My friend and I had a tuk tuk take us out to the Hotel Independece because we had heard the beach was lovely and there was a great place, part of the hotel where we could eat near the beach. I kind of wish we had done that, but instead we toured the grounds and ended up eating in the hotel's restaurant. This was a mistake. We loved looking at the old pictures and were looking forward to a fantastic meal, given what we had the previous day at the Sokha Hotel Restauranht. Granted this was now Monday lunch during the rainy season, but the staff, while friendly, appeared quite unexpected to see us.
The wine/spirits menus is not at all at the level or extensiveness one might expect from a hotel of this alleged quality. My choices for wine were white or red and more on that later. They did have some fun things with sparking wines and something named after Jacqueline Kennedy's visit akin to Raffles in Phnom Penh. However, the food menu itself was a shocker....it was grimey and dirty, included almost not first class food, but did have hot dogs and other things available. Despite myself, I ordered the Spaghetti Carbonara and my partner had the Tom Yam soup. We ordered a shrimp appetizer cooked on lemongrass. I asked for a house white wine. Not surprisingly in Cambodia, the starter came out with my meal....this was after a conversation in Khmer that it was meant to be an appetizer/starter. The Tom Yam followed not too far behind. After 15-20 mins we asked about the wine and were told "there was a problem" and that was it. I didn't really expect to enjoy the carbonara, but it was just okay, plain/simple. The Tom Yam was okay for what it was, but my partner was also surprised and said it was more watery than he was used to. When I did get the wine (I had planned on ordering at least two.) It was a good-sized pour in a decent glass, but no apology for the delay or explanation. Needless to say, I didn't ask for another one. When we received the bill, I noted to the waitress that the amount of the wine was incorrect according to the menu. I spoke slowy and repeated myself twice. She was a pleasant person. She brought back my change with no information or reduction in the cost of the wine. Given the wait and the horrible menu we were presented with, I decided that I would ask upon leaving if I could see the menu again and compare the rest of the prices to our bill. I immediately pointed out to the waitress and another fellow standing there that the prices were different and then went through the entire menu which ended up being okay. My comment brought the manager. Since no one would speak to me in English, I had to get a translation from my Khmer partner who said the staff did in fact ask the manager if the price of the wine had changed and he responded by.....not saying anything. I looked at him and said, I've paid the money, but this is not quality service and you have done nothing to make it better the entire time I have been here. Still, no comment which is true in this society when you do not allow people to save face, but I never raised my voice or said anything one would consider mean. If staff is going to interact with foreigners, especially the manager, they need to know how to make a situation right.
After that, we toured the lobby which was beautiful, but we were under continuous observation by management, so decided to leave....originally to go back down to the area by the ocean, but based on our experience decicded to move along to a Khmer beach where the staff was very friendly, helpful and ready to serve. Again, I blame management for bad training......well, and the horrible menu for that class of hotel. I highly recommend Sokha Hotel ovver Independence, although the walk along the rocks is quite beautiful. I can't comment on staying there although I did see the reviews below. I would go somewhere else if that is how management handles problems. And, looking at the reviews management seems to respond with the same answer ever ytime promising that it will never happen again.........address the individual problem, don't be generic....someone had $680 go missing from their room and you really have nothing to add???
Also, I fully realize that walking in with jeans and a t-shirt on and a mixed-race couple can be an issue in some establishments. I rarely encounter it in a place that considers itself "the place to be" and would not have gone in jeans at night or if there weren't signs directing me to the restaurant from the breach.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Independence Hotel & Boutiqute resort is an International standard 4 star with all room facing sea view and over 1km of private Ocean front, including 300 meters of White Sand beach and a spacious outdoor Pool. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Independence Hotel Sihanoukville