Knai Bang Chatt
Knai Bang Chatt is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Eco Retreats.
This intimate and discreet luxury hotel is Kep's original boutique retreat, and one of Ampersand’s favourites. A short 45-minute flight from Siem Reap followed by a scenic 2-hour drive, this boutique hotel is located on Cambodia’s southern coast in the tiny coastal village of Kep. During the 1950s Kep was nicknamed ‘Kep Sur Mer’ owing to its draw as an exclusive seaside getaway for the colonial French elite and wealthy Khmers.
Knai Bang Chatt provides unique experiences whilst respecting the local culture, working closely with the surrounding community to help promote sustainable improvements to the education, health and livelihoods – as well as establishing a true green footprint with the aim to reduce their carbon emissions by 50%.
Knai Bang Chatt comprises of five villas built in the 1960s by protégés of Vann Molyvann who studied under Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier. Belgium owners Jeff Moons and Boris Vervoordt worked with French architect Francoise Lavielle to restore the villas to their original architectural splendour. The end result is minimalist, understated luxury. There are 18 spacious en-suite rooms with either ocean or garden view, scattered amongst lush and private grounds of the hotel. The rooms are tastefully furnished with local antiques and artefacts, with a focus upon on purity, simplicity and understated elegance in design. The hotel works on a “less is more” ethos and the minimalist style is based on the Japanese philosophy Wabi Sabi; understated, rustic simplicity, earthy tones and weathered wood furniture. There is a no TV policy in the rooms, so you can really have the chance to relax and rejuvenate.
The iconic infinity pool acts as the focal point of this property and provides the ideal spot to unwind while overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. For those looking to take it easy, relax in the peaceful surroundings, doze off with a book in a hammock or indulge in the spa treatments on offer by therapists who give the best of Khmer and Asian massages. On top of this, yoga and meditation sessions are part of daily activities here.
The Strand is Knai Bang Chatt’s signature fine dining restaurant which creates culinary dishes from local tastes and organic produce. An easy-going atmosphere translates into long breakfasts, long lunches and long dinners with stunning views across the bay. The Sailing Club is home to a more low-key vibe, serving up Western food and classic cocktails – with more killer views over the aquamarine sea! The Sailing Club, as the name suggests, also offers water sport activities, including sailing, surfing, canoeing and beach volleyball. Bikes are also available through the activity centre as well as additional excursions to fully experience the local culture, our favourite being the Island Hopping boat trip where you can enjoy snorkelling, swimming, sunbathing and a beach barbecue of fresh seafood with a glass or two of crisp wine.
Knai Bang Chatt would be a dreamy end to a tour of Cambodia – the tropical paradise is a welcome relief after a packed itinerary touring the temples of Angkor Wat and Cambodia’s other cultural sites.
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