These calm, contemporary, nature-inspired rooms in renovated 1950s villas offer seclusion and tranquillity against the backdrop of Cambodia’s only pine forest. Hearty, home-cooked dinners and campfires warm you up by night when the crisp mountain air drops by a few degrees.
It’s hard to imagine a more serene spot. Kirirom Mountain Lodge is situated down a dirt track, overlooking the towering pine trees that can be found nowhere else in Cambodia. It is 70 miles (112km) southwest of Phnom Penh, and is easily reached by taxi. By bus, get off at the town of Treng Trayeng along National Route 4, and the lodge can arrange for a moto driver to bring you up. From there, you can visit the park’s viewpoints, waterfalls, trails and abandoned villas.
Address: Kirirom National Park, Kampong Speu Province, Cambodia.
Style & character
Scattered around Kirirom National Park are numerous villas, built during Cambodia’s 1950s heyday when the elite, including Cambodian royalty, were frequent visitors. Kirirom Mountain Lodge is itself converted from two whitewashed 1950s villas. On arrival you are greeted by the sight of the first villa, home to the six rooms which form part of this atmospheric lodge. A rather grand staircase leads up to the second villa where you’ll find the restaurant, roof terrace and wonderful views.
Service & facilities
Relaxed, friendly and helpful, manager Bouchaib’s laidback approach is in keeping with the serenity of the place, and he can arrange transport, tours and bike rental. Facilities are low-key.
The bar-restaurant has large wide tables and a lounge, and outside there’s more seating, a roof terrace with sofas and open pavilions for relaxing or enjoying Kirirom’s sublime sunsets. There’s in-room electricity mornings and evenings (guests can request it outside of these times too), and 24-7 electricity and Wi-Fi at the restaurant.
- Room service
The six rooms comprise five doubles and one two-bedroom suite. All are en-suite, and each comes with an outdoor area with chairs and tables made from logs. Beds are super-comfortable (perhaps the mountain air makes you sleep deeply) and minimalist interiors feature colourful cushions and natural décor such as wooden clothes rail and a large log to place items on. Bathrooms are black-tiled and modern, with excellent hot-water showers.
Food & drink
Meals are served in the main villa building, at the wooden tables or outside. Bouchaib and his staff prepare food from scratch, which can take time so be sure to order early. Dishes are predominantly Mediterranean-Moroccan, but Cambodian food also features; think spicy couscous with vegetables, pasta with ragu, Khmer chicken curry. Meals cost around $8 (£6)
Breakfasts of homemade pancakes and seasonal fruits are filling. At sunset, take a drink up to the rooftop or to the pavilions. After dinner, the campfire is a prime spot for a nightcap.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Due to the staircase, guests with mobility issues may struggle. It’s advisable to email or call ahead with any concerns.
The most spacious option is the suite with one double room and one twin room; an extra mattress can be added to other rooms for $10 (£8). You can also rent tents if older children want to camp outside the rooms. As everything is homemade, the hotel can cater to most food requests if enough notice is given.
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