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Mark L
Siem Reap, Cambodia

Gorgeous serene beach, limited service

Review of Mafiya's Resort
3.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 20 Jun 2019via mobile
I’m very mixed on this review as our stay was very polarizing. On one end, the beach was one of the top beaches I’ve experience in South East Asia... absolutely stunning, serene, quiet and pretty clean. The bungalows were well constructed and featured high quality AC, bathrooms/showers and a firm king size bed. If I was rating exclusively on these 2 items, I’d give it a 5 of 5, however when it comes to service it’s more of a 1 or 2, so I settled on a 3 as an overall rating.

The 1 is clearly around getting to this location. It was an hour and 40 minute taxi ride from the airport through garbage stricken Sihanoukville in wall to wall traffic. Turns out the resort also owns the transportation, I believe GTVC or something close to this, yet still it was very chaotic getting from the very terminal to the resort. The hotel had clarified there was a 2pm shuttle but when trying to determine how exactly to board it was a challenge. The boat staff on site at the terminal was pretty useless. At one time we were told they wouldn’t bring us. They’d only take us to the main Koh Rong dock. After calling the hotel they said they’d send a boat? Eventually a boat showed up and boarded several people at what appeared to be a low cost cash option. We needed to buy a formal tickets and pay $54 for 2 people.

The 2 would be completely lacking other services. I am a westerner and I do have some basic level expectations with a beach resort. Beach chairs or lounges, umbrellas or shade, a beach bar, basic food options, etc. Mind you, you are one a remote deserted area, so food can be pretty important. There was supposed to be a breakfast buffet but occupancy was so low that they featured a limited menu to order from. The same restaurant is used for lunch and dinner featuring 100% khmer food. I have a food allergy, as many dishes were fish/seafood based and those not still featured fish sauce, I was very limited. They directed me to something like a beach hut that served western food options, but when I arrived I found that they didn’t have anything listed on the menu except pizza and fries. The burgers, chicken, onion rings, etc... nope, only pizza. It made for a long 4 nights.

My reco for any westerners wanting to check this place out would be to pack a cooler of food in Sihanoukville and carry on the ferry with you. You can rent a grill on the island and cook your own meals, If you like alcohol, you may want to bring that too. If possible try and bring some light weight golf chairs or pop-up chairs that will allow you to enjoy the beach. There are tons of coconut trees that can provide shade if you’re unable to carry an umbrella. Don’t believe the listings that say they have beach umbrellas, they have none, and make no apologies.

After everything I’ve stated it may sound crazy, but now knowing what I know, I may consider returning someday for the serene, stunning, private beach, but I assure you I’ll be fully equipped. One thing I can’t see getting around is the ferry though?
Date of stay: June 2019
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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Reviewed 1 February 2019

Initially, we were only finding hostels on the islands when we were researching where to stay. We ended up booking Sokha Beach Resort and thinking we could then hop over to the islands. This turned out to be a massive fail for multiple reasons including our "5-star resort" was horrible upon arrival and I wanted to cry and go back to Siem Reap, and it turned out island hopping isn't really that feasible- you'll only get a few hours tops at one beach with the limited ferry service each day. So, upon checking into Sokha and immediately wanting to run away, we booked Mafiya and headed there on a ferry the following morning. We decided at this point, just take a chance- we had to get out of Sihanoukville!! THANK GOD WE DID!

Mafiya was incredible!!! Upon lots of Instagram and internet research, I get the impression this place just opened in the past year. The ferry port for here (and there is nothing else really here besides Mafiya) is called Heaven Island. We pulled up, and yep... it was heavenly! We found our escape, we were saved from that horrible first experience upon arrival in Sihanoukville for our "beach vacation." Not to mention, the nightly rate was great.

What was so heavenly? First of all, we were there during the "high season" over New Years and yet there were a handful of guests. It was so peaceful and quiet. They have their own pristine, private, gorgeous beach with crystal clear water. I did yoga on the beach in the morning, with the beach all to myself. I walked out of my blissful island cabin one day to find the workers climbing the coconut trees and taking down the coconuts... upon which they then offered up a fresh coconut to me! I then enjoyed said coconut on the beach, by myself, just looking out at the beautiful water. They have beach cruisers you can just take. I like to explore so I went for a bike ride to see where the path leads beyond the resort. Not much! I rode along a bike path/walkway lined with palm trees on both sides with again, no one. I got to see a bit more of the island which was cool. The resort also backs up to a river. I found swings overlooking the river. I swung on swings! Okay, I don't want to spoil all of the absolutely lovely surprises of this resort so I'll stop there.

The food was delicious! The free breakfast, not so much but our dinner was so yummy and we dined in the sand on the beach. Again incredible. Those tables were still set up from NYE the night before so not sure you can always do that, but they should just have tables out in the sand for dinner every night.

I don't know why the one reviewer said they had communication issues. We didn't have any- or at least no more than everywhere else in Cambodia. In our experience, pretty much no one speaks English but then there will be the one token person who does, who they bring into every conversation with tourists to translate. Then there's a lot of back and forth and puzzled looks around what you're asking for (tourism hasn't yet hit here; it's just unfamiliar to them) and eventually- typically anywhere from 5-20 minutes- they figure it out and it all works out. You just have to be patient and again, that was all of Cambodia, not really Mafiya at all.

Need to knows: We first made the mistake of trying to stay in Sihanoukville- don't do that. If you're flying in like we did, just take a taxi straight to the ferries and get to the islands. We then went to Koh Rong beach first to check that out (the main beach of the island where the hostels are) and then headed to Mafiya at the end of the day. This was a VERY foreign and confusing idea for ferry company as to why we wouldn't just go straight to Mafiya/Heaven Island port. Koh Rong was cool if you like a little more action- I don't regret going but if you are eager to get to the deserted beach, just go straight to Mafiya. They only take cash at the resort as well as the island, so make sure you bring plenty of cash. There are a few ATMs super close to ferry port in Sihanoukville- you can just run over to one before hopping on your ferry. Just make sure you bring enough for drinks, food, etc and keep in mind prices at Mafiya are a bit higher- still not expensive, just not as dirt cheap as where the hostels are.

Mafiya, thank you for saving us on this "beach" part of our trip- it was amazing!

Date of stay: January 2019
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank amandakmacleod
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Escape09118899209, General Manager at Mafiya's Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 27 February 2019

Dear Amanda,
Thank you for taking the time to review our resort. We are very happy to know you enjoyed your stay with us. We hope to welcome you again one day in the future.
Best Regards
Mafiya's Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 January 2019 via mobile

Beautifully appointed bungalows, Super friendly manager and staff. The Gardens and beach are kept v.nice and the free kayaks and pedal boats on the river were great fun. Proper coffee on site and a great Asian restaurant. We got a little confused about the pricing, small plates were 8-10 USD which seemed expensive, but then they were massive, Enough for 2 people with rice. Overall a great experience. We also loved the white rabbits and the peacocks that roam around the resort.

Date of stay: January 2019
Trip type: Travelled with family
Thank reclamationman h
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
gmmafiyasresort, General Manager at Mafiya's Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 25 March 2019

Dear Mr H,
Thanks for taking the time to review our resort. We are very happy to know you enjoyed your stay. We hope to welcome you again in the future. All the Best, Mafiya's Team...

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 November 2018 via mobile

We have been at Mafiya's Resort for 4 days. The Bungalows and the beach are amazing. It seems to be a Resort with mostly cambodian guests and we had big problems with the language and the service in general: in the restaurant they always had to look for an english speaking person before we could place our order, then not only one time our order was taken wrong or we didn't get the drinks. The menue was only in khmer available (different to the website), which made it very difficult to place any order. Then the room only got cleaned on request and the minibar never got refilled. But the reception guys were very nice and helped where they could. We discussed this points with the manager.

In the end---> Beautiful Resort but bad service quality for english speaking guests.

Date of stay: November 2018
Trip type: Travelled with friends
3  Thank SophiaK1350
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 20 March 2024
Google Translation

Date of stay: March 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 31 December 2023 via mobile
Google Translation

Date of stay: December 2023
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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