Cambodia’s beaches are the next, hot destination in South East Asia for anybody who wants to escape the “crowds” of Thailand or Bali. The Long Set Resort on Koh Rong was the closest to a romantic, tropical island getaway with a Robinson Crusoe feeling I found in Cambodia. You get a beautiful beach and pool, minimalist, modern rooms and better amenities than anywhere else on the island, all at reasonable prices. Its well worth the trip!
Location: The Long Set Resort sits in the center of Long Set Beach on Koh Rong. This is the nicest beach I saw along the Cambodian coast, with soft, white sand and regularly cleaned by the resort, making this a prime spot! The ferry pier is only a few steps away (go left on the beach when you arrive by boat) and some of the smaller boat companies (for example Buva Sea, GTVC) drop off here, so you only have a 30-40 minute speed boat ride from Sihanoukville. If you take one of the bigger ferry boats, the hotel will pick you up at the main pier in Kaoh Touch, which will add another 10 minutes to the trip. You can walk to the main town of Kaoh Touch in about 40 minutes and find stores, bars and restaurants there – but it’s not remotely as nice as Long Set, so I’d stock up on anything you need before you go and stay in your beautiful, blissful bubble!
Service: Staff at the resort is very friendly and attentive. At check-in, the paperwork was done quickly and the resort explained without prompting. I was served a welcome drink and got a cold towel – a nice touch on a hot day! The General Mangager was around and personally escorted me to the room, chatting a little more about the hotel! Most managers in South East Asia tend to hide from their guests, so this was a pleasant, personal touch! Housekeeping made up the room quickly and replaced towels, toiletries, water and coffee every day. Restaurant staff was equally friendly and attentive. They also were better trained and more professional than average for Cambodia.
Room: To frame my review, Koh Rong is a backpacker paradise and Long Set Resort was the most expensive hotel on the island during my visit, being one (of two) that offer air conditioning, a minimum requirement for me! It also has power all day and internet – two more vital features that are not available at the majority of accommodation on the island.
The hotel is only 1 ½ years old and the rooms are in good condition. They are set in single story, stone/concrete buildings around the property, each only holding one or two rooms. I had a Pool View Room and you’ll approach via a small patio with pads on concrete platforms to sit on. You enter through sliding glass doors. The rooms are minimalist, with grey concrete floors, white walls and simple wooden furniture.
The queen-size bed has nice sheets, a quality comforter and two pillows. A small table in the corner holds the tea/coffee facilities and doubles as night stand. A built-in, open closet has space for your clothes and a safe, but space for large luggages is limited.
Two chairs and a sideboard against the wall as well as some artwork complete the room. There is no TV, so bring your own entertainment.
The bathroom is surprisingly large, has wood-look tiles and grey concrete walls. A separate cubicle with a door is on the right and holds the toilet. A small, nice sink is in the center and on the right is an open shower with a rainfall head. There is no glass enclosure or curtain, making this a “flood everything” bathroom typical for Cambodia (and other countries in the region). A wooden rack leans against the wall to hold your (thick and soft) towels. Because the bathroom is so big, your toiletries and towels stay dry, despite the lack of enclosure.
The free WiFi internet is unreliable and slow. I wasn’t able to connect at all a few times or measure the speed. Don’t expect to stream videos or get much work done, but email and messages are possible.
My room had a pool view – which was nice but not much of a differentiators to the other rooms and not a meaningful upgrade.
Restaurant & Amenities: The Long Set Resort has a nice pool in the back of the property, with comfortable loungers and umbrellas arranged on both sides. There is also a bathtub style jacuzzi tub, but you have to ask staff to set it up, so I didn’t use it.
Overlooking the pool is a fairly large fitness room with basic weight and cardio equipment to keep up with your workout routine. There are also showers and toilets in this building, so you don’t have to run back to your room.
The restaurant is situated near the beach with a beautiful view. It’s open-air and was pleasant with a breeze coming in from the ocean. The wooden tables are rustic and the chairs have soft pads to make them more comfortable.
The breakfast is served buffet style, with a small selection of fruit, yogurt and juice as well as bread. There are also Western breakfast meats and one Asian hot dish, as well as a make-to-order egg station that made the best omelette of my entire Cambodia visit!
In the evening, the restaurant serves from a menu of Asian and Western dishes and the selection is big enough to offer some variety on a longer stay. I had a Chicken Cordon Bleu with potatoes and salad one night and it tasted very good! Prices are higher than average for Cambodia, but in line with the category of the hotel and good value.
Bottomline: If you want to have that Robinson Crusoe feeling in your tropical island paradise, Long Set Resort is as good as it gets on Koh Rong. You get friendly and professional service, minimalist rooms, a pool and gym as well as good food on the best beach with soft, white sand! At a price of $125/night it’s the most expensive hotel on the island and expensive for Cambodia. But it still is good value to me, given the beautiful setting and the fact that a creaky, wooden bungalow with fan and occasional electricity will cost you $65/night! You can find current prices for your dates here! There are two new resorts on Long Set Beach being built that will provide some more options (and competition). Until then, Long Set Resort is your best choice for a comfortable stay in paradise!