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Reviewed 16 January 2017

Have stayed here a couple of years and was pleasant enough but had found better accommodations elsewhere in Kep. However as booking late for two night on 31 December 2016 and 1 January 2017 choices were limited so we chose to return to Malibu. Big Mistake! We booked and received confirmation via booking.com but arriving at midday on 31st they had no record of our booking and were full. Kep was completely booked out. Manager did find us a very simple and cheap guesthouse on main road but then wanted Malibu to pay the guesthouse and we would pay Malibu and could have breakfast and use swimming pool. We refused as Guesthouse was not close to Malibu and I did not want to pay them $38 for a $7 room (charged at $15 because it was NYE). There are so many better places to stay in Kep now do not risk booking here.

  • Stayed: December 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Paul A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2016

Malibu is located several kilometers away from the bus station, the beach, and quite far from the actual town of Kep down a major highway and then off an unpaved road. They quoted us $2 for a tuk-tuk one-way and that's also the price we got. It's a quiet "resort" property with a main hotel building and standalone bungalows situated on semi-kept green garden/lawn surrounding an attractive swimming pool. The property is surrounded by lush mountains and at night the sounds of mysterious creatures can be heard. Beautiful grounds - my initial thought upon arrival was "Boy, for $35/night did we ever get a good deal on this."

Reality started to creep in a little after that, but bear with me.

I was looking for a low-frills child-friendly holiday destination for < $50/night and someone recommended Malibu. I waited until the last minute to make reservations over the Water Festival holiday (not a good idea) and a few other places were booked out, but I had no trouble reserving two nights in a fan room in the main building. While Kep was crawling with holidaymakers, Malibu was probably about half-full - an undiscovered secret or warning of things to come?

The only thing "child-friendly" about Malibu was the pool, really, which was lovely and contained a little knee-deep wedge for pre-swimmers. Otherwise there were no activities or equipment for a pre-school aged child and there was also a dog onsite - some kind of basset hound/border collie-mix, that wandered around freely, including into the restaurant, which was...not aggressive, but hostile enough to make us all a bit nervous. So I'm not sure why this place was recommended for children (though bicycle rentals were available - might be good for older kids, just watch out on the highway...)

Upon arrival we were unceremoniously met by a Cambodian man who asked who we were - recognized our name from the reservation - nodded and started walking away. We hesitated and then followed him which turned out to be the right choice as he led us to our room. There were no introductions, no explanation of where to find things, activities to do or services available. He seemed to be the only person on staff who could speak English. Without asking for ID or asking for any payment in advance, he left us at our room which was nice at first glance.

Pretty soon after that we started finding the flaws: a broken water heater, a fuzzy TV with broken remote, wildly fluctuating electricity and water pressure which made for difficult showers and flickering lights, a screen door which was literally off its hinges and had to be propped up and jammed into place, and the outside lock to our room looked like someone had tried and failed to break in as it dangled precariously off the sliding door but still managed to lock...on the fifth or sixth try. A mini-fridge stocked with bottled water and soda cans (Free? No? No signage indicated so we left them alone...) but unplugged so we plugged it in to chill the water bottles and snacks we brought. Later my niece discovered a nest of mold in the freezer compartment. The walls were also paper-thin - I could understand the TV dialogue from the room next door and every time someone bumped or dropped something I looked around to see if it came from our room or the next.

But our room was clean (freezer mold aside) and beds comfortable by Cambodian standards. No bugs or other critters that I could see. I had no problem with the sink or toilet as other reviewers mentioned - only the shower which was cold and slowed to a trickle at inopportune moments and then returned full blast just as you turned to look at it. :P

Despite the relatively cool weather, our room got very hot and stuffy at night, and the fan was too weak to adequately cool it. Worse yet, the oscillating function on the fan was broken, so it just blew hot air in one direction all night. Now and then we appreciated a cool breeze from the back window. It could have been more bearable if the screen door had been functional so we could open the glass sliding door and create a wind tunnel, but alas, the screen door was jammed into the corner and wouldn't have had a lock anyway. Thankfully it rained both nights so around midnight it cooled down - but I think it would be miserable in the hot season.

Other reviewers had problems with the restaurant - having to order 12-24 hours in advance? - whereas we had no trouble sitting down and ordering what we wanted, though we also ordered all Cambodian dishes and negotiated in Khmer with what was available. The dishes were of average quality and predictably inflated in price ($5.50 for beef fried rice, for example, which you can buy for about $1 at a roadside resto in Phnom Penh). The ambiance was nice, but we were the only diners in the restaurant. The free breakfast was not that impressive at first glance - coffee, tea, toast with jam or butter and fresh pineapple - though the manager later came out with French toast and Western-style eggs fried sunny-side-up, which was appreciated all around. Breakfast was only served from 8-10am, though, so not ideal for early risers.

The staff warmed up to us once they discovered we spoke Khmer, but finding them was always a challenge as they seemed to manage multiple roles at once. I was surprised that the manager never expected any kind of payment upfront and kept a comprehensive tab for us until the end (accurate).

As you can see, my review is pretty mixed, tending toward the negative. Malibu feels like a business someone spent a lot of money and effort starting up but hasn't kept up and is slowly going downhill. However, being used to Cambodian standards, most of what went wrong didn't get to us - we ate good seafood in town, spent a long afternoon at the beach (crowded and full of garbage but my niece was in Heaven playing with passing plastic bottles and adding other debris to her sand creations, so we were fine...), rented a motorbike to tool around and spent hours in the pool both day and night. Would I stay at Malibu again? Possibly. I'd look elsewhere first, especially in that price range. But a very enjoyable holiday overall.

  • Stayed: November 2016, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank J R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2016 via mobile

This place is a little out of town and not really on the beach either. Approx $3US by tuk tuk.
We had a major difficulty with our booking. We booked 4 a/c rooms. All paid same price and when we arrived they were saying only 1 room was booked with a/c. They wanted more money and showed photos of paperwork from booking agent supporting their argument. With 2 different prices for rooms. Only problem was...we did not use that particular booking agent. Immediately we thought "scam". As if that didn't make it unpleasant enough, things were broken or not working in our rooms, not as clean as the pictures show, not really a restaurant on site as advertised so if you wanted anything other than breakfast you had to give the cook advance 12 to 24 hrs notice. Beds were super hard. Very uncomfortable. Pool was ok to swim albeit warm ....but not totally clean either. Towels stained. No pool bar operating either. 4 of our party left after 1 night, the last 4 left after 2 nights... (only because we wanted to see more of Kep).
This accommodation could be really lovely if they put in a bit of effort to clean it and freshen it up. Stop trying to scam people for more money. The manager(?) was insistent on more money for the a/c....he argued with us all. We remained calm and very diplomatically said it prob wasnt his fault-but it wasnt ours either. We paid half what he asked for hoping to just get out of the place and hopefully we will get refunds for the nights we didn't stay but we left with a bad experience in our minds and would never recommend this place. We tried not to let it ruin the rest of our trip.
Kep however is a lovely Cambodian town, definitely worth a visit.

Stayed: July 2016, travelled with friends
3  Thank Heather T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2016

We arrived and our party of 4 couples was informed that only one room had air conditioning. It was very hot and humid and this was not ok. Our booking vouchers showed all rooms had 'air'. In their language this was a fan, in our language this was air conditioning. We were asked for a further $US7 for air conditioning. They agreed on $US5 and we emailed our travel agent. At breakfast the next morning the manager arrived and we were told that we needed to pay $US10 for each night per room for air conditioning. We were shown booking details from an agent we had NOT used that booked only one room with A/C. The manager argued and argued that he wanted extra money. This was obviously a scam and the manager and worker were very determined to get extra money from us. 2 couples of the party decided to leave and forfeit our further 2 nights bookings, as the place was so bad and everything we touched broke! In one unit the toilet handle came off every time it was used, the worker came and slipped it back on and said this was fixed but it came off next time, the screen doors were either staked behind the curtain Or fell off when used, one unit had a leaking sink. The manager spent 2 hours in the unit fixing it and then declared that the toilet was now fixed BUT it was the sink that was broken! The A/c that we had the fight over could only be felt 20 cms from the unit. When the manager was asked about this he put his hand 20 cms from it and said it is working, the customer stated she wanted it working in the room, the manager said but it works here (20 cams from the unit), you are demanding!

The hotel is located about 3 kms from town. We had to phone for a tuk tuk which took 30 mins to come.

We could order a meal at the hotel but needed to give 24 hours notice, so that ingredients could be purchased, so even though it advertised a restaurant, this was more the workers wife cooking.

The rooms were large and spacious, which made the inappropriate A/C even harder to cool the room.

Room Tip: Don't go there
  • Stayed: July 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Sparkykpl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 February 2016

Gorgeous grounds with mature trees, several hammocks and places to sit. Pool is lovely, especially at night with pretty lights strung up. Rooms are very clean for Cambodia standards. These are the factors that cause me to give this place two dots instead of one. I have lived in Cambodia more than 5 years, so I expect awkward customer service and little English, those things are not a big deal at all. But when we brought a group of women here for a retreat, our meeting room (they call the VIP room) had fluctuating electricity levels. They were reluctant to turn the generator on for us during our meeting times in order to make up for the poor electricity. We sweated through some of our meetings early on in our stay, because the power was too low to run the air conditioner. When we asked for a fan for the meeting room, they brought us a rather small one. Some beds were very comfortable. Great pillows. Others were really lumpy bumpy, and some of us ended up getting better sleep on the couches built into the walls rather than the beds. The included breakfast was nothing special. Before we came we were told that two free water bottles would be supplied in each room per day. But when we arrived, we were not provided any.

I would have given this place three dots, but the real big deal breaker for me was at the end of the weekend. I rented a motorbike from the resort. I had no issues with the bike or riding it, I only used for 3 or 4 trips into town. When I was finished with it, the hotel manager put me on the phone with the motorbike's owner. He tried to accuse me of crashing and scratching up his bike, and said that I needed to pay $xx for damages (can't remember the amount, maybe 50 dollars). All I could figure was that the owner thought I looked like a push-over - a young, small built woman. Someone to easily take advantage of. I could hardly believe the manager would try to pull a trick like that, especially after all the business our group gave him. And he knew I was one of the organizers for our group. I remained very calm and unruffled, and stated the truth. I was prepared to get a male teammate on the phone with him, but in the end, he backed off. I personally will not be staying there ever again.

Stayed: February 2016
5  Thank Amy U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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