Where to stay in Cambodia

A private island paradise versus a minimalist haven in Cambodia.

Song Saa, Koh Rong

What's so special

Thailand isn't the only country in southeast Asia that offers beautiful tropical islands. It is now possible to access the picturesque, unspoilt islands of the Koh Rong archipelago in Cambodia via a trip to the new resort of Song Saa. Take a private plane down to the country's first private island retreat and you'll enjoy a unique holiday in an unspoilt tropical landscape.

How they rate it

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When you close your eyes and think of paradise, if you see "an island hideaway, with white-sand beaches kissed by gin-clear waters" or "a place covered in virgin rainforest, bordered by tropical reefs", then you are thinking of Song Saa, says Paul Croughton in Stylist. The resort has 27 villas with open-air showers, private verandas, pools and, "in some cases, a private jetty where your speedboat transfer can dock". The resort also has "the obligatory spa and wellness centre on its own island".

The menu

Executive chef Neil Wager creates a different menu every evening using local ingredients.

The cost

A villa costs from £430 per night. For more information, visit Songsaa.com, or call 00 855 236 860 360.

Hotel de la Paix, Siem Reap


What's so special

Hotel de la Paix offers a quiet retreat from the bustle of Siem Reap and is a wonderful place to escape to after a day seeing the world-famous temples of Angkor Wat. With its numerous community projects and a staff that is almost entirely Khmer, this five-year-old hotel will appeal to anyone who favours sustainable resorts over the larger, Western-style developments that have shot up in recent years as Siem Reap's tourist population has exploded.

How they rate it

"This is the sort of hotel you either love or hate, thanks to its contemporary design, trendy interiors and minimalist style," says the Lonely Planet. "We happen to love it, including its open-plan bathrooms, its iPods in each room and the cutting-edge cuisine. Traditionalists be warned." The whole hotel is an architect's dream it featured on the cover of Architectural Digest when the hotel first opened but "just occasionally like when you're sitting in the tubs or the slick Arts Lounge you may feel that design has triumphed over comfort".

The menu

The hotel restaurant, Meric, is a destination restaurant in Cambodia. Take the time to try the seven-course Khmer tasting menu.

The cost

A double room costs from £218 per night. Find out more at Hoteldelapaixangkor.com, or call 00 855 63 966 000.

Four hot new hotels opening in 2012


Here are four of the world's newest and slickest hotels, according to Tom Chesshyre of The Times.

Palacio Nazarenas (pictured), Cuzco, Peru. "Oxygenated rooms designed to relieve altitude sickness will be among the features of this stylish 55-suite hotel." Due to open in June, it is situated in an 18th-century palace built on the Inca-era walls (Orient-express.com).

Palazzo Margherita, Basilicata, Italy. Francis Ford Coppola is adding to his hotel collection with this, his first European property, which is due to open in the spring. It will have "a dozen large rooms with frescoed ceilings, archways and swanky bathrooms". The palace has undergone a makeover, but many of its 1870 period features have been retained (Palazzomargherita.com).

Chetzeron, Crans Montana, Switzerland. When it opens next winter, this "will be one of the coolest new hotels in the Alps" thanks to its "striking cube exterior of grey stone and mirror windows". It is right on the slopes and offers only five bedrooms. The restaurant was listed in the top ten mountain restaurants in this year's Where To Ski And Snowboard guidebook (Chetzeron.ch).

Four Seasons Lion Palace Hotel, St Petersburg, Russia. "This stunning new hotel is in the former House of Lions, created by the same architect who built St Isaac's Cathedral." From May, the 19th-century former palace will be "the glitziest hotel in Russia" with a spa and glass-roofed pool (www.1.fourseasons.com/stpetersburg).