When we finally arrived in Sihanoukville, all dusty from the road, we took motos to the posh Sokha Beach Hotel. Looking like scraggly ruffians disembarking from the motos, we checked in to the four-star resort and downed a hot pink welcome drink. We’ve decided this trip is "high/low" (in the interest of cultural experience of course) and are occasionally indulging in some of the higher end resorts. Sokha Beach is a beautiful resort, with great rooms, pool and beach. And you can get a lot for your money here. But the place is so generic (as with most luxury resorts), you could be in Morocco or Brazil, if it weren’t for the use of what I assume to be a Khmer temple motif for the roof.
It’s really nice to stay at a luxury place now and then, but staying at backpacker hotels has made us even more aware of luxury markups. It’s amazing how the same bottle of water can cost $3 at a luxury hotel, and $.60 at a store or guesthouse. Or how laundering a pair of underwear can cost a dollar at a luxury hotel, while a dollar does your whole load elsewhere. Hotels must make a lot of their profit this way.
We enjoyed ourselves, relaxing on the beach and in the water. In the room, it felt like we were at home, with no unfamiliar smells or roosters crowing in the night. I must admit I felt a push/pull between luxury and adventure at the prospect of leaving.
As usual, the resort doesn’t encourage you to explore the town. We walked out of the complex to some waiting motos, and went into town. At the center of town is a roundabout with a golden statue of two lions who manage to look simultaneously regal and comical.
We looked around town and found our next lodging, the Ochheuteal Bungalows.