Whenever tourism increases in an emerging country you often many of the hotels seem to appear over-night, copying the format of their competitors to cash in on the tourist trade. This leads to a large collection of wholly uninspiring places to stay, but this also gives the few who dare to pioneer, a chance to shine among their dull neighbours.
Kampot in southern Cambodia was once ravaged by war and fairly inaccessible, it’s only now that tourism is appearing and one such beacon of light amongst the guest houses and hostels is a pretty little boutique hotel called La Java Bleue.
With just 3 rooms (and 2 more on the way), La java Bleue Hotel stands out fairly well with its inviting outdoor street cafe style and it’s abundance of window shutters. It takes you right back to the French Colonial period of Indochina and the attention to detail is apparent throughout the entire hotel. Each of it’s 3 hotel bedrooms is styled with a bespoke theme, French, Khmer and Chinese.
The French room
We booked the French room which has a fairly huge bed and has some interesting retro prints of French holiday advertisements. With a wall full of windows there’s no shortage of light in the room and of course air conditioning to help you enjoy the surroundings in comfort. There’s a sofa and coffee table to relax and watch the flat screen TV and a beautiful modern bathroom that features a rather special circular window.
The personal touch
On arrival the staff were friendly and helpful, giving us ice-cold towels and a drink while our bags were taken to our room. While we only stayed a day we enjoyed the company of the ever smiling hotel manager. He helped us arrange transport while we helped him with his English, asking us questions on difficult words or confusing British slang. It made for an enjoyable personal experience and we felt well looked after.
The Khmer and Chinese rooms
The 2 other rooms in this little boutique hotel are Khmer and Chinese inspired. The Khmer room features two single beds that were a couple of inches away from being double beds. Interesting colonial photos of local people are rather eye-catching and a wall mounted bespoke sign with lamps above the bed really sets the room with a rustic, earthy feel.
The Chinese styled room is upstairs with a private staircase that brings you to a wonderfully colourful room. Red, of course, can be found on almost every wall and piece of furniture. A fantastic head-board on the bed and some beautiful bespoke printed pillow cases make this smaller room very cosy and inviting. If that wasn’t enough this room also has a roof top balcony with views over the neighbour’s rooftops and on to the Bokor National Park.
Boutique hotel living
With each room so individually styled and inviting for different reasons, staying at la Java Bleue seems a repeatable treat. I think next time I’d like to stay in the Chinese room! I have no doubt that tourism will thrive in the coming years in Kampot. La Java Bleue may be its first boutique hotel but more are sure to follow their winning formula. It’s great to see they are already expanding and I look forward to finding out what their 2 new rooms will look like.