After traveling in Cambodia for almost one month, we had a couple of days left before going to Vietnam. We decided to spend these days in Kep, located about half an hour from one of the Vietnamese borders. Kep is a comparatively quiet city that attracts people that are more into culture, nature and beaches, rather into than hardcore partying.
Kep offers gorgeous nature and relaxation, and not much of a big center, shopping or bars. Because of this we thought it would be perfect to use these days to stay and relax in a luxury resort – and so we did. We booked a two-nights stay at Samanea Beach Resort, and it turned out to be really great. Actually, so great that we want to share it with you.
The land on which Samanea Beach Resort is located today, once belonged to a Vietnamese consul. He had his house right there, during the occupation of Cambodia. At the end of the American-Vietnamese war, the house was almost completely destroyed and the consul was killed. The owner of Samanea Beach Resort later bought the land and built what Samanea Beach Resort is today. He chose to keep what was left to keep from what once had been the house of a Vietnamese consul. The rest was rebuilt into a gorgeous resort. Still today, the main wall behind the reception and some tiles here and there are original.
Samanea Beach Resort seems to continuously develop and upgrade their services and facilities. They recently opened Samathe Spa & Salon on the resort. Here you can get a relaxing massage, a manicure or a pedicure or something else that might interest you. More about this further down. They are at the moment also rebuilding their rooftop, to make it more hip and inviting to relax on. The restaurant in the resort, Chankiri Restaurant, has recently hired a new chef from France with lots of experience working in 5-star hotels. What we really, really liked was the fact that they have made it a priority to soon become an ECO-friendy resort. You can read more about this below.
We would love to come back to Samanea Beach Resort once its completely done and in its best possible state. It’s obvious that this place has great potential. I have a very hard time imagining that Samanea Beach Resort won’t be the absolute perfect place to relax when all their current projects are finished.
We arrived to Samanea Beach Resort by tuk tuk and were greeted at the driveway by a charming, young man called Ibrahim. He offered to carry our bags to the reception. We walked through a big, beautiful, green garden filled with trees, bushes and flowers of all kinds. In between the greenery were big, white villas – each with its own little garden and terrace. If we looked straight, we could see the huge pool facing the ocean a bit further down. Everything was so quiet and peaceful!
We reached the reception and were welcomed to sit down. We were served a delicious refreshing passion fruit drink while the lady in the reception checked us in. When the paper work was done and our drinks were finished she asked us to follow her. She told us to leave our bags, Ibrahim would carry them for us. We followed her through the big garden, up a small path that led to our junior suite villa.
The lady opened the doors and as soon as we layed our eyes on the 90 sqm villa we knew we had chosen the right place to spend our time in Kep at. She showed us the minibar and told us how the espresso machine worked. Then she led us to what we think was the best part of our villa – the bathroom.
The bathroom consisted of two parts separated by a glass door. A big, bright toilet area equipped with a toilet, a huge mirror, two gorgeous basins and some toiletries. On the other side of the glass door there was a fantastic outside bathroom. I swear I could’ve thrown my clothes off and enjoyed the outdoor rain shower right then and there. I did however realize that that would’ve become a bit awkward with the lovely lady still standing next to us.
Before the lady left, she told us that if we needed anything at all, we could just call the reception and she’d be with us at once. Once she had left, we continued to admire what would be our home for the coming two nights. We threw ourselves on the gorgeous, comfy bed and took some time to appreciate where we were at. We stayed in our villa until our curiosity for exploring the rest of the place forced us out of there.
We literally had to take three steps from our villa to be out in the beautiful, green garden. The garden by itself is enough to bring relaxation to the most sped up person in the world. It was so quiet. All we could hear was our own footsteps, the geckos and birds around us and the wind soaring through the trees.
We walked through the garden to the pool. I seriously could’ve jumped right in, with my clothes on. It was very hard to resist. This 300 sqm pool filled with salt water, even had integrated jacuzzi jets… I mean, what else can you ask for? I can come up with one thing. A private beach. Oh by the way, did I mention that Samanea Beach Resort has its own private beach? Just a hundred meters further down the garden. I had to ask Pajam to pinch my arm because I wasn’t sure this was for real.
Unfortunately, the beach itself wasn’t the best for swimming. Depending on the tide, either the water is very high so there’s no beach at all or the water is very, very far out. But luckily, Samanea Beach Resort has built a beach terrace covered in sand. Therefore, we could still enjoy the ocean view on a sunbed next to a palm tree. Whenever we needed to cool down, the pool was just a hundred meters away.
From the beach terrace we walked out on the long sea jetty. From here we could see the Bokor Mountain, Phu Quoc Islands and the lush hills of Kep National Park. Once the sun was about to set we walked back to the beach to enjoy it from one of the big sunbeds. It was truly incredible to see the whole sky turn orange and watch the sun disappear behind the horizon.
Once the sun had set, we decided to enjoy the happy hour in the bar. Unfortunately, at the time we visited, they were reconstructing their rooftop bar so it wasn’t possible to enjoy the panoramic sea and mountain view. I guess we’ll have to come back for that. Instead, we sat down at a lovely set table in Chankiri restaurant located right next to the swimming pool.
Food and Drinks in Chankiri Restaurant at Samanea Beach Resort
The drink of the week was passionfruit mojito. We ordered one of those and one regular mojito. Let me say this, they were very generous with the amount of alcohol they put into those drinks! We sipped on our drinks and enjoyed what had so far been a wonderful day, and what we didn’t know was that the evening would get even better.
After we had finished our drinks we asked for the dinner menu. They had a lot to offer, both International style and traditional Khmer cuisine. For vegetarians the number of options were a bit more limited. However, the alternatives that were available all sounded amazing and we were struggling to decide.
After an unknown amount of time, we were ready to order. For starters, we had vegetarian spring rolls that made us wonder what’s been wrong with every other spring roll we’ve ever had. They were yummy! For mains we had one pumpkin curry with steamed rice, that made us want to lick the bowl, and one vegetable tempura with sweet chili sauce that perhaps would’ve fit better as a starter or a snack. For dessert we decided on a chocolate cake with Kampot pepper ice cream. The combination of the two was surprisingly delicious!
We were told that Chankiri Restaurant offers private dining with a candlelight setup at the spot of our choice. We decided to reserve a private dinner by the beach of Samanea Beach Resort at sunset the next evening. You can read more about our incredible evening here [coming soon].
We decided that the next day was going to be a relaxing day. After traveling around and going from one place to the next, we really needed that. Luckily, Samanea Beach Resort was the perfect place for a day like this. That morning we slept in, in our big, comfy bed. Once we had woken up and eaten a filling breakfast at Chankiri Restaurant, we relaxed by the pool until it was time for us to enjoy Samathe Spa & Salon.
We had both booked a full body oil massage and we were really looking forward for some real relaxation. At 3.30pm we put on our bathrobes and walked through the garden to the spa. The spa area is located in a small building in one of the far ends of the big garden of Samanea Beach Resort. Due to it being an open air space (that is, only half covering walls), you’ll enjoy your treatment with the sound of birds and wind blowing through the trees. This of course also means that there will be some flies – but hey, being close to nature is one of the most important things for relaxation.
The masseur, Emmamatin Sun, had decorated and prepared everything beautifully. Every towel was folded in stunning formations and decorated with flowers. She had even filled the bathtub with hot water and flowers. Wonderfully smelling oils were placed here and there.
Emmamatin has worked in spas and salons for 14 years, and it’s easy to tell. About 2 minutes into the massage I knew for sure that this was going to be good. Her hands were magical. She made sure that I was okay at all times and that I enjoyed the massage. She started with my neck, shoulders and back and made her way down to my legs and finished with one of my favorite things on this earth – head and face massage. Wow. I didn’t want the massage to end. Unfortunately it did…
My spa time wasn’t over though. She now asked me to go into the bath, where she washed the oil of me with an wonderful smelling soap. And I had thought I couldn’t get more relaxed. Oh, how wrong I was. When I was clean enough, I put on my bathrobe and she asked me to sit down in a big, comfy chair. Then she started massaging my shoulders and my head. I walked away as a very happy (and relaxed) woman.
After the massages it was time for our private dinner by the beach, and that was the perfect ending on our stay at Samanea Beach Resort. You can read more about our romantic dinner here [coming soon].
On its way to become an ECO-friendly Resort
What we really liked about Samanea Beach Resort (apart from the incredible surroundings, the huge villa, the swimming pool and the private beach) was the fact that they’re very aware of how they’re affecting the environment and what they can do about it. At the moment they’re working hard on reducing their ecological footprints.
For example, they are replacing every plastic bag in every room with non-plastic ones made out of biodegradable plastic. They have also put up solar panels and are at the moment producing 30-40% of the electricity that they’re using. They have ordered reusable water bottles made out of metal, to put in each villa for every guest to keep. These bottles will replace the plastic bottles that they today are putting in each villa, every morning at the moment. They are also going to put out refill stations where guests can refill these bottles, instead of buying more plastic bottles.
They already have their own organic vegetable and fruit farming in the garden at the resort. Everything they harvest is used for the food in Chankiri Restaurant. What they can’t produce themselves, they try to buy from local producers and farmers.
We really appreciate businesses that take their responsibility and try to make this world a better place.
Samanea Beach Resort, we will be back for you!
A huge thanks to Samanea Beach Resort and everyone who made our stay great. We’re more than happy to have had the opportunity to enjoy this lovely resort. We’re very excited about the developments that are being done at Samanea Beach Resort at the moment. We hope to get the chance to come back and visit when everything is finished… If there’s anything called finished for the people at Samanea Beach Resort, the ever improving resort in Kep.
More pictures of Samanea Beach Resort
We were welcomed as guest by Samanea Beach Resort. As always, all opinions and views are our own. This article contains affiliate links. Through these we’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you.