We stayed for two nights in June '10 and paid $110 per night.
The hotel is beautifully appointed and nicely furnished, with a great balcony overlooking hotel gardens and the rocky coastline. On the whole the staff were friendly and professional.
Arriving from the bus from Phenom Penh we bargained our tuk-tuk driver down from $8 to $7, only to be told at reception we should have paid $4-$5. We weren't too worried as we knew the hotel offered a free shuttle to town, so we would no longer have to rely on the ripoff tuktuk drivers.
The problem with the place is that it's a long way out of town,and the driver of the hotel free shuttle has an attitude. They advertise that the shuttle runs several times per day at set hours. The first time we used the service the driver was visibly annoyed. The hotel seemed deserted so presumably we were causing him unnecessary work. We arrived on time for the shuttle but were asked to wait 15 minutes as some staff members decided to come along for the ride. On the return from town we waited a good 25 minutes in the dark (around 11.30pm) beyond the pickup time and called the hotel twice... (not sure what would have happened if I hadn't called).
The second ride was when we were checking out, the only difference was that this time he turned the motor off after we entered the van, while we waited for the staff, necessitating us to exit the van again and walk back into the relative cool of the lobby (the lobby is not air conditioned). As soon as the first staff member entered the van the aircon was turned back on. We were outraged by this treatment and complained to the finance controller sitting in the front seat. He seemed genuinely concerned and gave us his card.
The first night we had dinner in the restaurant down by the rocky beach. Although very quiet, the food and service was good and prices very reasonable for a five star hotel.
I guess that because the place was empty the music, exotic water fountains and fans in the lobby were only turned on (sometimes) after we walked in. On checking in we were walked down an open poorly lit road to "the new building". The room was really nice, and if arriving by car we could have parked close by in the undercover parking provided near the rooms. But the 5 minute walk back up the hill in the heat of day was no joke. No umbrellas were available in case of rain.
The shower in the room was beautiful... a big open stone area with planter boxes on either side . Unfortunately the drain was blocked and my 10 minute shower flooded the whole bathroom and water was starting to flood into the bedroom. We called reception about the problem, and a staff member was immediately dispatched to mop it up, but the problem of the blocked drains was not addressed (the bathroom floor drain was also blocked). It's hard to imagine that this was the first time this problem was reported. To be fair there was also an overhead shower in the bath that we used to shower from then on.
The worst was when we were checking out, a concierge was promptly sent to collect our bags. We followed behind some 5 minutes later, only to find our bags sitting on a trolley abandoned outside near the open road. We were horrified and wheeled the trolley ourselves into the lobby. I'm not sure but I think the man responsible could have been the same one driving the van. As I said, most staff seemed professional and friendly, although no apology was offered for abandoning our valuable luggage (my laptop included).
In summary, it is a beautiful hotel, recently rebuilt, in a remote location with one staff member who spoiled it for us. There are no facilities or other restaurants in the area, so either you will be held captive by the hotel and pay their prices, or you will have the hassle one way or another of finding your way into town and back. We moved to the beach near town after two days and didn't look back.
One more thing I just remembered... I was a bit disgusted when I was told that wifi would cost me $10 per hour or $20 for 4 hours, especially when most cafes restaurants, bars and cheap hotels in town all offer wifi for free. Even the specialty high speed wifi centres in town (usually air conditioned) only charge 75 cents to $1 per hour. Considering the remote location of the hotel the management should be bending over backwards to minimize this inconvenience rather than seeking to profit from it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Independence Hotel Resort & Spa is an oasis of calm and luxury in Sihanouk Ville, Kingdom of Cambodia - one of the finest locations in South East Asia. Unspoiled sands backed by lush vegetation encircle the hotel. The full delights of the resort, spa and private beach are ready for you to enjoy. Set in the charming tropical beauty of Cambodia's premier beach destination, with 35 hectares landscape and 300 meters of private beach, Independence Hotel Resort & Spa provides you a luxurious refuge that opens out onto breath taking panoramas. Provided 8 differences categories of 128 units, with 3 function rooms, 2 Restaurants and 2 bars. The Volley ball, sunset cruises and kids play-ground are available on the beach. Home of Jouvence Spa: Cambodia's Premier Spa ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Independence Hotel Sihanoukville