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“Beautiful location, not good value”

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The Secret Garden at Otres Beach
Ranked #4 of 74 Hotels in Sihanoukville
Certificate of Excellence
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Beautiful location, not good value”
Reviewed December 27, 2012

The good: The Secret Garden is located at the far end of Otres Beach, which is absolutely beautiful, with white sand and clear, calm sea. The beach is very peaceful and the hassle from hawkers was minimal! The hotel does good food, especially for lunch/dinner, and some interesting cocktails! There are a few other small bars/restaurants within walking distance, although they may be closed in low season. Staff were very friendly, and very helpful in organising a taxi for us to go back to Phnom Penh at the end of our stay ($55). The jungle showers are a great idea!

The bad: We were unlucky in that the owners were away for a few days when we arrived - we were the only guests and felt they really shouldn't have accepted our booking. It was very difficult to get in touch with anyone before we arrived to arrange a pick-up from the airport (you need to either arrange pick-up or take a shuttle bus into Sihanoukville and then a tuk tuk - there are no taxis/tuk tuks at the airport). When we arrived, we were not given important information, such as the fact that the restaurant was closing early that night and that rooms are only cleaned on request. The rooms are comfortable rather than luxurious - the curtains are very thin and noise from the construction site next door begins early in the morning, so take an eye mask and ear plugs if you want to sleep in! Room price includes breakfast - really tiny portions. Even after the owners returned, it all seemed to be quite disorganised. All of these are small problems which we would have happily overlooked had we been paying less - but not really acceptable at $100+/night, especially compared to what that will get you elsewhere in Cambodia.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Jessicam_hk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dora m, Owner at The Secret Garden at Otres Beach, responded to this review, January 11, 2013
Hi there,

Thanks for taking the time to post a review, and I'm glad that you enjoyed our beach bar!

You are right in saying that you were the only guests for much of your stay here. In fact, myself and my partner (2 owners / managers) got married in Phnom Penh during that week. While we closed out all our rooms well in advance, unfortunately we received your booking through Agoda prior to this, and were unable to alter or cancel it. The celebrations / party upon our return did, I'm sure, create an air of disorganisation.

We at The Secret Garden sincerely apologise, and hope that the rest of your time in Cambodia was all you wanted it to be!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, England, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed December 24, 2012

What a great little find. Quite expensive for what it is compared to similar places that we stayed on Phu Quoc. But theres nothing similar really near Shianoukville. The staff were really helpful and friendly. The western food was great, but i think the local food, could have been improved. Great beer and cocktails. Lovely to have the option of either a dip in the sea (there are quite a lot of jellyfish) or the pool. Really laid back and peaceful. There isn't much else close by, which put me off slightly when i booked it as i don't like to feel that i have to stay in the hotel. But the main part of Otres was only a 15min walk up the beach or a few mins on a tuk tuk, and there was plenty of other bars and restaurants up there! But we ended up staying at the hotel most nights after dinner in Otres anyway as there was such a friendly vibe.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Kathryn S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level 6 Contributor
102 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed December 5, 2012

We had originally booked this hotel for two days but rang and asked if we could come a day earlier. This was no problem. We'd been to three cities in Cambodia before arriving here and were looking for some solid R+R. We certainly got it here.
The staff and owners were very friendly and laid back. Nothing was to much trouble. It's wonderfully isolated from the rest of Sihanoukville and consequently we did something we've never done before and ate all our meals at the hotel. We ate local cuisine and it was fantastic, fresh vegetables ( a rarity up to now), good fish and meat, well cooked and served quickly. The breakfast were also fine with reasonable options.
I say hotel but it didn't really feel like one. There are a small number of bungalows and the restaurant, reception etc. is all in an open aired wooden building on the beach.
The beach was clean, spacious and had wonderful panoramas.
The bungalow we had was perfect with an al fresco shower and a large room with an efficient, but not overpowering AC. One local innovation was a room 'safe' which was a large plywood box with a hefty lock on it. The only place in Cambodia which had something big enough to put away all our valuables. In fact it would have catered for both of our 30 liter rucksacks.
They also organized a taxi to Phnom Penh for us.
Only two downsides. There was construction on what looked like a similar set-up to this hotel going on next door. The crew got together at 6.30 am ish and the power tools went on at the stroke of 7.00am.
The other problem was insect bites. We stayed at 6 cities in Cambodia and had 4 nights in the Kep national park. We both had deet and picardine but this was the only place where we got seriously bitten. It didn't seem to be just us either.
This was the most expensive hotel we stayed at during our Cambodian visit, but it became affordable with the help of Agoda points earned last year. Despite this and the 2 issues mentioned. We would go back there at the drop of a hat.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank mrdeeping
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
1 review
Reviewed November 11, 2012

If you want to avoid the crowds & noise of the main beaches head out to Otres. This hotel is located at Otres 2 and is the furthest of all Otres Beach Accommodations. This is a Mid to high range accommodation with fantastic facilities. Typical days at the Secret Garden is get up early for Breakfast - great choices here and very nice. Laze around the pool - the only one on Otres - for an hour or so. Do some reading. Go for a walk along the beach - then for a swim in the warm water. I walked & had a swim most days and at times I was the only one there. In the afternoon head into town for a look or visit some of the bars/beach at Otres 1 - lots of cheap accommodation there. Relax by the beach side bar/restuarant. This is the place you want to go if visiting Sihannoukville if you want a bit of luxury and a some peace & quiet.Staff are excellent and very helpful.Tip - be careful travelling on your own at night - you ar 15-20 minutes out of town no street lighting and rough roads in a tuk tuk. But no real need to travel as everything is here at the Secret Garden. Highly recommended if you want to unwind. Meals go all day and are excellent. I will be definitely be staying here again.

Room Tip: New constructions happening next door and they do wake you early and this will go on until completed...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Darren T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2012

Beautiful bungalows, beautiful setting... Can't say enough good things. The jungle showers are amazing. You can gaze up at the stars whilst showering. Food was great, cocktails, staff, the owners very friendly and welcoming. On the quieter end of Otres, less touristy and less backpackery which suited my stay perfectly!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Kamala H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
47 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed October 28, 2012

Our family of 5 spent 5 nights in the family room which has two interconnecting rooms with a bathroom each. The rooms were spacious and clean with a lovely big balcony. The pool area is pretty but the pool was very warm, so much so that there was no relief from the hot day. The beach area and restaurant were pleasant, especially at sunset. The food was really good- some of the owners are from Texas, USA and they did a few killer tex- mex options. Important things to know:This end of the beach is very quiet, Secret Garden seemed to be the only place open. It takes about 15 mins by tuk tuk from The Golden Lions statue. Other than directly in front of a cafe or accommodation, Otres and Occheutel beaches are disgustingly filthy. From Secret Garden you can take a 30 minute walk up the beach ( watch your step) to the busier end of the beach where you have a wide choice of places to eat, hangout and watch the scene, or you could have a quieter experience at Secret Garden. One day we walked all the way to Serendipity (90minutes) but the undeveloped southern end of Occheutel was absolutely putrid and depressing.
Overall, Secret Garden was a pleasant place to stay with our family and if we found ourselves in Sihanoukville again, we would stay there. Hopefully with sensitive development and improved sanitation and education, this town will reach the potential it's location so deserves.

Room Tip: Family room was great for a family or small group
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank 1968Michelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed October 17, 2012

I'm not sure how to review this place.

The stand alone huts are great, the beach side restaurant/bar is fantastic and it's one of the few places that have a pool.
The service is friendly and the owners are always around making you happy.

My difficulty with my review is not so much the actual accomodation but the location.

I'll be honest, Sihaoukville is not my place. There's really nothing to see unless you go out to one of the islands. So it's difficult to fall in love with the accomodtion.

Secret Garden is located about 20-25 min from main Sihanoukville by tuk-tuk ($10 return). There's plenty of other places closer that you can dine at though.

The pool is crystal clear. The rooms are clean, air condtioned, comfy bed, great "jungle" bathroom.

Good food.

It's just one of those places you'll either love or not.

If you want quiet stay here. If you want party, don't.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Richard E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Secret Garden at Otres Beach

Property: The Secret Garden at Otres Beach
Address: Otres Beach, Sihanoukville 18000, Cambodia
Location: Cambodia > Sihanoukville Province > Sihanoukville
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 74 Hotels in Sihanoukville
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Secret Garden is located at the secluded end of Otres Beach, Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Our resort is designed to maximise the privacy of our guests, with detached bungalows set among lush gardens. Our bungalows are all equipped with A/C, free Wifi, minibar, and in our double bungalows,an attached jungle shower. We also feature Otres Beach's most beautiful swimming pool with kids' pool attached. At our beach bar & restaurant, you can relax and enjoy one of our signature cocktails at sunset, and try our great selection of Asian and Western cuisine. Happy hour specials every night. ... more   less 
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