As Cambodia increasingly embraces the “staycation” experience, the Knai Bang Chatt Boutique Resort & Sailing Club nestling by the sea in scenic Kep is looking to give domestic holiday-makers a dream escape.
With the Covid-19 pandemic limiting international tourism, the historic Knai Bang Chatt luxury resort has safely reopened to help Cambodians rediscover the Kingdom’s beauty, owner Jef Moons told The Post.
“There is always an upside even in the direst of situations. We are now witnessing a growth in domestic travel, with local travellers re-exploring the country’s bountiful beauty.
“Please know that the Knai Bang Chatt spirit is has fully returned. At Knai Bang Chatt, we’re making the best of every day, and we are proud that we can still serve visitors with excellence. Today Knai Bang Chatt welcomes domestic guests to share our friendship in the purest way by sharing our wabi-sabi philosophy and the essence of Kep,” Moons said.
The Knai Bang Chatt resort – with villas designed by legendary Cambodian 1960s “Golden Age” architect Vann Molyvann overlooking the sea – is only five minutes’ walk from the town’s famous crab market.
Moons is confident that Kep’s tranquility and majestic beauty will continue to lure all those living in the Kingdom to the coastal province.
“More than ever I am convinced that Kep is the next rising star and will be part of the epicentre of sustainable and high-end tourism. Our area will only become more attractive in the coming years.
“Consider our assets, and with so much unspoiled natural beauty and no industrial projects in sight, we are set to remain a great destination for sustainable travel and develop further,” he said.
With a host of offers at attractive prices as part of plans to reach out to domestic guests as international travel remains limited, Moons remains optimistic regarding the future of his landmark hotel – and with good reason.
“Knai Bang Chatt was already well equipped to face this new context, especially the more diverse local market segments looking for a different escape to our coast. We always offer only value, we will never try to sell just a room. We are constantly creating new desire to cater for all needs.
“This is today translated into a focus more on romance, with safety for all, the freshest seafood, and a healthy outdoor lifestyle through our summer camps and sailing camps.
“We continue to be focused on history, art, architecture and CSR [corporate social responsibility] values, while developing targeted adventures for the domestic traveller,” Moons said.
While the resort provides a “Green Season” package and midweek offers, the team is also running sailing courses every Saturday.
There are also sustainable garden tours of its 3.5ha grounds, which feature an infinity pool, natural gardens and a sailing club.
And with schools still closed, Knai Bang Chatt – which means “rainbow encircling the sun” in Khmer – is crafting midweek summer camps as well as a special curriculum to ensure students keep up with their studies.
“‘Be fair and honest’ is our message. We have adapted not only our pricing but established different packages to capture individual needs. Midweek staycation packages and Green Season offers are now in place to support individual local preferences. Our midweek offers are now also easy to combine with the offerings of the summer and sailing camps.
“I love the idea that when people book a midweek package, we can take care of their kids. It is really offering a good solution for the whole family. It is meeting the needs of the local market today.
“Those who seek full privacy or who like to share holidays with friends can now in midweek only book the whole resort at a great price. Tailoring to your personal needs is what we are good at,” Moons said.
The Belgian says that with the tourism industry facing a “profound” change, adaptability is paramount.
“These are transformative times. I am convinced that people will more and more be seeking genuine experiences, and a trustable, human-sized context for leisure or business travel. De-globalisation also means huge, faceless global hospitality brands are becoming less attractive.
“We are today witnessing a profound change in travel patterns, and thus in travel markets. In these uncertain times, ‘listen to the wind and adapt’ is the message for all of us,” Moons said.