Luxury in harmony with nature: Song Saa Private Island

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Luxury and sustainability combine in this privately owned resort in Cambodia’s stunning Koh Rong Archipelago. The two islands that make up the resort, Koh Ouen and Koh Bong, are lush with virgin rainforest, fringed with inviting white sands and encircled by the dreamy cerulean blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand, which is itself colourfully accentuated by the stunning flora and fauna of the local coral reefs.

Song Saa – or the Sweethearts – effortlessly combines a rustic aesthetic with a real sense of luxury, where the islands’ natural assets, along with a distinct commitment to sustainability, take centre stage. Think Thailand before mass tourism hit, but with a modern, socially conscious, luxury twist that has created new, life-changing opportunities for local villagers, and even led to the opening of Cambodia’s first marine reserve, which was created hand-in-hand with the Cambodian government to protect the islands’ coral reefs and to help local communities move towards a more sustainable livelihood.

Accomodation at the resort is exemplary, with 27 overwater, rainforest and beach villas, made to mimic the charm of a Cambodian fishing village, and each constructed with sustainable materials and finished with an exquisite eye to detail. You’ll find glass floors to admire the translucent water as it gently flows beneath your villa, chic handcrafted furniture made from recycled driftwood and fishing boat timber, romantic sunken bathtubs, four-poster beds dressed in Ploh linen bed sheets and infinity pools with impossible views out over the Gulf of Thailand. Each residence comes with modern conveniences such as air-conditioning, super-fast wi-fi, satellite TV and iPod docks, all of which take their power from the resort’s own solar powered system, and guests can choose whether they would prefer a sunset or sunrise view – either sitting atop the water or elevated to the outer fringes of the forest, complete with the sublimest of tropical vistas.

Those with an active conscience towards sustainability and eco-tourism can take advantage of a myriad of programmes that Song Saa offers. You can give back to the local environment and offset your carbon footprint by planting mangroves, visit local villages that benefit from the resort’s conservation efforts and take part in philanthropic tours, working alongside Song Saa’s superb team of experts, taking part in coral reef surveys and teaching classes in environmental education. Don’t worry if all you want to do is relax in style and tranquility, because this is the place to do it. Sanctuary spa treatments are offered in different areas of the islands providing traditional and innovative treatments in unique settings – think forest ledges overlooking the water and hidden island coves, local monks sit in the village pagoda and bless guests in search of luck, yoga and Khmer cooking classes are offered by Song Saa’s holistic and culinary experts, and days spent sailing around the archipelago in the resort’s chartered yacht are naturally very easy to arrange.

All of this is elevated to even grander levels when one considers that the resort works closely with local communities, ensuring that everything from education to jobs are provided for and that everything in Song Saa is naturally sourced, eco-friendly and in absolute harmony with nature.

Of course, Song Saa is wonderfully placed to explore the islands of the archipelago, with a beguiling collection of 20 deserted islands all close by, each fringed with thriving and vibrant reefs, adorned with flawless rainforest that is teeming with wildlife and flanked by paradisiacal white sand beaches which are often completely empty and almost entirely untouched – perfect in equal measure for picnics, sunbathing and island-hopping. Those looking for something a little livelier could do worse than take a boat to nearby Koh Rong, which is a haven for youthful backpackers on tours of South East Asia, but has, for the most part, resisted development. Alternatively stick close to Song Saa for scuba diving, speedboat hire and kayak tours through lush thickets of mangroves.

When creating Song Saa, the owners Rory and Melita Hunter wanted to create a resort that embraced the sheer raw beauty of the islands’ flora, while providing contemporary luxuries to its guests and giving back to the local communities. As a result, Song Saa has achieved an outstanding amount of balance in its vision to marry understated luxury to a keen social and environmental awareness, creating what is a truly unique and highly enviable experience in Cambodia.

Booking and reservations:

reservations@songsaa.com +855 92-609-488, +855 23-989-012
Island switchboard: +855 23-886-750
www.songsaa.com