Unless you visit Angkor during the low season (from the middle of April, until October), the hotel might be fully booked if you didn't schedule you stay a few months in advance. But no need to sleep there to enjoy the brilliant signature Champagne breakfast at Café d'Angkor, or to experience one glass of Airavata: Siem Reap’s most celebrated cocktail, served only in the most celebrated Elephant Bar, this delicious blend of rum, coconut passion, lime juice, crème de banana, pineapple & coconut juice tastes as much colonial as the bar, patronized by so-smart French and British expats, reviving in style the good old time of a dreamed Indochina.
This is one of our preferred hotels in South East Asia.
VICTORIA ANGKOR RESORT &
SPA (*****L): Replica
can sometimes look nicer than original. The best five-star luxury urban
resort in Siem Reap, a direct competitor to the neighboring Raffles
Grand Hotel d’Angkor, has been designed in a refined colonial architecture without any “faux pas”. This is remarkable.
It would have
been so tempting to boost some marble here and there, alternating old
and new, vintage and high-tech. Easier, and surely cheaper. But the
investors at the origin of the project initiated in the 1990s were
maybe also little bit poets: they let the architect play with the time,
redistributing the 1920s into the 21st century.
Managed by French, visited by French, the
colonial essence of Victoria Angkor extends in one of the best F&B
in town. The occupant from yesterday dropped the weapons, but still
raise the fork and spoon to provide a distinctive cuisine to the
regiments of gourmets visiting “Le Connaisseur”. We
enjoyed there one of our most distinguished dinners in Cambodia. The
place is classy. The waiters and waitress also. The chef is British,
but a good translator to Escoffier.
We spent much time at pool-side. Large,
nicely designed with a safety level for children (who can also enjoy
the entertaining kids-club while the parents rest on their sun-bed), it
is reputed top-5 best pools in Siem Reap. We loved the flowers and old
trees carefully preserved by the architect. As much as we loved the
worth-the-visit atrium, with its trees, fountains, pounds hosting
fishes and turtles, and where the manager grows up lovingly a couple of
young yet creepy crocodiles destinated to receive the rare claims from
the clients... The hotel is very much involved in the protection of the
nature in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
VICTORIA ANGKOR RESORT & SPA: Central Park, PO Box 93145, Siem Reap
PHONE: +855 63 760 428
to the swinging 60s! A top 5 luxury hotels in Siem Reap, one of the
most classy, this all
suites and villas property made us feel like
traveling back in time, in the Age of Gold of the French Riviera.
A refined, aesthetically perfect resort, this was one of our favorite discoveries during our one month trip to Cambodia. Still quite secret, because it is new and located in an odd yet pleasant part of Siem Reap, it has that touch of class lacking in those large hotels catering groups of tourists on their way to the temples. Though we were not far from Angkor Wat, we forgot the ruins and preferred to be pampered during three days by the well-trained staff (the general manager worked at Sofitel!) in a unique environment. Templation integrates and respects the eco-system very much. The pool, one of the largest in the region, is shaped like a pound. One thousand cubic meters of water treated naturally. A swimmer's delight, it naturally integrates the landscape all around, with divisions of trees, brigades of fragrant flowers, and troupes of friendly lizards, frogs, butterflies and colorful birds all around.
The suites over the pool area, and the cinematographic villas, with a botanical rooftop, have been designed in the Le Corbusier characteristic style. Inspired by the weekend / summer holidays bungalows from the south of France, but also from Kep-sur-Mer, a nostalgic seaside resort located between Kampot and the Vietnamese border. With a Zen, almost austere structure, made of raw stones and concrete, our “Pool Suite” villa boosted a warm interior: with hardwood flooring, Knoll style furniture with vintage colours. We liked the neo-cubist chairs flanked along the 4 x 7 m private pool (equipped with jet-streams), and the deep sofa in the living room separated from the bedroom by the pool area. We could sleep and work in our bedroom, and entertain ourselves in the living room. A few seconds were enough to open the sliding windows, transforming it into a “sala”. Those traveling with kids or friends will like the intimacy procured by the plan of the villa, offering two separate structures. Cheers to the designers of this ideal hotel!
From the picture windows of our bedroom, we could observe the natural surrounding and the evening rain, then see the geckos visiting our garden with their unique “tok-kai” sound (be informed that calling seven times means good fortune!). The ceiling floor was rotating as fast as a plane propeller: we didn't use the air-conditioning. More and more classy hotel have a free mini-bar policy; Templation is part of them. There is complimentary WiFi, and a yummy Khmer/International “à la carte” breakfast is included in the room rate (in high season a villa like ours is charged little bit under USD 200; it is far cheaper during the rainy season, starting from April until October).
Toiletry in the open-air bathrooms comes from Bodia. The brand, producing only 100% top quality natural products, also operates the small luxury hotel spa. A short treatment (head and shoulders massage) is provided with the manager's compliments after check-in.
The restaurant pairs the rest of the resort. Opening to the gardens and the swimming, this is the place for a relaxed lunch or a romantic dinner al fresco. Asian, Khmer, and Western cuisine can be mixed for a surprising gourmet experience, before enjoying a glass of Banteay Srey dragon fruit cocktail with a cigar.
Very boutique, with a jet-set ambiance, Templation is a must be seen... and must be enjoyed! It is operated by Maads.
TEMPLATION: Rok Rak Street, Modul 3, Phum Sla Kram, Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE: +855 (0)63 969 345, +855 (0)92 783 622
GOLDEN TEMPLE RESIDENCE (*****):
found in Siem
Reap the zero default hotel. If perfection would get a name, it would
be called Golden Temple Residence. When it could make an easy benefit
next to the Night Market, at a short yet quiet distance from Pub
Street, this so-chic boutique hotel develops a myriad of qualities and
bonuses to catch the demanding upper-class guest... and treat him like
An oasis of tranquility settled amongst greenery, this modern interpretation of a Khmer temple of hospitality makes concrete seducing: modeling and painting the walls such a warm and elegant way, that this modern building comes with a touch of nostalgia. This might be of the carved stones, wood and copper, flowers everywhere (from the lobby till the beds and… sinks in the palatial bathrooms), or precious silk displayed over the sofas where we received the most impressive check-in a luxury hotel. No comparison with the standard welcome drink that we experienced in almost any hotel in South East Asia; at the Golden Temple Residence, our eyes popped out when we saw a smiling hostess bringing an antique carved silver tray, with iced herbal tea, sticky rice in banana leaves, the best-grilled peanuts ever (with garlic, lemongrass, basil, and nuts), and fruits cuts. Should we write it?: it beated the unbeatable Mandarin Oriental Bangkok!
All rooms are tastefully decorated with local items, paintings, precious wood furniture, and lotus flowers. The thick stone flooring and the brick-walls procure a pleasant note of serenity. Our Suite Pool View was large (55 s.qm), opening to a spacious balcony with deep chairs for relaxation. We almost never used the air-conditioning. Our bathroom, with sand-watched walls and precious tile-flooring, was splendid and large enough to host a Khmer family… We liked the well-sized desk, on which we could actually world at ease, listening glamourous music piping from the Samsung SoundBar with Dolby Subwoofer equipping the Samsung Smart TV (with direct connection to YouTube and Netflix). We also noted that, thought the hotel has a powerful power generator in case of an electricity blackout, each room has its personal generator to keep on the light and TV working… Looking for more elements to spoil the guest, the hotel provided us with a mobile telephone with an emergency contact number, so the staff could assist us anytime, anywhere and for anything: a private concierge in our pocket! WiFi is high-speed, indeed, and guests can use the business center equipped with Apple computers, sipping a glass of lemongrass tea and eating dried fruits snacks... all complimentary. The transfer airport-hotel-airport, escorted by a gorgeous hostess taking care of the guests from arrival until departure, is another bonus provided to all clients by the Golden Temple Residence.
We had no time to experience the beautiful Lotus SPA, preferring to focus on the pool. Superb! Sunbeds are set on two levels: we loved the highest one: so quiet, and with a nice view over the pristine water. The staff came on the spot to display the towels… bringing a complimentary refreshing set on a silver plate, with two glasses of tea and mineral water over a mattress of ice, and grilled peanuts! Each evening the poolside welcomes an Apsara dance show, with live music: introducing the mysteries and charms of the Orient to enthusiastic spectators sipping a beer or a glass of wine billed at a ridiculously low price (USD 2 for draught beer!).
The general manager worked as an F&B
at Raffles. He transferred to
the Golden Temple Residence the quality inherited from the years passed
in this legendary
hotel, and improved it with a personal touch: cuisine at
the Golden Temple Residence is definitely the best
value for money available in a high-end hotel in Siem Reap. It starts
with the breakfast at Sala
Chhan. Welcomed by our name by the brigade, we were
astonished to find on the buffet exactly what we could expect from a
palace hotel. The Asian corner provides authentic soups, and
well-textured dim-sums. The selection of hot dishes featured
high-quality meat and fish… and even an unexpected yet delicious
moussaka. The bakery is Parisian: with real mini-baguette, and
croissants reminding us of the lively cafés on the Champs-Elysées.
Juices were 100% natural. Honey imported from farms nearby. Butter was
French (Président). This all explains why the restaurant was quite full
for dinner, despite the proximity –and competition- of Pub Street.
A premium hotel in Siem Reap, The Golden
Temple Residence ranks number
one on Tripadvisor,
in a city where fine lodging is legion, at tip distance from much more
expensive resorts like Amansara!
GOLDEN TEMPLE RETREAT (*****): With
Lourdes, Siem Reap became a miraculous land: a few weeks after its
grand opening, this luxury hideaway already ranks number 2 in Tripadvisor. A never seen... Overtaking its elder sister hotel Golden Temple Residence, with a myriad
of enthusiastic reviews: truly motivated by all those factors making
Golden Temple group the best hotels operator in the city.
your stay in Angkor, if
your budget doesn't match the Raffles or Golden Temple Residence
rates, do not hesitate and straightly book in the nearby
and very central Angkor Paradise Hotel. This is also a real five star
property, which we would rank in the same upper class tourist category
as Meridien or Sofitel. The difference comes from
the fantastic quality of
this 169 rooms serene hotel, which is 100% Cambodian; both in
style and services. Though the classy, well kept building is not more
than 12 years
old, it looks like authentically colonial: constructed with solid
stones and concrete, featuring precious tropical wood everywhere from
the palatial lobby, monumental stairs, up to the huge rooms with shinny
parquets and precious Khmer furniture, we loved at first sight our home
away from home. Should you stay in a "Deluxe Double Pool View" (our favourite,
with a large terrace and a relaxing view on one of the largest and
deepest -2.2m- swimming pools in
Siem Reap), in a ravishing 2-rooms "Executive Suite", or in the 130
sq.m "Presidential Suite" (we spent one privileged night in this
impressive apartment with a fabulous Temples view,
featuring a master bedroom and a large living-room with a large bar and
individual dinning-room, much visited by the ministers and state guests) , you will be impressed by the richly hand-crafted,
amazingly comfortable beds. It will take ages before the
owner makes a benefit out of such an investment, as the rate is more
than reasonable (starting from USD 65 during our last stay in April
2017). All rooms are equipped with five star amenities,
including minibar, safety box, large satellite plasma TV, and
complimentary WiFi connection with a very good data speed compared on
the Cambodian standards. The upper, “Paradise Floor” is very quiet, and
usually reserved for individual and VIP guests. The service is surely
the best in town with Victoria Angkor and Royal Temple Residence:
assured by a well trained,
smiling, English-speaking anticipating local staff, under the
supervision of Piseth, the very active general manager who was always
the lobby checking how much guests enjoyed the hotel, what can be done
to please them, providing individual travellers like us with
captivating tips on how to explore his beloved country (Cambodian
people are patriots, and love to promote the resources of their
homeland). We would say that the somehow unexpected big bonus
of the Angkor Paradise is a relatively high popularity amongst five
star tour operators (Kuoni for instance), providing the hotel with more
than 90% of its guests. A proof of quality and security, it has another
great advantage, which we enjoyed a lot: buses are catching the
tourists form the lobby before 7am, bringing them back after sunset...
during that long period of time, you have the whole hotel -staff,
Palm Restaurant (good and great value for money) and swimming pool- only for your own,
very personal use! One tip: do like us, and enjoy the excellent
breakfast after 8:30am, once all the groups left the hotel; avoid the
large though quite impersonal dinning room, and rather sit at the pool
terrace, enjoying the view and the breeze of the fans over your head.
That's the best way to start your day in style.
NAVUTU DREAMS (*****):
Siem Reap one and only wellness retreat, this five star
resort has been tailored made for those wishing to re-balance,
rejuvenate, meditate...or just relax in style. A travel destination in
itself, Navutu Dreams, mixes perfection, originality and beauty. Three
unforgettable days in that gate to Paradise were enough to understand
why so many guests are returning, flouting the nearby Angkor Wat to
make the most of the resources of this pride of South East Asian
LE MERIDIEN ANGKOR (*****): You
want it grand, comfortable, Khmer by the design and international by
the range of services, situated
close to the city center and not far from the temples? Then you will
love this palace hotel settled in a large park, with a cyclopean lobby
and a permanent animation. Providing the anonymity which some travelers
are looking for, and that the best boutique hotel could never provide.
Plus a wide array of activities, a reputed F&B,
rooms with the same five-star chain hotels comfort like in New York,
Paris or Melbourne. Last but not least, you will enjoy at Le Meridien
Angkor the so-unique Khmer smile and spontaneous service.
THE SAMAR VILLAS & SPA RESORT (****L): This is part of the charm of Cambodia : it has lots of special lodging, for the most basic till the most refined. The Samar Villas & Spa Resort plays in the highest category, targeting five-star hotels clients willing to experience something different. If there is one city in the kingdom where the distinguished traveler would prefer to avoid the large hotels and its group of noisy Chinese and Korean tourists, this is definitely Siem Reap.
The Samar is the antithesis of a Hilton or Intercontinental. Located away from the crowds, yet on the way to Angkor and a five-minute tuk-tuk drive from the pubs and restaurants district, this private property and its treasure were ours during three days. Emerging at the end of a quiet lane, the elegant façade opens to the airy lobby, with a pleasant restaurant opposite the reception desk, and stunning black-tiles swimming pool with an immediate access to the suites, distributed in a Khmer style two-storey pavilion. After a quick check-in and before visiting our room, we already knew that we would experience a great time in this treasure of hospitality.
The deep sofas, precious wood panelled floors, and the antiques carefully presented everywhere our eyes could see, made us as much impression as the first class service. We could see almost immediately that the management could not be locally operated… As a matter of fact, Bertrand, the owner, is French. Familiarized to luxury travel from his childhood, he decided to share his passion for premium hospitality with his happy-few guests. We should even write “happy very few”, as with only six suites and two villas, it takes only a dozen of residents to make The Samar full house… The guests that we approached during our stay were quiet and smart experienced travelers, indeed.
We had been booked in the “Pierre Loti” junior-suite. There are five suites in this category. All lovingly and specifically decorated by Bertrand, they exhibit precious silk from the local production or Jim Thomson Bangkok, a canopy bed and, in our room, elegant 1920s colonial armchairs, a smooth lightning, Khmer and Buddhist decorative items. We liked the private outside veranda, where we sat to smoke a cigar after our dinner, listening to the frogs and geckos song. The impression of privacy was similar at the poolside. Lots of guests leave their rooms at sunrise to visit the temples, coming back at sunset. Those skipping the visit, like us or many residents from Phnom Penh visiting Siem Reap only for its peaceful atmosphere and fresh air, get the pool for their quasi-private use during the whole day… We had the exciting impression that we rented a private villa.
in a villa at The Samar is actually an option for those with a family,
or just in search of a peak of luxury and intimacy. The first option is
the one-bedroom Villa Samar. It offers the same amenities as the
suites, plus a large private terrace with a pool and garden view.
Serviced around the clock by a personal butler, it makes the guests
actually feeling at home, enjoying extra privileges in an already
splendidly serviced property. The second option, with the same premium
level of service, is the Villa Fou-Nan. A traditional Khmer house
located opposite the lobby, boasting a spacious and stylish living area
with classy colonial furniture, original etchings, and collages by Yves
Saint Laurent, and a large balcony adorned with a collection of
orchids: ideal for a honeymoon, separated from the other guests,
feeling like in Paradise.
same dishes are served in a different atmosphere opposite the street,
at the Fou-Nan restaurant operated by The Samar. The design made us
traveling back to the Belle-Epoque of Indochina. Set in a lushly
tropical garden, it has an Apsara show and village dances each
second magical evening.
There is, of course, a Spa. Small but well designed, each guest shall experience it, as a short treatment is usually included in the room rate calculated on the Cambodian standards: which means much affordable for a special lodging of that class.
Samar Villas & Spa Resort is a member of the prestigious Secret Retreats collection
of boutique hotels, intimate inns and camps, beautifully designed full
service villas, exquisite restaurants and exotic cruises.
The design combines a trendy contemporary touch, with deep purple colors sofas in the intimate lobby, and a highly reputed coffee shop and restaurant designed in a cool Californian style by famous home designer and artist Lim Muy Theam. A master in painting and lacquering, Theam gets inspiration from the humble, hard, but joyful and respectful peasant way of life. His artworks, dominated by red, gray and gold colors, ornate the public areas and the rooms.
We occupied a Memoire Suite, with a five-star bed (even Park Hyatt Siem Reap doesn’t provide such super-king-size mattresses!), a luxury bathroom opening to the bedroom, and a large living room equipped with a swinging sofa for a supreme relaxation. Like all the rooms at Memoire D’Angkor, luxury is refrained by a touch of Zen: more oriented on well-being than on bling. We appreciated the double air-conditioning network, with one unit in the living room and another in the bedroom. The rotating TV allows easy viewing from the bed and from the sofa. The Family Suite, with two separated bathrooms, is a best seller. All categories come with classy hardwood flooring, and a personalized decoration; what makes the difference, actually, is the always generous size of the room.
The large and deep pool, with a separate safe-bathing area for children, boosts tropical plants, orchids, and frangipanis. We worked there every morning, installed on a large swinging sofa, under the fan of our gazebo. Much more pleasant than an open-space office… High-speed WiFi is complimentary. Next to the pool, there is a really well equipped modern gym. And a SPA. Besides the traditional wellness treatments and relaxation massages, you may be brave enough and ask Mey, managing and training a team of golden handed masseuses, to personally take care of you. Thirty minutes of Khmer Rouge style torture restructured our body bellow our most optimistic expectation. He found in less than five minutes the origin of our pains and deficiencies, unstressed and oxygenated our muscles. Doing in a short time, and for a few dollars, what our European physiotherapist couldn’t achieve after one year of expensive treatments. Mey has clients all over the city, and regularly travel overseas to treat his patients. He is a key attraction at Memoire D’Angkor.
The Grill Wine Café, one of the favorite restaurants in Siem Reap by Tripadvisor, can be accessed directly from the hotel lobby. It serves a truly authentic, remarkable and valued for money Khmer cuisine, plus international dishes (great steaks and succulent sausages). We loved the coffee macaroon, even better than at Ladurée Paris, at only… one dollar!
This well-appointed hotel operates the world-class Sister Beauty Salon, frequented by expats (the manager is Canadian).
It is part of Memoire Hotels & Resorts.
MEMOIRE D’ANGKOR: #54 Sivatha Rd, Krong Siem Reap:
PHONE: +855 63 766 999 FACSIMILE: +855 063 768 999
MEMOIRE SIEM REAP (****L): Memoire d’Angkor sister hotel, located one kilometer from the city center, and surrounded by picturesque local restaurants, this new hotel has the advantage of hosting mostly tourists on a visit to the nearby (8 km) Angkor Park. It is therefore deserted from early morning, until evening: we had the whole staff pampering us, and the pool was ours all day long.
Quiet, immaculate, preciously designed by Theam, with certainly the most precious and impressive lobby marble flooring in all Cambodia (it reminded us of Hotel de Crillon in Paris, this little jewel has large rooms, beds with mattress, luxuriously appointed bathrooms, and the same hardwood flooring like at Memoire d’Angkor. We liked the lacquerware, the graceful color of the walls, and the size of the rooms: actually large for a boutique hotel.
Tamarind Restaurant is a good and affordable venue for Khmer Cuisine. There is a small SPA, where treatments are copied to those, excellent, at Memoire d’Angkor.
Management and staff are in a permanent contact with the guests, inquiring about their comfort and special requests which can be finalized on the spot. We are in Siem Reap, where hospitality reaches the Bangkok, Bali or Saigon highest standards.
A new address for an experienced, very professional sense of hospitality, it is on the tour catalogs of prestigious travel agencies like Kuoni (and doesn’t cater at all to large groups of Korean and Chinese tourists, targetted by a lot of hotels in Siem Reap…).
An ideal retreat for those who want to relax by the pool, this is one of the Memoire Hotels & Resorts.
MEMOIRE SIEM REAP: Terrazas Rd, Krong Siem Reap,
PHONE: +855 63 963 568, +855 63 760 168
SOKKHAK BOUTIQUE RESORT (****L): In Sanskrit “sokkhak” means tranquility, and its materialistic expression is located in a remote, very local street of Siem Reap. Halfway between the city center and the temples, tucked away from the hustle and bustle, this secret resort hides behind white walls along a bumpy street. One single step in the carefully maintained gardens, concentrating the precious essences of hibiscus, frangipanis, and orchids, made us say to ourselves: “-We found the dreamed hotel!”.
Initially a private residence, it represents the antithesis of a hotel. The staff behind the monumental doors walks barefoot, like servants in a Khmer private mansion. Check-in is managed in style, sitting in the living room; the reception is discreetly limited to a small desk. The restaurant features only four or five tables. It serves remarkable Khmer cuisine, at a bargain price. Hotels guests are offered a 10% discount on F&B, returning just for the Beef Tenderloin Salad, with lemongrass and shallot, the Fresh Spring Rolls with Khmer herbs, or the Khmer Seafood with Kampot Pepper. Breakfast, a la carte, is really gourmet with Traditional Khmer Waffles or Pan-Fried Ginger Bananas wrapped in Bacon. Few restaurants wake you up the Khmer way in the international Siem Reap!
All rooms are different in size, design, and luxury. The hotel was full the day of our stay: which gave us the chance to experience two categories of accommodation in two nights.
We started with a Junior Suite, and loved it immediately. First for or its setting just opposite the ravishing salted water pool: we had a direct access to the gardens, with only a few paths to get to our sunbed. That was the opportunity to see how classy were the residents; a mixture of cultured French, British and Australian travelers during our visit, at the end of the rainy season (November). That type of room reflects all the charms of Asian hospitality. Spacious, indeed, with hardwood / tiled floor, a smooth king-size bed, decorated with modern and antique Khmer nicely handcrafted items, orchids, and lotus flowers, it has that touch of class which actually pleases the eye. Thumbs up to the bathrooms, with a super large stone tub, and much space for showering (with a good water pressure...which is worth the mention in Cambodia...). Also, we liked the actually high-speed WiFi complimentary connection.
Our second night, with an upgrade to the Home Suite, the most prestigious and largest room, positioned in a traditional Khmer wooden house with inspired contemporaneous decorum, was supremely comfy and classy. Chesda, the excellent, anticipating manager, was proud to introduce us his best product. Few hotels in Siem Reap, even in the five-star category, can propose such a personalized and richly appointed suite. A home in the home, it is located on the first floor, with a jumping poolside view from the large terrace. We liked the precious statue of Buddha, the antique furniture, and all the imaginative decoration of this room fitted for relaxation and brainstorming. Its refined atmosphere is alternatively soothing and energizing. The cherry on the cake consists in enjoying an en-suite Khmer massage, as a ultime bonus from the stay in this warmly recommended resort.
SOKKHAK BOUTIQUE RESORT: Kok Chork Village, Trorpeang Ses Commune, Wat Thmery, Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE: +855 (0) 63 76 56 60/ 63 76 56 97
SARAI RESORT & SPA (****L): Inaugurated in March 2015, yet a World Luxury Hotel Awards winner, this is the unique Moroccan style hotel in Cambodia, and one of the top 10 most luxurious hotels in Siem Reap. A pure jewel nested in a quiet street, ten minutes walk to the Old Market, French Quarter and all the bars, restaurants and further tourist attractions (it takes only 3 minutes to get there if you rent a bicycle at US$ 1per day).
Brand new, indeed, with a
so-chic lobby opening on the most ritzy swimming pool in Siem Reap,
this human sized boutique hotel thrown ribbons of stars all over our
eyes. Five star for its supreme luxury, of course; but also myriads of
Sarai's face painted
on the wall, just behind the reception desk: guiding the traveller from
East and West to the right address . The Korean group of
college friends, founders of this hotel, are young humanists wishing to
unite the universality of the religions, represented by the figure of
Sarai / Sarah / Sara, to make their guests feel peaceful and serene.
Getting rid of their stress in a reconstructing atmosphere.
GOLDEN TEMPLE HOTEL (****): The hotel is ranked three stars superior, as the rooms are slightly simpler and smaller compared with its newest sister hotels,Golden Temple Residence and Golden Temple Retreat; but our experience was the same, with a top location, design, comfort, service, and management worth at least four star.
A ten-minute walk, or a three-minute tuk-tuk lift to the Old Market and “Pub Street”, make this family-oriented boutique hotel actually urban. Check-in is five-star: we received the same totally unique treatment like in the superior hotels of the group. Fresh perfumed towel, and that lavish “welcome kit” presented on a silver tray, with carved silver plates, bowls, and glass: lemongrass tea, mango sticky rice marinated in a banana leave, fresh fruit cuts, grilled peanuts with garlic and basil... The “low-cost” Golden Temple experience extends to the complimentary refreshments at the lovely Khmer style pool with a really powerful Jacuzzi, the brand new Apple computers accessible free of charge at the reception, and the staff with the signature attitude... So well trained. Anticipating each need. Addressing us by our name.
The 32 rooms are actually pleasant. The expert traveler might notice in some of them the need of a slight refurbishment. But which hotel of that category (and rate) equipped all rooms with a Samsung Curved Screen Smart TV (with YouTube, NetFlix...), designer bathroom, and finest bedding? Don't search... Only Golden Temple properties win the challenge. We liked the small terrace with pool view. Everything has been sought off to make us feel like living at the shadow of the Temples. We imagine the tourist freshly landed from Paris, London or New York, discovering such a dreamed resort with many wows!
Thumbs up to the extravagance of F&B at the poolview restaurant, specializing in Royal Khmer cuisine. At breakfast (included in the room rate), few boutique hotels can afford such a quality buffet, with the same dim-sum, fruits, fresh bakery, savory delicatessen, and cheese, as in the Golden Temple Residence and Retreats. We enjoyed one dinner there, and still remember the quality of the chicken curry cooked with local vegetable, and the BBQ meats. They have set menu which is really affordable. Though there was no Apsara dance show that night, the sala-style dining-room was full; which is noticeable, as most of the hotel restaurants in Siem Reap can't keep the clients after 6 pm, when everyone heads to “Pub Street”. This is a sign of particular quality, also explained by the fair value of a dinner (around USD 15 with one glass of local beer).
There is no good hotel without a SPA. Small but convenient, with a selection of 100% Khmer treatments at a reasonable price, Senpidor is as reputed in town as the other massage parlors operated by the Golden Temple group in the Old Market area, which we always preferred for the professionalism of the staff and their serious reputation.
GOLDEN TEMPLE HOTEL: Wat Damnak, Sala Kamreuk, Siem Reap Kingdom of Cambodia.
PHONE: +855 63 967 996 FACSIMILE: +855 63 761 222
PAVILLON D'ORIENT (****): Reflecting such a nice colonial atmosphere, this nostalgic and quiet boutique hotel made us quite an impression just stepping in the shady lobby, with greenery everywhere, and lovely artworks of Khmer contemporary artist Theam exhibited amongst period furniture. If the management doesn't wish to promote the hotel in the luxury category, it is a definition of a classy lodging at a fair price.
Welcome in one of our favorite hotels in Siem Reap! We liked many factors at Pavillon d'Orient. This is, first of all, a fairly priced hotel, with rooms from USD 45 in the low season: nice, reflecting three star superior standards, they are located in the older pavilion, with a view on the first swimming pool. The hotel newest extension has got a second more contemporary salted-water pool (the hotel is eco-responsible) with a SPA room nearby. Its rooms and junior-suites / family suite are actually four-star, with private lacquerware and Khmer art exhibition in each room, which is quite unique in Siem Reap, a ceiling fan, colonial furniture... This all provides more character to a perfectly homey lodging, with a large terrace with a romantic pool-view. We felt like staying in a villa, not in a hotel.
Another bonus is the location. Mid-way between the city and the temples, by a privatized hotel tuk-tuk, which guests can use as much as they want on a complimentary basis if they booking their stay directly with the hotel. It takes ten minutes maximum to get to Pub Street, and the same time to get to Angkor, after purchasing a pass on your way at the official Ticket Office, 600 meters from the hotel. Upon check-in, each guest receives a well-documented book about the temples, which he can keep during the whole stay. Of course, the reception staff can manage plenty of exciting attractions like helicopter flights (starting from around USD 100), diner cruises, Apsara shows...
The breakfast is most pleasant at Pavillon d'Orient. It can be enjoyed absolutely anytime...even in the afternoon! Which is another bonus. The buffet is limited to a few items, and guests can order hot and fresh dishes a la carte (the chicken sausages are the best we had in Siem Reap). It is of course included in the room rate. The restaurant “Le Planteur” is not air-conditioned, but located in a breezy “sala” opposite the new swimming pool, in the lush gardens. We enjoyed there most pleasant breakfast, with a very personalized service as, between 8 and 9 am, most of the clients are visiting the temples or still sleeping. Once again, we had the impression to stay in a private mansion, served by stylish staff. It makes Pavillon d'Orient more like a “special lodging” than a hotel, indeed.
PAVILLON D'ORIENT: Road no 60, Siem Reap, Kingdom Cambodia
PHONE: +855 63 760 646, +855 98 655 738
NATURA RESORT (****): This new resort, nestled in a lush park along the riverside, half way between the Old Market and the temples, is one of the most inviting residences in Siem Reap. The concept, as simple as ambitious, consists in incorporating the guests into nature. The 21 rooms are spacious and comfortable, with all that you expect from a good four star hotel, but designed with such clarity that they won’t catch your attention: just projecting you to one of the nicest environment which an urban eco-resort may offer. The trees bring a 24-hour refreshing air and temperature: this is why we spent much more time on our large terrace or in the pool are than in the room. Old trees, fragrant flowers, birds, and squirrels hosted us in their home during four rejuvenating days. The true well-being doesn’t need more than tranquility and purity: Natura provides it at no extra cost, letting nature do the job.
The ideal lodging to those looking for unobstructed relaxation, away from the pubs and groups of tourists, it employs young and truly friendly staff forming a Cambodian family, pampering the guest individually and efficiently. In this country, everything is possible: what we liked at Natura is the tailored made concept. Catering individual travelers or small, carefully selected groups, it has a lot to offer besides the visit to Angkor and casual city tours by tuk-tuk. You can ask anything to Chinda, the charming manager: she worked for prestigious international tour operators, and knows Siem Reap like the back of her hand. Good local restaurants, small temples, hidden monuments, and landmarks are plethoric in Siem Reap: Chinda will show you the way to the most attractive ones.
Natura is something like a Cambodian home, with lots of open areas: it hearts beats in the tiny bar and al fresco restaurant, created in order to bring a close and warm contact between the guests and the traditional service. Trained in local hospitality school, the staff behaves the “Siem Reap way”: spontaneously and kindly. Pleased to welcome Westerners in their hotel.
The F&B prices are very local too. At USD 3,5 a generous shot of whiskey and around USD 5 for a main dish, the bill is more or less the same compared with Pub Street.
The large and deep salted water pool is pleasant and relaxing: with no kids in sight during our stay, but couples coming here to sleep, swim and enjoy the sun.
This green gem cocoon is a unique experience at fair price (less than USD 100 in the high season, for a nice room, including a la carte breakfast).
POPULAR RESIDENCE (****): A definition of a boutique hotel: small, quiet, nicely designed, pleasantly nestled among palm trees, and affordable... Its name doesn’t lie. This is indeed a popular family residence. Without the thrill of luxury, but providing comfort and peace. A loveable hotel, located in what should remain until hopefully a few years a semi-rural part of Siem Reap, it made us feel like in a remote province; though it takes less than 10 minutes to get to pub street. Either by bicycle (brand new all-road bikes can be rent from the reception at USD 4 per day) or, and we liked it, by complimentary tuk-tuk. The hotel has its own driver, lifting the guests to the city center every hour. There is also a free airport pick.
This is a new hotel, with immaculate rooms. The deluxe and the suites are nice, with not much difference except space and the capacity to host more people (parents and two kids in a suite). We like the 40 sq.m “Cabana Room”, located on the ground floor, with a direct access to the serene pool with a Jacuzzi. This category of room is a best seller, with an open-air bathroom (shower + tub). Back from a tiring visit to Angkor, we enjoyed a most relaxing bath amongst plants and trees, visited by a little frog which seemed to be a regular guest of this bucolic residence.
There is a cozy restaurant for breakfast (included in the room rate), affordable lunch and dinner. Due to its recent opening and a locating little bit off the beaten tracks, this well serviced and ideally comfy hotel offers the great advantage of being better value for money, compared with the same four-star category lodging opposite Pub Street or Old Market. Approximately USD 50 for a “Deluxe Twin” (with complimentary Internet, flat screen TV, safe, etc), during the high season, sounds like a very good deal in one of the most touristic Asian cities.
POPULAR RESIDENCE: Sala Kamroeuk Village, Sala Kamroeuk Commune , Siem Reap
PHONE: +855 81 767 272 MOBILE: +855 16 783 425
DISCOVERING ANGKOR AND THE COLONIAL CITY OF SIEM REAP
GOING TO PHNOM PENH
VISITING PHNOM PENH
REVIEWS OF THE BEST HOTELS IN PHNOM PENH
REVIEWS OF THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN PHNOM PENH
SPOTTING IRRAWADDY DOLPHINS ON THE MEKONG RIVER
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