SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA—The owners of Song Saa Private Island—Cambodia’s first luxury coastal resort, renown internationally for its commitment to environment and social sustainability—announced the launch of a new project, centered in the Cambodian province of Siem Reap: the Song Saa Reserve.
Building on the knowledge and success of Song Saa Private Island and its sister NGO, the Song Saa Foundation, the Song Saa Reserve seeks to fulfil Rory and Melita Hunter’s vision of creating a commercially successful, ethically led integrated resort: a place where all luxury tourism blends effortlessly with initiatives that restore and improve the local natural and human environment.
On the site, five minutes from the famed Angkorian temple of Banteay Srei, with a 35-hectare lake as a central feature—the project will see hotel and villa residences integrate with a comprehensive series of sustainability-based initiatives, including educational centers, a solar farm and restored sections of indigenous rainforest.
Rory Hunter Behind the Project
The inspiration for the project, Rory Hunter, CEO and Co-Founder of the Song Saa Collective, says he has a very special regard for Cambodia and its environment and people.
“Since I arrived in Cambodia in 2005, I’ve felt a deep sense of commitment to developing the country in a way that’s inclusive and aligns all stakeholder interests, while showing the world just how special this country is,” Hunter says. “We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved with Song Saa Private island and the work of the Song Saa Foundation and I couldn’t be more excited to share with you our next adventure, the Song Saa Reserve. This project scales up our ethos and approach and allows Cambodia to show the world how tourism, done right, is a powerful means for lifting people out of poverty and protecting the environment, while delivering experiences of a lifetime to global travelers and attractive returns to our shareholders.”
Aspects of the new project include:
- Located near the famed temples of Angkor, the Song Saa Reserve will provide a high-end alternative to guests visiting Siem Reap. And with projected numbers to increase beyond the 3 million mark by 2020 and a new airport planned with a capacity for 10 million travelers per annum, the Song Saa Reserve promises to fulfil an increasing need for responsible tourism offerings.
- With foreign ownership permitted, innovative building design and environment codes, government incentives and the support of the Song Saa team, the Song Saa Reserve offers a unique proposition for globally in-tune developers, seeking healthy returns while also improving the places and communities where they put their money to work.
- Investors will have the opportunity to purchase plots for hospitality-based projects, including a projected seven resorts. And with a total of 120+ hectares of land available there is an opportunity for developers to consider projects on a scale that is commercially unrealistic in Siem Reap city.
- With a comprehensive environment and social plan and a rainforest restoration strategy already in place with the Song Saa Foundation, the implementing agency, will work in tandem with developers to ensure the Song Saa Reserve fulfils the standards for place-based sustainability and care that Rory and Melita Hunter have placed at the center of the operation of Song Saa Private Island.
- A hospitality training centre, a “Green School”, rainforest nursery, permaculture gardens and a solar farm are amongst some of the sustainability-enhancing initiatives proposed for the site.
Coopers Hill, the internationally recognized landscape and urban design firm, is responsible for the master planning of the site and the detailed design and environment codes for the Song Saa Reserve. Their commitment to the project will ensure that all its developments harmonize with the natural and social environment of the property.
CBRE are acting as sole agents for the project, providing investors with the assurance of an internationally recognized real estate company, with an extensive background and knowledge of Southeast Asian property markets.
James Hodge, Associate Director of CBRE Cambodia comments: “We are delighted to be working with the Song Saa team on this important project. Song Saa Private Island remains a market leader in the representation of sustainable development in Cambodia, demonstrating that if done right, leveraging development to spread the benefits of environmental and social stewardship can have fantastic results. Song Saa Reserve is a project that we are excited and proud to be a part of, sharing in Song Saa’s vision of enabling broad-based progress through carefully thought through, well-planned development.”
At the heart of this project is the appreciation that, while the prime economic activity is the construction and operation of tourist based facilities, the project entails a strong commitment to the regeneration, restoration and resilience of the project site and its surrounds. This includes a commitment to rewilding indigenous fauna and flora, the restoration of rainforest and wetland communities, the conservation of Khmer heritage and the sustained improvement of local livelihoods, all while partnering with the world’s best developers, hotel companies, designers, technologists, conservationists and thought leaders to create a pioneering destination for tourists to experience Cambodia’s unique cultural heritage, natural beauty and personal charm and to be inspired to make a difference in the world.