First published December 2021 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle
Located on up-and-coming Cây Sao beach on Phu Quoc’s lesser-known but beguiling east coast, Lotus Home is a small, mid-range resort featuring bungalows above the sea on a long, wooden jetty. Part of a growing trend of ‘pier-style’ resorts above the shallow waters on the east side of the island, Lotus Home is cosy and photogenic, making the most of its beautiful position. However, the property is lacking in amenities, quality and service when compared to other resorts in the same price range on Phu Quoc.
*To check rates, availability & make a reservation for Lotus Home please BOOK HERE
REVIEW: LOTUS HOME PHU QUOC
Address: Tổ 5 Cây Sao Beach, Ham Ninh, Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province [MAP]
Average Rates: $50-$100 | Email: facebook.com/lotushomephuquoc/
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Lotus Home Phu Quoc
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The Location: Right at the centre of Phu Quoc Island’s east coast, the location of Lotus Home is intoxicating. Known as Cây Sao, this particular stretch of the east coast features a rustic shoreline backed by verdant tropical trees and a long, looming ridge of jungle-clad mountains rising almost vertically behind the coast road. Ever since the road was paved a few years ago, this area has seen a surge in interest from travellers and a rapidly developing tourist enclave of small mid-range resorts. Remote, wild and very beautiful, the location should appeal to those who want to experience a different side of the island and don’t mind being in a relatively isolated area. The nearest settlement is Ham Ninh, 7km due south. However, time of year is an important consideration, because weather and sea conditions can be unsettled from October to February, turning the sea a muddy brown. (This is odd, because the same period is the best time of year to be on the west coast.) The sea at Lotus Home is calmest, clearest and bluest from April to August. But, whatever the time of year, the location still looks fantastic.
Resort Grounds & Layout: Lotus Home is another variation on the ‘pier villa’ theme that’s become popular on the east coast over the last several years. A long, wood-plank causeway leads out to sea, just a few feet above the water, with bungalows built off it at intervals. It’s a great concept and works perfectly for the shallow waters of the east coast, thus overcoming the region’s ‘problem’ of not being blessed with long sandy beaches, like the west coast is. The piers have the added bonus of being ideal for a generation of travellers that need a suitably photogenic ‘prop’ on which to take their social media photos. What’s more, the piers have real island heritage: long have fishermen on the east coast moored their boats at these jetties and lived on them in wood and corrugated iron huts. But, already this area is becoming clogged with pier-style resorts: there are at least half a dozen very similar resorts along Cây Sao beach, and development here is still in its infancy. Even the current pier resorts now have to settle for views of other piers rather than open water. And there’s the issue of construction noise and detritus as the new pier resorts compete to open as fast as possible. (Lotus Home also has a few red brick bungalows in a grassy garden on the land.)
Beach, Sea & Activities: The east coast in general doesn’t boast long sandy beaches. However, the shoreline is very attractive, with rocky coves and sandy stretches, all fringed by tropical trees. The sea is shallow and tidal. It’s fine for swimming during good weather, although at low-tide you need to walk out quite far before the water gets deep enough to swim. But, water quality can be quite murky between November and March. For the best sea conditions, come between June and September, when the sea is calm and clear. In lieu of a beach, Lotus Home has a wooden deck with loungers. Also, each of the pier villas has direct access to the sea via wooden ladders off their terraces. The problem is that during the rougher, windier months when the sea isn’t suitable for swimming, there’s no pool and very few other amenities. The resort’s kayaks are great during calm conditions, but there’s not much to do when the wind is blowing and the surf is choppy. Motorbikes are available to rent for 150,000VNĐ per day, so you can ride to other beaches on the island if sea conditions aren’t great.
Guest Rooms & Décor: There are two types of rooms at Lotus Home: red brick bungalows on the land or ‘water villas’ on the pier. The former are better quality (and slightly cheaper), but the latter are far more spectacular. Lotus Home advertises itself as a ‘homestay’ rather than a ‘resort’. In Vietnam, ‘homestay’ doesn’t necessarily mean staying with a family; it means a room equipped like a ‘home’, with a kitchenette, for example. Unfortunately, at Lotus Home it also means there’s no breakfast included in the price nor any proper room cleaning service, both of which are serious issues when you consider that for the same price you can stay in a higher standard resort which does include all of the above. In general, rates are between $50-$100 a night depending on the season and room type. The rooms are nice, cosy, comfortable, decently equipped and the ‘water villas’ have fabulous views. However, the build quality is low and the price does not represent value for money.
In my room on the pier, the interior looked good and the position was excellent. But, the wooden door panels had gaps; the window glass didn’t fit properly so the sea breeze whistled through all night long; the faucets on the kitchen sink were loose; the bath plug got stuck so the water wouldn’t flow out; Wi-Fi was constantly in and out; the room smelled of stale cigarette smoke; and the water heater was only capable of filling the (beautiful) sunken bathtubs with a couple of inches of hot water.
The main attraction of the ‘water villas’ is the floor-to-ceiling glass door which opens onto an attractive wooden deck above the sea with a lounger and webbed hammock hanging directly over the water: beautiful and great for photos. But a mosquito net over the bed would have been a useful addition; otherwise, if you have the doors open, the room fills with bugs. In general, the rooms and amenities at Lotus Home did not live up to my expectations for the price. It’s about value for money: if the rooms at Lotus Home were $20-$30 less per night, the poor build quality would not be so much of an issue. But, at their current price – even with reduced ‘pandemic rates’ – the cost is just too high for the quality.
Breakfast, Dining & Drinking: At the very end of the pier at Lotus Home is an excellent seafood restaurant. The fish are farmed right there beneath the pier and the fishing boats moor on the jetty to unload their catch. Dining is directly above the ocean: it’s very romantic, but also very local and low-key – the family running the restaurant live at the end of the pier. Everything is extremely fresh, although, as is often the case with seafood on Phu Quoc, prices are relatively high. Unfortunately, the restaurant sometimes hosts local parties with banging techno music and karaoke blaring into the night. Breakfast is not included – disappointing considering the price of the rooms. You can buy breakfast at the seafood restaurant or get supplies to make food in the kitchenette in your room. In addition, Rory’s Bar is just 5-10 minutes north up the coast road, with many Western dishes. Also, Ham Ninh village is 7km south of Lotus Home, which has a local market, street food and grocery stores for supplies.
Summary: Lotus Home’s main strengths are its location on the beautiful east coast, the photogenic quality of its ‘pier-style’ bungalows’, and the freshness and local ambience of its seafood restaurant. Lotus Home has a certain amount of charm and character: its small scale, informal staff and laid back atmosphere do lend something of a ‘homestay’ feel to the property. However, the low build quality and lack of amenities and service renders the current room rates far too high to represent value for money. Prices need to be reduced by about 30% to bring them in line with the current standards. If not, travellers will find better quality for similar prices at any of the resorts listed below in Related Posts.
*To check rates, availability & make a reservation for Lotus Home please BOOK HERE
*Please support Vietnam Coracle: All my reviews are independently researched & financed. I never receive freebies of any sort in exchange for positive reviews or listings. 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. All my earnings go straight back into this website. 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