Between the sea and the mountains, at a fork in a river in the heart of a rainforest, Rainbow Lodge is a relaxed but stylish retreat that allows you to enjoy the quiet treasures of one of Cambodia’s most far-flung and least populated provinces, Koh Kong.
At the foot of the Cardamom Mountains and the intersection of the Tatai and Preat Rivers, and with its back to the Tatai Waterfalls, Rainbow Lodge is a resort with a conscience and a soul, offering sleek shared facilities, smart, comfortable rooms and outstanding dining that belies its remote location. Most importantly, Rainbow Lodge offers splendid opportunities for unwinding, whether you’re looking to lose yourself (though not literally) in the wild or relax under soothing hands with an expert massage or spa treatment in their riverside spa.
The only way to get to Rainbow Lodge is by boat — they run a regular ferry service from Tatai Bridge — and the beginnings of the lodge only slowly reveal themselves as you float between riverbanks that burst with a green froth of trees and ferns. From the jetty, you meander up a winding trail to the bamboo platforms that lead you up to central dining and bar area, an open-air space in smartly arranged wood and bamboo under a wide thatched roof. Your welcome mango and passion fruit smoothie is your initiation into the warmth and hospitality for which Rainbow Lodge has developed quite a reputation.
But the real reason for coming here lies in everything you can see, and hear, around you. The flowing river, dense forest, thundering falls and vast array of wildlife all beckon and with Rainbow Lodge as a base, there are few better ways of enjoying them. Rainbow Lodge offers a range of hiking and river tours, including a mangrove kayak tour and not-to-be-missed night walk with resident bio-geek Gerard Chartier whose knowledge and passion for the things that go bump, buzz and burr in the night is monstrously infectious.
Recovering from your explorations, or a day spent at the spa, you’ll be in perfect condition for enjoying one of Rainbow Lodge’s true highlights, namely the food. It’s hard give credit to just how good it really is, with a regularly changing menu that is served buffet style in the atmospheric dining area that seems expressly designed to promote conviviality. The produce is of course all fresh and local, and more than ably complemented by a selection of house-made breads, jams, yoghurts and more.
The rooms at Rainbow Lodge are spacious and quietly stylish. In keeping with the hotel’s green ethic — including solar/hydro power, bio-digester and rainwater-collecting — they are not air-conditioned and the showers are not hot water. But they are superbly comfortable, with hammocks on the terrace that make a more than perfect spot for starting, or finishing, any day.