Who doesn’t love the idea of a private island? It is always seems to be at the top of the list when one is rhetorically asked, ‘What would you do if you won the lottery’ – answers vary from visiting a private island to buying an island of your own – or even snogging Ryan Gosling on a private island.
Well, I have found just the place to head – and it doesn’t even require a lottery win.
Obviously sharing similar sentiments to us, Australian couple Rory and Melita Hunter, discovered a little island off Cambodia by accident when exploring one day. They instantly fell in love and did what any sane-minded couple in love with a tropical island would do; they bought it and set about creating Paradise on earth. And ladies and gentlemen, this is not hyperbole. Just wait until you see the photos.
Today that little island is called Song Saa and I was fortunate enough to visit it earlier this year. Collected from a pier near Sihanoukville, I was whizzed across the open waters in a private speedboat (enjoying a complimentary diet coke or two).
I could spy a dot on the horizon, breaking the turquoise waters and slowly, the island came into view. Dense tropical jungle, pure white sands and water so clear that even snorkels are redundant. My friend and I gasped a little bit and refrained from doing our We-Have-24-Hours-On-A-Private-Tropical-Island-Dance that would, it transpired, come out later.
Instead, we took a tour around the island with Ruth, the resident manager, gushing how surely she had the most amazing job in the world.
I should mention at this point that Song Saa is an all-inclusive private island, which means from the moment you land on the soft, white sandy shore, your wallet is pretty much redundant. Whether you choose to guzzle your way through the huge fridge in your villa (sparkling wine included obviously), order room service ten times a day or get slowly merry on Champagne-mojitos at the sunset bar on beanbags, it’s all included.
The bar and restaurant sit on stilts over the water, with mind-bloggling beautiful views over the isolated and serene beach areas. While the restaurant is a fine dining experience, the sunset bar offers delicious pizzas and yummy taster dishes like the mini meze platters with dips, sticks, fresh breads and olives. After a few hours on the island I realised sunsets would never quite be the same without a meze platter and Champagne-mojito.
Even the gym looked desirable, with huge floor to ceiling glass windows offering tremendous views.
But then we reached our home for the night and suddenly I realised how people could visit this stunning island and never leave their villa.
Tucked into the jungle foliage of the island and looking over the Gulf of Thailand we stepped into our villa to find a living room of giant proportions, decked out in beautiful woods, that felt like an extension of the island’s natural beauty.
The huge driftwood flower planter that stretched the length of the living room was full of tropical plants, the colourful mismatched tin lampshade was made from old oil tanks at sea and a collection of canvas photo-prints of seaweed and driftwood in water (taken by the owner himself) were hypnotic. Every little detail was beautiful.
I never thought I could get excited about a kitchen on a private island in Asia – but as a beautiful, rustic wooden wall was pushed to one side to reveal our huge sparkling kitchen, I did just that. Behind it lay sparkling work surfaces and a huge, booze-stocked fridge and on the breakfast table in the middle, I discovered hand-written instructions on making Mojitios, accompanied by all the ingredients including lemon-grass flavoured vodka. A particularly nice finishing touch.
Meanwhile, the huge French doors in our living room led out onto our private swimming pool and terrace area, with tremendous jungle and ocean views. There was magic everywhere.
Muttering incomprehensible words about mojitos, gin and lemongrass, my friend and I walked into our separate bedrooms. (In perfect symmetry, our over-sized bedrooms both led off from the lounge on separate sides.) Cue more gasps.
Get this: Underneath my huge four-poster double bed, draped with the softest cotton known to humanity, I found fairy lights. They were not visible at all unless you got on your back and crawled under the bed, which is what all VIP guests do on a private island I am reliably informed, but once under there you could see fairy lights. The result for the rest of the guests that don’t crawl under their beds? A gorgeous soft glow emanating from the ground below the bed.
I immediately wanted to drink mojitos under my bed.
Huge old wooden doors led onto our bathrooms, which soon became my favourite rooms in our new island mansion. One entire half of the bathroom was just glass looking out to the jungle and ocean beyond – with a huge sunken bath and three showers (one outside) to indulge in. We quickly did the maths – we had six showers.
My brain went: “Mojito. Shower. Bath. Pool. Mojito. Sit under bed. Shower. Mojito.”
Back in the kitchen, a beautiful leather bound menu sat on the work surface and my mouth started watering within seconds of flicking through it.
“Oh God, when am I going to have time to eat?,” I groaned to myself. My plan would need a re-think.
My eyes flicked to the gin, the lemongrass-infused vodka, the sparkling wine, the menu, the private pool, the bed… And I felt my anxiety levels raise. There was so much to do. So we did the only thing that made sense. And ran into our pool (with glasses of wine.)
But Song Saa is not all about indulgence, it also does some great work on the neighbouring island of Koh Rong, where it works with the local communities there. The Song Saa Foundation worked hard to help educate people about how to dispose of rubbish and keep their beautiful island clean. They support the local school and even have a little nursery where people can get chilli plants and other start-up plants and flowers for their garden.
We spent a couple of fascinating hours over there before racing back over to Song Saa for some sundowners. Sparkling mojitos offset the sinking Asian sun perfectly as we chatted away to Ruth in over-sized bean bags on the edge of the ocean.
All too soon we found ourselves back on the speedboat, hurtling across the ocean back to the mainland of Cambodia. Everything had been just perfect. Admittedly, I didn’t see Ryan Gosling – but that’s not to say you won’t of course.
Overnight stays on Song Saa start from just £540 a night – click here to read more and make an inquiry with my travel agency.
Not only that but right now we are offering some superb offers at Song Saa Private Island:
- Book a last minute stay this Christmas – there are a few nights still available over the festive season and even better – Song Saa have lifted their usual four-night minimum. Contact me for more information and available dates.
- Stay 4 nights – Pay for 3 Nights: This great deal is available for large parts of January to April as well as November and selected dates in December.
- Stay 4 nights – Pay for 2 Nights (half price): This tremendous deal is available from May to October.
Please note that these offers are subject to availability and correct at the time of printing. For more details get in touch.