Song Saa Private Island
- Style Castaway luxury
- Setting Duo of untouched isles
RUNNER-UP: THE ECO AWARD – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2013
Cambodia's Sihanoukville may top the backpackers' hitlist, but it's what lies offshore that's caught our eye. Song Saa Private Island hotel in the Koh Rong Islands is an eco-luxe escape spread over a pair of pristine isles, with thatch and stone villas dotted among the jungle canopy or lolling above the sea. Being green-minded has never been so glamorous.
Need to know
- Rooms 27 suites.
- Rates Double rooms from $1613.93, excluding tax at 22 per cent.
- More details Rates include all meals, house wine, beer and spirits, soft drinks, watersports, boat transfers to and from Song Saa, 15-minute foot massage on arrival and guided tours.
- Facilities Gym, Ila spa, gardens, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, indoor and outdoor showers, sunken bath tubs, Aesop toiletries.
- Poolside Not content to offer just sunrise or sunset views, the infinity-edge pool cleverly straddles the east and west sides of the island. Each villa also has it's own sea-view plunge pool.
- Check–out 11am; check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible subject to availability, and charged at a half-day rate.
Children Children aged 11 and up are welcome.
- Eco‐friendly This is one resort with serious eco cred. Song Saa is situated in a self-made marine reserve measuring one million square metres. There's a team of marine biologists on staff, recycling and waste initiatives are in place, and the hotel is involved in sustainability projects in nearby villages.
- Also Pets aren't allowed and smoking isn't permitted.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms All of the villas offer ocean views, private pools and an effortlessly luxe blend of thatched roofs, rustic timber beams, earthy stone and polished marble walls. Four-poster beds, Moroccan lanterns and carved tribal statues add flair to each eco-chic space. Perched among the canopy, the two-bedroom Jungle Villa scores points for its crescent-shaped layout and generous kitchen and living area. Its seclusion makes cheeky dips in the outdoor bath tub a must.
- Packing tips Sarongs, swimwear and your snorkel kit. If you forgot to pack your favourite kaftan, shop up at the island's two exclusive boutiques.
- Also Tucked into the rainforest, Ila Spa Sanctuary draws on local herbs, oils and sand in treatments such as the Song Saa Blessing, a soothing 150-minute ritual. There's also a yoga pavilion by the pool for early morning stretch sessions.
Food and drink at Song Saa Private Island
- Hotel restaurant The overwater, open-sided Vista Restaurant is the breezy dining space at Song Saa. Executive chef Neil Wager, who most recently manned the pans at Seychelles resort North Island and has served everyone from Prince Andrew to Brad Pitt, draws on local ingredients and Khmer flavours to offer a mod take on this multi-layered cuisine. Spanking-fresh seafood stars in dishes such as fish amok (a light, turmeric-laced curry) and samlor koko (a spicy fish soup).
- Top table Aim for one as close to the water as possible for cooling sea breezes. For a romantic dinner for two, opt for a private beach cabana.
- Last orders The kitchen keeps the woks firing until 11pm.
- Room service Tasty snacks are available around the clock. Extensive in-villa dining is also on offer during restaurant hours.
- Hotel bar Order a bottle of something bubbly from the Salt or Sweet menu at the Champagne Bar, then sip as you watch the sunset. Open all day, the Driftwood Bar is the spot to head for a chilled post-swim beer or a sundowner from 5pm–7pm. If you'd like to learn more about the bar's hand-picked wines ask staff to line up a tasting.