For a slightly unusual little paradise, check out the Samanea (Rain Tree) Beach Resort located in the centre of a large Botanical Park with a protected mangrove forest and wooden boardwalks meandering through it on the seashore of Kep on the Southwest coast of Cambodia. The fascinating thing about Kep is that it was founded as a seaside retreat for the French elite in 1908; the history and its stunning national park make it an ideal destination for the discerning traveller today.
The relaxed provincial capital of Kep is located along the Gulf of Thailand and the town features beautiful crumbling French colonial villas, wide streets and a mansion on the hill. Kep Beach is a peaceful spot to soak up the sun or the white sandy beach of Rabbit Island (Koh Tonsay) is a lovely 20-minute boat ride away. The region is known for its seafood and there’s a bustling crab market in Kep and the walking and cycling trails at Kep National Park and exploring the caves around Kep will keep you active when you start to feel a little too relaxed! The resort lends out bicycles and they run a range of excursions including Magic Tree Climbing, Trekking in the National Park and Canoe Kayaking. The resort lies about 2 and a half hours from Phnom Penh airport and the resort runs a shuttle service that covers the route; from London flights take just over 14 hours and tend to connect in Bangkok or Hong Kong.
Style & Character
The main reception building is a renovated seaside cottage from Kep’s past that was lying in ruins before the resort owners decided it was too beautiful to ignore and decided to restore it to its former glory. The stunningly-designed Khmer-style villas use regional materials to create chic, calming spaces.
Service & Facilities
A beautiful 300sqm salt water infinity pool with integrated Jacuzzi jets overlooks the sea and will be one of your favourite spots for total relaxation. If you tire of life by the pool (unlikely I know!) then there is also a private white sand beach lined with coconut trees; take a stroll at the end of the day and wander down the long wooden sea jetty for the most amazing sunset views across the Bay of Thailand set against the Bokor Mountain and Islands and the lush hills of Kep National Park. To even further ensure your total relaxation there’s a wellness spa too! The resort offers packages where they tailor everything to your precise needs; be that a family break, an adventurer’s holiday or a honeymoon, they are a great way of sitting back and letting someone else do the hard work selecting your activities, you simply have to turn up and enjoy! The service is wonderful here; the vast majority of the staff are locals and are genuinely charming.
There are 12 spacious villas in this boutique resort; all have their own private terraces with stunning views of either the sea, pool or botanical gardens. The real treat with the rooms has got to be the vast outdoor bathrooms with inviting deep oval shaped bathtubs and rain showers, all surrounded by colourful tropical plants; it just oozes romance! The villas all have stunning four poster beds and include a living space, but if you’re looking for extra space opt for the Junior Suite Villa (90sqm compared with 75sqm for the Deluxe Villas) and for families the Family Suite Villa is perfect, or the Connecting Suite Villa if you have slightly older children.
Food & Drink
The restaurant, Chankiri, serves a delicious selection of International and Khmer specialties which you can enjoy in the restaurant itself, on the panoramic terrace, beachside, poolside, on the platform at the end of the jetty, on the platform at the end of the board walk, in the mangrove forest or on your own private terrace! Your wish really is their command! Check out the Panoramic Rooftop Bar for staggering views which are very nicely accompanied by a fabulous range of cocktail and tapas.
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