Independence Hotel by Dara general manager Eap Boun Kean is extending the iconic resort’s famously warm welcome, with the “Grande Dame” the ideal escape from the rigours of modern living to unwind in delightful and tranquil surroundings.
Set over 35 hectares of unspoiled natural beauty, with a kilometre-long golden sand and rock beach, and sea-view infinity pool, Independence Hotel is the perfect place to relax and be pampered, and escape the stresses of the urban landscape.
“Independence Hotel is the iconic hotel of Sihanoukville with our history and location, and with only 157 rooms on our 35 hectares of grounds, we have a cosy atmosphere that can’t be matched.
“When you stay at Independence Hotel, you are only ever five minutes from the beach, from the forest and from the pools. Here guests love walking and cycling around our idyllic surroundings, and being so close to nature and our beautiful beach.
“One of our biggest draws is that here you are fully able to enjoy the outdoors safely – to cycle and walk around enjoying our green spaces and the fresh air, and the health benefits this brings,” said Boun Kean.
MICE – meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions – tourism is a key part of the Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities’ master plan for the city, and Boun Kean said Independence Hotel is well equipped in this area.
“Independence Hotel is a MICE and business-oriented hotel, and as such we are very well positioned to attract MICE tourism, and we regularly play host to some of the biggest names in the corporate sector.
“Having recently catered for the 2021 East Asian Seas Congress – the largest regional event held after the lifting of Covid restrictions – will attest to this. We were honoured to have hosted 11 countries, including China, North Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Timor-Leste and Vietnam, for such a major international event.
“And from January 16 to 22 we will be co-hosting the ASEAN Tourism Forum as well,” said Boun Kean.
And while ably positioned for the demands of future tourism, Boun Kean said Independence Hotel is not straying from its original purpose – of enabling people to enjoy Cambodia’s stunning coastline.
“Currently our clients are 90 per cent Cambodian, while the other 10 per cent are expatriates and foreigners – and our professional staff will provide the warmest of welcomes and ensure the most enjoyable of stays.
“With accommodation starting at $80 upwards, Independence Hotel is within the range of most budgets. Staying here is accessible and very good value for family-oriented and individual tourists.
“For less than $200, a family can stay here for a couple of nights with meals and relax in our tranquil surroundings – and enjoy all that we have to offer,” he said.
Built in 1963 in celebration of Cambodia gaining independence from French rule 10 years previously, and reflecting the optimism of the period, Independence Hotel – nicknamed “Prampi Jawn” (seven stories) – was at the time the Kingdom’s tallest building.
Legendary Golden Age singer Sinn Sisamouth, the “King of Khmer Music”, was a guest, and former US First Lady Jackie Kennedy – a guest of King Father Norodom Sihanouk in 1967 – stayed in the presidential suite which now bears her name.
Designed by French architects Leroy and Mondet, the hotel – known as the “Grande Dame” of the Kingdom’s tourism sector – still exudes the spirit of those heady days, with Boun Kean encouraging people to soak up some of the glamour of Cambodia’s 1960s “Golden Age”.
And the industry veteran said that since its construction in the optimistic days of the Kingdom’s post-independence, Independence Hotel remains perfectly placed to continue serving as the “landmark of Sihanoukville” as the development of the coastal city sets it up for the 21st Century.
“I am very optimistic for the future of Sihanoukville. With its recent development, Sihanoukville is set to become Cambodia’s next city for the economy and finance – and of course tourism.
“Being home to Cambodia’s largest port and with its position at the heart of ASEAN, Sihanoukville will continue to be a major driver of the Kingdom’s economy, and with its beautiful coastal location will remain at the heart of tourism.
“With the deep-sea port and its 35 islands – the majority only a 20 minute to one hour boat trip away – the sea is integral to Sihanoukville’s importance and its success.
“And Independence Hotel is the first thing you see as you arrive at the city from the sea – it is the historic landmark of Sihanoukville,” Boun Kean said.