Oct 28 2012
Word was out about Mushroom Point on Otres Beach almost before it opened on Christmas Eve, 2011. At the time, it was the mushroom-themed, thatched-roof architecture that was attracting all the attention. Since then, just about everything about Mushroom Point has been drawing attention — and visitors. When I made a casual enquiry about room rates in September, one of Sihanoukville’s slowest months of the year, I was politely told, “Sorry, our rooms are all taken.” What’s all the buzz about?
There’s a saying in real estate: “Location, location, location.” When looking for accommodation, “atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere” is another recipe for success. Mushroom Point has them both. Otres Beach is the best location for travellers looking for a chilled-out atmosphere in Sihanoukville and Mushroom Point’s beach and garden bungalows are even more chilled-out than other Otres Beach venues.
The two wings of Mushroom Point are more or less opposite each other, with the beach bungalows/bar/restaurant obviously being on the beach and the garden equivalent being on the opposite side of and 50 metres or so further down the road. My favourite is the garden accommodation, but that may be because going to the beach isn’t really a novelty to me, while being surrounded by gardens in a hobbit-like environment is.
Arguably, Mushroom Point could rest on its architectural and landscaping laurels and offer ordinary food and service. They don’t, though. Their menu is one of the best on Otres Beach and right up there with the best in Sihanoukville. I’ve only had breakfast at Mushroom Point, but the mushroom, cheese and veggie omelette I had was a far cry from the flat, oily omelettes served elsewhere in Sihanoukville and their Balkan and Mediterranean dishes are reportedly as delicious as they sound.
If there’s a downside to Mushroom Point, it may be that it is a little too laidback. Maybe I have just been unlucky, but on one occasion when I went in to enquire about rates, the bar manager, who appeared to be a backpacker getting a discount for managing the bar, couldn’t tell me what they were. On another occasion, after waiting a long time for someone to take my breakfast order, I finally gave up and went to the bar to place an order. “Sorry, we’re not serving food today,” I was cheerily informed, “Our cook is on holiday.”
I finally did get informed sounding rates when I rang more recently. At least according to the person I spoke to, the dorms cost $7 in the low season and $10 in the high season. Bungalows for two with private bathrooms are apparently $20 low season, $30 high season and $35 over Christmas-New Year and Chinese New Year in February. I say “apparently” because those rates don’t quite correspond with the rates I looked up online and with Sihanoukville’s burgeoning popularity, some establishments are starting to wing it, upping their rates considerably when demand is high. To avoid disappointment, book your stay well in advance and get an email confirmation.
If those rates are correct, they’re not a bad deal, in our opinion. The bungalows are clean and comfortable and room service will change the round sheets on your round bed every second day. There’s free WiFi and the proprietors pride themselves on their mellow eclectic music mix, which is kept at a moderate level to avoid disturbing bungalow guests. You can find cheaper accommodation in Sihanoukville, but it’s hard to find another place quite like Mushroom Point.
Otres Beach, Sihanoukville
T: (097) 7124 635, (078) 509 079
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