We’re giving Belinda Beach Lovely Resort three out of ten and those three points are won on the merit of: 1) having a lovely private beach with sun loungers and hammocks; 2) having green landscaped gardens on the hillside with views out over the sea; and 3) boasting creative cooking by one of the owners, Benny, who plays both host and chef cooking up a three-course set menu dinner (there’s no a la carte option) for $21.
So why with such a low rating do we even bother mentioning its existence to you, dear reader? To help you avoid it.
Claiming to have air-con, WiFi, hot water, a swimming pool, private beach and fine dining cuisine, on paper it sounds like a luxurious island retreat. But don’t be fooled -- the swimming pool had bugs floating around in it and the day we arrived there was no hot water (though for which we were offered fair compensation). But that night the water stopped running. Then the power cut out, and remained off until our departure except in the kitchen are where we were told (on asking) we could charge things if it was an emergency. For a whopping $155 in high season, this is pretty shoddy.
Though the four double rooms are a comfortable standard, kitted out with four poster beds, furniture and a dark tiled ensuite bathroom, the service was wanting. When it came to negotiate compensation for lack of water and power the owner made his proposition and wouldn’t even enter into a calm discussion -- we ended up being told unceremoniously to "get off my island". We were happy to.
Not having power and water was annoying and sub-standard for sure, but what really irked us was the inexcusably poor customer service at dealing with a situation -- we get it, things sometimes go wrong in Cambodia, but we would still have liked to have heard, "Sorry!" The other staff were all friendly enough, though their lack of experience in hospitality was also evident.
Though it never advertises itself as a luxurious hotel -- its website makes it seem like a very, very nice guesthouse -- they could still have done better for the price. At least they do offer room rate discounts year-round on their website. If you go with zero expectation and the power and water work fine, then you’ll just think it’s a tad overpriced.
Your only options for guaranteed air-con are the uber-luxurious and incredibly costly Song Saa Private Island Resort, Soksan Base Camp on Koh Rong -- that’s if you manage to catch a moment when production crews are in-between filming and a room comes available, which is almost never -- or the stone bungalows at Paradise Bungalows on Koh Touch, on Kong Rong. The latter, however, is set amid a resort of bungalows of different price points, so it doesn’t have an overall feel of a higher end property. Otherwise, you’re best bet is to stay in Sokha or Independence on the mainland and take day trips out to islands off the coast for a more comfortable beach break.
Address: Koh Sdach
T: (017) 517 517; (016) 517 517;
Coordinates (for GPS): 103º4'27.44" E, 10º56'0.99" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: over $150
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Superior double room||US$135||US$155|
Caroline swapped the drizzle of Old Blighty for the dazzling sunshine of Siem Reap and she spends most weekends cycling the temple-studded terrain that she can call her backyard.
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