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Old colonial villas boost Cambodia's tourist industry


08:50, May 15, 2012

Cambodia's old colonial villas are getting new life. And their restoration looks set to bring a new wave of tourism into the Country.

The seaside resort of Kep is a region blessed with unspoiled natural beauty, cooler weather and famous seafood. But the town has remained underdeveloped ever since the Khmer Rouge captured it 1969 - beating the French into retreat.

And many of the town's Art-Deco holiday villas were destroyed by the fighting and later looting. But now developers are breathing new life into the around 100 villas still-standing. Romonea villa is among them. Following its opening in 2010, today it serves as a boutique hotel.

Stephane Arrii, Property Manager of Villa Romonea Hotel, said, "Since 2007 a lot of owners, both foreigners and Khmers, have purchased land and renovated some of the houses or they bought, or built, houses of their own. It's a marvelous place with a lot of natural energy and simplicity. "

The artwork and furnishings inside Villa Romenea are from a style that was popular in Cambodia in the 1960's.

David Konenberg, Belgian tourist, said, "It's really a big villa with a very distinct style from that era. The grounds are quite big with a nice view of the Gulf of Thailand and there is everything you need to relax, to rest, in a very special place with a very special energy."

A billion dollar resort is also under construction at nearby Bokor Mountain, and a ferry now connects Kep with the popular Vietnamese resort island of Phu Quoc. This should spell good news for businesses in Kep for the coming years.


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