GOLDEN TEMPLE RESIDENCE (*****L):
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 / Old French Quarter, 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 refreshed each evening. 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). There is a courtesy minibar (only in the suites). 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 in the hotel Range Rover 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. 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 local can 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
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. The bakery is Parisian: with real
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 top
5 on Tripadvisor,
in a city where fine lodging is legion, before much more
expensive resorts like Amansara, Phum Baitang, or Shinta Mani!
GOLDEN TEMPLE RETREAT (*****L):
Lourdes, Siem Reap became a miraculous land: one year after its
grand opening in 2017, this luxury hideaway already ranks number 6 in Tripadvisor,
between Golden Temple Residence and Golden Temple Boutique.
A cheerful leading trio, with a myriad
of enthusiastic reviews truly motivated by all those factors making
Golden Temple group the best hotels operator in the city.
MEMOIRE PALACE RESORT & SPA (*****L): The Memoire Group of hotel's crown jewel was in a soft opening during our stay, in April 2018. That was a privilege to be amongst the very first to discover the newest five-star luxury hotel, in a city mostly dedicated to four-sta r boutique lodging. A palace indeed, the name speaks true, oddly located by contrast in the last local area of a globally touristic city: allowing guests to discover the authentic Khmer markets and restaurants on its five-minute tuk-tuk journey to Pub Street.
The global concept reflects the history of Cambodia. With a palatial teak-wood and marble lobby (certainly the ritziest in town), designed in a magnificent Khmer style, and colorful colonial villas with a direct access to the giant pool. Their 1950s French design extends to the rooms. We had been promised five stars and, indeed, got them stepping in our “Grand Pool Suite” (#107 “Angkor”). Only real palace-hotels provide so much volume, high ceiling, carefully waxed hardwood flooring, and lavish white-marble bathrooms with double sinks. This is an absolute luxury, indeed. No tacky. No bling. Only comfort and distinction. We loved at first sight the light in the room, reflected by the pale green and blue walls The violet sofa, and blue lightning surrounding the king-size bed are tasty fantasy, emphasizing the deliberately fancy atmosphere of this very unique suite. There is a large terrace-patio with a bed, from where we could embrace the property and pool.
Both spectacular and romantic, this is the kind of place we'd like to book to impress a girlfriend, or to reward a business partner. We ourselves felt like enjoying a gift; this the kind of hotels which we'd like to spoil us with only on a special occasion...
The Memoire Palace Resort & SPA has many highlights. The service is exceptional. Upon check-in, guests are conveyed to their room by cyclo. A reference to the nostalgic time, and also a convenient way to circulate within this large property. A breakfast time, a myriad of waiters and hostesses took care of us as well as in the Bristol Paris or Ritz Carlton Central Park New York. It was served à la carte the days of our visit, due to limited operation. The casual Aha Udom, and more classy, gastronomic Stage 1960's restaurants are supervised by Chef Corentin Hennion, which we already knew from a delicious dinner that he prepared for us at the cool yet reputed Ten Bells, in the Old French Quarter. He preferred escaping the sumptuous Plaza Athénée Paris to be a pioneer in the wild Siem Reap, where gastronomy sounds like an abstract word... except in his restaurant of course!
One of the nicest SPA in town, the Memoria SPA has a “Remedial Healing” program enhancing immune system with natural remedial healing products against the inner pollution, using typical Cambodian spice krasain, tamarind, ginger lemongrass, lemon and other to organically remedy the skin, muscle, and immune system.
MEMOIRE PALACE RESORT & SPA: Psar Kraoum Road, Svay Dangkum Commune Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE: +855 637 66588
GOLDEN TEMPLE BOUTIQUE (*****L): Though all the Golden Temple hotels are 100% "boutique", this classification is now branded with one more distinguished property still in its soft opening. We reached the lobby in style, chauffeured in a white Chrysler NewYorker Brougham 1975, escorted by a cute hostess, and welcomed in the Golden Temple tradition: checking-up smoothly, just handing our passport to the reception staff before enjoying the welcome snacks (tea, fruits, sweet steamed rice, peanuts with basil and garlic...) presented over a precious silver tray.
We wondered whether we stayed at Golden Temple hotels to visit Siem Reap... or visited Siem Reap to enjoy the Golden Temple hotels. This is always a delight to experience the perfection in term of hospitality. The happy few, used to stay in Ritz-Carlton or Peninsula, or book a suite at Hotel de Crillon Paris or The Pierre Paris, always say WOW! discovering the splendors of the GT properties. Managed brilliantly by Luon Thea, a master hotelier in Siem Reap, they always come with the “no-fault” factor. All the competitors envy their leading position on Tripadvisor. It is well merited, indeed.
So what's new with the “Boutique”? Nothing! Why should GT reform a winning recipe? The architecture and interior design by Vasia are conformed to what we gladly enjoyed in the other properties of the group: a concentration of exotic good taste, with a soothing, slightly uplifting, refined, and colorful atmosphere. The Apple computers (with super fast Internet), the statues of Buddha, the deep sofas, and the pool view from the lobby: the GT signature is flamboyant, as always. The staff is not anymore the best trained of the city, for one simple reason: all the competitors copied Thea's teaching, sometimes quite successfully. But this is still the most charming and anticipating in all Cambodia. Working for the elite, with the elite, is their best motivation.
The 19 rooms are all suites. Quite similar in term of generous size and bright, eye catching design to those at GT Retreat and GT Residence. The palatial beds, decorated with fresh lotus flowers, are still the top 10 best comfy in town. We noted the “pillow menu”, with an extended choice in term of texture and size. The Curved Samsung Smart TV, definitely unique in Cambodia, and ideal to watch a program on YouTube. The Samsung Bluetooth Bar, with a perfect sound quality. And all the rest: we liked the “Sihanouk-style” 1960's furniture, in its simply elegant and practical display. The “smallest” (48 sq.m) category of rooms, “Deluxe Suite”, with its brick walls, is not less luxury than the “Premier Suite” and “Courtyard Suite” (69 sqm.). The later sports a shower enclosure, an elegant stone bathtub, and twin hand-basins separated from the SPA-like bathroom. It has a balcony. We liked the complimentary minibar. The room rate starts from USD130 up to USD 250 (opening promotion until 23rd December 2017 from USD 100).
Thumb up, as always, to Golden Temple for serving bluffing breakfast looking like a five-star brunch. We can't say thank you enough to the staff for its kindness: we caught a cold with air-conditioning on our way to Siem Reap, and have been cured with the lemon-ginger-honey tea which had been repeatedly served to us with a smile (and complimentary). Each time we swam in the awesome pool, we received a tray with cold tea, peanuts and small snacks (the coconut milk soup with gelly is yummy!).
There is an excellent SPA. The concierge can manage tailor-made tours in the region, and book the rare and so comfortable Chrysler for a visit to the temples of Angkor (at USD 150 / day or USD 80 / half day, excluding entrance fee).
The gate to Heaven is located in the heart of the city, and is well worth the stay.
GOLDEN TEMPLE BOUTIQUE: Night Market Road, Stueng Thmei, , Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE: +855 63 216 666 FACSIMILE: +855 63 761 222
TEMPLATION (*****L): Back 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
JAYA HOUSE RIVER PARK (*****L): It usually takes decades to build a legend; a few months were enough at Jaya House to meet the challenge. Ranking on the top of Tripadvisor, fully booked during our visit at the beginning of the high season, this is already a respected brand in a city featuring around 400 hotels... An alchemy of successful recipes in term of architecture, management, service, and F&B, quickly acquired this new property a patina. The design by V-Asia (a concept which made the success of all the concurrent -and excellent- Temple hotels and restaurants) is a big hit: we love hotels which doesn't look like hotels. The lobby, opening to the riverside, is reminiscent of a modern private residence. It has lots of vintage appliances (Toshiba TV, Sony radio, old iron fans...), Khmer statues (caressing the stone elephant brought us much energy), and elegantly striped armchairs. Stepping in this distinguished lobby comes with a special thrill. At check-in, when a myriad of staff treats you as a VIP: with fresh towels, well chilled sparkling wine, and all the charm of Cambodia over the young faces obviously happy to work in one of the very few hotels keeping 100% of its employees even during the low season.
Definitely boutique, the Jaya House has only 36 rooms and suites. Amongst the most spacious in Siem Reap, they have either a balcony or a direct pool/garden access. We booked the first option, in a 38 sq.m Deluxe Room, simply classy, with a lovely tile flooring adding texture and style to the tropical interior. The large writing desk gave us the envy to seat and write our memoirs... The room bathed in a delightfully relaxing and inspiring atmosphere. Maybe because it was not over-decorated, with only some drawings depicting local singers and comedians, bakelite phones from the 1960s, and discreet lotus flowers next to the Malongo Espresso machine using natural filter capsules which can be recycled, providing a full blend, fantastic coffee. We liked this, as much as we appreciated the complimentary minibar refilled every day (and more) with water, soft drinks, and beer. The JBL Horizon radio and Bluetooth speaker provides a clear and powerful sound, quite comparable with Bose. We noted the thickness of the King Size bed mattress: twice the standards of many Siem Reap five-star hotels. We felt like sleeping on a cloud... There is, of course, a large multichannel flat screen TV, which nobody will use; attracted by the many attractions of Siem Reap, Angkor, and of the hotel itself.
There are two pools. The smaller one, intimate and shady, which we could observe from our balcony surrounded by lushly tropical trees. Pleasant and peaceful, this was our favorite. Yet, the principal pool, exposed to the sun, is impressive. This the unique silver tiles swimming pool in Cambodia...and the rest of Asia. What amazed us the most is that it wasn't bling nor tacky at all: the tiles reflecting the sun, in the middle of the carefully kept lawn, is a must be seen. In a sought after part of the city, where the square meter of lands is worth a fortune, the owner purchased the next door, inesthetic building, and demolished it to provide the Jaya House guests an unspoiled view on the lush gardens, neighboring “Ecole Française d'Extrême Orient”, temple and river banks!
There is a small SPA, with a steambath which we used complimentary and by individual appointment. We also noticed, which was a good surprise, that laundry was provided with the hotel's compliments. We ordered wine and soft drinks from the lobby bar, without being charged. It seems that there is not a clear policy on this, but when guests drink with moderation, house drinks and beer are not charged on the bill. Which is particularly fair.
Breakfast does matter. We would rate our experience as a top 5 best in Siem Reap. The buffet is so refined, with sparkling wine, fresh fruit juices, selection of cheese, and completed by a most distinguished “à la carte”. Cooking Eggs Benedicte requires a perfect orchestration: well buttered toasted muffins, a perfect cooking time, and much attention concerning the Hollandaise sauce. Only two hotels in Siem Reap do it as well as Jaya House. Their French ham is simply the very best in the world: three weeks sooner, we had a brunch at Thierry Marx two-Michelin star restaurant Camelia at Mandarin Oriental Paris. Though he serves the best delicatessen, the quality of the ham, cooked following the recipes of our childhood, was superior here. We congratulated the local chef for his skill. The rooftop bar is a must be seen, at sunset: the panorama is magic, and the cocktails are classy.
Last but not least, Jata House River Park does a lot for NGOs and saving the planet. This is even what does matter to Christian, the enthusiastic GM (who took Shinta Mani to the top before launching Jaya House), and his team. Established in Siem Reap for many years, he saw the hotels mushrooming in this small city, and fights again the pollution involved by the booming of tourism. Actively involved, with many other hoteliers, restaurants and pub managers, travel agents, backed by NGOs and some large companies, the hotel issues branded “Refill Not Landfill ” bottles to the guests The back of the bottles feature the names of all of the free-of-charge water refill locations across the city. Knowing that one refillable aluminum bottle can last more than 4 years, a single bottle can replace as many as 4,380 plastic bottles. The “Refill Not Landfill” campaign has already received orders for 65,000+ bottles, and rising, representing a potential saving of 175,200,000 plastic bottles over the next four years!
Enjoying one of the top 10 best hotels in Siem Reap and Cambodia has a price (approximately USD 300 / night during the peak season for a Deluxe Room) which, considering the amazing quality of Jaya House and its high profile, discreet and distinguished guests (the same kind of demanding travellers staying at The Raffles Singapore or Mandarin Oriental Bangkok), we would say that the value for money is well worth the exquisite experience.
This is one of our preferred hotels in Southeast Asia.
JAYA HOUSE RIVER PARK: River Road, Treang Village, Siem Reap
PHONE: +855 639 62 555
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 your 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. If the staff is one of the best
trained, service can be surly at the bar...
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
HILLOCKS HOTEL & SPA (*****):
So new, so nice! Siem Reap goes up to the highest standards of service
and discreet luxury with resorts like this. Splendid location, five
minutes by bicycle to Pub Street. Remarkable service by young and
enthusiastic staff (some of them had been trained by Golden Temple,
which is our reference in Siem Reap). And noticeable design.
SALA LODGES (*****): Siem Reap has got lots of “special lodgings”. From the most improvised (and often worst), till the nec plus ultra concentrating in four or five resorts only. Sala Lodges is the newest and surely one of the best. This is amazing to be so close to all the attractions (Pub Street, temples, airport...) and to discover a dreamed Cambodian village which, instead of being a local Disneyland, comes with much authenticity. That would have been so tempting to introduce a little bit more of this and that, just to bling five-star; the Swiss owner (designer, host, developper...) escaped any “faux pas”. The stars are in the sky, by night, when the frogs sing their odd melody. Luxury seen by Sala Lounge means a supreme comfort, refined service, fine dining, in a worth the trip ethnological resort.
Eleven houses dating from 1956 to 1985, coming all from the region of Siem Reap, have been reunited in a carefully maintained lushly land, among pounds and mini rice paddies. Spreading out over this Garden of Eden, they provide a complete intimacy to the guest.
Our large terrace had a 180° view of the property, but didn't overlook our neighbors. Those coming at Sala Lodges are obviously looking for intimacy. We had actually few if none contact with the other residents. We feared quite a lot that those wooden houses, kept 90% authentic (the lacking 10% are the toilet and bathroom, imperative in a five star resort!), with gaps little bit everywhere in the disjointed floor and wall panels, might be overheated; but two air-conditioners and fans actually do the job, maintaining an ideal temperature. We liked the fan over the terrace, where most of the guests like to sit and let the time go by with a book or tablet in hands: forgetting that there is no TV in the house. A few days away from CNN is one of the bonuses provided by Sala Lodges...
Each house has a booklet with its always picturesque history. Ours was “Bram Bei” (“The house with the horizontal cladding”). Built in 1965 it was recovered from Yeang, in the Russey commune, 50 kilometers from Siem Reap. Its owners, specialized retailers in the sale of “prahoc”, the fermented fish paste, wished to switch to a brick and concrete house designed for the modern family life. Thanks to the owners of Sala Lodges, their house survived the bulldozers and proudly stands in the heart of the resort, a few meters from the lovely and quiet swimming pool. The bedroom is large (38 sq.m), with high ceiling, a large poster bed with a mosquito net, rustic Indian furniture (one cabinet hosts a mini-bar with a daily selection of complimentary soft drinks and beer), and the cozy bathroom equipped with a rain shower. The glass windows have been discretely added to increase the efficiency of the air-conditioner; it might surprise the western visitor, but local people use mosquito nets instead of windows regarded as a “gadget”... The walls have been naturally patinated by the years. This was our daily enchantment to have the thrill of experiencing a wild and hard peasant's life... ventilated, one can of well-chilled beer in hand, reading a book in our rocking chair (the one and only modern piece of contemporary furniture in the room).
Some guests looking for rejuvenation, or on a honeymoon, don't wish to leave the resort during their stay: happy to enjoy the simple yet aromatic Khmer cuisine or tapas, elaborated from local ingredients (some freshly picked up from the organic gardens of the resort), served al fresco at The Long Table & Lounge, or at the breezy Monolith & Bar, where a refined breakfast is served “a la carte” any time of the day. A classy variation on room-service, a romantic fine dinner can be served at the guest's private terrace...
So much refinement, so much authenticity, and such a good service have a price. A "Best New Hotels in The World 2014" by Condé Nast Traveller, Sala Lodges is part of the top ten most expensive hotels in Siem Reap; remaining good value for money on the western standards, at approximately USD 250 – 450 per night, depending a lot on the season and special offers.
SALA LODGES: 498, Salakomroeuk, Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE +855 63 766 699
TAN SOUR RESORT (*****): This exquisite property plays more or less in the same category as Sala Lodges. Both have a dozen of totally private Khmer wooden houses; but those at Tan Sour are at least 50% cheaper, relatively smaller (approximately 35 sq.m; 80 sq. m for the "Jacuzzi Suite"), featuring some pieces of contemporary furniture. Closer from each other, they nevertheless permit a complete intimacy. Though the place is extremely convivial, everybody wants to meet and share; contrary to Sala Lodges where guests didn't communicate that much during our visit. Is it from the warmly welcoming young French couple owning the hotel? Or from the concept of the lobby? Permanently swept by a cool breeze, designed like a “sala” with large red Moleskine sofas, hip concrete tables, an enjoyable cocktails-bar always patronized by merry fellows, and a pleasant restaurant, view a swimming pool and garden view, this is where the heart of the resort beats. Its casually distinguished, easy-going ambiance is reminiscent to the very private jet-setters club resorts in Saint-Martin, Bora-Bora, Mauritius or Saint-Tropez, with a pinch of Deauville. There is no other place like that in Siem Reap. This explains why the just opened Tan Sour, located on a dead end path without any street sign, was full house during our visit in the lowest season, while 90% of the 350 lodgings in the city were either empty, either filling up painfully with groups of low profile Chinese tourists.
Unique for its animation, the resort is also unique for its global design. Adrien and Manon share a passion for the flora: the houses are secluded in a 5000 sq.m ocean of banana, mango, palm trees and flowers. Frogs, geckos, and birds proliferate. There are small ponds with fountains, plus a larger pond in front of some of the largest villas: including a modern house on stilts, which was still under construction the days of our visit, in May 2017, and the “Jacuzzi Suite”.
All houses have more or less the same display: one room, a contemporary king-size bed, deep sofa, discreet furniture, flat screen TV, and a lovely bathroom with fine toiletry. No tub in our room, but a rainfall shower with a powerful pump and a perfect water temperature: which is worth the mention in Siem Reap...and Cambodia in general. There is a separate toilet. The houses are naturally perfumed by the aromatic, quality tropical wood used for their construction. We could relax and work peacefully during our stay. The staff is as kind as discreet. Unless you call, no one will disturb you. This is a dreamed place for couples, and there is no doubt that this will quickly become a top 10 hotels for honeymoon and wedding in Siem Reap.
Some guests don't leave the hotel... and this was our case. Hidden but centrally located, with a reliable and cheap tuk-tuk service, it has so much to offer in itself that it makes the adventurer feel like suddenly sedentary and lazy. There is a billiard room, a SPA where a soothing massage costs USD 22 only, and a jungle-style pool (7 x 14m) with a waterfall designed and built by the owner himself. It has extravagant lighting effects by night; one piece of excentricity amongst others, making Tan Sour doesn't look like a hotel.
The last but not least attraction is F&B. A French gastronomic embassy, it has a really fine restaurant. Not three-Michelin star, but actually bistro. With some favorites like the world famous “Canard à l'Orange” (Duck Breast in Orange Sauce), “Snail Pastry with Cream”, and “Mussels with Garlic Butter”, which are all remarkable. Khmer dishes, like “Spicy Beef Salad” (the meat was ultra tender and aromatic) or “Fried Noodle Shrimps” are not more expensive compared with Pub Street, and the portions are particularly generous. Don't miss Manon's “Chocolate Cake”. She makes all the yummy desserts. A great dinner costs USD 15 – 30 with house wine. More, if you like Dom Perignon or other “grand crus” regularly ordered by the elite travelers recommending the address from mouth to ear.
The average rate for a room is USD 125. Including pick up to/from airport or bus station, a cell phone with credit local calls (very useful in case of emergency or simple inquiry during a tour), and a first class a la carte breakfast.
Tan Sour means Paradise... A name that doesn't lie!
TAN SOUR RESORT: 17254 Salakamreuk village, Sombai Road, Siem Ream, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE: +855 17 454 062
SAKMUT BOUTIQUE HOTEL (*****): Another newbie, but not the least, this luxury boutique hotel, full of charm and with a remarkable service (we have been addressed by name during our stay), stands only 10 minutes maximum by complimentary tuk-tuk from the Old Market / Pub Street, and also to the temples. Moreover, it is located not far from Siem Reap International Airport, in a one one of the cleanest residential area, surrounded by lovely wooden houses and luxury mansions. Arriving at Sakmut Boutique Hotel gives an engaging impression of the wonderful Siem Reap.
The open lobby is very boutique, mixing charming touches of the Khmer culture (with elegantly displayed lotus flowers and an opulent spirit house) with supreme European comfort. Guests don't check-in at the reception counter, but seated in a classy pale-blue sofa, sipping a welcome drink.
From our first contact with the hotel, we noticed that it hires lots of well-trained bilingual staff, poached from the best hotels. It therefore just took a minute to obtain whatever we wanted: should it be at the reception, in the rooms, restaurant or SPA.
Due to its location, the hotel, which we rather like to call a resort, is amazingly quiet. It has a lot of greenery all around. Which doesn't seem to be enough, as the management is growing banana trees on a terrace to make it greener and greener. The fitness center has been set in nature, al fresco: which is unique in Siem Reap. The pool is among the most pleasant in Siem Reap: almost oversized for such a tiny 56 rooms and suites hotel. As far as the Infinity SPA, surrounded by water ponds, with a semi-open roof planted with a tree. Very classy, it offers more space than in many boutique hotels. Besides the three luxurious therapy rooms, it has separate male and female sauna/steam rooms / and a hot Jacuzzi (around 40 degrees) among gardens in a semi-open setting. So well designed! We experience this SPA many times during our stay, as it was actually atmospheric. The Khmer, Chinese and Swedish treatments are more than affordable. We particularly enjoyed the very classic Aromatherapy Massage, utilizing essential oils from local plants, leaves, and flowers, at only USD 35 per hour.
The contemporary rooms and suites are large and appealing. Featuring colors of sand, deep blue, white and light gray, with a most pleasant writing desk behind the king-size bed in Premier Deluxe Rooms. Ours was set like a “cabana”, with a direct access to the pool. Giving us the illusion that we were in Kep or Sihanoukville; not in Siem Reap at all. The Sakmut Boutique Hotel has all of a seaside resort. Getting there, back from the temples, is particularly refreshing and pleasant. The bathrooms are smart: particularly in the Premier Deluxe Rooms, with a Japanese style sliding door separating the bath, with a nice hardwood flooring, from the bedroom. Room rate starts from approximately USD 60 during the low season.
The Candi Restaurant is trendy and cool. We had one of the top 5 best breakfasts a la carte experienced during our long visit to Siem Reap. The bacon served with the fried eggs is unique: we never tasted such a crispy, tasty and light one in our long foody's life. Great bakeries (extra “chocolatines”!) and excellent coffee of course, as expected in a five-star hotel. The orange juice is 100% natural, made from instant pressed organic fruits. We recommend the Asian dishes: like “Mee Cha” Cantonese style yellow noodles stir-fried with seafood, or “Kuy Teav” soup with vegetable and chicken. At lunch or dinner time, don't miss the “Fish Amok”, which we found much better than in “Pub Street” touristy restaurants.
This dreamed hotel is an exception in Siem Reap, with its lavish “VIP Lounge”, uniquely for the happy few guests staying in Premier de Luxe and Oasis Suite. This is, with Sofitel, the unique hotel to propose a club lounge: with complimentary breakfast, afternoon-tea and cocktails.
SAKMUT BOUTIQUE HOTEL: No #441 Phum Krous, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Khrong Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE: +855 63 766 256
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
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
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
GOLDEN TEMPLE VILLA (****L): The “Villa” used to be one of the first
Golden Temple properties established a few years ago in Siem Reap. When
the city was still a haunt for backpackers. Times changed, the quality
of the visitors also. It was logical that the aging “Villa”
upgraded -and relocated- into one of the most charming, luxury yet
affordable boutique hotel.
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.
CAMBANA D'ANGKOR SUITES
of the most relaxing and welcoming boutique hotels in town, combining a
spontaneous service, amazing Khmer design, and a superb F&B,
destinated to some happy-few only: as it has only nine superlative rooms.
An emulation of the Temples of Angkor awaited us, with a richly carved
head-bed, sculpted door frames, a most attractive bathroom with a
sumptuous stone tub and a labyrinthic shower hidden in a stoned corner.
We felt like exploring a temple, just showering after a dusty tuk-tuk
Designed for the individual travelers and the couples, the intimate Cambana D'Angkor Suites has a newly opened sister hotel: Cambana Residence .
Cambana D'Angkor is permanently top
ranked in Tripadvisor.
CAMBANA RESIDENCE (****L): This modern resort, mixing Khmer contemporary design with a touch of French style, is more an annex than a competitor to the Cambana d'Angkor Suites sister hotel. Both hotels feature similar qualities, under the same management. We would rather recommend this pleasant property to the families: it is located just 200 meters away, in the same picturesque location, halfway between the city center and the temples.
We like the canal shaped pool, along with the pleasantly breezy restaurant-bar serving Khmer and international food. The choice and quality are the same as Cambana d'Ankor Suites. The daily Khmer Cooking Class is well attended. The 10 spacious suites suites feature a living-room, with a large screen TV and a fully equipped kitchen with fridge and electric kettle. The awesome bedroom, designed in the modern Khmer style, are well lit and spacious. They all have a balcony with a stone hot-tub. Fitted for short and long stay alike, they are both practical and elegant, reminding us of a modern four-star serviced-apartment.
SPA treatments are available, with an extended and affordable menu.
CAMBANA RESIDENCE: National Road No.6, Salakanseng Village, Svay Dang Kum, Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia.
PHONE: +855 12 677 392 , 70 661 887, 70 644 168 FACSIMILE: +855 63 761 840
CHRONICLE RESIDENCE & SPA (****L):
The flourishing boutique hotels industry in Siem Reap grows pleasant
concepts like this exquisite retreat, not far from Pub Street and the
temples, providing guests with complimentary tuk-tuk service all day
long, to any part of the city. This new, contemporary resort successfully
alternates concrete and warm materials, like teak wood, bamboo, rich
fabrics, and plenty of decorative items related to the province of Siem
Reap. We liked the extravagant crocodile skins over the walls, the
washed stone statues of Buddha and the original pieces of handicraft,
contrasting with the uncluttered, almost monastic design of the large
bedrooms and suites.
GRAND ELYSEE LA RESIDENCE (****L):
The name is
grand, but the hotel is deliciously boutique. Still on its soft
opening, it is located in one of the relatively rural parts of Siem
Reap, with Khmer wooden house, and lushly gardens. Providing a
provincial atmosphere, unexpected so close to the Old French Quarter and Pub
Street. It costs only two dollars by tuk-tuk to get to the touristy
downtown. Though we would rather recommend to pay the same price, and
rent a bicycle to inspect the exciting Sala Kamreuk district all around.
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 29 rooms are actually pleasant. Which hotel of that category (and rate) is equipping all rooms with a Samsung Curved Screen Smart TV (with YouTube, NetFlix...), designer bathroom, and finest bedding? Don't search... Only Golden Temple Hotel does it. 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) Those staying more than two nights should experience the nearby Preah Peay restaurant, under the same management as the hotel: it has the best Royal Khmer Cuisine and Apsara show in all Cambodia!
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 of Cambodia
PHONE: +855 63 760 646, +855 98 655 738
SOKKHAK BOUTIQUE RESORT (****): 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
CHHAY LONG ANGKOR BOUTIQUE (****): The intimate, atypical lobby, with its collection of statues of Buddha, makes this delicious property different from the boutique hotels mushrooming in Siem Reap. It is still in its soft opening, with all the bonuses involved in a new hotel. Miss Ponn, the manager, worked for Accor and Raffles. She trained her anticipating staff accordingly to her five-star experience. Launching a hotel pairs with an enthusiasm, which we found everywhere and everytime at Chhay Long.
The rooms are spacious (from 38 sq.m) and tastefully designed. Contrasting with the simplicity of the lobby, they transported us in a modern transposition of the temples of Angkor atmosphere. Quiet and intimate, equipped with a very comfy king-size bed, they all feature Smart LCD TV, allowing to watch YouTube and the best Internet streaming. From our experience, only the plush Golden Temple five-star hotels bring this technology to their rooms. There is, of course, WiFi, and well-stocked minibar. The awesome bathrooms have rain shower with a powerful water pressure: which still comes as a luxury in Siem Reap. What we actually loved in the rooms are the artistic drawings applied directly on the wall by valued artists, and depicting scenes of the Khmer life and traditions. In our room, it was painted in gold over a deep blue support, which we found extremely classy. The same fresco, on a larger display, decorates the attractive pool, within a patio next to the welcoming Morodock SPA, lobby, and restaurant.
A place for a simple, traditional, savory Khmer cuisine, the “Blue Lotus” has a name reminding us of the Adventures of Tintin, in a nostalgic Orient still preserved in the magic city of Siem Reap. The specialties are the mirror of the hotel itself: family oriented, served by the kindest -and prettiest- waitresses ever. This is the place for a good -and safe- pork BBQ, Fish Amok, and tempting vegetarian dishes. It is, in term of price, on par with the small restaurants all around: definitely inexpensive. And the memorable kindness of the staff is priceless. A good breakfast is served at “Blue Lotus”, with an authentic Khmer orientation.
Miss Ponn wants to rise her boutique hotel to the level of a five star in term of services, yet charging a discounted four-star rate. Checking the enthusiastic reviews in Booking.com and Tripadvisor shows that she already reached her aim.
If you like being pampered like in a private Khmer house, this is the best, very central address.
CHHAY LONG ANGKOR BOUTIQUE: Steung Thmei, Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE: +85563 766 515
MEKONG ANGKOR PALACE (****): Centrally located, a five-minute walk to Pub Street, this mid-range touristic hotel offers many bonuses. Quietly settled at the bottom end of a lane, it is surprisingly calm. Many rooms have a large, colonial-style balcony, equipped with comfy chairs and a small table. It has much staff in the reception area, and housekeeping is one of the most efficient in Siem Reap: we had our room cleaned every day just back from breakfast, while much more chic hotels do the job in the afternoon. Last but not least, the value for money is excellent: though the three-star superior rooms starting from USD 25 are still a little bit shabby, the refurbished deluxe section is nicer, with ritzy marble bathrooms, plus a stone-tub in the large and elegant rooms.
We occupied one of them. The rate was approximately USD 50. Quite attractive in this area where the heart of the city beats day and night. Including breakfast, which we enjoyed at poolside, rather than in the quite impersonal restaurant. We liked the extremely comfortable, actually five-star kingsize mattress. The colonial-style furniture. Lots of plugs to use our PC and charge our telephone. And a good WiFi signal everywhere. We noted that the charge for laundry was only one dollar per kilogram. Actually, everything was perfect at Mekong Angkor Palace. With a special mention to the secluded pool, and the small garden connecting to the newly beautified lobby.
The pretty receptionists, dressed in Khmer silk uniform, are so welcoming and efficient. At least two of them, often more, were permanently on duty. Contrary to many mid-range hotels in Siem Reap, they never keep the guest waiting.
Thumbs up to this efficient, impeccable hotel which will satisfy the tourist visiting the temples (there is a tour operator at guests' disposal in the lobby). Our tip to couples: for a slightly higher rate, consider the honeymoon-oriented Cambana D'Angkor Suites, under the same excellent management.
MEKONG ANGKOR PALACE: #021, Sivatha Blvd, Svay Dangkum Commune, Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE: +855 63 96 36 36
SALASARA (****): One of the top 20 best hotels in Siem Reap according to Tripadvisor and Booking.com most reliable guest rating. We enjoyed a relaxing and extremely pleasant stay in this secluded hotel, located not far to the action (Pub Street can be reached by a short walk).
This lush oasis of tranquility has multiple qualities.
The most appreaciated one is the staff. Young, as anticipating and refined as in a five-star hotel, it boosts this natural kindness which gives the envy to come back, again and again. This is surely the reason why Salasara has got so many regular guests: treated like members of the family by Dany, the enthusiastic GM, and his nice looking feminine staff who always greeted us joining hands for a gracious Sampeah, brought us fresh perfumed napkins each time we came back from a ride, and so proud to know a few words in our language (French). This obviously lucky and much involved team is fluent in English.
The hotel is three-star superior with its first category of “Superior” rooms: simple, yet offering convenient space and comfort. Perfect for those on two days tour to the nearby temples. Should you come for romance or relaxation, this is the ideal hotel. Just rather book a “Deluxe” room, designed like pleasant pavilions, set on the ground floor along a green alley, next to the superb swimming pool with its artistic Khmer frescoes. We liked the gold and red lacquerware over our large bed: it gives much character to the rooms. There is a large sofa, which can host a third person or children. The bathroom is also appealing, with discreet mosaics and a black stone sink. That category of rooms, with a private relaxation area al fresco (ideal for smokers), ranks in the four-star category, yet surprisingly fairly priced. This explains why this is one of the few hotels in Siem Reap showing high occupancy during the low season.
The laundry and minibar are inexpensive. Each room has a Samsung flat screen TV, complimentary tea/coffee facility, and WiFi.
The Sala Restaurant & Bar area, next to the reception, is smart and convivial. With long flowered sofas and small tables with a view of the surrounding greenery. Prices are copied on those at pub street. We noticed, after visiting a dozen of four star hotels, that the average bill for a draft beer was USD 3; here it costs only USD 1. Most of the dishes are around USD 5. This is a simple local cuisine, with much savor and lightness. The chicken broth with lemongrass is actually delicious. The breakfast is a la carte, copious and yummy.
There was a SPA under construction during our visit in May 2017.
Those looking for a warm, relaxed hotel at a fair price, and lots of smiles and plenty of kindness will love this urban boutique hotel at first sight.
SALASARA: 120, Angkor Night Market Street, Stueng Thmei Village, Krong Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE: +855 87 756 168
ANGKOR BOUTIQUE TROPIC HOTEL (****): One of the most lovable boutique hotels in Siem Reap, with a superb location at the bottom end of a straight path, surrounded by local houses in a natural environment. We are on the road to Angkor, accessible within only 5 minutes by bicycle or tuk-tuk. The Angkor National Museum is a 10-minute walk away.
We liked the human size and awesome display of the hotel, featuring only 20 rooms. All with pool view, and half of them with a direct access to the landscaped gardens. We stayed in an attractive room at the first (and top) floor, with a large terrace, comfortable garden furniture, and a panorama of the rich flora surrounding the neighboring Khmer wooden houses. Due to the low occupency in Siem Reap during the rainy season, we swam and relaxed alone on our sundeck almost all the time. Giving us the impression to stay in a private house. The design is classy, actually residential. The stones over the façade, the little bit old-fashion design of the really beautiful and large salt-water pool, the discreet yet always responsive staff: all participated in making us feel like hosted by old friends in their villa on the French Riviera. That was a most pleasant impression.
The rooms are large, tastefully decorated with a classy silk bedhead and cushions, small Khmer popular-art items on display next to the flat screen TV, a double sofa, and a small safety box. The spacious bathroom has a shower plus a king-size ocean-blue tub. The flowered-shape sink brings an extra note of unexpected elegance in such an affordable hotel, where a room costs between USD 30 and 60, depending on the season.
There is a small, inexpensive restaurant opposite to the pool, serving a homey Khmer and Thai cuisine, with some international dishes.
“2017 Travellers' Choice” by Tripadvisor, this family run business, managed by Bruce, a Scotsman, and the charming Pukky, ambassadress of the legendary Thai hospitality, shines like a treasure of kindness and tranquility in the center of Siem Reap.
ANGKOR BOUTIQUE TROPIC HOTEL: Angkor Road or Pokambor Azv, Siem Reap 17259, Kingdom of Cambodia
PHONE: +855 63 966 399 , +855 99 999 735 FACSIMILE: +855 63 966 299
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
OF THE BEST RESTAURANTS