With just 27 thatch-roofed villas set on the beach, amid the trees, or on stilts above azure waters, Song Saa Private Island (855-236/ 860-360; songsaa.com; doubles from US$668) has the sexy look of a Maldivian resort. It is, however, Cambodia’s first five-star island getaway, located in the Koh Rong archipelago just a half-hour boat ride from Sihanoukville or an hour’s flight by private plane from Siem Reap. A wooden footbridge connects the resort’s two forested islets, one of which is devoted solely to nature trails and spa treatments. Top-notch staff include chef Neil Wager, lured here from the Seychelles’ North Island resort to work with farmers to procure pesticide-free, organic ingredients for his contemporary take on Khmer cuisine. Also on hand is a New Zealand marine biologist, who oversees Song Saa’s 100-hectare marine reserve—another first for the country. Teaching sustainable fishing methods to local fishermen, he is helping to revive seagrass meadows that serve as the habitat for the area’s dugong, green turtles, and seahorses.
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