Jan 18 2013
The Seaside Hotel on Ochheuteal beach is looking a little tired, and while a new wing is under construction, we hope their old-wing rates stay as they are; at $25 for a standard twin or double, they are one of the best high season (November-March) deals in Sihanoukville.
The Seaside looks older than it is. Its classic Khmer pagoda-style architecture is part of the reason, but the monsoon rains and sea breezes have also taken their toll. The brick courtyard is a little worse for wear; the wrought iron fencing rusted; and the paint peeling in places. Nevertheless, the staff keep the grounds clean and tidy and with over a decade of service to draw on, they are as courteous and professional as you’ll find anywhere in Cambodia.
The visible signs of aging, I think, are part of the hotel’s charm. When I walk into the hotel lobby, I feel like I’m stepping back in time and imagine myself visiting Sihanoukville long ago, when just getting here was an adventure and there was nothing on the beach but sand. My imaginary Seaside Hotel is an oasis of gentility in an otherwise quiet fishing village. Obviously the hotel owners don’t share my sentiments, because renovations and new construction are taking place within earshot of the high season guests vying for their share of the free buffet breakfast that comes with the price of a room.
When construction is completed, there will be 100 more rooms to choose from. Currently, there are 72 standard rooms, four deluxe rooms, two large family rooms and five sea view “VIP” rooms. They’re clean and comfortable with cable TV, hot shower, WiFi and air-con. When work is completed, the multi-storey new wing will look down on a swimming pool and brand new restaurant. No doubt room rates will be higher in the new wing, but hopefully rates in the old wing will remain low.
True, there’s nothing fancy about the standard rooms. The furniture’s dated and there’s nothing to compel you to open the curtains. Nevertheless, they’re freshly painted, the linen is changed daily and the beds are comfortable. If it’s views and luxury you’re looking for, you can choose one of the rooms in the main hotel area, but you’ll have to pay quite a bit more for the privilege.
Although it takes up a much wider area than neighbouring hotels, the Seaside Hotel is actually easy to miss. The area in front of the restaurant and ground level standard rooms is overgrown with bougainvillea and the main hotel area is set back from the road. Ask a taxi or tuk tuk driver to take you to the Seaside Hotel and they are more likely to ask, “Which one?” than take you there directly. Basically, if you see Motel 7’s prominent roadside sign, you’re almost there but if you pass the impossible-to-miss brilliant blue Crystal Hotel, you’ve gone too far.
The Seaside is one of the few Sihanoukville hotels I’ve stayed in. We had a day long power outage and I had to find an affordable place with power to work. I liked it so much, I ended up staying two nights, though I no longer had an excuse to do so. The free buffet breakfast was great, but for our evening meals, we took advantage of the the fact that the hotel is directly across the street from Ochheuteal beach, and it’s only a short walk to the restaurants on Serendipity Road and Tola Street. That’s just one more thing I like about Sihanoukville’s Seaside Hotel — it’s close to everything.
Mithona Street, Ochheuteal Beach
T: 034 933 641; (016) 340 711
F: (034) 933 640
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