Your arrival at Alila Villas Koh Russey is a thrilling 10-minute speedboat ride from the Cambodian coast. As the deep blue Gulf of Thailand whizzes past, the island of Koh Russey comes into view.
Green foliage gives way to golden sands, and as you arrive on the pier, you’ll spot a modern retreat shimmering in a jungle clearing. Alila Villas Koh Russey is a minimalist hotel formed around cubic, gunmetal grey buildings, which make the most of the caramel-coloured sands that hug the island. Alila’s beautiful stretch of beach becomes a focus at this resort, as sandy beaches are a rarity in this archipelago.
The thatched-roof Beach Shack faces the Gulf and here you’ll enjoy Khmer dishes and Asian cuisine, and it’s the perfect spot to watch the sun set, with your toes in the sand. Electric buggies will whisk you to your pavilion or villa – a haven of indoor-outdoor living. Modernist design uses volcanic stone, wooden screens and Khmer architecture to create simple, serene spaces. Spend your day on the ocean paddle-boarding, kayaking and snorkelling, have a beach picnic or dine under the stars. To learn the secrets of Khmer cooking accompany the Head Chef to the herb garden and practise dishes that you can create at home.
As the Cambodian Riviera is within reach, perhaps visit the weekly crab market at Kep or take a cruise on the wildlife-rich mangroves of Ream National Park. Afterwards, treat yourself to a Balinese healing therapy in the spa or simply relax by the beachfront swimming pool.