There’s this place in Cambodia. It’s just oh so special (enough for the New York Times). And for many of us long-time Phnom Penh-ers, it’s become that second or third home to run away to when the smog and the traffic of this emerging economy gets too much. So on any given weekend, you can count on seeing familiar faces there. The best thing about Kep, a tiny coastal town on the southern tip of Cambodia, is that you can make it into whatever you want it to be. And in the past month, I was beyond the luckiest chick to be able to have it in two spectacular ways.
Kep 1.0 – Party Kep
About a month ago, our friend and Captain of Logistics, Lucinda, organized a big group of us to descend upon Kep in celebration of her husband’s birthday and as a last bang before the goodbyes for our pal Leah and her amazeballs fam. That big group of us wound up being comprised of 18 adults, one toddler, four bodacious babes and two adorable dog friends, and it was probably one of the best weekends ever.
Our big convoy set up camp at the Villa Romonea, a hidden gem of a Kep villa that you can rent out in its entirety to 12 adults and their collection of bubs and animals (you may also reserve individual rooms at the villa if it is free). Our other friends stayed at the nearby Kimly Lodge, just a stone’s throw away from us. Stephane, the manager of the Villa Romonea property that was built in 1968 in the style of nouveau Khmer architecture, treated us like we were staying at a friend’s home and everything was taken care of for us; from getting Kep’s famous crabs onto the table for al frescco lunches and dinners, to making sure our poolside soundtrack had the appropriate speakers. Those monsoon clouds even parted for us.
And what did we get up to? Each morning, we woke up to a big spread of breakfast in the kitchen. And after that? Well, I spent the entire weekend barefoot and in the pool, with its infinite flow into the rice paddies below.
We had open air seaside massages that Stephane arranged for us. There were big family style meals with the best seafood the region has to offer (the coconut curry crab is to die for). And of course – jugfuls of Cait’s homemade Bloody Mary. Simply the best. And come on. Look at that view.
We stayed up to the wee hours after the bubs had gone to bed, under the stars, talking about nonsense and how we would fare when the zombie apocalypse came. Jamieson on the rocks for night caps. No afternoon naps were to be had because we were just having so much gosh darn fun, so we tumbled into bed for the deepest slumber.
Kep 2.0 – Sensual and Stormy…
And on the other hand, Kep can be for renewal, and boy did I need it. So after finishing up two weeks full of very intense, sigh-inducing, massage-needing work, my man and I ran off to get taken care of for a little bit.
And geez, were we taken care of. Regardless of the monsoon conditions that made its expected return. We were lucky enough that Knai Bang Chatt (from here on known affectionately as KBC), one of Cait’s faves in Kep, was having a super awesome 2 nights for the price of 1 deal (deal ends on Oct 31!). And so, as KBC virgins, we jumped on that deal in a big way and wound up in the stunning Seaview Room (#4) with the perfect view of the ocean, a veranda to watch the sun set from and the finishing touch: complementary bed time snacks!
To boot, we were housed in original buildings that were also built during the 1960s in the style of nouveau Khmer architecture that was all the rage.Their in-house restaurant, The Strand, comes with a French chef who does the most sumptuous meals. The perfect little date night. Stinky cheeses included.
Hyperlapse is the best thing ever.
And the best place to watch the storm sea from. While the rains eventually did come in with their monsoon season fury, we found shelter in their lush little library, and watched the surge blow through while digging into long awaited books.
So that was Kep. Only 3 hours away from Phnom Penh, and it comes in any way you want.
Either way, everyone gets crabs (the right kind).