This is my first trip to Cambodia. I have two weeks to spend and have decided to stay for two nights in Sihanoukville, just to see what it’s like and get some downtime on the beach. I arrive on a Sunday, from Phnom Penh, and leave on the Tuesday. My problem is deciding which beach/hotel to stay at and would really appreciate some advice on this.
I am past the backpacking phase of my life, and would like something more comfortable and private, with good plumbing and aircon. Small, pretty and well-run is good. This being the beach, proximity to actual beach is an advantage. As for the beach itself, it should preferably not be overcrowded and definitely be clean.
Here’s what I’ve narrowed down for myself so far, from my research online, and what my concerns are:
Sokha Beach is the cleanest and most private, but Sokha Beach Resort, while the most modern and luxurious, is probably boring and generic. I don’t mind paying top dollar but would rather not do so for bland. However this is the safest bet so it’s my backup plan.
Of the rest, Independence Beach seems to be the quietest beach of that stretch. I’ve read that the Independence Hotel is reopening, as a boutique hotel and spa, or will have reopened by the time I travel (which is in December). This will at least be an interesting choice, for its architecture and interior design, but I worry whether everything will be up and running by then and, most importantly, what the state of the plumbing is like after so many years (sorry, minor obsession). Also, I’ve read that it’s quiet on weekdays; I wonder if it’s crowded on Sundays. And then there are the usual rumours that plague old buildings, especially ones with a past… Still it’s tempting.
I have yet to come across reviews of other hotels, in this forum and elsewhere, which fit my requirements. The recommendations seem to be based on other criteria i.e. rustic and cheap, clean and cheap, good company and cheap, good food and cheap.
Am I wrong? Are there other places I should consider? Should I pick the Independence Hotel or the Sokha Beach Resort?
Just as a reference – some of my favourite hotels elsewhere include Tegal Sari and Taman Sari in Bali, both small affordable (US$50 or less per room night) hotels. Airconditioned, nice bathrooms, comfortable beds, pretty décor, swimming pools and no TV.