Alila Villas Koh Russey

A sublime tropical island getaway

During its heyday in the 1960s, Cambodian city Sihanoukville — named after former king Norodom Sihanouk — was a glamorous beach retreat for the country's rich and famous, even attracting the likes of first lady Jacqueline Kennedy in 1967.

Today, the city is once again undergoing a renaissance, with new hotels opening along its lengthy beaches. However, it's offshore where you find the most stylish getaways, a short list that includes Alila Villas Koh Russey.

Your journey begins in the lounge at the resort’s private mainland ferry pier (just a short car ride from the city's international airport), before you're whisked offshore to Bamboo Island, the English name for Koh Russey. Greeted at the pier, you wander through a low-key resort of 62 villas and pavilions, with a large infinity pool cascading from the all-day Horizon restaurant down to the beach and empty sea beyond.

The architecture, in subtle shades of grays and browns, is sensitively landscaped around the natural greenery, while the thatched Beach Shack bar lends a touch of bohemian tropical chic to an otherwise smooth and rather chic stay.

Our Inspector's Highlights

  • As the sun rises over a calm sea at Alila Villas Koh Russey, embark on an early morning stand-up paddle — you'll likely have the entire bay to yourself as you soak up the sounds of nature.
  • Horizon’s wonderful breakfast menu, a combination of buffet and à la carte, changes daily, meaning you’ll never get bored with your options and can explore new treats.
  • For a one-of-a-kind experience, head out on a night-time speedboat ride. You'll be taken to a secret bay where the ocean magically glows blue with phosphorescence.
  • The spa draws upon the Balinese origins of the Alila (“surprise” in Sanskrit) brand to provide an array of rejuvenating treatments and relaxing massages.
  • When it comes time to check out from the Koh Russey hotel, every guest is presented with a traditional krama scarf. The parting gift’s subtle brown checkered pattern ensures positive and long-lasting memories.

Things to Know

  • If you want to get away from it all, request one of the villas at the far eastern end of the beach. It may be a longer walk to breakfast, but the seclusion makes it worth it.
  • A cooking class with the resort's executive chef provides wonderful insight into the varied spices and methods that make Khmer cuisine so unique. Just be sure to book ahead.
  • The design of the private island hotel, particularly the incredible arrival lobby, is inspired by the krama, the ubiquitous checkered scarf used by Cambodians for generations.

The Rooms

  • Offering more than 530 square feet of living space and a comfortable outdoor deck, the entry-level Pavilion rooms are split between Garden, Beach and Ocean categories. Be sure to book a ground-floor accommodation to enjoy a lavish deep-soaking tub.
  • Both Ocean and Beach Villas have more than double the space of the Pavilions, with a plunge pool, turfed garden and covered lounge area adding to the attraction.
  • Those with large families or traveling with friends should consider sharing either the two- or four-bedroom villas, which provide both privacy and party possibilities.

Nearby Attractions

  • Given you've chosen to stay on an island, it seems a shame to leave it, but the Koh Russey hotel organizes several day trips, including one to the rather fun seafood market at nearby Kep.
  • Kbal Chhay Waterfall is a stunning series of cascading falls found in the jungle-covered mountains above Sihanoukville, and a wonderful place to cool off after a hike.
  • Take a morning excursion to the Ream Pagoda, where you can have your fortune told and be blessed by local monks.

Fitness classes
Outdoor pool
Getting There
Ong Village Prey Nup, District Ream Commune, Siem Reap, 18108 Cambodia
Additional Details
To reach Alila Villas Koh Russey, take a 10-minute boat ride to the island from Ream. 
Alila Villas Koh Russey
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