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“Charming but with drawbacks”

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Rajabori Villas Resort
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Kratie
Certificate of Excellence
Newcastle, Australia
Level Contributor
251 reviews
65 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
“Charming but with drawbacks”
Reviewed January 10, 2014

If you are like me you are looking at reviews for Kratie and thinking that Rajabori sounds far better than the rest - and you are probably right. Without staying at the other places it would seem that Rajabori offers a better standard than they do but there are some things you should know before staying. The villas are cute as a button and very comfortable, with plenty of space and beautiful timber throughout. The power is on between about 6.00 pm and 8.00 am - although that was variable. The hot (?) water is solar heated and a note in the villa says it can take up to 5 minutes to run hot in the villa so keep running the water until the hot comes through. In our experience that was true and it does seem a waste of water running the tap until it is warm, and then the water was warm (not hot) just long enough for 2 of us to have the barest of washes under the hand held spray. There is a beautiful claw foot tub but don't even think about soaking in it as there will not be enough warm water to fill it more than a few inches. There is no separate shower. The bed is extra firm - no surprise there. There is no tv, no kettle in the room for a hot drink, & no refrigerator, and no wi fi. None of these things were made clear on the website and may not be a problem, or they could be a deal breaker, its up to you. I understand the aim of it being a traditional house style and also being eco friendly, it just should be clear up front that these things are not included. Also not included are clean towels if required - on the first day we accidently put dirty marks on a handtowel when trying to clean up after the trip over on the ferry. Thinking we were doing the right thing it was put in the cane hamper in the bathroom, and we thought it would ne replaced the next day. Not so - it was taken out of the hamper and hung up again complete with dirty marks! We were not able to get any clean towels during our 3 night stay and eventually asked for some at reception and were given pool towels. We do not expect clean towels every day but given the heat and dust and lack of hot water it does become necessary! The pool is beautiful, the villas charming, the location idyllic. The service can be erratic and our experience (and that of others staying at the same time) is that it is a waste of time to email to arrange transport as that apparently gets ignored. Other guests were left stranded in the dark when they thought they had arranged a private boat transfer, luckily the ferry (which finishes at 5.30) was able to transport them across. The trip over on the ferry is pleasant but when you get there it is a 3km trip over sand and varying other surfaces to Rajabori. This is fine on the back of a moto but some guests may not be happy to do that and because you can't apparently pre-arrange anything you are left with that or walking. The meals are quite good and the prices are not too bad considering, but the breakfast is basic. This could be a perfect and relaxing island paradise but you need to be aware of all of these things before you commit to staying. Having said that - where else do you stay?

Room Tip: We had a deluxe villa - it seems the standard double may have a shower.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank emdeme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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198 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
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Doha, Qatar
Level Contributor
33 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2014

We absolutely adored that place despite the fact that the hot water didn't work for our villa on the night we spent there!
We only had allocated one night for Kratie but regretted not spending more time there.
We definitely recommend this place - the food was also delicious!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Veronique378
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed December 25, 2013 via mobile

We spent two nights here, on our way to and from Banlung. Excellent peaceful retreat in the Mekong with great attentive staff, a large clean swimming pool and (unlike that which others have said here) food served at the time you request! The hotel staff arranged transport to and from the ferry dock in Kratie for us; excellent service.

While it is true the rooms don't have "showers" and the warm water takes some time to appear, those are only minor setbacks to staying in such a peaceful setting in the middle of a river!

I'd recommend it to anyone who doesn't need a hair dryer in the room to be comfortable. If you do, just go somewhere else.

  • Stayed December 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Ultrarun100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodend, Australia
Level Contributor
36 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed October 6, 2013

Was pretty excited to visit this place for the first time however it didn't live up to my expectations. I didn't stay, but we ate at the restaurant for lunch and swam in the pool for a few hours.

The staff were okay, somewhat snooty but not too bad. We were told that in order to be allowed to swim we would have to either pay $5 a head on top of lunch or purchase at least $10 worth of food. Doesn't seem too outrageous, but I've never experienced that at any other resort in Cambodia.

We had a largish group, but food took way way way too long. Well over an hour. Many of the drinks on the menu weren't available as they had no ice (shakes, iced coffee, etc). But we were able to get cans of soft drink that were cold.

While we were waiting for the food, the manager/owner popped out to blast us. Some of the khmer people in our group were swimming in the pool in their t-shirts. The manager demanded that they put on the communal bikinis and swimsuits instead. Despite being disgustingly unhygienic, this would by highly offensive to Khmer culture, who are very modest people. They decided not to swim any more.

The food tasted okay, but was expensive. The food wasn't delivered to our tables, but merely dumped on the bar and I was asked to distribute it to my group. Had a desert (to make up the $10 a head) which was bananas with a jug of honey, not very tasty.

Overall a very lousy restaurant, had a look at the rooms, but they were expensive for what they were. No airconditioning or fridges and the power apparently goes off during the day.

Will never go back.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
3 Thank JackCoop92
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Yukanthor, Owner at Rajabori Villas Resort, responded to this review, October 12, 2013
What a lousy review...
Our place, like most others in Cambodia, accepts non resident guests to swim in the pool, for a fee, as we are not a non profit making NGO !
You brought 26 persons who jumped in the pool fully clothed in front of the other guests, it’s simply disgusting ! The owners of the place are Cambodians yet you insinuate that we would disrespect Khmer Culture by not allowing people to swim in this way... Check the pictures of the sixties under Prince Sihanouk, Khmer ladies were all wearing swimsuits then and many do so nowadays too ! People should simply respect the rules of the places where they choose to stay! By the way, we don’t have « communal bikinis and swimsuits » which would be equally disgusting, we simply insist guests should wear their own.
Cooking for 26 does require a little bit of time, especially when you didn’t have a reservation… About bout food being « dumped » on the bar, well what should our « snooty » staff have done with people scattered all around the swimming pool ? They simply asked you to help because they had no way of knowing to whom the fried rice or the stuffed tomatoes belonged ! Is that bad ? Now if you order bananas with lemon, what do you expect ? Is there a way one can mess up sliced bananas with a jug of honey ? Please tell us…
Regarding our rooms, where you didn’t stay… you show the same objectivity as for the rest. What is « expensive » for you ? Is it everything that is not free, like the swimming pool ? No we don’t have aircon, nor fridges, video games, slot machines… We are a small Khmer traditional resort on an island in the middle of the Mekong river, there is no electricity provided by the state and we produce our own with solar panels and generators, therefore we simply can’t have all the appliances you could find while staying in Las Vegas…
Now there is one subject on which we will both agree, it is that you shall never come back !
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
87 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed September 25, 2013

Stayed 1 night 18 Aug 13 in a junior suite upgraded from a double deluxe. We crossed to the island on a private boat rather than using the ferry as advised. To achieve this we left our luggage with our driver in Kratie and only took the items we needed for the night. This meant that the private boat could take us right to the island bank close to the villas. This avoided using the public ferry and then having to travel 3km to the villas. The staff are friendly, helpful, well trained and have good English.

The villas have no power during the day. The generator starts at 6pm. The rooms have no frigs or air conditioning and have adequate furnishings with a comfortable sitting area outside the front door. The pool good and large. The restaurant is limited in choice, a bit expensive but the food is OK.
Breakfast from the menu was acceptable.

The villas are what they are and don’t pretend to be anything else - worth the visit. Rating 7 out of 10.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank David F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
43 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed September 24, 2013

This place is a little slice of paradise, the villas are beautifully furnished, the food is excellent and the staff go above and beyond to help you. We stayed during the low season and there weren't many guests so almost had the full staff to ourselves and we enjoyed having a chat over dinner each night as we learned so much about Cambodia and Khmer culture.
This place is quite far from Kratie though, so if you are staying less than three nights you might find the distance frustrating. The ferry only runs once there is enough people on board so you might have to wait a while, then once you get to the island you need to walk about 30 minutes or hire a moto for about $1 USD (during the wet season).
The island is beautiful and the walk is lovely, so if you are staying a bit longer in Kratie this place is worth the trip.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank Manda751
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
111 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
Reviewed September 7, 2013

In the preparation phase of my Cambodia trip, I saw this - in principle lovely - place in the Internet and asked the management of Rajabori Villa for a quote.
Once I arrived on the island of Koh Trong, it all started. I was not aware that you need to walk about an hour through deepest dirt and mud to reach this place. Due to heavy rainfall, no motorbikes were available. Upon arrival (completely soaked and dirty), I was given a price which was higher than the initial quoted one and I was told that actually they are not fond to host back-packers, they prefer a different audience. If I do not want to pay the higher price, there is a home stay in the vicinity which offers a stay for 2-4 USD. I was never treated in such a manner and it is so untypically Cambodian. I assume that tour-groups are the main audience at Rajabori, so keep that in mind when you think of staying at that place.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank AustrianinAsia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Yukanthor, Owner at Rajabori Villas Resort, responded to this review, September 12, 2013
Dear guest,
You had for a quote for "Arun Mekong" a guest house located next door to our place and absolutely not Rajabori Villas !
That's actually where you stayed after finding out you were not in the right place, yet you came back to eat at Rajabori where you say you were so badly received...
It's your own mistake but you blame our receptionist who didn't have a clue !
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rajabori Villas Resort

Property: Rajabori Villas Resort
Address: Mekong Road | Koh Trong Island, Kratie 855, Cambodia (Formerly Sala Koh Trong)
Location: Cambodia > Kratie Province > Kratie
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Kratie
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Rajabori is a confidential resort made of 11 traditional Khmer wooden houses located North of the island of Koh Trong in front of the town of Kratie. We created it to allow a deep immersion in an unspoiled part of old Cambodia for travelers fond of nature and discovery. Access is by boat then tuktuk or moped. The trip to the resort through the island's countryside is beautiful and is a small adventure in itself. For now, The Rajabori has thirteen rooms spread into eleven traditional wooden houses, single or double. To accompany this discovery of traditional Cambodia, our villas and all public spaces have been furnished and decorated in typical Khmer style with what we have collected over the years in all provinces of the country. Our idea is to re create an old style Cambodian village in the protected environement of Koh Trong Island. As a matter of fact, everywhere else in Cambodia, traditional wooden houses are being destroyed to make way for ugly blocks of concrete that have become the new « chic » in contemporary Khmer society. An entire architectural heritage of incalculable value and is being ruthlessly swept under the carpet... We wanted to go against this tide by bringing together a number of well trained craftsmen who perpetuate a thousand year old savoir-faire. ... more   less 
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