Few could have predicted that Cambodia's untouched Koh Rong Archipelago would be the destination of one of the most hotly awaited hotel openings of recent years.
The opening of Song Saa was not just exciting in its own right, but because it signals that this pretty much virgin coastline is now rivaling the beaches of neighbours Thailand and Vietnam.
Nowadays there's more than Angkor to attract visitors to Cambodia. The hotel itself is based on two pristine islands lying side by side in the turquoise sea and known locally as Song Saa - Khmer for 'sweethearts'.
The hotel is every bit as romantic as the name suggests, with a footbridge connecting the islands of Koh Ouen and Koh Bong. There are 27 luxury overwater, rainforest and beach villas built almost entirely from sustainable materials and intended to keep damage to the natural environment at a negligible minimum.
At the heart of the resort is a top-class restaurant and a lounge area on stilts over the gently lapping sea and in prime position to take in the dramatic sunsets and star-filled night skys.
Guests can explore the islands' reefs, wander among virgin rainforest or simply flop on the pure white sands of Song Saa's beaches. With more than 20 deserted islands close by, opportunities for offshore adventure are plentiful.
Why We Love It
A marine reserve has been established to safeguard the islands' reefs and marine life including dugongs, seahorses and exotic species of tropical fish, and guests can see a good deal of the sub aqua action from the footbridge connecting the two islands.
4 Rivers Floating Lodge
Floating on the Tatai River near Koh Kong town and surrounded by dense, lush vegetation at the foot of the Cardamom Mountains, 4 Rivers Floating Lodge is an environmentally friendly four-star boutique lodge.
There are just 12 tents in total, each with a flat screen television set, DVD player and mini-bar as well as a private terrace complete with sun-loungers.
Western and Southeast Asian meals are served at the 4 Rivers Floating Lodge Restaurant, with all meals made from the fresh produce at nearby local markets.
There are a number of activities on offer from the lodge, including kayaking on the Tatai River or fishing for the evening's dinner. Excursions to Tatai Waterfall can be arranged as well as visits to local village markets. The forested slopes of the Cardamoms are also ripe for exploration, with a reported 553 (and counting) species of birds. These jungles are also home to the rare Javan Rhinoceros, Indochinese Tiger and Asian Elephant.
Why We Love It
Safari aficionados might recognise the accommodation at the lodge - the tents are copies of the classic African canopy versions so beloved of safari camps, but given a distinctly South East Asian overhaul.
Knai Bang Chatt
Knai Bang Chatt is a boutique hotel in Kep that is ideal for honeymooners or anyone craving a laidback beachfront location.
The hotel design combines colonial styles and minimalist chic, with weathered wood furniture, old Cambodian artefacts and elevated teak beds in each of the 11 rooms. These are spread across three Art Deco villas, each featuring expansive terraces and open-air walkways with uninterrupted views of the blue sea beyond.
The waterfront restaurant encourages communal dining, with guests seated around a huge log table while the local cook whips up Khmer specialties such as amok and barbequed crab.
The relaxation-minded can enjoy an invigorating massage in the open-air cabana by the beach or a yoga or meditation session on the seafront terrace, while more active guests can swim in the saltwater infinity pool or take to the open sea in a Hobie Cat sailboat borrowed from the Sailing Club.
The couple from Belgium who own the hotel are very involved in community-based-projects and contribute a percentage of room rates to local schools.
Why We Love It
Surrounded by immaculate gardens of ferns, orchids and bamboos, the hotel was designed in the 1970s by a protégé of Le Corbusier.
Alila Koh Russey
Located on the southern tip of the largely uninhabited Bamboo Island in the Koh Rong Archipelago, Alila Koh Russey is the latest addition to Cambodia's luxurious beach property offering.
Made up of 63 pavilions and villas the property offers guests a private villa experience with all of the facilities of a luxury beach resort. The décor throughout the property is sleek and contemporary, with clean lines and natural materials used to create fresh, bright spaces. Each of the pavilions and villas features its own private pool and deck or garden area, and sliding glass doors connect the bedrooms with the outdoor spaces to make the most of the views throughout.
In the resort's central area guests can enjoy delicious local and international cuisine at The Restaurant or opt for seafood and lighter meals at the Beachside Grill. For drinks the Sunset Bar boasts a fully stocked bar and serves cocktails with a view.
With golden sand beaches and calm cerulean waters lapping the shores guests could easily spend their days at Alila Koh Russey hopping between their pool and the beach. However, for those wanting to stay a little more active, there is a gym and yoga studio on site, as well as a tranquil spa. Walks into the organic gardens and tropical forest can also be arranged and come evening there is an outdoor beachside cinema.
Why We Love It
With direct daily flights from Siem Reap to nearby Sihanoukville airport on the mainland this is a great and easily accessible post Angkor relaxation spot.