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Hotel Highlights

  • Unspoilt tropical island in the Gulf of Thailand
  • Eco-chic executed to a high quality, quirky artistic recycling, but still luxe
  • Environmental credibility, meticulous conservation programme

Overview

RUNNER-UP: THE ECO AWARD – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2013

Spread over a pair of Cambodia's Koh Rong Islands, Song Saa Private Island hotel is an eco-luxury escape where being green has never been so glam. Lolling over the ocean or secluded amidst tropical trees, each hammock-swinging hacienda will bring modern amenities and castaway comfort to your self-marooning holiday.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Song Saa Private Island with us:

One 60-minute spa treatment each

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Song Saa Private Island

Exclusive Smith Award offer

10% off: early-bird offer 10% off: early-bird offer Stay 4, pay for 2 nights Stay 4, pay 3 Stay 4, pay 3 Stay 4, pay 3

Facilities

View Gallery
Song Saa Private Island Hotel – Koh Rong Islands – Cambodia

Need To Know

Rooms

27 suites.

Check–out

11am; check-in, 2pm. Both are flexible subject to availability, and charged at a half-day rate.

Rates

Double rooms from $1351.64, 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.

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.

At the hotel

Gym, Ila spa, gardens, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, indoor and outdoor showers, sunken bath tubs, Aesop toiletries.

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.

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.

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

Pets aren't allowed and smoking isn't permitted.

Children

Children of all ages 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.

Food & Drink

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Song Saa Private Island Hotel – Koh Rong Islands – Cambodia

Hotel Restaurant

The overwater, open-sided Vista Restaurant is the breezy dining space at Song Saa. The menu champions local ingredients and Khmer flavours; spanking-fresh seafood stars in dishes such as fish amok (a light, turmeric-laced curry) and samlor koko (a spicy fish soup).

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. 

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.

Smith Insider

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.

Local Guide

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Song Saa Private Island Hotel – Koh Rong Islands – Cambodia
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Aquatic pursuits should be at the top of the list, with a host of chilled-out activities included in your room rate. Take a snorkelling tour of Song Saa Islands, exploring the reefs, seahorses and rainbow-hued fish of this protected pocket. Jump in a kayak and mosey around the mangroves, led by your personal guide. Sea kayaking around the archipelago is also on offer, often teamed with a picnic lunch on a deserted island.

 

By night, don't miss the bioluminescence swim – a speedboat will whisk you out into the sea where you can splash in the sparkling waters. Ethereal stuff. Come back to the island for a stargazing session with your private host, who'll explain the constellations and star map, and share drinks and Ayurvedic snacks.

 

On dry land, local village tours to the nearby fishing village of Prek Svay can be arranged. Nature safaris on Koh Rong offer the chance to spot rare bird species and a series of waterfalls, before returning to the resort by longtail boat.

 

In-room distractions are also available for a fee, including cinema screenings on your private deck, and romantic baths with champagne and chocolate. 

Local restaurants

While Vista Restaurant may become your default dinner position, Song Saa offers up a tantalising menu of dining options. If you feel like playing chef yourself, have a selection of meats, seafood and salads delivered to your villa, then fire up the coal-pot barbecue. Poolside meals give you the chance to dine with your feet dangling in the water. Or if you prefer the feel of sand between your toes, ask about a beach dinner near Driftwood Bar, or head to a private cabana for a tasty repast cooked on a Japanese hibachi grill.

Local bars

Looking for a change of scene from the on-land bars? Push the boat out with a Longtail Champagne Cruise around the breath-snatching Koh Rong Islands. With around 20 uninhabited isles in the archipelago, you're sure to find the perfect spot for a romantic tête-à-tête.

+ Enlarge
Duo of untouched isles

Song Saa Private Island

Koh Ouen, Koh Rong Islands

Song Saa is located on a pair of private islands, just off the coast of Sihanoukville in the Gulf of Thailand, south-west of mainland Cambodia.

Planes

There are daily flights (one at 3.30pm; one at 5pm) from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville with Cambodia Angkor Air (www.cambodiaangkorair.com)– ask the hotel to arrange tickets for you. The Phnom Penh International Airport is in the Cambodian capital, three and a half hours' drive north of Sihanoukville (hotel transfers are not included in rates). Guests will be collected at the airport and transferred to the port for the speedboat transfer.

Automobiles

Visitors aren't allowed to self-drive in Cambodia, which may be a blessing in disguise – things get seriously hairy on the roads here.

Other

You'll be treated to your very own Jackie O moment on the boat transfer from Sihanoukville to Song Saa, which is included in the room rate and takes around 30 minutes. There are only two daily transfers though, one at 10.30am and one at 2.30pm (private transfers are USD660). Song Saa has partnered with Helistar Cambodia and can provide helicopter transfers on request from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, landing on neighbouring Koh Rong, where you'll get a five-minute speedboat transfer to Song Saa. One way helicopter transfers to/from Phnom Penh are around USD4,500; USD6,100 to/from Siem Reap.

Reviews

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Song Saa Private Island Hotel – Koh Rong Islands – Cambodia

Anonymous review

by Toby Skinner , Editor in the East at Time Out Singapore

Sihanoukville’s grimy, near-abandoned port seems an unlikely place to start possibly the most decadent two days we’ve ever had – but then again, Song Saa Private Island is the first uber-luxe resort in a country where 70 per cent of the workforce are subsistence farmers. Thus, in a corner of the empty port – all decaying warehouses and rusting fishing boats – we spot…
Read more

Song Saa Private Island

Anonymous review by Toby Skinner, Editor in the East

Sihanoukville’s grimy, near-abandoned port seems an unlikely place to start possibly the most decadent two days we’ve ever had – but then again, Song Saa Private Island is the first uber-luxe resort in a country where 70 per cent of the workforce are subsistence farmers.

Thus, in a corner of the empty port – all decaying warehouses and rusting fishing boats – we spot a smiling Cambodian gent in a crisp white shirt stepping off a gleaming 20-seater speedboat. As we take our seat in the cushioned bow, we’re too excited to ponder the contrasts. We’re imagining ourselves as the poster couple in a Sunseeker advert as the boat powers out of the harbour, but it soon gets choppy and, after a few coccyx-juddering bumps, we take to playing a distinctly uncool game of ‘see who can ride out the bumps’, with Mrs Smith shrieking gleefully while adopting a sort of inelegant snowboarding stance.

The rough approach to the island is more Apocalypse Now than Maldives-serene. We pass lone fishermen and the rugged, misty Koh Rong island, which is the size of Hong Kong and, as the cliché goes, like Thailand 30 years ago. Then Song Saa comes into view – the small island, with 27 guest villas, is unobtrusively beautiful.

After warm hellos from Australian GM Greg and his team, we’re taken across the beach to our room by one of the Cambodian staff members, struggling to maintain any suavity as we’re shown into our overwater villa. There’s the private infinity pool, with steps down to the sea and an inviting white cabana; there’s red and white wine and three types of beer (as chosen in our pre-arrival form); and there are four beautifully presented dishes, including fresh-shucked oysters and a charcuterie plate. The pungent, creamy Livarot in the cheese platter is so good that it almost distracts me from a naked Mrs Smith sipping sparkling rose in the pool. Such is life at Song Saa.

Revolving around natural wood, crisp white fabrics, bronze lamps and subtle ornaments, the style of the room – like the resort in general – gives an air of earthy, understated elegance. Everything is subtly designed for pleasure, from the super-soft sheets to the sea-view bath for two. Barring spa treatments and a few activities, everything is included in the price, meaning you can really set about living it up.

The promise of an exfoliating foot ritual at the spa draws us out of the room on day one, followed by dinner at the beautiful overwater restaurant, where the only sound is the sporadic splash of flying fish. There don’t seem to be any mosquitos, but the charming staff nevertheless give us a few sprays of sweet-smelling repellent. The six-course set menu is good but fussier than the stellar breakfasts and lunches. And the table is slightly too big for mid-dinner PDAs, but this is the extent of the nit-picking here.

Beyond cabana-lounging and lingering over the in-villa breakfast of perfectly runny boiled eggs and soldiers, activities on day two include kayaking to a Koh Rong beach and lounging in the shallows as kids from the nearby village play on a canoe. I also get a perfect pedicure (the therapist’s calm response to my calloused hooves is impressive), while Mrs Smith enjoys the Karuna Kaya body massage but declares it ‘not hard enough’ (she says this about most massages). We pass on other possible pursuits, such as catamaran sailing, a picnic on nearby Koh Tang, and a tour of Five Mile Beach.

Perhaps partly because the resort isn’t close to full on our visit, the staff are obsessive about our contentment (though never obtrusively so). When we ask Rob from the Discovery Centre about the bioluminescence, the plankton that sparkle in the sea at night, he says we’re unlikely to see them – but later, when we’re having a private dinner on the beach, he bounds up and tells us that the bioluminescence are out that night. We end our almost comically romantic meal by splashing around in the sea, with the glittering amoebas reflecting an impossibly starry sky.

Most of the staff at Song Saa are Cambodian and, while some have less-than-perfect English, there’s something genuine about them that you often don’t get at luxe resorts. Walking around in their loose white shirts and ethnic-casual fisherman’s pants (which actually look good), they seem happy to be there in a way that can’t be faked.

At once luxurious and likeable, this is the thing about Song Saa. The Australian owners, Rory and Melita Hunter, who have a Cambodian son, are committed to sustainability and enriching the area with reef restoration projects and education programmes. The whole place feels like a lifetime labour of love rather than a cash cow, and you feel like your money is helping rather than harming the community.

After a morning of wakeboarding and snorkeling, before leaving on Sunday we order a wood-fired pizza to go. We feel slightly ridiculous sitting on the boat, holding up our goodbye party for the sake of a snack, but then one of the staff presents a beautifully-wrapped creation like a gift (it will later turn out to be sinfully good). We head off in the speedboat, turn the corner, and look back to find that everyone’s still waving. We expected – and got – an almost ridiculous level of luxury, but we hadn’t counted on being quite so charmed.

 

The Guestbook

Reviews of Song Saa Private Island from Smith members

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