Splendour in the khmer
Cambodia’s cultural treasures and pristine beaches are no longer a secret. The last decade has seen tremendous growth in this Southeast Asian country — from infrastructure and transportation updates to the arrival of five-star luxury hotels like Amansara in Siem Reap and Song Saa Private Island in the pristine Koh Rong Archipelago.
But Cambodia is just getting started. Over this year, the alluring destination will welcome a handful of spectacular new properties that are aiming to elevate the luxury quotient even further. From a posh city escape in Phnom Penh to a wild tented retreat on the edge of the Chao Phraya River, these are the five new stays you’ll want to book in 2018.
Shinta Mani Angkor Bensley Collection
Odds are you’ve seen designer Bill Bensley’s work in exotic destinations around the world, from the hills of St. Kitts to the sands of Vietnam. This year, you can find the world-renowned hospitality guru sharing his one-of-a-kind vision with Cambodia, thanks to the grand debut of his Bensley Collection of properties, the first of opened in January in Siem Reap.
Shinta Mani Angkor Bensley Collection will comprise 10 private villa compounds, each with a personal swimming pool and private tropical garden that transports guests far and away from the hubbub of the city just beyond. An art collection personally selected by Bensley celebrating the Khmer civilisation will showcase more than 80 prints, photographs and paintings by artists including Robert Powell, MC Dermatt and Kate Spencer. Meanwhile, the resort’s spa will use its own tonics made from traditional Khmer recipes.
Shinta Mani Wild
The second Bensley Collection property of Shinta Mani will open in the third quarter of 2018 — and we’re willing to bet it will be well worth the wait. Shinta Mani Wild will debut in a private nature sanctuary inside Cardamom National Park — near the rainforest-covered Kirirom and Bokor parks — where wild elephants, bears, gibbons and tigers roam. Guests of the safari-luxe-style resort will stay in 16 over-the-top tents sprinkled along a mile of rivers and waterfalls. Perched on the edge of the sanctuary’s biggest waterfall will be the Landing Zone Bar and Waterfall Restaurant — a dramatic location to enjoy locally inspired cuisine and cocktails — as well as the Boulders Spa, a full-service wellness retreat featuring natural products by Khmer Tonics.
Alila Villas Koh Russey
Set to open in June 2018, Alila Villas Koh Russey will claim 60 acres of lush grounds on its own private island in the Gulf of Thailand’s Koh Rong Archipelago. Surrounded by pristine bays, white-sand beaches and tropical forests, the 50-pavilion, 13-villa boutique resort is sure to make waves with its Spa Alila, offering classic Alila treatments as well as signature therapies blending Khmer techniques and local ingredients. More indulgences will come from an infinity-edge pool overlooking the ocean and two restaurants serving French-influenced and Khmer cuisine. For adventurous travelers, Alila will also offer guided explorations of the region’s hidden temples and nearby Bokor National Park.
Six Senses Krabey Island
Located on a 30-acre private island accessible from the mainland only by boat, Six Senses Krabey Island is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018. Each of its 40 villas will come with a private plunge pool and deck, and some will also feature an outdoor shower. Indochine, a specialty dining restaurant, will be among a diverse collection of dining options that also include a deli and an ice cream parlor. The property’s Six Senses Spa will tap into Cambodia’s local healing traditions with multiday rejuvenation journeys and integrative wellness workshops.
Rosewood Phnom Penh
Set on the banks of the mighty Mekong River in the heart of the capital city’s Central Business District, Rosewood Phnom Penh will soon grace the top 14 floors of the 39-story Vattanac Capital Tower One. Opened late last year, the hotel will offer panoramic views of the city and the river from its 175 rooms and suites, reputedly the largest in the city. Dining options will include a 120-seat bistro, a 60-seat lobby lounge, two specialty restaurants, and a sky bar with a thrilling cantilevered terrace. There will also be a spa with five treatment rooms and a 65-foot-long swimming pool.