Sokha Hotel Group has announced that they will be taking over a large chunk of Sihanoukville’s popular O’Chheuteal beach as part of a major new resort they are planning there.
The new 1,000-room hotel and golf course will include around 54 hectares of beach front, with just one kilometer of beach left over for the public, according to a company report.
Sokha Group project officer Svay Vuthy declined to comment Tuesday on whether the new deal would mean the hotel could ultimately charge an admission fee to non-hotel guests who visit O’Chheuteal. A reporter was recently charged $1 to enter the nearby Sokha beach, which is already run by Sokha Hotel Group for another of their resorts.
Sihanoukville Municipality Deputy Governor Sboang Sarath confirmed that tourists would still be allowed to use one kilometer of O’Chheuteal after the resort is built, but he said the entire beach might be closed off during the construction phase. The company had not yet said when construction is scheduled to begin, he added.
Sboang Sarath said the new Sokha hotel is needed in Sihanoukville.
“All the hotels are full,” he said, adding that smaller hotels in the locality would not be impacted by the influx of large-scale developments in the area.
Borei Vanda, general manager of the Jasmine Hotel, which is situated just a few meters from O’Chheuteal beach, said he did not fear competition from the new resort.
“We will continue to attract guests who do not want to pay the higher prices,” he said.
A new 500-room hotel is also to be built by Sokha hotels on 14 hectares of land on Chroy Changva peninsula in Phnom Penh, according to the company’s report.
SRP leader Sam Rainsy said he was concerned that the government is awarding many large contracts to Sok Kong’s Sokimex group, which owns the Sokha Hotel Group. The group, which has long ties with the ruling CPP, also announced this week a $1 billion plan to develop the Bokor mountain resort in Kampot.
“The government cannot give these contracts to only one company,” Sam Rainsy said. “There must be a more open and competitive bidding process.”