You’ve been to Bali, you’ve done Phuket. But have you stretched out on the golden-sand beaches that fringe the Cambodian Riviera? It’s likely you haven’t. Once the country’s glittering crown jewel (before the rise of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s), in recent years the southern coastal region has been slowly reemerging as a travel destination. It’s a renaissance that November’s opening of Alila Villas Koh Russey is helping to solidify. Hailed as one of the most anticipated openings, Alila Villas Koh Russey resides on its own private island in the Koh Rong archipelago. The journey from tarmac to resort takes just a 20-minute private car transfer and speedboat ride from Sihanoukville Airport.
This will be brand Alila’s first resort in Cambodia, sharing the group’s philosophy of innovative design, personalised service and unique guest experiences that has made its hotels – including Alila Villas Uluwatu, Alila Seminyak, Alila Yangshuo and Alila Fort Bishangarh – instant successes. Alila Villas Koh Russey is set to serve up pristine bays, dramatic peninsulas, copper-sand beaches and tropical forests.
The 50-pavilion, 13-villa boutique resort has a strong Khmer influence. Master architect Chioh-Hui Goh, of Singaporean firm Studiogoto, comments: “Like the relevance of the Krama (a patterned cloth widely used in Khmer life) to the Cambodian people, it has inspired much of the geometry in our design concept, in fusing the architecture, landscaping and interior works with the destination while paying tribute to the local artisans.”
Chioh-Hui Goh’s design has also been endorsed by EarthCheck, an Australia-based organisation that has benchmarked and certified Alila Villa Koh Russey’s areas of operational and environmental sustainability, as well as carbon dioxide emissions. Most of the island’s natural foliage has been preserved, with the low-density structures accounting for just 15% of the 60-acres of lush grounds. Other sustainable features include villa systems that automatically adjust lighting and temperature when occupants enter or leave, a fishing exclusion zone which is set at 200-metres around the resort to preserve the marine environment, and a special nursery which aims to protect more than 20 species of trees indigenous to the island.
For foodies, there will be two specialty restaurants: Horizon – which will serve à la carte breakfast and dinners with an emphasis on French and French fusion fare – and the Beach Shack a place for guests to kick back and enjoy Khmer cuisine, seafood and light dishes.
Those looking for wellness and rejuvenation will love the beachfront Spa Alila, offering classic Spa Alila holistic treatments that nurture mind, body and soul. Signature treatments will include Khmer healing techniques and local ingredients such as virgin coconut oil, to reflect its locality. Other in-house facilities include an infinity pool overlooking the ocean and a well-equipped fitness centre with private yoga room where guests can enjoy complimentary daily yoga and Tai Chi classes.
With complimentary shuttle boat transfers on daily schedules to the mainland, Alila Villas Koh Russey is the perfect vacation island to enjoy the Alila Experience on the Riviera. Surprisingly different excursions include guided access to hidden temples, highland trekking in the Bokor National Park, exploring the Kep’s Crab Market and Kampot’s pepper plantation and taking in the laid-back riverfront scene.
Thanks to the two and four-bedroom villas, Alila Villas Koh Russey is a great option for families looking to enjoy the privacy of their own space, terrace, pool and garden as well as optional Chef and Butler services while the one-bedroom villas offer an exclusive honeymoon experience for couples.
The magical, intimate island of Koh Russey (Bamboo Island) is described by some as ‘a jewel by the sea’. Its dramatic headland is covered in lush, tropical forest with a kilometre of coppery powder-sand beaches bordering its stunning coastline. Luxury is a State of Being… quite simply this is the place to be on the Cambodian Riviera.
Alila Villas Koh Russey opening rates start from AED 1,377 per night for a stay in the Garden Pavilion, or book the ‘Night Three Stay Free’ package for a minimum of three nights’ stay with the 3rd night on us – includes daily breakfast, return Sihanoukville airport transfers, 30-mins foot reflexology at Spa Alila, and scheduled shuttle boat-service to the island. This opening package is valid for bookings and stays from 1st November 2018 to 21st April 2019.