Long known as a destination for shoestring backpackers, Sihanoukville’s Koh Russey is set to host a fully functional island luxury resort complex by 2019.
The Koh Russey West Resort, which is a collaborative effort between investment group CityStar, real estate consultancy CBRE, and hotel operator Alila, is set to feature nearly 200 villas and apartment duplexes over 76 hectares.
“It shall place Sihanoukville as a destination of choice for luxury travellers who are already enjoying this brand [Alila] in Indonesia, Oman, India and soon China,” said Halim Bohli, CityStar’s Koh Russey West Resort asset manager.
Koh Russey, also known as Bamboo Island, is located 3km from Sihanoukville’s Otres Beach and is a popular tourist destination due to its pristine beaches and jungle scenery. In five years, it is set to include 102 one-bedroom villas, 18 two-bedroom villas, 15 four-bedroom villas and 49 two-floor duplex apartments. Construction on the project began last month, said Bohli, and eight villas have already been sold.
Ann Thida, associate director of CBRE, said the project would succeed due to the island’s natural scenery and close proximity to the mainland.
“The project will be successful because it takes 15 or 20 minutes to reach the resort from the Sihanouville airport … and Koh Russey island [has] a beautiful beach,” she said, adding that the project could help boost the local economy by propelling growth in the tourism sector.
Although each villa and apartment unit will be sold to individual buyers, all one-bedroom pool villas will join a rental program under which the units will be operated as part of the Alila-branded hotel. The two-bedroom and four-bedroom villa owners will have the option to join the rental program, while the duplexes will be operated freely by the owners.
Chrek Soknim, chief executive officer of Century 21 Vtrust, said that the project had the potential to both directly and indirectly add capital to the country by attracting international investors.
“The location of the project is very good, [with an] existing beautiful beach and landscape, but I think that the success is dependent on the prices,” he said.
Bohli said that the starting price of the one-bedroom villa is $480,000, which includes 42-day complimentary usage per annum and a guaranteed yield of 6 per cent for five years. The starting price for the two-bedroom villa is $770,000 and $2,050,000 for the four-bedroom villa, while the duplexes cost $490,000 each.