Luxury Bound’s Caroline Ferguson has known Suzy Jacobs for only 2.5 years but understands her desire to feel a sense of place on her travels. Suzy spent a week in Vietnam, with the perfect balance of big city hustle and idyllic island time.
As a busy business owner and self-confessed ‘lazy traveller’, the appeal of having someone do the holiday planning on Suzy’s behalf was a win… even helping to decide on the destination. With only a week available for a getaway, Caroline shortlisted three possible destinations based on Suzy’s requirements – warm weather, limited flying time and somewhere to relax. Suzy settled on a week in Vietnam – two nights in Saigon, followed by five nights in a southern beachside resort at Phu Quoc. “I trust Caroline and let her guide me – we have a connection and level of understanding about what I enjoy, so I’m happy to rely on her recommendation” says Suzy.
After landing in Saigon, Suzy and her friend stayed at The Reverie – a lavish, newly-built hotel located in the heart of the thriving Central Business District. While in Saigon, they experienced historical tours of the Cu Chi Tunnels, a series of underground passages used during the Vietnam War, and the War Remnants Museum with a personal tour guide handpicked by Caroline. Knowing Suzy’s time for sightseeing was limited, it was important to have an experienced guide with local insights. “Our guides were exceptional – their depth of knowledge, their personal approach and knowledge of their local history made the whole experience fascinating. We made a lovely connection during our time together.” In the evening, they zipped through the streets of Saigon on vintage Vespa scooters, sampling authentic street food with their guide. “Our food tour in Saigon was amazing – it was so much fun and a great vibe. It was fantastic having a local with us to order so we could try authentic and traditional food. We knew we were in safe hands.”
After experiencing the hustle of the city, Suzy flew to Phu Quoc, a short one-hour flight from Saigon. Boasting spectacular mountain scenery, friendly, laid-back locals and arguably the country’s best beaches, Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s very own tropical island. Staying at the newly opened Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa, a destination in itself, it is a hotel unlike any other. Designed to pay homage to the fictional historic Lamarck University, Asian and European aesthetics are blended in a quirky style that is utterly unique. It tells the story of a French colonial university campus founded in 1880, abandoned in the 1940’s after the war, then restored and transformed into a resort. Each building is billed as a ‘department’ with architecture and furnishings designed to reflect the subject of study. “The hotels on this trip were extraordinary. They were out of this world and such a great experience,” says Suzy. “It was fun and lighthearted – all the staff were wearing 1920’s university or flapper outfits. The hotel and the rooms have gorgeous high ceilings, it’s spacious, vast and amazing.”
“Having someone of Caroline’s calibre organising the trip was fantastic – the whole trip went way beyond my expectations. Her level of understanding and personalised service made all the difference. I say to friends who are planning a holiday: ‘Oh my God, you have to ring Caroline!’ – it’s the added touches she provides and the attention to detail – she just makes stuff happen! She’s awesome.”