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Reviewed November 11, 2012

I stayed here for two nights as part of a tour around this part of country and felt like I was in an oasis of luxury.My room was in the new building and very large with a balcony overlooking the gardens and down to the sea. Huge buffet breakfast with selection of food from across the world, big swimming pool, a couple of nice bars and restaurants on site, spa and pretty good gym too. It also has its own section of beach.If you are looking to get away from it all and relax in a bit of luxury for a night or two, this is a great place. Can't comment on the price and value for money as we stayed as part of a pre-booked multi night tour, but there is certainly everything you need on hand. During the day you can walk anong the sea front to get to other resorts but would need a taxi or tuk tuk in the evening.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Koala99London
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 9, 2012

I spent 5 days at the Independence Hotel in Sihanoukville and what a treat it was. My room was amazing with a large private balcony overlooking the fabulous gardens, grounds and also the sea. All staff were extremely helpful and friendly and went all out to be welcoming and helpful.
The grounds are worth a day's walk just to see the amazing statues, decorations and general gardens and flowers. It is extremely private set well off the road and is right on the sea. The walk to the private beach is rather long and down many stairs so if you have any mobility issues it is not suitable. The beach was lovely with a restaurant perched on the small cliff overlooking the sea. The restaurant was extremely good whether for a snack, drinks or a main meal. .The hotel is situated a bit out of the town which I liked for privacy and space but it is only a short tuk-tuk away. For the cost it was a fantastic stay and when I have the money I would go back there again.
For me it was an interesting experience as I first saw the hotel 17 years ago when I first went to Cambodia and it was a bombed out shell due to the Khmer Rouge. What a sad and distressing sight it was. However it has been restored to its former glory and the job has been very well done.

Room Tip: Try and get one with a sea view...it is well worth it!
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled solo
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Thank jo w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
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