“A luxurious all-villa resort with a conscience, set in a secluded archipelago 30 minutes by speedboat from Sihanoukville”
The 27 palm-roofed villas, all with private decks and plunge pools, are dotted around the resort. They are near identical in terms of décor and layout, with gleaming wooden floors, exposed sandstone walls, four-posters swathed in mosquito nets, and indoor and outdoor sitting areas with smart white daybeds. Ensuite bathrooms have double sinks, vast sunken bathtubs (some looking out over the ocean) and spacious open-air rain showers. The overall feel is sleek and sophisticated, but wherever possible Rory and Melita have used recycled timber or driftwood from old fishing boats to create rustic tables, chairs and wall hangings.
The stilted Overwater Villas have steps straight down into the ocean, plus a small glass floor where you can watch fish swimming beneath your feet. Ocean View Villas are set on the shoreline, with sea-facing windows, a small patch of private beach, and a little alfresco dining area jutting out over the water. Jungle Villas are perched in the rainforest above and come with a choice of sunrise or sunset ocean views; some have been built around trees, which now grow up through their decks.
There are also 5 palatial 2-bedroom villas for families or friends travelling together. Each has 2 bedrooms, 2 ensuite bathrooms, a large living area with sofas and a dining table, and a bigger pool flanked by a table and several daybeds. Two are set in the jungle, 2 sit over the water, and the most luxurious of all, the Royal Villa, is hidden away from the others in a secluded corner of the resort, complete with a private jetty; guests staying here have the option to hire their own chef and longtail boat if they want.
All villas have free minibars, a selection of carefully chosen wines (extra charge), Bose sound systems with iPod docks, and satellite TVs with a small selection of films on demand.
The Vista Restaurant & Lounge sits on stilts above the ocean, with a sofa’d deck for cocktails and open-air tables for meals under the stars. You're in good hands: executive chef Joel Wilkinson has worked in some of the world’s top resorts and was has been private chef to the Rod Stewart, Kevin Spacy and Hugh Jackman to name a few.
His lunch and dinner menus take their cue from contemporary Cambodian cuisine and European fine dining. Every artfully decorated course comes with an amuse-bouche, and our dishes were filled with imaginative ingredients and tricks - freshly shucked oysters with flavoured salt and dipping sauce, salt-baked fish with 'foamed' cubes of tomatoes, Tom Yum soup with prawns and fried frogs legs. Our desserts - sweet Cambodian rice dumplings with sesame praline and red-bean sauce, and banana terrine with lemon and peppercorn ice cream - were served on lightboxes. Illuminated by moonlight, it was unquestionably a meal to remember.
If you fancy something more informal, you can grab a pizza and a cold beer at the beachside Driftwood Bar, or order from the room service menu, which offers a variety of Western food and rustic Cambodian fare, delivered to your villa in traditional baskets. Everything is here, from amok (the national dish of curried steamed fish) to steak and chips, spaghetti and sinful puddings like dark chocolate and peanut torte with marmalade ice cream. Tables can also be set up by the main pool, on the beach or at any number of secluded spots around the resort.
For breakfast, served by your pool or in the restaurant, you can choose healthy fruit and smoothies, less virtuous pastries and meat platters, or decedent eggs Benedict, bacon and sausages. And every morning a hand-written note from the manager is delivered to your villa with a suggestion for eating that day - perhaps an invitation to join other guests for tapas or sample freshly caught fish grilled on the barbecue.
Families are welcome here and children of all ages are catered for. There’s a range of 1- and 2-bedroom villas to choose from, and the beach has warm, shallow waters that are safe for little ones. We’d say it’s best for children over 4, however, as the steep drop from the raised boardwalks would be a hazard for crawling babies and toddlers.
The resort has a surprising amount of activities to keep kids entertained, including swimming lessons, children’s cooking classes with the chef and tailored snorkelling tours of the reef. In addition, the conservation team will happily set up an educational treasure hunt with gifts at the end, you can discover the island's flora and fauna on nature trails, and there’s an air-conditioned playhouse with toys.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
The 2-bedroom villas provide plenty of space, though note that both bedrooms are doubles. A rollaway bed or baby cot can be added to any villa on request.
A trained nanny can look after children if you want to enjoy some downtime or a romantic meal for 2.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There are children’s menus in the restaurant, and the Driftwood Bar and room service menus have plenty of kid-pleasing options, including pizza, spaghetti and gourmet burgers. Puréed baby food is available on request, and family picnics can be set up around the resort or on the neighbouring island of Koh Rong