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Tourism & Destination : Luxury, fun and fine dining with Amber Kampot

The region's first 5-star luxury resort, Amber Kampot is ideally located on over 1.5 hectares of beautifully landscaped riverside grounds, with breathtaking views of the Elephant Mountains and the friendly town of Kampot in the background.

Amber Kampot's main swimming pool
Amber Kampot's main swimming pool

Charm and class

Set on the water's edge, but within easy reach of the provincial capital - just five minutes by tuktuk - the resort combines Cambodian charm with world-class facilities and service for a unique luxury experience.

Determined to establish Kampot as a world-class destination, the Managing Director of Amber International Holdings commissioned Bloom Architects to design the hotel. Wishing to imbue visitors with the atmospheres of rivers, mountains, rice paddies, mangroves, the Asian way of life and a sense of charm related to the city's colonial past, the architects conceived Amber Kampot with a design that blends abundant nature, waterways, small islands, solid constructions and dark wood, mixing neutral colours with many different textures and minimal but highly original decoration.

To fit in with such a rich natural environment, a building and an elegant swimming pool overlook the river, all set on a hard platform covered in sandstone and decking and fitted with wooden shutters to filter the intense sunlight and provide a totally unique and soothing feeling from the moment you arrive at the hotel.

Abundant greenery
Abundant greenery

Design and decoration

The interior spaces of the main building are uncluttered and the decoration is minimal, so as not to detract from the marvellous landscape offered by the surrounding nature. According to the designers, "the architecture of Amber Kampot is intended to be specific, generous and respectful of the environment". They also wanted to highlight the craftsmanship and unique characteristics of Kampot, the beautiful capital of Cambodia's southern coast.

For the decor, local photographer and artist Nathalie Lee designed and created a space that is almost artistic, but discreet and perfectly in tune with the spirit of the place.

Decoration by Nathalie Lee
Decoration by Nathalie Lee
 
 

With almost 1,500 square metres of white sandy beach awaiting guests after disembarking at the resort, Amber Kampot confirms its ambition to offer a luxurious, authentic and original experience. The beach is private, cleaned three times a day and it's quite pleasant to feel isolated on such an exotic beach, just a few hundred metres from the city.

1500 square metres of private beach 2 minutes from the city
1500 square metres of private beach 2 minutes from the city
 
 

Superb villas

In the midst of lush vegetation, with a focus on the splendid Nippa palms, there are 25 villas covered in local sandstone. These accommodations are clearly designed to offer absolute peace and quiet in a green, luxurious and definitely serene environment. As for the interior, there's not much to say except that you feel privileged from the moment you walk in. Inside you'll find a garden with a bath, a vast bathroom, splendid bedding, a large flat-screen TV, a mobile phone, a discreet and well-thought-out décor that reflects the main building and, last but not least, a private swimming pool.

Large, elegant bathroom with bath overlooking an interior garden
Large, elegant bathroom with bath overlooking an interior garden

Twenty one-bedroom pool villas are 77 m², while five 180 m² pool villas have two bedrooms and a living room. All units are fully self-contained with private pool and terrace, indoor kitchen and outdoor cooking area, with the restaurant's chef also available to personally prepare meals.

Also of note are the little touches on arrival, a hand-written welcome note on the pedestal table, a few local treats and a member of staff who takes the time to explain the operation of the few appliances available and provide information on the hotel's opening hours and activities.

 
 

The hotel offers a wide range of activities, from sunrise kayaking through the mangroves of Trapaing Sangke to mountain excursions, trekking, visits to various sites in the region and, of course, water sports activities, enough to fill a weekend of relaxation and discovery. As the hotel has a lovely private beach, two boats and several water sports facilities, it is advisable - for those who don't want to travel too far - to take advantage of these sporting activities nearby: Water skiing, Hobbie -cat, Paddle, Kayak, 'Aqua bike', towed buoy, jet-ski and, for the less sporty, angling.

For water-skiing, Lundy Taing, the establishment's Cambodian manager, is both instructor and boat driver. It's a sport that he masters perfectly, although he admits to having had a few difficulties at the very beginning. Patient, meticulous, self-confident and attentive to safety, Lundy runs ski tours in the bay like a true professional.

Lundy with a tourist on her first ski tour
Lundy with a tourist on her first ski tour

The same goes for the towed buoy activity, a popular pastime for children and adults alike, with Lundy providing the driving and a short introductory lesson, although the technique and skills required are much less demanding than for water skiing.

Towed buoy, recommendations and...
Towed buoy, recommendations and...
...a lot of fun
...a lot of fun
 
 

In the evening, a boat trip with a platter of specialities and champagne is offered at sunset. A delight for photographers, a moment of privileged pleasure, but also an opportunity to discover the banks of the river which alternate between recent constructions, a few beach hotels, local villages and splendid residences, but also to accompany the fishermen of Kampot as they leave for the fishing grounds, close to the mouth of the eponymous river and the sea. Numerous boats set off into the sunset, offering a unique spectacle that continues afterwards with the shell collectors busy on the sandbanks.

A stroll at sunset, gastronomic delights...
A stroll at sunset, gastronomic delights...
...a feast for the eyes...
...a feast for the eyes...
...and set off at the same time as the local fishermen
...and set off at the same time as the local fishermen
 
 

Amber Kampot is not only a genuine luxury hotel offering a host of original activities, it is also a gastronomic meeting place. This is borne out by the many distinguished guests the establishment receives.

"We have a lot of local personalities who come to dine in our Arvi restaurant, because our chef is really excellent," explains Lundy.

It's true that the Amber Kampot restaurant offers a varied and generous menu, with both Khmer and Western dishes, but the resident chef, Dimanche Ry, also makes it a point of honour to put new dishes on the menu every week, so as not to tire the regular clientele. He also excels in fusion cuisine, and each of his innovations is a real treat for the palate.

Among the original creations offered by Chef Ry
Among the original creations offered by Chef Ry

All meals, including breakfast, are à la carte. As for the service, it is worthy of a five-star restaurant, fast, discreet and very courteous.

"To make Kampot a must-visit destination, we focus on excellence, which is also reflected in the quality of our cuisine, which is aimed at affluent Cambodians and offers contemporary Khmer cuisine, as well as top-quality Western and Asian fusion cuisine," adds Lundy.

Discover the mangroves

The Trapaing Sangke mangrove is about a 10-minute boat ride from the hotel. This beautiful mangrove, which was once threatened, is now protected thanks to a number of conservation programmes run by associations in partnership with local communities.

Discovering this veritable mangrove forest at first light is a sight not to be missed. With Lundy at the helm, the kayaks are brought to the edge of the forest and all you have to do is paddle slowly for half an hour to enjoy a peaceful stroll to the sound of birds, with the first rays of sunlight filtering through the large mangrove roots.

A boat trip through the mangroves at dawn...
A boat trip through the mangroves at dawn...
...with sometimes unreal landscapes
...with sometimes unreal landscapes
and absolute tranquillity
and absolute tranquillity
 
 

With all the amenities expected of a five-star resort, including a spa, gourmet restaurant and poolside bar, Amber Kampot spares no expense to deliver a unique and unforgettable luxury experience. As well as offering a wide range of activities and an exceptional welcome, the hotel is also a haven of peace and a destination that deserves to be recognised for its true worth.

Lundy Taing, a hotel professional recognised and appreciated by all
Lundy Taing, a hotel professional recognised and appreciated by all

With the kindness and dedication of Lundy, a true hotel professional who enjoys an excellent reputation in each of the establishments where he has worked, a stay in this complex will certainly allow you to fill up on serenity, to indulge in numerous sporting and other activities, and also to discover this small provincial capital full of charm and its beautiful region.

To be continued...

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