Kampot, known for pepper plantations and salt fields, has long been a tourist hotspot thanks to adrenaline-pumping watersports, authentic cuisine and relaxed pace of life. Whether you’re seeking an action-packed trip or a relaxing resort getaway, here are the best hotels in this south Cambodian city.
History can be felt through the walls of Rikitikitavi, a hotel that was originally built in the 1920s as a rice depot, before becoming a theatre. It was restored in 2005, after a stint as the governor’s private residence. Expect historical rooms, with paper parasols hanging from the walls, wood-beamed and rattan ceilings and quintessential Kampot ornaments. From their restaurant, watch the sunset over the Teuk Chhou River and Elephant Mountains – and don’t miss their daily happy hour cocktails.
The Columns, in the heart of the old town, makes for a well-situated base to explore everything on offer. The French Colonial house-turned-boutique is situated on a quiet tree-lined street, just minutes away from the Kampong Bay River and within easy reach of the Bokor Mountain and the Kampot pepper plantations. After a long day of exploring, you’ll welcome crashing out on the hotel’s silk pillows, made by local craftsmen in a traditional Cambodian style.
Terraces or balconies come as standard at Pippali – overlooking the hotel’s swimming pool and tropical gardens, and out to Bokor Mountain and Kampot’s riverside. Inside, the rooms favour a luxury theme: low-hanging ceiling lamps look chic alongside traditional wooden bed frames and Cambodian textile throws. The team is more than happy to organise activities, including whizzing you around town in their private tuk tuk and pointing you in the direction of reliable motorbike rentals.
Don’t be fooled by its humble exterior – these wooden huts, off Tuek Chhu Road, are anything but modest. Choose between digs on the riverbank or overlooking the tropical gardenscape, and expect mod-cons such as flatscreen TVs and wifi to lend a modern touch to the Cambodian textile- and art-filled rooms. You’d needn’t look far for fun either: there are onsite water sport facilities and DJ events in the evenings.
You don’t get more centrally located than here, less than five minutes on foot from night market and just seven minutes from Kampot riverside. But despite its city location, it feels close to the natural world with tropical greenery populating the walled pool area, flower-filled balconies (in the rooms that have them) and views of palm trees in the distance. Fancy forgoing Cambodian cuisine for British? Opt for the full English breakfast at their restaurant.
Hotel Old Cinema, a few streets from the Kampot river, is housed in what was a Chinese cinema in the 1930s. It opened its doors as a newly renovated boutique hotel in 2019, staying true to its cinematic history; today, in the colourful lobby that replicates the original tilework, you’ll see vintage prints nodding to the golden age of Khmer film. In the rooms, expect botanical murals, retro headboards and bright furnishings, along with flat screen TVs and decent wifi. Get your daily exercise in with laps of its indoor swimming pool.
Villa Vedici, boasting 4ha (10 acres) of garden and riverscape in the Kampot suburbs, endeavours to keep its guests fully entertained. There is kite-surfing equipment and onsite instructors, a private beachfront and wooden decking area, with views of the Bokor Mountain, and two swimming pools. On the off chance of a rainy day, get cosy in the communal TV area, equipped with all the latest cable channels, DVDs, a small library and board games. Round off your day with fresh crab in the restaurant, before hitting the hay in your traditionally designed room.
A bridge over a moat for an entrance, intricately designed tile flooring, velvet sofas, and in some cases, a private bar – these are the quaint details in Raing Phnom’s bungalows. It is a favourite for couples looking for a romantic getaway, with each of the suites’ private terraces making for a serene location for pink sunsets and stargazing. Dine at the 18-person dinner table to meet fellow travellers or keep to yourself within the confines of your bungalow, opting for the local dish of lort cha (stir-fried rice noodles).
You’ll get a taste of local village life at Sré Lodge, 10km (6mi) north of Kampot, which sits in the midst of rice fields. Each of its six wooden villas are built in the Khmer style – but they boast modern luxuries like roll-top baths, canopy-esque beds and rattan furnishings. Keen horse rider? Take one of Sré Lodge’s eight horses out for a trot. Alternatively, if you opt for the three-bed villa, spend your days hanging out by its private pool. The lodge’s ethos is to preserve its surroundings and support the local community, so you’re guaranteed an authentic Cambodian experience.
This guesthouse, set amid mangroves on the riverbed, channels ‘retro’ through boho-chic decor. Each of its bamboo-roofed huts feature aspiration quotes, wooden furnishings and outdoor decking areas that boast either hammocks or egg chairs. Yoga classes are on offer for those who want to reconnect with themselves, while you can join a kayak excursion to connect with nature.
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