24 May 2009
Rikitikitavi, Kampot, Cambodia
Guesthouse
US$30
10°36'04.30"N 104°10'07.46"E
1 Room
Included Breakfast

May 2009 approx A$38

The Little Battler is getting stronger by the day, and while we're still nowhere near the levels we had last time we were in Cambodia, at 78 cents to the US dollar we've gone up more than 30% in the last 6 weeks or so. Woo-hoo!

We were dropped off in the new bus station which knocked us off-course a little bit. Heading around to the Marlin we passed the Asean and it looked brand new and as we were getting chewed to death by tuk tuk drivers and it looked about to throw it down, we stopped for a look. Good move as it turned out because the Marlin is no more, having changed hands recently.

The Asean is indeed brand new - I think we may have been the first in the room. It was basic, but had the three important things to us - a fridge, windows with fly screens and a fan as well as air conditioning. There was also a TV with the standard Cambodian 60-odd channels (about two thirds are local/Thai/Chinese).Arriving at Kampot by share taxi, we asked to be dropped off at the river front where the towns' only 3 guesthouses with internet access were located. I left Peter with the bags and went hunting - I didn't bother going into the first one a it didn't look so good from outside, the second was very expensive and not very nice and I was starting to think we'd made a mistake when I got to the Rikitikitavi. One look was all it took.

I have never before used the term 'boutique' as I think it's quite pretentious and so many people who obviously aren't qualified to do so attach that name to themselves, but I really can't think of any other word to sum up the Rikitikitavi.

I'm not sure what makes a hotel or guesthouse 'boutique'. Stylish and well finished rooms and public areas, attention to detail and ultra hospitable would probably cover it, and here it is certainly the case.

The 5 spotlessly clean and homely rooms - either twin with 2 double beds as we had or a four-poster more suited to couples - are finished to a very high standard, with attention paid to the little things like lighting. The TV doesn't have the full range of channels you get in the big cities, but that's all that is available outside the main centres in Cambodia and it's more than made up for by a DVD player and very wide ranging and varied library, which would have something for everyone. The WiFi is free in rooms and public area's and as good as you can get via a satellite connection.

The beds have spring interiors - first time for a while that I've slept on a proper mattress - and are very comfortable, as are the pillows. There is some outdoor seating and a popular restaurant and bar on a lovely 1st floor deck type extension with more seating and a great view of the sun setting over the mountains. Rikitikitavi may have the best chef in Cambodia.

What makes the place though is the people. Owners Denise and Dom are very friendly and helpful and their local staff can't do enough to make sure everything is perfect. Dom rode a trial bike from England to Asia a few years ago, so his local knowledge is an added bonus for anyone interested in riding.

If all of the above constitute the much overused and usually abused term 'boutique' then that's what it is. The location is good too. Overlooking the river in a quiet part of town, about 10 minutes walk to the centre and large market with a few western restaurants and bars, a couple of local mini-marts and a Seeing Hands (blind association) Massage just a stone throw away.

Mozzies are a bit of a pest in Kampong - a drawback to the town being in such a picturesque riverside location - but a battery operated electric tennis bat is supplied, and with our own-plug in zapper we had no problems.

It isn't the cheapest place in town (it's not the most expensive either), but it really is the nicest. The rooms are very comfortable and really feel more like a home than hotel.

All in all, Kampot in general and Rikitikitavi in particular is a perfect spot to just kick back for a few days with all of the comforts you could ask for. We'll definitely be back here again and would recommend it in the highest possible terms.

Free Wifi, satellite TV, DVD player, fridge fan AND air conditioning

http://www.rikitikitavi-kampot.com/

Rikitikitavi@asia.com

+855 12 235102 / +855 12 274820