After a lengthy delay, work is finally set to begin on a $30 million Sihanoukville hotel following a government order to change the resort’s design from a high-rise to motel style.
A ground-breaking ceremony is planned for Saturday at the Sokha beach site of the old Sokha Hotel. Sokimex, one of Cambodia’s largest private petroleum companies, plans to tear down the old concrete bungalows and build a new resort complex over the next three years.
Work had been scheduled to begin in February on the old French resort. Sokimex had initially planned a complex of both bungalows and a five-star hotel.
But Sokimex Deputy Director Son Sokna said Thursday that construction was postponed when the government agency Apsara, headed by State Minister for Culture and Urbanization Van Moulyvann, decided that a high-rise hotel would not be esthetically suitable for the site. It ordered the company to redesign the proposed resort.
The new plan, Son Sokna said, is for a small motel and bungalows. The first phase, which should be completed by the end of next year, will involve construction of bungalows on 13.5 hectares of land.
The first phase will be open to guests as work begins on the second phase, a low-rise motel, he said.
Although Cambodia’s tourism industry has yet to recover to the level it was at before the July 1997 factional fighting, he expressed confidence that the new beach resort would not lack guests.
“We have studied the potential of the market and…we see positive results,” said Son Sokna. “We will not charge high prices and there will be a range of prices.”
Previously, the company had said the bungalow rates would range from $40 to $50 a night. Prices were not available for the motel.
The only other major tourism development planned for Sihanoukville was the proposed $1.2 billion resort by Malaysia’s Ariston. Work has not begun on the project.