Not many people are aware that Cambodia has some beautiful beaches that are not to be missed. And although they may be fewer than in its neighbour Thailand, Cambodian beach life certainly has something for everyone.

The young French couple Alexandre and Eugénie were constantly being told by friends and family that their plans to open a beach hotel in Cambodia, to which they had lost their hearts during their travels, was totally bizarre . But Alexandre and Eugénie persisted and created an incredible, contemporary hotel on the beautiful and relatively quiet Otres 2 beach. And now, all of their friends are eager to spend their holidays here!

Not far from the large (and I think hardly interesting) harbour city of Sihanoukville is a long stretch of beach, at the far end of which is Otres 2, the more quiet part of the beach. In 2013, Alexandre and Eugénie opened the first boutique hotel here, a hotel that was surprisingly different from the well-known beach cabins that dominate the average coastline. Beautiful sleek white architectonic lines and a minimal use of colour set the tone at Tamu Hotel, and even more surprising is the fact that the reception floor is covered with sand….you can leave your shoes at home, for everyone here is barefoot or wears flip-flops.

When I arrive, Jessica, the manager, greets me warmly and shows me around the hotel. I spot a relaxed lounge area with library; a lovely pool that integrates perfectly with the hotel’s design and the various rooms. Even though there’s a difference between standard rooms, superior rooms and deluxe rooms, they are all equally comfortable and complete. The difference is mainly in size and whether or not there’s a balcony or terrace/patio. Most of the rooms on the ground floor are equipped with a lovely outside Balinese bathroom….a personal favourite of mine, as this creates the ultimate tropical sensation! I’m staying in a suite on the first floor, unfortunately without an outside bathroom but with a mega large and luxurious rain shower and a private balcony that offers a phenomenal view of the pool, the beach and the sea. The design is modern and sleek and is tailored to the needs of the guests: there are coffee and tea-making facilities, bottles of fresh water in the minibar, a wicker beach bag and beach towels.

Tamu Hotel isn’t located right by the sea, to get to the beach you first have to cross a narrow dirt road. This is also where the hotel’s restaurant is situated, and a delicious and extensive breakfast is served here in the mornings. During the day, you can come here for drinks or something to eat. The service is perfect and the staff are super friendly. And for the rest, you don’t have to do anything here, for Tamu Hotel is the perfect place to relax. Wonderfully comfortable sunbeds are available for resident guests, you can have a relaxing massage, take a long stroll along the beach, read, sleep….in other words, the  perfect ”doing nothing”! However, one thing is not to be missed: the spectacular sunrise that can be witnessed here!

Tamu Hotel is one of those places that, as soon as you get there, make you wonder “why haven’t I booked here for longer?” …. This deliciously stylish, but also laid-back, beach hotel is a definite trendsetter in Otres Beach. Unfortunately, copycats are already emerging, but they will be hard-pressed to prove capable of offering an equal vibe, quality and level of service to Tamu Hotel!