The Royal Sands

Koh Rong Island, Kep & Coast, Cambodia Book from Book from £280 per night

Tropical island hideaway with sea-facing villas, knockout sunsets, kaleidoscopic marine life and a pearly white-sand beach
It’s hard not to talk in clichés when describing Koh Rong, a picture-perfect island cast off the southwest coast of Cambodia. Fringed by coral reef, ringed by silky white sand and carpeted in mangroves, savannah and dense tropical forest, it’s a poster boy for exotic travel. Most visitors maroon themselves here for romantic beach time away from the busy mainland. But with a growing reputation and a burgeoning party scene, finding the perfect spot to hunker down in paradise is key.

Head west to The Royal Sands, a luxurious retreat located on an all-but-private stretch of beach. Spacious, secluded villas are set in neat rows, and every single one of them enjoys 180-degree vistas of shimmering sea. Days here are spent doing very little. Laze in a shaded daybed, float about in the stunning black pool, sip cocktails to tropical house beats, and tuck into fresh seafood at one of two beachfront restaurants. There’s a spa with a glass-floored treatment room so you can spot fish while being massaged, as well as kayaks and bicycles to rent for when you feel like exploring. As night falls, turn your gaze to the sea for the extraordinary sunsets, then watch as bioluminescence illuminates the water. Magical. We're itching to go.
Covid-19 update: some services and facilities may be changed as a result of Coronavirus measures.

Highs

  • Extremely secluded and romantic - there’s nothing else in the vicinity except for sea, sand and vegetation
  • Pristine, white-sand beaches all around
  • Great snorkelling directly in front the resort, plus lots of diving spots nearby
  • Very spacious villas, all with private sea-view balconies
  • The resort’s west-facing location means sunsets are spectacular

Lows

  • Koh Rong's beaches have sand flies, so make sure you spray up in the evenings (insect repellent is provided)
  • All activities cost extra - luxury comes at a price!
  • Nowhere else to eat nearby so you’ll be dining in every evening – not a problem in terms of variety, just a bit pricey
  • No separate bar for relaxing in the evenings (but the restaurants have bars), and things shut down once dinner is finished

Best time to go

Koh Rong has a tropical climate, so the temperature is consistent year-round (approx. 27C to 30C). October to May is the dry season and undoubtedly the best time to visit. June to September is the rainy season so expect heavy downpours.

Our top tips

There are no ATMs on Koh Rong so make sure you get some cash out in Sihanoukville (where the boat departs) beforehand.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
Romantic
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 67
  • 2 restaurants
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
  • Laundry service
Room:

Rooms

The 67 villas are set in long rows at the back of the beach. All have kingsize beds, indoor and outdoor rain showers, and private sea-facing balconies. Inside they are spacious and uncluttered, with fresh white colour schemes and cooling concrete walls.

Most villas have one bedroom and are categorised into either ocean view or beach front – the latter taking pole position on the beach, and therefore the pricier option. If you’re feeling flush, there are much larger pool villas that come with spacious balconies and 10-metre private pools.

The two- and three-bedroom pool villas are mega, and great for families with older children or groups. Each bedroom is self-contained with its own ensuite bathroom and separate entrance to the enormous balcony and private pool.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Fan
  • Fireplace
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Dining at The Royal Sands is a delight. The two restaurants are sea-facing and impossibly romantic.

Breakfast takes place at semi-open-air Ocean Restaurant, where a buffet of fresh fruits, juices, pastries, cakes and cold cuts is laid out. Cooked options are available too – we hear their eggs benedict is knockout. At night, the restaurant is lit by candlelight and tables are draped in crisp, white linen, creating a more formal dining atmosphere. The a la carte menu is extensive, featuring a range of Cambodian and Southeast Asian dishes alongside Western classics.

For more casual dining, The Chill is open for lunch and dinner every day. Set beside the swimming pool, the vibe here is more laid-back and tropical, with soothing Ibiza-style tunes. Expect barbecued seafood, crunchy salads and pizzas during the day, and a selection of Asian favourites like stir-frys and noodle soups in the evening. It also doubles up as a pool bar, offering juices, cool beers and tropical cocktails any time. Come here for sundowners and take your drink to the beach for the daily show.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Book yourself a treatment at Senses Spa, which offers a range of traditional and contemporary therapies. There’s a private treatment room with a glass floor for fish-gazing and massages.
  • Join a yoga class at the outdoor sala – prebooking is advised.
  • Go snorkelling in Sok San Bay - the jetty and the rocks at the corner of the beach are said to be the best spots. Alternatively, there’s a reef about a 30-minute walk from the resort, or you can join a snorkelling tour to the Blue Lagoon marine park.
  • Join a scuba-diving trip or do your PADI certification with the resort’s dive centre. Koh Rong has dozens of shallow dive sites with little or no currents, making them incredibly safe.
  • Explore the island’s interior: kayak through mangroves or go mountain biking with a guide.
  • Join a fishing excursion and ask the resort’s chef to cook your catch for dinner.
  • At nighttime, head into the shallows with a guide to see the mesmerising bioluminescent plankton.

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Cycling
    • Fishing
    • Hiking
    • Kayaking
    • Paddle boarding
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Private guided tours
    • Scuba diving
    • Scuba diving courses
    • Snorkelling
    • Swimming
    • Traditional cultures
    • Well being
    • Yoga

Kids

Children are very welcome at The Royal Sands, though it's more of a romantic couples' retreat. The shallow waters are perfect for safe swimming, and kids will love snorkelling or kayaking along the shore. There are larger villas that can sleep up to nine guests, and extra beds can be added to all villas.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

The two- and three-bedroom villas are best for larger families, and they all have private swimming pools. Extra beds or baby cots can be added to any villa.

Baby equipment:

  • High chair

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Snorkelling in Sok San Bay
  • Kayaking or paddle-boarding along the shore
  • Petanque

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Island hopping trips
  • Cycling
  • Snorkelling tours

Families Should Know:

This is a peaceful, romantic resort so children should be wary of other guests in communal areas.

Distances:

  • Airport: 40 mins' boat ride
  • Hospital: xx
  • Supermarket: 20 mins' driving
Kid Friendly:

Location

The Royal Sands is located on Sok San Bay on Koh Rong Island in the Gulf of Thailand, just off the Cambodian coast. It’s 40 minutes by ferry from the nearest mainland town (and airport), Sihanoukville.

By Air:
Sihanoukville Airport is served by domestic flights from Siem Reap; these operate on certain days of the week only, so check schedules carefully. International flights to Cambodia also land at Siem Reap or Phnom Penh; if you come via the latter, it’s a 4.5 hour drive to the meeting point for boat transfers to the island (40 mins).

From the Airport:
The resort offers boat transfers from Sihanoukville. Guests are advised to stay overnight in Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville if they are not able to catch the boat as per the schedule:

Sihanoukville Port to The Royal Sands: 11:45am and 4pm (mainland time)
The Royal Sands to Sihanoukville Port: 09.30am and 2pm (island time: +1hr)

These times are subject to change.

By Helicopter:
If you're feeling flush, helicopter transfers can be arranged - the resort has its own helipad.

Detailed arrival information will be provided when you confirm a booking through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Sihanoukville International Airport 18.0 km KOS
  • Phnom Penh 230.0 km PNH

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 8.0 km
  • Restaurant 7.0 km

Rates for The Royal Sands

Arriving on: