Cambodia isn’t known for its luxury island escapes but that’s all the more reason to visit. The beaches are quiet, the ocean endless, and the views breathtaking. A short ferry ride from the coastal city of Sihanoukville are the main tourist islands, Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem. We chose to spend our time at Koh Rong Sanloem, the quieter, more relaxed and more untouched alternative. Sol Beach Resort was freshly opened in November 2015 and was the perfect place to unwind, a little slice of paradise.
Stepping off the ferry onto the white sand beaches and sparkling blue water of Koh Rong Sanloem island, we knew we were in for a treat. We were greeted by the bright yellow t-shirts and even brighter smiles of the Sol Beach Resort staff. A short boat ride to the beautiful Saracen Bay and we were shown into the open bar and restaurant area for a welcome drink while our bags were transferred to our villa. The resort is extremely flexible with check-in and out times to accommodate the fixed ferry schedule, which is perfect for an early arrival or late departure.THE ROOM
We were lucky enough to experience all three villas that Sol Beach Resort has to offer during our week-long stay, and no matter where you choose to spend your time, you won’t be disappointed. All villas boast ocean views, hot water shower and bathtub, WiFi and complimentary breakfast. The only accomodation with 24-hour electricity and air-conditioning on the island, and with international comforts and beautiful authentic Khmer styling, this 4-star luxury boutique resort is the perfect choice for couples, families or friends alike.
Ocean Front Villa
With uninterrupted views of the ocean, these villas are the perfect choice for a romantic couple getaway. Literally steps from the ocean, we were spoilt with beautiful sunrises and what felt like a private beach. Not only do the villas have floor to ceiling windows to show off that view every minute of the day, but the bathroom features a unique panoramic one-way mirror so you can enjoy it no matter where you are! We woke up to the sound, smell and view of the ocean five days in a row, and we certainly weren’t ready to leave.Tree Villa
The tree villas sit in the second row overlooking the ocean front villas, and as the name suggests, are elevated on stilts so you feel as if you are sleeping amongst the trees. In addition to the king-size bed of the ocean villas, the tree villas have a cosy loft in the pitched roof, so they can sleep up to four. They also feature the one-way mirror in the bathroom and the spacious balcony attracts a cool breeze, and is perfect for a lazy afternoon reading a book or taking a nap!Family Villa
Sleeping five, the family villas are the third row of accommodation, and are great if you’re travelling with a group. Spacious and comfortable, they have a king room, double loft and single room, and the largest bathroom of all the villas. The separate living area has three couches so when the kids (or you!) are exhausted after a day in the sun, there’s plenty of space to relax. The family villas are a home away from home and have everything you’d need, making them the ideal holiday house on the island.THE SERVICE
Everyone’s happy at Sol Beach Resort, and why wouldn’t they be, they work on an island! Always ready for a chat, while still allowing you your privacy, one of our favourite things about the resort was the staff. They have mastered the perfect balance between professionalism and a relaxed beach resort vibe, giving you 5-star service with a 4-star rating. We were greeted by name every day at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and were guaranteed a delicious dish with everything from beautiful fresh fish, pasta and salads to traditional Khmer cuisine available. If you’re wanting a quiet night in, order your dinner at the bar and have it delivered straight to your villa, or enjoy your meal from the bar deck, there’s an abundance of seating (or laying!) options available that are just steps from the ocean. Always available to bring you another cocktail or juice with a smile, the staff will do everything to accommodate your every need and want! The service is the last thing that will make you walk away with a smile on your face, and that’s what we did.
THE FINER DETAILS
If the villas, service and dining aren’t enough, Sol Beach Resort is environmentally conscious, and has everything working behind the scenes to make sure each and every guest receive the best island experience possible. After chatting to the man behind it all, we learnt about the engineering that’s gone into making this the most luxurious resort on the island. All water for use in the kitchen is sourced from a 57 metre well, then quality tested by a food chemist and deemed as pure as rain water, before being run through a purifier, so there’s always fresh water readily available. Septic tanks are constructed from black plastic rather than concrete rings meaning wet season isn’t an issue, and the toilet paper is biodegradable. With power cuts being a common occurrence in Cambodia, the resort runs on dual automatic generators, being the only accomodation on the island with 24-hour electricity. The hot water is heated via a timer in your room when you need it, which then keeps the water hot in a tank for a few hours so there’s no wastage. The area is also protected by lightening rods, which is comforting considering since we saw lightening most nights we were there!
Hammocks are hanging between the trees all over the grounds, and you’ll never have trouble finding an available sun bed where you can set yourself up for the entire day if you wish. We didn’t wear shoes for an entire week and lived in our swimsuits. Now that’s a holiday!
If you’re seeking a true luxury island escape, Sol Beach Resort on Koh Rong Sanloem certainly won’t disappoint.
Villas begin at $149USD per night. Book your stay here.
LENSES&LOCALS was welcomed as a guest by Sol Beach Resort on our visit to Koh Rong Sanloem. As always, all opinions are our own.
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