The palm-fringed pathway from resort arrival to the main lobby at the New World Phu Quoc Resort is already enough to make holidaymakers feel they’ve come to a true Pearl Island green paradise. But of course, that’s only the beginning of an awe-inspiring experience in this newly opened family resort that seamlessly combines luxury and warmth in the tropical treasure that’s Phu Quoc island.
The moment you step out of the Resort's Limousine or buggy driven by the most polite chauffeur into the Grand Lobby, the signature arrival experience is mesmerizing, adorned with Earth elements that promise you a renewed connection to nature and to yourself.
Beyond the grand lobby are 375 thatched-roof villas (200 are currently open) offering private spaces for families and friends aiming to spend quality time together. The villas, which come in three- to four-bedroom configurations, all feature private pools, spacious dining and living spaces, and central courtyards designed thoughtfully to evoke the soothing charm of island life and ease guests right into relaxation.
Around the 60-ha property are five restaurants and bars that showcase unique culinary delights, a lounge with stylish furniture, a serene spa, a well-equipped fitness center, a colorful kids club, and a 120-meter-long infinity pool that extends to the gorgeous white sands of Khem Beach. If there’s heaven on Earth, the resort’s probably even more than that.
But for General Manager Jai Kishan, the real beauty of New World Phu Quoc Resort lies in the team working tirelessly and passionately to deliver outstanding hospitality to every guest. The world-class amenities are already a given, he says, but how the 310 employees work day and night in every corner of the resort is what makes the family resort a real “family” resort.
Vietcetera speaks with Jai, who has also been awarded Best General Manager by two award-giving bodies, to learn more about how New World Phu Quoc adds more meaning to hospitality, especially at a time when the industry’s still reeling from the pandemic aftermath.
Before coming to New World Phu Quoc Resort in Vietnam, you managed New World Petaling Jaya Hotel in Malaysia. What made you say ‘yes’ to the job — amid a pandemic, at that?
I arrived in Vietnam in December 2020 when COVID-19 cases were rising here. I had to board an emergency flight from Malaysia to Can Tho. Because I was the only foreigner on that plane, I was taken in an ambulance to a military camp for quarantine. It was already quite an adventure from the very start of my journey here. I made my way to Phu Quoc on the 14th of January 2021, and that’s when I officially started my job.
I was also the first official employee of the resort, so I was part of every process of building a team that would soon become the pillars of New World Phu Quoc Resort. It was a steep learning experience at the beginning because of the lockdowns. But it made me stronger and gave me a deeper understanding of how to get things done. Everything became joyful and smooth sailing from then onwards.
In continuation with our Corporate ethos of “The Calling,” it was a natural choice for my progression to a new hospitality culture here in Vietnam. We do what we were born to do. We answer The Calling.
Can you walk us through your daily life as a manager of a luxury family resort?
I live in the center of the resort, so I can see, hear, smell, feel, and anticipate everything that’s happening around me 24*7. My day usually starts at around 6 o’clock. After a morning coffee, I go to the beach for a walk and help our beach cleaning crew. Our beach is pristine, and we want to maintain it that way for future generations. Soon after, I get to the Gym, freshen up, review all tasks on hand and complete them to my best availability. Once that's done, I usually walk around the Resort to engage with our team members plus guests and work on ways of making their day better for a win-win.
As it’s a resort, we like to engage with all our guests and team members in a semi-formal style with a spirit of relationship hospitality culture. Throughout the day, after reviewing a few formal meetings, we continue to engage with teams in the classroom or on-the-job training sessions, catch up with guests to hear about their experience, and ensure everybody is delighted.
As a general manager, I follow a simple working style: always engage with people. I may not speak Vietnamese, but I always try to communicate with the team. I believe in team spirit, and that’s what makes our foundation as one team really strong.
In just over a year, the resort has garnered several awards. You’ve also been named Leading General Manager and Best General Manager. What do these accolades mean to you?
While New World Phu Quoc Resort is new, the Rosewood Resort Group is already an established brand. That’s one key reason that our foundation is already strong from the beginning.
But it was the kind of service that we offer here that really brought attention to the resort. Our team has adapted to the changes brought by the pandemic and excelled in making our guests feel the warmth and hospitality unique to New World Phu Quoc Resort. When people stay here, they don’t have expectations simply because the property is new. But they come and see the high service standards of the staff, and they talk about it positively.
The awards that we’ve gained so far — 2021 Leading Family Resort (Best Hotels and Resorts Awards), 2021 Leading General Manager (Best Hotels and Resorts Awards), 2022 Best Designed Restaurant, 2022 Best New Resort in Asia (Haute Grandeur Global Awards), 2022 Best Villa Resort in Asia (Haute Grandeur Global Awards), 2022 Best General Manager in Vietnam (Haute Grandeur Global Awards), 2022 Best Island Resort in Vietnam (Haute Grandeur Global Awards), 2022 Asia’s Leading Beach Family Resort (World Travel Awards), 2022 Luxury Family Beach Resort – Global Winner (World Luxury Awards), 2022 Best General Manager – Country Winner (World Luxury Awards), 2022 Luxury Romantic Destination Spa – Regional Winner (World Luxury Awards), 2022 Vietnamese Cuisine – Global Winner (World Luxury Awards) — are a gift for the team who made them possible.
You’ve also built a strong family among the employees of the resort. What are the core foundations of the resort that you want to inculcate in every employee?
When I started building the team in early 2021, my mission was not to hire for professional skills but attitude. Skills can be trained and developed later, but a heart for service and a passion for hospitality is innate to a person. That was what I looked for from every candidate. Once we had the right talents, we were able to create a community of driven individuals ready to exceed expectations in terms of service standards. I believe that a building or a resort can be whatever it is, but ultimately, it is the team behind it that makes things happen.
We’ve always been clear about our philosophy — relationship hospitality — which extends beyond guests but, most importantly, to our team. Each staff member at New World Phu Quoc Resort is bound by our five values: Ownership, passion, collaboration, innovation, and transparency. These have become the fundamentals of our business operation and team management. In an industry that’s about providing the perfect gateway and getaway, it all starts and ends with heartfelt service from all team members.
And since this is a family resort, we want to start the concept of family from the team here. How we work together directly reflects the service we deliver to our guests. And we make sure it’s always service with a smile.
If you could give travelers one reason to visit and experience New World Phu Quoc Resort, what would it be?
If you want to experience magic, this is the right place. Honestly, I don’t want to promise anything and under-deliver because I don’t know what expectations guests have for the resort. I want them to come and try and see if we are able to give them a great experience.
I want to say we have the best rooms, the best beach, or a full kids menu, but all hotels and resorts have that as well. So I want to focus on our service — there’s only one New World Phu Quoc Resort offering them this kind of service. Our team is attentive and thoughtful to the needs of our guests, and we always try to give them what they want even before they ask.
The spectacular pristine beach, of course, is a major factor. Unlike other destinations in the world, Phu Quoc is relatively new. It offers you a nice peaceful holiday you wouldn't expect to get in Vietnam.
So yes, give us a chance. Let us deliver what we are good at, and let us exceed your expectations.
What can we expect from New World Phu Quoc Resort in the coming months?
We will be opening the second phase of the resort before the year ends. Right now, we have 200 villas open and ready to accommodate families. But we have 166 more villas we are excited to finally see operating. With Vietnam now open and the demand for travel stronger than ever, we expect more guests to come in by next year.
Team-wise, I’ll keep them more engaged, so they don’t lose the passion and dedication we’ve cultivated over the past two years. We will also be hiring more staff as we open the remaining villas.