Knai Bang Chatt, Kep
Cambodia, Phnom Penh and The South

Info : Knai Bang Chatt

Three coastal villas built in the 1960s by proteges of Vann Molyvann, the renowned Khmer architect and pupil of Le Corbusier, have been exquisitely restored to their former glory and transformed into a peaceful and secluded seaside resort.

The three original villas were designed at the height of the Khmer cultural boom of post-independence Cambodia, combining ultra-modern art deco design with traditional Khmer characteristics. Kep was heavily affected by the extended Cambodian civil war, and the villas were abandoned around 1970 and ended up housing an army general in the early nineties. In 2003 two intrepid Belgian travellers discovered the villas, and on sensing their potential, purchased them. An architect was hired to strip the villas back to their original state and design an additional villa with similar characteristics. A further villa was renovated in Dec 2012 and offers an additional 5 rooms.  History resonates strongly in the thoughtful renovation.

The resort has 18 individually decorated rooms, which are stylishly and minimally furnished with Cambodian antiques. The stone bathrooms, high ceilings and large windows give a cool and relaxing feel to the rooms, whilst the villas have large terraces with views over the garden and out to sea. They may not be to everyone’s taste, but certainly some of the best rooms you’ll find in this region.

The garden has a glorious array of vegetation and colours and ponds filled with fish and lilies. There is a gorgeous salt-water infinity pool, four-poster massage beds on the edge of the sea, a thatched restaurant with a stone platform stretching out into the sea and a large lawn. As the sea comes right up to the wall there is no beach, but the setting negates the need for one. There is a platform out to sea if a dip is required.

The Sailing Club next door has a terrace above the water and is a beautiful location to watch the sun set over the islands, with Bokor Mountain across the sea. From here it is possible to hire sailing dinghies and kayaks too. The resort offers yoga and massage courses and excursions to the local sites. The food is an excellent fusion of Western and Asian cuisine and the service is efficient and friendly, while the French manager is always on hand to make you feel welcome. The resort is in a great location to explore Kep and is 5 minutes from the crab markets.

Knai Bang Chatt with its natural beauty, combined with its sense of history and great Khmer hospitality will make your stay in Cambodia unforgettable.

Last visited and reviewed by Matt Brazier, Dec 2012.


Deluxe - This is our first really 'upmarket' category. It might be a beautiful tiny hotel with very limited facilities or a 5* resort hotel with all the trimmings; but any hotel in this category will be a well-run establishment with very comfortable rooms, a strong service ethos and excellent food.

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