Imagine the Maldives, but with more depth and personality. Here the clever Aussie owners, Rory and Melita Hunter, have created an ethics-first eco retreat, as well as supplying spoiling luxury with a high thread-count.

An aerial view of Song Saa private island – Cambodia

There’s a spa offering aromatic massages, vast villas with private splash pools hovering on stilts over the lizard-green water, and a superb waterside restaurant with a chill-out lounge and spicy fish amok on the menu. (Eagle rays launch themselves from the water as you eat mango and coconut for breakfast.) But beyond the industry-standard palm trees and beachside infinity pool, the differences are telling.

Watching the sea from a canopy in Song Saa private island – Cambodia

The oil drums repurposed as light fixtures, for instance, and the villa’s outdoor tables made from gathered driftwood on which guests mix their own drinks, with ingredients and instructions provided.

Then there are the sustainability projects, the hotel’s work supporting local communities and its marine conservation, all evidence of a keen commitment to the area. Not that any of it is forced upon guests. It’s perfectly acceptable to do nothing more than spend the day kayaking around the uninhabited island of Koh Rong, followed by a massage under the stars.

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