Want to experience how the other half live? Try a luxury weekend away at Villa Romonea in Kep.
In a beautifully refurbished 1960s modernist building, Villa Romonea is located a short walk from the Crab Market (if you’re willing to leave the compound to join the hoi polloi in the crab shacks, that is). The building is not a typical hotel; it’s a six-bedroom family home, which can be rented out by the room, or more appealingly, guests can rent out the entire house, which sleeps 12.
“Villa Romonea is extremely accommodating if you want to hire the whole place for a party, you can even hire out big-ass speakers to rival any Khmer party,” dedicated carouser Claire reports. “The staff is super attentive and helpful, and they can tailor food to your requirements if you need a vegetarian or pescatarian menu.”
The building is beautiful, and seems pulled from the pages of an architectural magazine. The owners have highlighted the striking modern design with stark white walls, brightly-colored accent furniture, and carefully curated Kandinsky-esque art.
“It’s like spending the weekend in the mansion of the rich friend you don’t have, complete with Architectural Digest-worthy minimalist retro furnishings, staff to set out a breakfast buffet and make your eggs to order, a tennis court, a salt water pool, and rooms with ‘waterfall’ showers and views of the ocean,” reports our Phnom Penh correspondent Jen.
There’s a tennis court on the grounds, as well as a six-hole golf course and driving range. Located directly on the sea front, they have a view of the coast that’s only obstructed by a lush green rice paddy. There’s a saltwater infinity pool plus a shallow section for kids, and a kids’ playground. They have WiFi, satellite TV, solar-powered hot water, and air-conditioning throughout. They also can accommodate arrivals by helicopter, if you require it.
Villa Romonea has just six bedrooms. One is a family room, with a queen-sized bed and two single beds, that sleeps four. The are two rooms with double beds and two with king-sized beds, with the king rooms having sea views and being more than twice the size of the double rooms, which are so pokey that they won’t include photos on their site. The difference in the quality of the rooms is substantial, so it’s worth booking one of the nicer ones.
When I visited the house was nearly fully booked, and the staff were not happy to have a walk-in guest appear and inquire about prices — they probably took one look at me and knew that I couldn’t afford to stay there. I was allowed to see one of the rooms, with two singles beds that was much like Japanese hotel rooms both in size and price, ie. it was tiny and expensive. This was the room that was usually reserved for the children of the people staying in the fancier rooms upstairs, I was told.
Unfortunately, I was unable to wiggle my way into seeing any of the other rooms, but I have been told by previous guests that they are lovely, and I believe it if they are anything like the interior of the house. Breakfast is included with every booking, and guests can choose to pay an extra $39 per day to have all of the food and drink included.
We were warned by to check the prices on things so as to not be surprised at the end of your stay. One guest was charged for things that the management implied were free, and I heard complaints about hefty surcharges for ordering food from the crab shacks. Apart from these minor complaints, guests
Direct booking rates are between $100 and $200 for a double room. The entire house can be rented for between $700 and $800, with discounts for stays longer than four days. Room rates at Villa Romonea on Agoda are a bit lower, with the high-end rooms ranging from $100 to $160.