checking in | song saa

Song Saa is a private island resort in Cambodia, located just off Koh Rong, in the Gulf of Thailand. It’s actually located on two islands aptly named ‘the sweethearts’ as they are so close together. One of the islands houses the resort itself: 27 villas which come in three different categories, jungle villa, sea view villa, and over water villa, plus an overwater restaurant, huge infinity pool, spa and a chefs garden. The other island is more of a place to take an easy hike around, spot some wildlife and whilst you’re there fill up a bag with any washed up rubbish you spot because that’s the least you can do if you want to help Song Saa’s cause.

Whilst many hotels are jumping on the green bandwagon – and we should think so too – Song Saa was built with the purpose to give back to Cambodia, and it was a pioneer in ethical sustainable tourism in the country. Not only did they create a protected marine reserve around the island, they have set up a permanent charitable foundation that works with local communities on education and conservation projects.

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The villas are all super swish, and all come with a plunge pool, outdoor terrace, day beds, huge four poster bed, many showers (inside and out) and bath tub. We had a sea view villa, which had a complete glass fronted bathroom meaning we could shower or bath whilst looking out to sea. It’s the height of luxury and even during peak season the island felt super quiet. The speed boat we got from the main land to the island with two other couples, one of which we never saw and the other only once at the free morning yoga sessions. It’s no accident the villas are so well kitted out – it feels wrong to leave them….

But leave them we did to enjoy the infinity pool, which we had mostly to ourselves, a delicious spa treatment, and of course an early morning walk around the nature reserve, which ended with us on our ass… but let’s not talk about that.

For a high end resort the food and drink prices are surprisingly reasonable too and the food was delicious. Whilst there was Western dishes on offer there was still a good amount of local dishes that were as good if not better than anything we ate in Cambodia – the BBQ pork with rice and pickles for breakfast was a highlight of our entire three week trip.

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Then there was the turn down snacks made fresh each evening, the sundowner cocktails sat on swinging double beds whilst eating cashews from the island, eating dinner under the stars and spotting fish from the walkways on the reef that surrounds the island. We left Song Saa with heavy hearts and a tear in our eye as the whole staff waved us off in the speedboat, hoping someday, if we were lucky we’d make it back to heaven.

Song Saa are also planning their next project, this time in Siem Reap and it will have the same huge heart that keeps on giving. We for one will be watching and waiting very eagerly.