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Reviewed November 3, 2012

We had 4 restful nights at the Independence as part of a round Cambodia tour. The hotel was recommended to us by a friend living in Cambodia and she made a good choice. We booked through Agoda who were efficient but I was horrified at the amount of booking & management fee that they took - i shopped around & couldn't find it cheaper overall so went with it. The hotel is beautifully situated a few miles out of town and is expanding rapidly. We stayed at one of the sea pavilions. The room was very large and the bathroom stunning. The only downside was the really cheap catch on the French windows which made them difficult to close and fairly insecure.
The staff were all friendly, smiling and eager to help. We ate at the beachside terrace bar, this was good. There is a massive spa that we didn't use but looked tempting. Construction is going on all round this expanding site.
A few questions and niggles.
What market is this hotel aiming for? It's quite isolated and was fairly quiet during our stay (which was low season) but we barely saw anyone except staff. There were other guests staying but the beach was empty, as we're the bar and restaurants. We saw a fair amount of room service being taken but I don't understand where many of the guests were.
The staff speak basic English which is fine unless you get a query that they don't understand. I had a couple of queries during our stay that they couldn't deal with and this made life a little difficult. There was no one at 'front of house' with more advanced English & we found this surprising.
The volume of staff surprised us - there were so many. With one exception (below) they were friendly but I remain unconvinced about the efficiency of their management systems.
Security. This is extremely overt and evident. We had a security guard based outside our room 24/7 which I found disturbing. Why was he there? I found it worrying rather than reassuring & I'm sure this is not the hotel's intention. We were challenged on the beach by a security guard who blew his whistle at us and was fairly rude in demanding to see our room card - fortunately on this occasion we'd taken it with us but I hadn't on previous walks down the beach. The irony here is that he'd been sitting 50 yards from us all morning and there were only 2 other people on the beach so either a) he'd seen us and was being unnecessarily officious or b) he hadn't seen us, thereby revealing his inefficiency.
Credit card. My room was payed for in advance & I'd intended to do what I do in most other locations - put all my restaurant & bar bills on the room and pay it off at the end in one go. This saves transaction charges & is efficient and effective. I tried to do this here but was told that I couldn't - I had to pay for each transaction. This meant that my holiday budgeting went to pot as I paid for everything by cash & had to raid the ATMs for more. Not sure if this was a language problem (see earlier comments) or a strange hotel policy.
The construction going on was noisy (but we were there in low season & it had to be done sometime)
Overall, a lovely break but some irritating practices from the hotel.

Room Tip: Our sea pavilion was great.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Martin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2012

A very charming boutique hotel with a diverse history. Jaqueline Kennedy and other celebreties stayed here in the 1960'ties together with the Khmer incrowd. The Khmer Rouge used is as a prison, why some Khmers believe it to be haunted. The 9 story high white building feature prominently on a rocky outcrop on a secluded spot along the very busy Sihanoukville coastline.

This was our second stay at Independence, which we choose over Sokha beach resort - mainly because of the difference in price. A nice and well designed family room with a sea view is 94 USD on Agoda - Sokha charges twice that. The beach at Sokha may be better, as is the food, but Independence has that quirky charm (and a better price). There is a nice fitness centre and a beautifull Spa (Jouvence).

If you choose the quietness and seclusion of Indepence, you will need a car. It is tiresome going into town for evening meals in a Tuk-Tuk. Furthermore, the Tuk-Tuks are quite well organised and overpriced compared to the rest of Cambodia.

If you are more couples or a large family, then go for one of the pool villas. The offical price is a ridicolous 1200 USD, but they would probably sell at around 300 USD. A family of 4 fits nicely in the family villas, which all have a plunge pool on the balcony. The better ones are # 135, 137, 149 which all have an unobscured seaview.

Do visit the Seaview Restaurant for lunch. The food is pretty average, but the seaview from within the shady trees is spectacular. If you go there for sundowners or an evening meal, do not forget mosquito repellent!

Room Tip: Go for the newer family villas or suites in the lower section of the Hotel. The Pool Villas in 128 and 228 are great if you can afford it. If not go for # 135, 137 or the two room family suite in 138.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank Bo B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2012

I stayed at the Independence hotel last weekend (October 2012) and was very happy with my stay. The hotel was chosen for me by people based in Cambodia and I think they made a great choice. The hotel has an original block which has been updated well as well as newer accommodation options. I liked the old photos of the hotel in the 1960's that are on the wall, shots of guests swimming in the old hotel pool (which is now a pond with fish and lotus in it) adorned my room.

The rooms were large, clean and well appointed. The staff were helpful and efficient.

Breakfast was good, well cooked food, and prompt service. There could have been more local breakfast options though as it was a very western menu.

The hotel itself is away from town so a tuk tuk is required to get into town. These are easily arranged though. I noticed on our return from town in the evening that security were pretty observant and keeping tabs on things.

Really good wifi in my room, faster connectivity than I get at home.

The beach is great, if narrow, white sand and warm water. There are huts further along the beach from the hotel so you can set up there and get cheap food and beers if that is your thing.

Room Tip: Get one on a higher floor so you have as sea view
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Kiwi_acct
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 3, 2012

The location is nice and peaceful but a long way from the main town with infrequent bus services. the room was terrible for this price with no balcony and no charm. The pool is OK and the beach is very nice. The food is overpriced and not that good really. When we were there other customers also were not happy about the place. If you can get a cheap price on Agoda this may be a good option, but do not become a "walk in" customer.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank s b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PreahSihanouk, General Manager at Independence Hotel, Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded October 21, 2012

Dear guest,

Thank you for choosing our hotel and taking time to give us your comments. It is important that guests help us to improve our service. We have always been thankful for our secluded location but also recognise that guests may want to visit Sihanouk Ville to do some shopping and sightseeing. That’s why we provide a free, round trip service five times a day to the city. We are sorry you thought our food was overpriced. We pride ourselves in the service and amenities we offer and will pay particular attention to your comments. We also look forward to welcoming you back to our hotel so that you can experience the difference.

Sincerely yours,

Yin Yin Aye
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2012

The perfect place for a few days of rest. Excellent service. However,in my room was seen the needs to exchange a few curtains, furniture Hotel is located quite far from the center of nightlife and seaside pubs.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Alexminov
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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