Independence Hotel – Sihanoukville

The hotel in its heyday… 

…and as it is today

In a last ditch attempt at a weekend getaway for two (just before baby arrives) we ventured down to Sihanoukville on Cambodia’s south coast. I usually prefer quieter Kep and Kampot over Sihanoukville with its backpacker and girly bar scenes and ever-increasing development (think beaches and swathes of national parkland being bought by private companies and fenced off for construction projects…), but found a little patch of Sihanoukville serenity at the Independence Hotel and its almost deserted beach.

The hotel is a restored retro gem, once the seaside hotel of choice in Cambodia’s 1960s heyday, then abandoned in the mid-70s Khmer Rouge era until reopening in 2007. Our seventh floor room had spectacular sweeping views of the sea, and the beach below was immaculately clean with squeaky white sand and not a tout, massage lady or annoying painting-peddling kid in sight. Overall it offered a very un-Sihanoukville experience, which is exactly what we were after!

Images via Independence Hotel

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