It is fair to say that Cambodia has been lagging behind the neighbouring countries of Vietnam and Thailand when it comes to luxury travel. However, 2017 will be the year that changes. Until now luxury travelers could be chauffeured in comfortable Mercedes cars or charter a helicopter to get around. However, the choice of accommodation was limited to a handful of quality hotels. All of that will change with the opening of multiple luxurious hotels and island resorts, taking Cambodia to a new level.
Two exciting openings are expected this year on the South Coast of Cambodia. The well established Song Saa Private Island, http://songsaa.com/ has been the only luxury resort until now but will see competition. However, each resort has a different style and focus so there should be room for all the properties to complement each other.
Alila Villas Koh Russey is aiming for a July opening. With 63 suites and villas, each with a pool, the island resort is located just 10 minutes off the mainland. Guests arriving at Sihanoukville Airport can be at the Alila dock in Ream in just 10 minutes before transferring by complimentary shuttle boats across to the island. Alila is well known for combining innovative design and luxury in unique locations with a careful eye on sustainability and responsibility to the environment. If a private villa pool is not enough, Alila Villas Koh Russey also has a beachfront swimming pool. Other facilities include a beach grill and bar, spa, gym, yoga studio, outdoor cinema and an organic garden.
Six Senses has been providing stunning accommodation in Thailand and Vietnam for several years. So we are very pleased that they will open Six Senses Krabey Island in December.
Offering 40 pool villas on a naturally landscaped 30-acre private island, the resort is just a 10-15 minute speedboat transfer from the mainland. Six Senses are well renowned for spa and wellness and the Six Senses Spa Krabey Island will feature a specialty menu as well as several ancient Cambodian healing traditions and multi-day rejuvenation journeys, Six Senses Integrated Wellness, detox, yoga and workshops. Also there will be two restaurants, a bar and a deli complete with ice cream parlor.
Phnom Penh has until now seen luxury travelers stay at either Raffles or Sofitel hotels. However Rosewood Hotels will open the first of two planned properties. Rosewood Phnom Penh will open in the 2nd quarter of 2017, whilst a Siem Reap hotel is estimated for 2019. The Rosewood name was only established in 1979 but has become epitomized with highly individual, luxurious, residential-style hotels inspired by the culture, history and geography of each location. Rosewood Phnom Penh will occupy the top 14 floors of the Vattanac Capital Tower in the heart of the capital. Soaring 188 meters into the sky, the iconic building takes the form of a rising dragon oriented toward the east, with 175 rooms offering unobstructed panoramic views of the city, including the fabled Mekong River. City dining will also come of age with a bistro, a Japanese izakaya-style restaurant and a steak and seafood outlet serving guests cuisine of the highest quality. The 33rd floor will offer Sense, a Rosewood Spa, fitness centre and an indoor lap swimming pool.
Indeed, Rosewood will be the first of many big players in the hotel industry opening in the emerging capital. The luxury Shangri-La hotel chain will open a 300-room hotel along the Mekong River facing Diamond Island in 2019. And expected in 2020, the Hyatt Regency will mark the first Hyatt Regency hotel in Cambodia, and will add to their growing footprint in Southeast Asia. The 250-room hotel will be located directly across from many of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, including the National Museum and the Royal Palace.
Heading out of the capital and into the pine forests of Kirirom another luxury Cambodian project with a difference is planned. Shinta Mani Wild Tmor Rung will be the first resort designed and owned by the Bill Bensley himself and remotely located between two national park and along a river. Even better, the resort will be self-sustaining.
As Cambodia develops as a tourist destination we welcome new and existing hotels developing new, sustainable and eco-friendly projects. A key sign of a maturing tourist industry maturing is when international hotel chains develop hotels. We hope that one day you will have the chance to experience these exciting projects.