A popular Kampot weekend retreat, GreenHouse offer simple riverside bungalows.
Located 5 miles (8 kms) outside of town on the banks of the Kampot river, laid-back GreenHouse bungalows cater to a slightly more sophisticated audience than many of the other nearby stoner hangouts. With 12 bungalows priced between $25 and $45, GreenHouse is a tranquil Kampot weekend retreat set in a lush tropical garden.
GreenHouse’s restaurant is an old Khmer wooden house, formerly Maxine’s AKA Snow’s, the most iconic bar of Phnom Penh’s old guard, back when the city was rough and ready and filled with characters. Ian “Snow” Woodford, who had been in Cambodia since the early 90s, was one of those characters, and when he was evicted to make way for a new luxury hotel, and his health caught up with his age, Snow packed up shop and moved back home. GreenHouse stepped in and bought the beautiful building that was home to so many expat memories. It was dismantled and moved south to Kampot, where it’s been lovingly restored and the balcony extended to give more space to enjoy the views of the river.
Snow’s is now the GreenHouse hangout and restaurant, where they serve an array of surprisingly good French and Cambodian dishes, as well as small plates and Western classics at reasonable prices. We liked the fish tartare made with fresh local fish, spicy Kampot pepper, and sweet pineapple — “you know it’s raw fish, right?” the waitress asked when she took our order — and their substantial house burger was also tasty. At a place like GreenHouse, decent food that’s not overpriced is crucial, because you can easily spend a whole weekend there without venturing into Kampot.
There are kayaks and paddle boards for rent, as well as a deck area for jumping into the river and swimming. If you do want to hit the town, GreenHouse rents motos for $6 per day or mountain bikes for $3 per day. Trips into town on a tuk tuk cost $5 each way, so if you’re planning on going back and forth a lot, it makes sense to do a rental. They have decent WiFi, but it’s only available in the restaurant and the nearby bungalows — the majority don’t have Internet access.
GreenHouse has four classes of bungalows, ‘Riverfront’ bungalows that look out over the river and have and hot water for $35, ‘Deluxe’ bungalows that are the same but without the river views for $30, and slightly smaller ensuite bungalows with cold water that are situated back from the river for $25. They also have a family room with hot water and two bunk beds for $45.
If you’ve seen one wood and thatch bungalow in Cambodia you’ve seen them all, but the GreenHouse bungalows make an effort to improve on the usual design, and the place this is most obvious is in the bathrooms, which have proper toilets, a large mirror, sink and counter, and fully enclosed showers, all features that are lacking in the super-budget bungalows. Each bungalow has a balcony with a hammock and benches and most have a small table and chairs. Inside, there’s an overhead fan, mosquito net, and the thatch ceiling is covered by a protective cloth, which makes for a much tidier bungalow than the ones with fully thatched ceilings, which tend to shed and leave dust all over the bed and rooms. Despite the fact the bungalows are nicer than most, the place still has a very rustic feel, so if you’re looking for something swish, this isn’t the place to go.
The grounds of the guesthouse are lovely, with a well-tended garden and lush tropical plants and trees along all of the bungalows paths. A large friendly dog named Momo patrols the grounds, keeping an eye on the chickens that strut around the place. GreenHouse requests that all guests wear headphones when playing music or watching movies, and the place is mercifully quiet and relaxing, which is a blessing in bungalows with thatched walls that aren’t much help in blocking out noise. We were surprised by what a good sleep we had, in fact. Greenhouse’s dedication to quiet is seriously enforced — children under 12 and pets are not allowed.
Overall, we thought GreenHouse is a lovely, unpretentious weekend retreat with excellent river access and lush greenery. They certainly live up to their name! Prices are between $25 and $35 ($45 for the four-person group room). Bookings can be made on the GreenHouse website.
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