A tranquil beach retreat on the Cambodian coast: lovingly converted modernist houses and villas, plus sailing, yoga and great food”
The renovation brings out the individual character of the light, airy and perfectly proportioned houses full of elegant rooms, with their playful rhythm of geometric shapes, ship’s railings and combination of warm natural stone and concrete austerity. A great deal of thought has gone into what may look like the simple décor of the resort as a whole. The trees along the seafront have been kept from the original mangrove - gnarled ficus branches now hold hammocks while almond trees shade the reclining platforms on the lawn - and their interplay of shapes and shades of green are very attractive. An infinity pool, tiled in muted turquoise, leads on from the terrace and Khmer restaurant to the boathouse bar with its long jetty, which adds timeless, maritime charm. A true gem.
- Three beautifully converted modernist villas from Cambodia’s 50s heyday, matched with new houses built by a contemporary French architect
- Lovely minimalist rooms and generous communal areas, with plenty of relaxation space plus an infinity pool with lots of loungers and space
- Charming Cambodian staff, well managed by Joffrey
- A sailing school with catamarans, surfboards and waterskis for hire; the hotel also arranges excursions and boat trips
- Excellent food and cooking courses; plus those after private romance can dine on the rooftop or on the jetty
- Not a lot in the way of entertainment in the vicinity - Kep is a quiet beach town. However, the area is on the up so this may soon change
- No real beach by the hotel (it's more muddy then sandy); even from the jetty it’s a bit of a walk till you reach swimmable depth
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- 18 rooms
- Restaurant + bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
- Cooking classes
Stark modernist angles are offset, Vervoordt-style, by warm earth tones in the rough, irregular shapes of old ceramics and bedside tables made from chunks of weathered wood. Hand-glazed tiles and pigmented polished-concrete floors keep the bare rooms cool in the hot season. Mercifully picture-free walls are given depth and life by being painted in an irregular wash.
All rooms and the suite are spread over a number of houses and villas; all have generous elevated teak beds, in effect a sturdier version of the trestle table, as well as a desk and chair. They each have a terrace with outdoor seating, too, though some are shared with the room next door. Open walk-in wardrobes hold the usual kimono-style bathrobes and a hairdryer. Bathrooms have a big shower cubicle with fixed head and good water pressure. Aromatherapy shampoo, shower gel and soap are provided, as is mosquito repellent. All are uniquely decorated; the deciding factor in different categories is size, bed formation and the type of view.
The open-plan Knai Bang Chatt Suite spans the entire second floor of the newest villa. A large sleeping area is at the centre of the space, and is surrounded by a seating area and large Jacuzzi tub. This is the only room with a TV, not that you’ll need it, as you’ll be out on the private terrace taking in the fantastic views of the sea.
- Air conditioning
- Airstrip helipad
- Extra beds
- Family friendly
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
- Terrace (private or shared)
Breakfast is a simple buffet served in the restaurant. Expect muesli, bread, croissants, cold cuts, a basket of hard-boiled eggs, and jam and marmalade. Fruit juice, coffee and a selection of teas are provided. Extra dishes can be ordered a la carte.
Other meals are served whenever you want, anywhere around the complex. The resort is small, so there are only a handful of choices per meal although special dishes can be arranged on request. For lunch and dinner, there is excellent Khmer-French fusion cuisine, with the stress on Khmer: we enjoyed beef-and-noodle salad, pomelo salad with succulent prawns, seafood stir-fry with 2 kinds of rice, and a local fish done a la meuniere. Desserts are generally not among Asia’s great contributions, but if pandanus cake is your thing, tuck in.
Private dining can be arranged on the roof top or at the end of the jetty and features a 3- or 4-course menu with sparkling wine, and incredible views of the sea.
The Sailing Club is also open daily for lunch and dinner. The menu, as you may expect, features a lot of seafood dishes, as well as a few Western favourites. Its terrace is a great place to grab a drink and watch the sun set over the sea.
At the end of the path when you turn right out of the hotel gate is a fresh market with half a dozen tin-roofed restaurants that jut out over the sea. Fresh crab is the great thing here, grilled or steamed: a great option for lunch. There are also a number of restaurants a short walk away.
- Airstrip helipad
- Family friendly
- Organic produce
- Private dining available
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Drive up into the wooded hills above the town where there’s a holy cave to discover. Check out the maze of local farms growing all manner of fruit and veg, some organically; much of the produce makes its way to Knai Bang Chatt's restaurant
- Take a day-trip to tiny Rabbit Island (Koh Tunsay) with its beautiful white-sand beaches and clear waters - great for snorkelling (20-30 mins by local boat)
- Learn to sail or, if you have already, rent a catamaran from the The Sailing Club. There are also windsurfers, kayaks, waterskis and surfboards, plus boules, volleyball and board games are all available, too
- Snorkelling is good on a reef 5km off the coast - The Sailing Club has snorkels for hire and can arrange a trip
- Go fishing with the local fishermen on their boats or try crabbing in the early morning off the beach
- Laze by the infinity pool or treat yourself to a massage in the spa. The hotel also run yoga, tai chi and meditation sessions
- The region is still unspoiled by development. Rent a moped or motorbike, and on your tours of Kampot and Kep, you can see traditional salt farming in the dry season, visually stunning
- For those into hiking or cycling, visit Kep's small national park (1km), or hire a jeep to get to the Bokor National Park (25km), which features Mt Bokor (1079m). You can arrange proper trekking (1 to several days), with the rangers from Wild Aid
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Plantlife / flora
- Traditional cultures
Knai Bang Chatt welcomes families. Baby cots and extra beds are available, and active kids will love the sailing club.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
Superior Double Room #2 and Superior Twin Room #1 can interconnect and share a balcony. Superior Twin Rooms #9 and #10 also interconnect. Classic Double Rooms #12 and #15, and Superior Double Room #13, can all fit an extra bed or baby cot
Babysitting is available on request.
Knai Bang Chatt resort is in the French colonial beachside city of Kep. It's in southwest Cambodia, 100km from Sihanoukville and 140km southwest of Phnom Penh, close to the border with Vietnam.
Fly to Sihanoukville (104km) or Phnom Penh International Airport (145km). Most neighbouring countries have direct flights into Phnom Penh and a few from further afield. Click on the links below for airline information. There is also a helipad 10km from the property. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving this airport.
From the Airport
The hotel can arrange a transfer from either airport. The trip takes 1.5 hours from Sihanoukville, and 2.5 hours from Pnomh Penh in the dry season, perhaps longer in the rains.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to Cambodia and getting around
- Sihanoukville 104.0 km KOS
- Phnom Penh International 145.0 km PNH
- Beach 0.1 km
- Shops 1.0 km
- Restaurant 1.0 km