Created with sustainability in mind, Song Saa Private Island reflects the beauty of the Cambodian coastline. It’s a place that breathes in time with nature, built from local materials, by local hands, and infused with local art and soul. The food is fabulous, there’s a soporific spa, and a ravishingly relaxing vibe.
This teeny-tiny resort, opened in 2012, is dotted across two islands in the secluded Koh Rong archipelago. The environment is pristine, with untouched stretches of golden sands circled above by colourful hornbills, and around by clear calm waters teeming with tropical fish. It is a bit of an odyssey to get here though – you’ll need to take an internal flight from Siem Reap or a four-hour road trip from Phnom Penh, followed by a 30-minute ride on the resort’s speedboat from the port town of Sihanoukville.
Address: Kaoh Rung, Krong Preah Sihanouk, Cambodia.
Style & character
Song Saa combines luxury and a strong conservationist philosophy without pretentions. Sitting in the middle of a 100-hectare marine reserve (which Song Saa helped to establish), guests can stroll along sun-bleached wooden walkways to an overwater restaurant, a champagne bar and the hilltop Ila spa (stay for more than five nights and a pile of wellness treatments are included in the price). There’s also a watersports centre, where magical experiences abound, from morning snorkels around coral reefs in search of seahorses, to afternoon kayaking through shady mangroves with the resident marine biologist, to night-time dips in bioluminescent waters.
Service & facilities
More than 80 per cent of the staff come from Cambodia and have been trained by Song Saa. They’ve done a wonderful job; everyone is unfailingly friendly with an attention to detail usually only found in hotels that have been around for decades.
- Fitness centre
- Room service
Built into the jungle or perched on stilts over the sea are 27 roomy one- and two-bedroom villas, each with ocean views, glowing plunge pools and private decks laced with frangipani trees. Indoors, the décor chimes perfectly with the natural environment, from the cavernous thatched roofs and cool stone walls, to the vast four-poster beds wrapped in soft blousy muslin, to the driftwood bath-racks dotted with tealights and spicy Aesop amenities. Search out the leather-bound room service menu – you’re going to need it.
Food & drink
Chef Joel Wilkinson oversees a fantastic menu that melds Khmer classics (sweet beef lok lok and wok-fried seafood in kampot pepper sauce) with dashing contemporary dishes and some seriously soothing comfort food. Menus change daily, are hyper-seasonal and locally-sourced where possible, and can be savoured at Vista restaurant with its 360-degree views of the ocean, at the adorably laid-back Driftwood bar, or on the dining table of your private deck.
Value for money
Remote private island luxury retreats rarely come cheap and Song Saa is no exception. However, the service is outstanding and rates do include all meals and most drinks, as well as Wi-Fi, laundry, well-stocked mini-bars, international phone calls, stacks of activities and speedboat transfers from the mainland. It’s worth saving up for.
Access for guests with disabilities?
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