RAFFLES HOTEL LE ROYAL (*****): A landmark, located along the former “boulevard du Maréchal Foch”, an aristocratic arterial road concentrating the French colonial administrative buildings, not far from the railways station (closed since the red Khmer epoch) and the “Art Nouveau” National Library, French Embassy, this is the kind of hotel you like to visit and, why not?, to stay in: which is, actually, an unforgettable experience. Kennedy, De Gaulle, Malraux and many celebrities did it, and their distinguished ghosts still haunts the walls of this timeless turn of the last century colonial building. Now operated by the Raffles group of hotel, it reminded us very much of their legendary hotel in Singapore. Same stylish comfort, unmatched level of service and luxury. Same impression to be “someone and somewhere”: a selfish and exciting privilege, which has a relative cost. This is not, certainly not!, an expensive hotel compared with the western standards. In Paris, you would hardly book into a decent three star hotels for less than USD 200; this is approximately what Le Royal charges for the lowest category of double rooms. Since, this is twice the price of a high end hotel in Phnom Penh.
The hotel offers so many bonuses, and it is so magic that travellers dropping their luggage in the superb guest-rooms, decorated in a timeless colonial-tropical style, don't mind the rate so much. The executive staff comes from the best hotel management schools in Lausanne or Glion, in Switzerland; local staff is fluent in English, and even French or Japanese; the barman at Elephant Bar uses the best Champagne brands from Reims and Epernay and the best French Monin syrups to alchemically prepare splendid cocktails.
We have visited some of the 170 rooms and suites, and liked them all; with a slight preference for the new “Balcony Suites”. Created in 2011, following the completion of a refurbishment programme at Raffles Hotel Le Royal, they are conveniently large (48 sqm) and features a private balcony furnished with a rattan shell chair and patio seating, overlooking the pool-side. The four, much wanted “Personality Suites” are also quite lovely, and contains memorabilia and artefacts associated with their namesakes. They cover the same surface than the “Balcony Suites”, and are little bit too much formal from our personal opinion.
The restaurant Le Royal is quite formal also; this is not our favourite in Phnom Penh, though tourists loves its nostalgic atmosphere (western expatriates and wealthy Cambodian prefer La Residence, Van's or The Foreign Correspondents Club). The cuisine remains little bit too international: mixing French and Indo-Chinese cuisines at the same place.
One of the most legendary hotels in Asia.
RAFFLES HOTEL LE ROYAL: 92 Rukhak Vithei Daun Penh,
Sangkat Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE: +855 23 981 888 FACSIMILE: +855 23 981 168
PHNOM PENH (*****): The first
five star hotel in Phnom Penh, in term of chronology and comfort, was
initially located a little bit far from the most attractive business
and tourist areas. But times are changing, the city is developing and,
complimentary shuttle bus and cheap local "tuk-tuk" (at USD 3 to the
riverfront) make this lavish
hotel one and only handicap fading away. For a brief description: this
is a real InterContinental, top luxury hotel, with all those things we
like so much: plenty of space to feel at ease, lots of marble,
fantastic staff, wonderful F&B, and rooms with a view.
SOKHA PHNOM PENH (*****): The newest and largest hotel in Phnom Penh (and Cambodia) boasts 523 amazingly large and luxurious rooms and suites, at the cape of the exclusive and breezy Chroy Changvar peninsula: a high-end residential area, and one of the safest places to stay in the congested and dusty Phnom Penh.
The pharaonic lobby, with its impressive sky light dome and tropical hard wood flooring covering thousands square meters, is a landmark of architecture which you will like or not. It reflects much of the Khmer civilization, with carved walls and columns, and a collection of souvenirs from late King Sihanouk. It is cool, with lots of large seats and deep sofas to relax at ease, kind though discreet staff, and the pleasant Champa Café.
Each room is super-large (starting from 52 sqm for a Deluxe Room) and has a river Mekong view. The panorama on the majestic Royal Palace, the animated Sisowath Quay, and the new high-rise buildings close to the Central Market, alternates with a 180° view of the sleeping rural beauty opposite of Phnom Penh (a five minute local ferry cruise transports you like hundred miles away from the capital city). We liked very much the wood flooring and the majestuous bathrooms with Japanese high-tech washlet. The largest and most exclusive room in the hotel (not to say in the city) is called “Royal Sokha Suite”. Located in the upper residential floor, it covers 318 sqm of unmatched western luxury balanced with a discreet Khmer influence. Its guests enjoy exclusive benefits: such as access to the Mohori Lounge with daily happy hour, complimentary cocktails and canapés, and a private breakfast facility.
The pool is one of the largest and most pleasant in Phnom Penh. It makes you feel like swimming in the Mekong, and seems deserted during the day, when hotel guests are touring the city or joining their business meetings. A lot of Asian travelers (from Korea, Japan, Singapore…) stay at Sokha, and carefully avoid exposition to the sun: Westerners often have the pool for their almost private use… Such a serene and relaxing poolside atmosphere is hard to find anywhere else in the city. Complement it by a visit to the world class Jasmine SPA.
We like the restaurants, providing a fastuous F&B for a great value for money. They would be full day and night if the hotel was logically linked by shuttle boat to the Sisowath Quay; which is not the case, and looks totally odd. It costs a 20 minutes ride via the Japanese Bridge -while it would take 2 minutes only by boat- to discover the succulent seafood and BBQ buffet al fresco at 20th floor Tonlé Sap Bar, agremented with a breathtaking panorama. All Phnom Penh would also visit the China House, seating 200 persons, which recently imported the best chefs from Sichuan for a regional cuisine featuring also specialties from Guangdong, Hunan and Beijing (including the famous Peking duck and roasted meat platters, fresh seafood and seasonal specialties as crab, abalone, sea cucumber and lobster). Or the warm, intimate and guaranteed authentic Takezono Japanese restaurant, with ultra fresh hand-craft sushi, maki rolls, and fresh sashimi from premium seafood.
The 1,255 sqm Wave Club spreads out over the 19th panoramic floor. Chic and cool, it alternates a cool lounge ambiance with electric nights animated by famous DJs and live bands.
This top luxury hotel is operated by the Sokha Group.
SOKHA PHNOM PENH: Tonle Sap St, Chroy Changvar, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE:+855 23 685 8888
THE PLANTATION (****L): Reflecting the glorious past and engaging present of Phnom Penh, this atmospheric, ravishing boutique & SPA hotel stands behind the Royal Palace and the National Museum. In the historical heart of the city. The Plantation occupies a luxuriously and tastefully reconstructed 1930's French administration building, which became the Ministry of Labor after the independence. Further buildings date back from the 1980's-2010s (with the latest addition of a top comfortable wing in 2017), carefully designed by Ivan Tizianel in the nostalgic French post-colonial architecture.
Spread over a hectare of lushly pounds and gardens, this four star luxury property offers the comfort, style and services of a high end urban resort: 2 lovely swimming pools, two bars (try the delicious pizza at poolside Restaurant/Bar), gym, a lavish SPA, a lovely meeting room, not to forget one of the top 5 best French restaurants in Phnom Penh (fine-dining La Pergola, by French Chef Olivier Guillon). Covering about 22 sqm, the 70 non-smoking rooms with open contemporary bathroom, and small balcony, include all four-star amenities: A/C and ceiling fan, mosquito nets (on main beds only), safety box, mini-bar, IDD phone, 32-inches flat screen TV, and kettle with tea and coffee. High-speed WiFi is available, free of charge. We loved the rooms with a pool view, indeed: they all have a large terrace shadowed by tropical trees. Some have a high ceiling, providing more volume and comfort.
The new wing has been erected to welcome more corporate guests. They don't lack charm at all; the smart furniture, precious fabrics and generous superficy, plus the supervision of a dedicated buttler service, make them competitive compared with business-oriented hotels like Sofitel or InterContinental. We particularly liked the panorama on the Royal Palace and pagodas at sunrise from the not so large, yet conveniently designed balcony of our suite. This is the ad hoc product for those looking to mix business and relaxation.
The room rate is great value for the money. Starting from around USD 70 per night for promotions during the low season; this explains why The Plantation is almost always full house... More expensive (approximately USD 400), extremely spacious (200 sqm) and luxurious, the one and unique Rooftop Suite -with views on the Royal Palace's roofs, the Independence Monument and the Phnom Penh city-scape- boasts 3 terraces, a private bar, 2 separate rooms with 2 bathrooms, and a Jacuzzi. It can host small parties for up to 30 guests, or families that wish to live in the same apartment with sufficient space for all.
Supervised by one of the most efficient general managers in town, trained in Amansara, Como and Four Season resorts until he joined The Plantation, the hotel offer a five-star luxury service, which much staff (addressing us by our name), and a dedicated attention to the returning guest's tastes and habits.
The Franco Cambodian join-venture operating The Plantation (and more fine properties like Teahouse, Templation...), is much involved in the preservation of urban green spaces. It campaigns also again sex-tourism, and guests cannot receive last-minute visitors in the room.
The must-be-seen places and main attractions are all concentrated a short walking distance: it takes a couple of minutes to get to the National Museum, the Wat Botum (Royal Pagoda), the riverside with its bustling nightlife and the lively Street 240 (one of the most animated shopping and dining districts downtown). Plantation operates a classy, somehow eccentric limousine service, transporting its guests in a vintage Jaguar XJ 6.
THE PLANTATION: 28, street 184 - Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE: +855 (0) 23 21 51 51
SUN & MOON (****L): Should all urban hotels have such an interesting architecture, Phnom Penh would gain in reputation for the inventiveness of its buildings. Adrien Desport did a splendid job, designing one of the most noticeable hotels in a city mushrooming dull high rise constructions. The French taste characterizes this unique landmark of hospitality, with a geometric, colorful facade attracting the eye of the passer-by. The electric lobby, trendy bar, bistro style restaurant with open kitchen and quiet atrium with a view of a family of peacocks (symbolizing power and health in Cambodia) make the public areas actually fancy. The signature of Sun & Moon is its incredible swimming pool, topped with a designer roof equipped with a sophisticated fluorescent lighting. Already a symbol of Phnom Penh, that infinity pool captured us during our stay: no hotel, even the best, can offer such a panorama on the roofs of Phnom Penh, and the nearby Mekong. The whole city was at our feet. We could hear the noise of the street activity, with plenty of pubs, restaurants, and discotheque everywhere in a district where the heart of city beats; feeling preserved and privileged in this oasis of sensuality and luxury. Guests visit Sun & Moon for this unmatched feeling of intimacy, in the center of one of the most vibrant cities in Asia.
The rooms must be seen. Those liking orange color will love Sun & Moon at first sight! They offer a four-star comfort, adjusted to the needs of the modern traveler. We occupied a “Deluxe King Size”, with plenty of natural light, and an adjustable blue light bathing the room in a relaxing, somehow psychedelic atmosphere. Like in many cool hotels, there is an open cabinet for hanging clothes, and an open bathroom. It is artistically minimalist, nice looking and well though for all categories of guests. Those on a corporate stay will appreciate the large writing desk, and the quietness of the well-soundproofed rooms; they might even prefer the lovely and spacious “Suite King Size with Balcony”, tailored made for a successful business trip. Those 97sq.m suites offer a great panorama on Phnom Penh, and are our favorite rooms in the exuberant Sun & Moon.
The WOW factor extends to the restaurants and bars. The “Cloud 9 SkyBar” actually wakes up after dark, with daily live-music parties cooled by the pleasant breeze from the Mekong. Bringing some sophistication in a part of the city well known for its rough pubs. Reputed for its poolside BBQ parties and signature cocktails, the bar closes down between midnight and 1 am.
Cigar aficionados may prefer the cozy and jazzy “#8 VIP Lounge”, with a very dedicated service and view. Mixing the chic of a French restaurant, the warmth of an Italian Trattoria and the ambiance of a British Pub, “Salt'n Pepper” is a “gastropub” offering international cuisine, and also one of the best breakfasts that we has experienced in a Phnom Penh boutique hotel. Opposite to the restaurant, the Unplug Bar is also a cool place to grab a bite, quickly and anytime. At a fair price, as F&B is very accessible at Sun & Moon.
There is a good gym on the 9th floor, and an excellent SPA, with sauna, steam bath, and hot/cold Jacuzzi.
Surely the most surprising boutique hotel in town, Sun & Moon makes all the landmarks and business accessible by a short and pleasant walk in the heart of Phnom Penh.
SUN & MOON: #68, corner of street 136 and
15 Phar Kandal 1, Phnom Penh
Tel: +855 23 961 888 | Fax: +855 23 922 888
LA ROSE SUITES (****L): We liked La Rose Boutique Hotel & SPA; we loved its five star version, La Rose Suites, targeting the same category of clients like Raffles Le Royal or InterContinental. The crop of the cream! Just push the discrete entrance door of this hidden treasure nestled on a quiet street near Independence Monument, and exquisitely immerse in a colonial style heaven of luxury. The young and active staff is already waiting for you with a glass of fresh juice or tea, just like if a secret signal announced your arrival. You are VIP, of course, and Many, the smart general manager, welcomes you like a statesman, inquires about your trip and gives you precious tips to discover his city. This is a special place with a special treatment, visited by travellers and not tourists. No groups, no queue at check-in / out; but a residence tailored made for those who want to feel as unique as they always dreamed to be once in their life.
We felt like at home. With all the facilities available for our very personal use. The salt water pool, for instance, one of the most pleasant in Phnom Penh, quite large for a boutique hotel, was shared by us and one couple during our stay. This seems to be a place for celebrations and honeymoons, with a small table allowing a romantic lunch or dinner (the restaurant opens to the pool area) paired with Champagne. We are travelling that way since decades, and this is always exciting to see people sharing our philosophy. Travel should be classy, and hotels alike.
Lots of the 25 spacious (from 45 sqm), non-smoking rooms and suites, with high ceilings, overlook the pool area and the lush tropical garden. We booked in one of them. With twice the size of a standard boutique hotel room in Phnom Penh, designed in a modern Cambodian style, Zen and elegant, they all feature traditional contemporary furniture. Bathrooms copy the successful model of La Rose Boutique & SPA: we like the king-size tub in concrete stone, the discreet yet efficient lighting, the complete toiletry kit. The quality of the soap, gel shower and shampoo, made in Cambodia from natural, anti-allergic products, is excellent. A great deal of bonuses come to all guests: free daily room minibar (mineral water and soft-drinks), high-speed Internet and, which we found fantastic, complimentary 1-hour traditional Khmer massage in an elegant massage-suite. SPA treatments at La Rose Boutique & SPA and La Rose Suite are highly reputed among expats and members of the Khmer society. Quality of the treatments and level of services are actually first class.
We had a-la-carte breakfast at La Rose restaurant, still in a complete intimacy though the hotel was full house. Quality is great. Opt for the Asian breakfast, with noodles, fresh tropical fruits: this is a Khmer restaurant (with Apsara music for diner), offering the hygienic and comfortable opportunity to discover this interesting cuisine. Don't miss Amok (seafood / fish curry with coconut milk). Alternatively, gourmets will like to walk along the animated Street 21 and discover by themselves some local restaurants still ignored by mass tourists. We were for instance the unique “barangs” seating at Sovanna (just a two minutes walk), one of the best BBQ and seafood restaurants in the country.
Like its sister hotel, La Rose Suites supports “Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE) — For a Child’s Smile” international programme: employing children lifted out of poverty to acquire the skills and education to secure a more prosperous future for themselves and their family.
LA ROSE SUITES: #4B, St. 21, Tonle Bassac 12301, Chamkarmon, Phnom Penh
PHONE: +855 23 - 222 254 / 222 264 , +855 12 940 304 / 77 666 345
FACSIMILE: +855 23 210 531
THE GOVERNOR'S HOUSE (****L): A hotel in a museum, or a museum in a hotel? Tough we still couldn't find an answer to the quiz, one thing is sure: this is definitely the most refined boutique hotel in Phnom Penh. Everything is lovable in the former Governor of Phnom Penh's mansion: an elegant remain of the colonial French architecture, it captured forever a strong, nostalgic perfume of Indochina. With a solid bank account, there is nothing easier but designing a small luxury hotel in a developing country where real estate is still affordable, and where wealthy tourists are rushing little bit more year after year. This is not exactly what Belgium art-collector and merchant, Alain Garnier, did: he rather picked up the most beautiful items from his private collection, displaying them all around a dreamed house for refined hosts. “Clients” is not the proper world to define those who are hosted at The Governor's House: should you be the Crown Prince of Belgium or a curious back-packer, you will be equally welcomed by the owner. The room rate (starting from USD 125) is modest enough to make you quickly forget that you actually check-out with an hotel bill in hand. In one word, there is no marketing but a real involvement in how to please -and very much surprise- the visitor.
We knew already, by mouth-to-ear, that The Governor's House was much more than a hotel. A large, precious Marie-Antoinette chandelier illuminates the atrium shaped lobby. Some says that it might have been imported from Versailles... There is also a solid rumour that a writing desk equipping one of the 12 rooms and suites had been used by Winston Churchill in his British manor. Each piece of antique furniture is guaranteed 100% original, and comes with a long history that Alain will be delighted to tell you, sitting in the library where hundreds of art books are displayed (it made us forget that we travelled with a notebook!).
Some guests like to compare the Governor's House with a small annex of The Oriental Bangkok or The Grand Hôtel d'Angkor; though it doesn't give itself the airs of those respectable, deliciously old-fashioned hotels, it attracts the same category of high profile globe-trotters. Offering a much more relaxed, homey atmosphere. Due to the small size of the hotel, the staff per room ratio is the same as in a grand five star hotel. We saw much anticipation in the service, and the language skill of the reception staff was OK.
Located Street Mao Tse Tung, we have read reviews in Tripadvisor -where the hotel is highly ranked- claiming that some rooms can be noisy. As we don't like so much air conditioning, and as a collector 1930's fan faced our king size bed, we slept with wide-open windows: the mansion is surrounded by a large lushy garden, and we found it very quiet compared with Paris or New York where noise is indeed a nuisance, even in many luxury hotels. The Sangkat Boeung Keng Kong I district is one of the most prestigious in Phnom Penh; though it takes approximately 10 minutes (and only USD 3) to get to the Quays by “tuk-tuk”. The only restriction which may applies at The Governor's House is that, from our opinion, this romantic hotel has been designed for individual travellers (couples, eventually businessmen), but not for families with young children.: because of the exhibited precious items of course, and also due to the sophisticated design of the rooms, with a “let me show you all” Jacuzzi right behind the bed (top comfortable, and covered with precious Flanders linen sheets). We booked in “The Marylin” Landmark Room with balcony (36 m²), and would like to warmly recommend it for honeymooners. It has been tailored made for them! The 65 m² “Jackie Suite” is the largest room, equipped with a walk-in dressing-room, a complimentary Nespresso machine, and the already described Churchill's desk: it has been tailored made for longer stays. Of course, WiFi is provided free of charge in all rooms and public areas.
We liked the colonial garden terrace, where tea time and dinner can be enjoyed. Though we didn't get time to experience the “Grand Lounge” restaurant, we found it most pleasant for breakfast: our table was set at the shady poolside, just opposite a mango tree. Again, we really didn't feel like in a hotel, but visiting some expatriate friend in Cambodia.
Last but not least, Alain Garnier is a living FAQ, and knows all the tips and tricks to enjoy Phnom Penh by day... and night. Just make sure to book far in advance in his house: we came during the low season, and most of the rooms were occupied. Though the best small luxury hotels in Phnom Penh like to co-operate each others to host last minute guests when full house, we advise to book at least a couple of months in advance in this relatively new hotel which gain each day little bit more in well merited popularity.
A chic hotel with a WOW! factor: The Governor's House is the smaller but most precious jewel in Phnom Penh luxury hotels collection.
THE GOVERNOR'S HOUSE: Villa 3, Street Mao Tse Tung, Sangkat Boeung Keng Kong I, Khan Chamkarmorn, Phnom Penh
PHONE: +855 23 987 025 FACSIMILE: +855 23 987 026
LA ROSE BOUTIQUE & SPA (****L): Though the classy white facade had been vaguely inspired by the French-colonial style, the Governor's House small sister hotel interior reflects a Zen adaptation of Angkor Wat architecture with a modern, soothing touch.
Opened in 2012 in one of the rare wealthy areas of Phnom Penh, neighboured by colonial mansions, embassies, ministries and international schools, with a central but not really touristic location (the Quays are a 10 minutes tuk-tuk ride away), the hotel is perfectly convenient for a successful stay. Though Norodom Blvd is reputed one of the busiest streets in Phnom Penh, silence and relaxation are the two principal qualities at La Rose.
The service is unique, indeed, as expected in a four star luxury, very boutique hotel. But it comes with a bonus: many guests don't know that they do a good action upon booking at La Rose: the young, smiling and enthusiastic staff comes from the poorest regions of Cambodia, and much better than donated money, received the PSE (“Pour un Sourire d'Enfant”) complete training by the best hoteliers to proudly join this quick developing industry. This made anticipating receptionists with a more than decent knowledge of English language, kind waiters in the delicious restaurant & bar, supervised by a friendly, permanently available general manager imported from the excellent Sunway Hotel where we stayed one year ago.
The 7 rooms and suites are not very large, but so well designed that you won't notice it. Simple and elegant, they looked like an oasis of tranquillity back from our exhausting walks in the dusty and rumbustious Phnom Penh. Hyper clean, well air-conditioned, featuring a lovely and convenient bathroom (with a strong water pressure... a bonus in Phnom Penh!), and surely the largest tubs in town, we couldn't expect more from a small but definitely well planned hotel. There is a plasma TV, safe, tea/coffee facilities and all other four star amenities. Each floor alternates guest-rooms and treatment rooms; there is also one suite equipped with massage table.
The spa is well know in all Phnom Penh, and therefore caters further hotels (like The Governor's House). Qualified therapist with years of experience offer medical and relaxation massages, using top quality Ytsara creams, flower essences, and signature organic oils. Cambodia traditional massage traditions date back to the glorious ages of Angkor, and is well perpetuated at La Rose: last but not least, treatments are not so expensive compared with further luxury hotels downtown (a complete treatment costs less than USD 30).
We liked the intimate 50 seats restaurant, where traditional Khmer cuisine remains so authentic. Too blend in many international hotels, it is home-cooked by La Rose chef with the original herbs and spices which make all the difference. The curries, “Fish Amok” and other seafood specialities are yummy. Vegetables and fruits from the unspoiled Cambodian countryside are profusion: should you be vegetarian or not, don't miss the vegetable spring-rolls or the green papaya salads. Set menus rank between USD 10 till 20, which is more than reasonable.
Though most of the guests are tourists, we can recommend La Rose to business travellers: lots of banks and companies headquarters are located nearby, and the hotel is convenient for meetings. The Internet speed is not so bad compared for Cambodia (we could even use Skype...), and WiFi is complimentary.
This new, original, recommended boutique hotel is ranking on the top of Tripadvisor and offers very attractive rates from USD 100 per night.
LA ROSE BOUTIQUE & SPA: 164B, Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh
PHONE: +855 23 211 130 FACSIMILE: +855 23 210 531
A successful transposition of Las Vegas on the Mekong Riverside, the
largest and most luxurious entertainment centre in Indochina proposes
non stop casinos, live music and shows, restaurants, bars, and hosts an
impressive five star hotel.
A world on its own, Nagaworld
could both attract and somehow frighten the traveller: wouldn't it be
too noisy, too crowded... too amok? It will,
indeed; but only in the public area, bustling of life and enthusiasm.
Lots of music, plenty of gamblers (most of them are Asian; but,
officially, not Cambodian, as locals are not allowed to play in
casinos). The lobby pairs with the scale of the complex: it is
cyclopean, with all that bling attached to casinos and Asian
large hotels. We loved it so much! Live bands, gambling rooms
everywhere our eyes could see, and a large reception desk with a young,
smiling, experienced staff who checked us in without a couple of
minutes, before sending us to our room. Then we entered a world of
preserved luxury, comfort and silence. Hospitality at Nagaworld comes
with all the Asian bonuses: large rooms
(starting from 39.24 sqm in the Deluxe category) furnished in modern
Khmer style, amazingly comfortable beds, brand new electronic equipment
(large plasma TV, complimentary broadband Internet), and ritzy
marble-floored bathrooms. Among the plenty of details which
would make us come back without hesitation, is the best view ever over
the Tonle Mekong river. Waking up, observing the tourist boats and
merchant cargos transiting over the muddy waters of the mystical river
is on its own well worth the long trip from Europe or America to Asia.
We felt like somewhere: in the heart of Indochina, spoiled the Asian
way by a remarkable and so discreet staff. Those who visited Vegas will
notice the huge difference between Nagaworld and any other five star
hotel in Nevada “Sin City” : the service, much better than what we were
expecting after checking some reviews in Tripadvisor, is much more
anticipating, kind and smiling at Nagaworld. Local staff, proudly
working in that new jewel of the Cambodian tourism, anticipates any
request. We stayed three days: the second one, the waitresses
already knew our habits and spontaneously came to us with a double
espresso, some wafers and freshly mixed orange-passion fruits juices.
We have been so much impressed by such a good memory, knowing that the
Nagaworld hotel has a total of 500 guest-rooms (further rooms and
suites were under construction on the 14th storey, during our
stay; but we hardly noticed it, as there was no noise nor disturbance
SUNWAY (****): This super well located hotel sits within the former colonial “Residence” area, where the French administration and governor mansion stood, this middle-sized hotel occupied a strategic location in the diplomatic “Green Belt”. Opposite the US Embassy, one of the safest neighbourhood in Phnom Penh, it conveniently allows its guests to visit the city without hailing a tuk-tuk. Crossing by picturesque and historic Wat Phnom Pagoda, going along the high walls of the National Bank, we could reach Van's (the best restaurant downtown), the Central Post office and the touristic quays within less than five minutes. The Central Market (Phtar Thmei) and the Sorya Shopping Center (one of the largest malls in Cambodia) are a stone's through away.
The Sunway hotel is amazingly quiet, in an amazingly noisy and dusty city. Quiet environment, lobby and rooms. It seems that groups like this hotel very much... spending most of the time touring and shopping outside. Businessmen and travellers, looking for some rest they way back from long negotiation or a tiring walk through the overheated city, will love at first side such a peaceful atmosphere. The staff is as discreet as friendly and anticipating. The Cambodian smile is priceless; moreover when it spontaneously comes from employees feeling like so happy to work here, and to serve you the best they can do. We actually felt surprise to find a five star service in a four star hotel.
The 138 rooms (31sqm) -plus one presidential suite- are simply, though warmly and nicely, designed. We immediately felt like at ease. This is a homey hotel, with comfortable beds, conveniently appointed bathrooms and, if you book on the highest floors, a dramatic panorama over the city centre of Phnom Penh: forget the cold architecture of the US Embassy, and look the Phnom Temple, the Central Market and the high rise buildings which will change the face -and unfortunately also the authentic atmosphere- of Phnom Penh in the next decade. Well soundproofed and air-conditioned, with LCD TV featuring more than 60 channels, safe, minibar and complimentary coffee & tea-making facilities, the rooms are worth the international four star... at a very local rate: you are expected to pay approximately USD 100 per night (including breakfast and WiFi in the public area). Sometime less, catching the opportunity offered by attractive packages and promotions. Note that some rooms, with a private terrace, are very pleasant; though located on the lower floors.
The Sunway has no swimming pool, surprisingly for a hotel of this category; but a pleasant SPA with a steam-bath and a large, powerful Jacuzzi (male locker only). It is complimentary for hotel guests. The spacious meeting rooms and business centre are well appointed, and quite popular among the local businessmen.
We have been impressed by the F&B high and affordable quality. The breakfast is one of the best which we had in Phnom Penh: maybe because we came after 9am, the open-kitchen Sun Café Restaurant displayed a Zen atmosphere, and the buffet was generously appointed with fresh fruits, yummy Asian and international dishes, fine cheese... and the best, freshest Danish pastries one can find in Cambodia. We purchased some croissant each evening, at the small deli shop in the lobby. The hotel was full house, but the waitresses did their best to take care of us, and this was a pleasure to have a morning discussion with those young, attractive Cambodian ladies, happy to promote their country and their hotel. We admired their perfect command of the English language.
This warmly recommended, amazingly well managed and great value for money hotel, is part of the Sunway group operating fine hotels in South East Asia.
SUNWAY HOTEL PHNOM PENH: No. 1, Street 92, Sangkat Wat Phnom, P.O. Box 633, Phnom Penh 12202, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE: +855 23 430 333 FACSIMILE: +855 23 430 339
TEAHOUSE (***+): Low-cost by Maads doesn't mean cheap, hostel style hospitality; but stylish treatment in a boutique hotel with character. Those who can't afford amazing sister hotels like Plantation, will find a good value alternative in this exquisite Chinese-style mansion. We liked the welcoming little garden at the gate of the Teahouse, airy open reception, cool restaurant extending to a nice shady pool, colorful collection of tea boxes, and the offer of the best blends at the old tea house style bar with large sofas.
The hotel is interesting from many factors. Its global concept makes it quite unique, and rooms are different in size and design from each other. We have a preference for the pool view rooms. We booked in one of them: a two bedroom suite, hosting a family of five (using one extra bed), and opening on a romantic balcony. The design is tasty, yet simple: no rich fabrics nor fancy furniture, but a relaxing simplicity which made us feel like at home. There is a flat screen TV (two sets in the suites), safety box, WiFi, minibar, free tea and coffee facilities. All rooms are air-conditioned, of course, with a ceiling fan which we used by night for a most pleasant sleep. This is a three-star superior hotel, and it should cost just a little improvement to upgrade it into four-star. Some recently refurbished rooms are more of this standard, and the swimming pool copies the model of high-end boutique hotels: stylishly made of tiled stones instead of mosaics.
Everything is affordable at Teahouse. The drinks at Tea Lounge / Tea Garden, the restaurant serving a traditional Cambodian cuisine and signature Chinese tea soups. This is the place for buffet breakfast, which we found surprisingly good for a hotel of this category, where double rooms sold out between USD 40 and 50 the day of our visit, still in the relatively high season (a few days before the Khmer New Year, when the demand is high).
The small SPA doesn't cost more than the local massage parlors, and use better oils: Maads is reputed for its natural toiletry and oils/creams.
The management is French, very much adjusted to the western guests' demand. The location is ideal, in a residential area with fine restaurants and chic bars all around. So, those wishing to save USD 50 at least from luxury boutique hotels, now have a good alternative place to experience either on leisure or business.
TEAHOUSE: #32, Street 242, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE: +855 23 212 789
TO PHNOM PENH
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