rock Bar – situated on the resort’s very own private island just off the tip of the peninsula, is currently closed for a major renovation. Judging by the artist’s impression of the finished project, there’s still a very long way to go before it reopens. When it does, the name will be OBOB Beach Club Island and the decor and style appears to clash with the low-key villas and general aesthetic of the resort itself.

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Summary: With rates hovering around $120-$160 per night, guests should expect high standards in all areas at Nam Nghi. In terms of style, build-quality, comfort, amenities and location, Nam Nghi meets the expectations set by its price. The problems I experienced at Nam Nghi were relatively small things – many of which could be easily remedied – that perhaps I wouldn’t even mention were it not for the high rates. To establish whether Nam Nghi represents value for money requires a comparison with other similarly priced high-end properties on the island. Take the InterContinental and Mango Bay as examples: At the former, you get immaculate build quality, full (and functioning) facilities and excellent service, but less style, character, intimacy, and nature; at the latter, you get perfectly judged rustic-chic style with deliberately fewer facilities, lots of character, charm and nature. Of these two examples, Nam Nghi falls on the Mango Bay side: the location is very special, the style, concept and character are elegant, attractive and tasteful, and nature is left alone to work its magic without ‘improvement’; but attention to functional details is sometimes lacking. To manage your expectations for the price you’re paying, consider what your priorities are: function and facilities at the expense of the natural setting, or charm and character within a beautiful natural environment.

*To check rates, availability & make a reservation for Nam Nghi Coral Peninsula please BOOK HERE

Please Support My Site
All my reviews are independent: I never receive freebies or payment. If you use the links on this page to book your accommodation, I make a small commission. Alternatively, please consider making a donation or becoming a patron. Thank you,Tom

*Disclosure: I never receive payment for anything I write: my content is always free & independent. I’ve written this review because I want to: I like this resort & I want my readers to know about it. For more details, see my Disclosure & Disclaimer statements & my About Page

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