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Just the two of us: Valentine’s escapes

Take advantage of the fact Valentine’s Day falls on a weekend, and spend the money you had saved for presents on a mini break to treasure

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Pura Vita
Venture off the coast to Koh Rong for a romantic island getaway with a touch of Italy. Set on an isolated beach, far from the rowdier Koh Rong backpacker establishments, Pura Vita offers tranquil solitude for a bit of sunny romance. Beach bums can sunbathe or snorkel, while tree huggers can take a walk through the jungle. The restaurant is Italian, with espresso served at a coffee bar. It’s a great place for a technology detox as well – there’s no wifi, and the generators only operate for a few hours in the evening. A beachfront bungalow with a king bed is $75, while one further back is $55.
Koh Rong island. 015 700 083

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Four Rivers Floating Lodge
Four Rivers in Koh Kong is the place to go completely off the grid – here there is no internet, no mobile network, nada. Just the fresh, misty air of the Cardamom Mountains and 12 palatial floating rooms. A row of African safari-style tents on a bend in the Taitai river are kitted out with lavish furnishings: his and hers basins, flat-screen televisions and soft downy duvets. Each tent ($259) has a private jetty, so guests can hire kayaks to explore nearby islands and waterfalls.
Koh Andet Island.

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Away from Sihanoukville’s pulsating ruckus is a sophisticated gem where Daniel Craig wouldn’t seem out of place. Located on Otres Beach, Tamu offers a “barefoot chic” atmosphere right on the sand, with 15 rooms ranging from $110 for standard to $170 for the suite. Seafood fusion pervades the menu, including tenderly seared fish and risotto. The service is stellar – staff members are courteous and helpful but also know when to give space.
End of Otres Beach. 855 15 258 340

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Villa Paradiso
A romantic Valentine’s option closer to home, Phnom Penh’s Villa Paradiso offers themed rooms such as the “Balinese Garden”, “The Island” and “Japanese Suite”. Our favourite is “The Sheikh” which has a tent-like canopy over the bed, bejewelled cabinets, Middle Eastern-style carpets and an ornamental dagger on the wall. It’s unclear whether they’re intended to be tongue-in-cheek, but ought to be a lot of fun anyway. Rates range from $70 per night up to $180.  
#25-27 Street 222. 023 213 720

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Knai Bang Chatt
Knai Bang Chatt’s design was inspired by Wabi Sabi, an ancient Japanese philosophy that emphasises the beauty of imperfection. But you’d have to be looking very closely to spot imperfection here – this secluded Kep retreat is a paean to sophisticated, serene minimalism. Housed in a 1960s modernist villa with slim pillars and smooth lines, the white resort plays host to a spectacular sunset over the sea, best observed from the infinity pool with a cocktail in hand. For a stress-free romantic getaway, book yourself on to one of their packages, the most indulgent of which sees you arriving in a chauffeur-driven limousine. Both of Knai Bang Chatt’s seaside restaurants are offering special Valentine’s Day three-course dinners – candlelit dining with paired wines is available at The Strand, with a jazz singer and a red rose on arrival at The Sailing Club next door. All rooms are priced at $159 per night for Cambodian residents and expats living in Cambodia.
Phum Thmey, Sangkat Prey Thom, Kep. 023 212 194.

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Battambang Resort
Take soaking up the atmosphere to the next level with a Jacuzzi session in the rice fields at Battambang Resort, a boutique hotel several kilometres outside of the town centre. As well as an inviting pool and hot tub, set amid a verdant garden, the Cambodian-Dutch run hotel boasts a creative menu and exceptionally friendly staff. The garden rooms ($60) are modern and elegant but it’s the secluded lake room ($80), on the far side of the hotel’s picturesque green pond, that makes for a truly luxe couple’s retreat.
Wat Kor Village, Battambang. 012 510 100/053 666 7001.



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