When (vegan) luxury travel becomes a reality again

As the weeks of COVID-19 travel restrictions turned into months, we found ourselves spending more and more time thinking about where we would go when travel becomes a reality again. Our hearts lie in Asia but we also have a soft spot for European cities. As lovers of luxury travel but also passionate supporters of sustainability and cruelty free vegan travel, the places we’re longing to return to all offer that wonderful mix of high end luxury and amazing vegan food. So, when (vegan) luxury travel becomes a reality again, where would we go? To escape the feelings of stress, worry and sometimes boredom, we’d be heading straight to the extraordinary ‘escape from reality’ that is JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa in the South of Vietnam. Step into the fantastical world of a luxury hotel built on an imaginary historic university and lose yourself in an entirely fabulous, but entirely made up, world of wonder and intrigue. Designed by the famously eccentric and talented Bill Bensley, this is an awe inspiring beachfront property where unique luxury and excellent vegan food become reality. Their signature fine dining French restaurant, Pink Pearl, is not to be missed and makes for a decadent yet memorable evening. Sip champagne and fine wines, eat beautifully presented vegan food and marvel at the lavish surroundings (either in the main dining room or one of the exquisite private dining rooms). Dishes which crafted ingredients like spelt, mushrooms, parsley foam and black truffles into perfected presented edible masterpieces adorned our table and made for delicious eating. To escape the present and step back in time, we’d book a stay at Shangri-La Hotel, Paris. The hotel is located in the former private residence of Napolean Bonaparte’s great-nephew and so, as you might expect, it’s as much of a journey back in time as it is a luxury hotel stay. The property has been beautifully restored with antique furniture, grand chandeliers and flawless marble staircases with hand-gilded wrought iron banisters. It should be no surprise to hear that Shangri-La Hotel, Paris holds the prestigious ‘Palace Status’ which means you can expect “exceptional qualities embodying French standards of excellence during your stay”. And to top it all off, the views of the Eiffel Tower are second to none. It should also come as no surprise that the vegan food was an epicurean dream. It started with vegan macarons and chilled champagne in our room on arrival and culminated in an vegan afternoon tea that was epic in size, culinary skill and deliciousness. There was a tower of sweet and savory treats from freshy baked scones served with cherry jam and vegan Chantilly cream with lime zest to salted caramel chocolate cookies. And after we’d eaten everything served on our tower of vegan dreams we started on side plates of seasonal cakes. Strawberry and cream sponges, chocolate puffed rice truffles and cherry pies with cinnamon cream and fresh cherries poached in earl grey tea. Any time we need cheering up we think of this afternoon tea and dine out on those sweet memories. No day dreaming adventure would be complete without a private island resort or two and what better place to seek the kind of isolation we all dream of than heading to Southern Cambodia for a stay at Six Senses Krabey Island. After a short private boat transfer from the mainland, check in to one of the 40 villas and escape from it all. This luxury island retreat gives huge doses of nature (the trees, birds and ocean vibes are abundant) as well as the chance to find that inner peace with a yoga class or a trip to the meditation cave. We stayed in one of the Ocean Pool Villa Suites during our last visit, surrounded by giant trees but also with views of the ocean to be enjoyed from inside through the floor to ceiling windows, or outside from the private infinity pool and deck area. Now you know why we’re still dreaming about this place. Dine on fresh, organic produce all prepared with a healthy and sustainable twist. Being vegan here is beyond easy and always delicious whether you’re eating traditional Cambodian cuisine like ‘Num Banh Chok’ creamy noodle soup or creative fusion dishes like a freshly prepared, supercharged raw dish using the very best local flavours. A firm favorite anytime we daydream about far flung places, would be a trip to Amilla Fushi Resort and Residences in the Maldives’ Baa Atoll. The Baa Atoll is a UNESCO biosphere reserve where you can stay in high end luxury as well as getting the chance to see manta rays, sharks, sea turtles and a whole abundance of marine life swimming amongst vibrant corals. Amilla Fushi is a modern, chic and beautiful resort that serves up everything you’d expect from a luxury Maldivian experience. Think turquoise ocean surrounding your over water villa where baby reef sharks, rays and shoals of tropical fish swim by. Think white sand beaches and swaying palms, sunsets and starlit nights like you’ve never seen before. Think luxury spa experiences by award winning therapists. But also think some of the best vegan food you’ll find. Vegan waffles or a tofu omelet for breakfast? Or maybe pancakes? Or a traditional Southern Indian idly feast or platter of Middle eastern delights? And the eating around the world adventure continues for lunch with everything from calzones with vegan cheese, tacos, sushi and tofu veg stir fries with peanut sauce. Dinner time is equally impressive with a vegan fish and chips experience being an absolute must. As the world starts to lift travel restrictions and we begin to allow ourselves to plan getting away from it all, our fantasy list is fast becoming our ‘must visit again soon’ list. Now just to decide which place to visit first, where would you choose? Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest. Vegan Food Quest have become luxury vegan travel specialists as they continue to find, eat and write about the best vegan food in the world. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Paul Eyers

Paul Eyers is co-founder of Vegan Food Quest who write about luxury hotels and resorts in Southeast Asia with a focus on sustainable travel, eco travel and vegan travel. Currently based in Malaysia, Paul also writes about sporting events and some of the finest golf courses throughout the region.

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  1. We’re going to see another upturn in love of vegan food. Lockdown’ has given foodies the time to think about what they are buying and cooking, experimenting with some vegan dishes. Once people start travelling again they are going to want to see what the best vegan chefs can produce.

    1. We really believe this too Ed. The timing is perfect as veganism was already on the rise, so with people now more aware about what they eat we can expect exciting times ahead…

    2. That’s really true, I’ve been thinking a lot differently about taking better care of myself these past few months. And I’m realizing more and more how that starts with my diet and sticking to a healthy one. So this post is a treasure to highlight a better lifestyle that’s sustainable. Great job.

  2. This is quite a mouth-watering guide to some of the world’s top places for vegan cuisine. But there is no mention of anything in the Americas – either North or South. Anyone got any recommendations for great vegan experiences in the Americas?

    1. Thank you for your comment John. We are based in Southeast Asia so the majority of our travel is in this region other that a few trips back to Europe. Hopefully one day we will manage to explore more of th Americas and find out what amazing vegan options are available…

    2. That’s not a bad idea, to come up with another post about vegan travel for other regions of the world. However, I have seen that Europe and Asia are ahead of the game when it comes to eating better among their populations.

    3. HI Lisa

      At the moment our plans are to remain living in SEAsia so our posts will always be from these regions. The chance to explore the Americas and continue the same work there would be one we’d love to have at some stage…

  3. So many amazing choices in the SE Asia region. I can’t wait to be able to travel again and sample some of these delights. I think in this tiem where world ecomony is struggling it’s important that we try to support those rastaurants that offer vegan food as much a we can. The old saying use it or lose it springs to mind.

    1. you’re right there Terry about eating more vegan food, it’s certainly a very positive way to live and has so many benefits for the planet.

  4. What a fabulous ten – fifteen minutes of reading and dreaming and clicking links and then doing more reading and dreaming! Wonderful article. Thank you ?

    1. thank you for taking the time to commnet Liz, it is very much appreciated! let’s hope that all of the dreaming we are doing becomes a reality at some stage and we can all travel again…

  5. I’m not vegan but I’m more of a fussy eater with a few intolerances and even I can have problems eating out sometimes. I can imagine vegan dining has been hard over the years for those that live a vegan way of life, but times are changing. There’s a lot more focus on veganism and I’m seeing new places cropping up near where I live all the time now, as well as preexisting establishments fleshing out their vegetarian and vegan menus. I think it helps to investigate where you’re going before you set your sights on eating there to make sure they cater to your needs, and it always helps to have recommendations like these.

    What a gorgeous pool that first listed Marriott resort has, it looks like a mermaid fin. Beautiful! It’s not often you see vegan food options being described as an epicurean dream so that’s rather tempting! I’ve heard someone say before that they find places have vegan options for the main, but then they can’t get vegan options for extras like afternoon teas, which always seems a bit unfair. Great to see this hotel has lots on offer. The foodie photos look divine.

    1. hi Becky

      thank you for your detailed comments on our post.

      you are right that finding vegen food was a very differnet experience just a few years ago. right now it is getting easier all of the time which is so exciting for us travel loving vegans!

      and as for the pool at JW Phu Quoc, it really is as amazing as it looks…

    2. That’s totally true, at least I have found it is. I’ve come across way more vegan buffets while traveling than I expected to. This kind of food is futuristic in my opinion at least for certain people who want a different lifestyle that’s better for the environment, etc.

  6. Reading your travel blog always cheers me up and I can feel myself smiling, but especially now, when there is so much ‘doom and gloom’ all around us. So uplifting to be reminded that there are wonderful places in the world waiting to be experienced.
    Like Becky, I was amazed by that photo of the pool at the JW Marriott. Probably no less than you’d expect from a designer such as Bill Bensley.
    I long for the time when I can visit SE Asia again. In the meantime, maybe Paris? Not so far to travel and that vegan cream tea looks fabulous.

    1. travelling anywhere right now is a complicated process and the risks still remain. only today, the UK has made travel to Spain very difficult again. so for now, we will carry on dreaming and panning for when things get back to normal…

    2. Yep I second that notion, I love coming to this blog to read about positive stuff rather than all the negativity in the news. I’d much rather read about healthy food than anything else to be honest. I’m a big believer in manifesting a life you want to live, so a healthy lifestyle includes positive reading about a good meal. :)

    3. thanks for saying that Jessica. we had a lot of thoughts about whether we should still be writing about vegan fod and travel during these tims but decided it was important as gives us all something positive to focus on. i would also read about food and travel than most things as it always makes me smile :)

  7. I’ve seen a lot of interest to eating healthy these days. I think it took a pandemic to make a lot of people think about how they are consuming food or what they are ingesting. I’ve been a proponent of eating your share of veggies and greens. I particularly love garden salads and mediterranean cuisine — hummus is heaven. I’ve been trying a couple of recipes, there are flavored hummus, and looking into more salad dressing recipes that’s low in calories. Many Asian countries have a lot of local dishes that are vegan. But I know, it’s really hard to get to these places now, so an alternative list of places to get our vegan fix is welcome.

    1. thank you for commenting Thomas.

      the demand for veggie and vegan food has been on the rise for sometime now and the pandemic has certainly made people think about this even more. eating fresh plant based produce (that it local where possible) has so many benefits and makes sense on every level…

      hummus is one of our favourites too, so versatile and packed full of goodness :)

    2. Isn’t that kinda strange? That always baffles me about human beings where it takes such a tragedy to see things differently. I was lucky to have parents who taught me at any early age to eat healthy. And whenever I’d be out with people older than me they were very surprised that I ate well because they were struggling with it in their 50s or early 60s.

    3. healthy food is the best way to ensure a long and enjoyable life. it’s something that i’ve alwasy been surrounded by although i must admit my vegetarian mother struggled with my not so healthy diet as a young teenager! since thn i’ve not looked back and althought i enjoy the odd vegan burger i try to eat non processed, plant based whole food most of the time…

  8. This post really hit at home for me! I love the selections. I’m currently in Vietnam so I hope to visit Phu Quoc. I’ve heard such great things about it and I didn’t know there would be vegan options there! And I’ll be checking out Six Senses — I was in Cambodia for three weeks last year. The food was tremendous from the locals, those pictures look incredibly fresh. And delicious! And I was blown away by the Maldives choice, just looking at that on a map leaves me dreaming. The cuisine looks incredible, something I need to try for sure.

    1. thanks for commenting Adam. where are you in Vietnam? we’ve written lots about Vietnam both on here and over on Vegan Food Quest so please do check out our other guides and articles. Cambodia has been home since 2015 although I’m currently stuck in the UK having visited just before lockdown…

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