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  4. Where To Stay In Siem Reap: The Best Hotels & Areas

Where To Stay In Siem Reap: The Best Hotels & Areas

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Siem Reap is a bustling town in northwest Cambodia on the edge of the Tonle Sap Lake. It acts as the jumping off point to visit the majestic Angkor Archaeological Park, which includes the famous Angkor Wat temple complex. The park is expansive, and you will need several days to fully experience it, especially as the climate is hot and humid. It therefore makes sense to find a comfortable hotel. Read on for where to stay in Siem Reap.

Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor

Opened in 1932, the Raffles Grand d’Angkor is both a heritage landmark and a truly grand luxury hotel with state-of-the-art amenities including one of the largest swimming pools in Cambodia, a well-equipped gym and a top-of-the-range spa with six treatment rooms. The property is situated halfway between downtown and the Angkor Archaeological Park, facing the Royal Gardens in the leafy French Quarter and close to the Siem Reap River.

It is possible to take a helicopter from the airport to the hotel with temple views along the way. The main building is a huge colonial edifice, and the hotel’s history can be seen everywhere, from beautiful 19th-century prints of Cambodian life in the marble floored hallways to the original wooden elevator in the lobby.

The rooms are characterized by ark-wood floors, immaculate faux-antique furnishings including retro desk lamps and huge comfortable double or twin beds with views over the Royal Gardens or the pool, as well as all the expected modern facilities such as air-conditioning, smart ceiling lighting, safes, minibars and coffee machines. The modern bathrooms are compact but bright and spotless, tiled with Italian marble, and featuring large walk-in showers. Some rooms have balconies on which a candle-lit dinner can be arranged.

The Restaurant 1932, popular with locals as much as hotel guests, is one of the best places in town to sample Khmer cuisine, handed down from chefs who worked at the Royal Palace, as well as modern takes on classic Khmer dishes, along with an equally sumptuous selection of Western dishes. The Cafe d’Angkor is bright and air-conditioned complete with an outdoor patio overlooking the pool.

Traditional afternoon tea is served in The Conservatory, which also overlooks the pool and the garden. The best place for a drink is the atmospheric Elephant Bar with its extensive wine list and humidor. The hotel also offers cooking classes to its guests with a visit to a local market, and several curated journeys including a Vespa tour to the Angkor monuments, a shopping excursion via tuk-tuk, complete with butler, and a tour to the workshops of several local artists.

Shinta Mani Angkor

Shinta Mani Angkor is a small, carefully designed luxury boutique hotel close to the heart of Siem Reap, presenting 39 compact, extremely elegant rooms that brim with state-of-the art simplicity and are tastefully decorated with contemporary Khmer art and photography. Located in the leafy French Quarter of Siem Reap, the Shinta Mani is just a 10-minute walk from the Old Market area and about 15 minutes by tuk-tuk or taxi from the Angkor Archaeological Park ticket office.

The entire property is carefully color-coordinated in black, white, brown and orange tones; its polished concrete hallways lined with large canvasses and towering sculptures of contemporary Khmer art. The hotel is divided into two wings, one with a long and narrow pool surrounded by palm trees. There is also a small gym, and the Khmer Tonics Spa offering Thai and Khmer signature massages, aromatherapy massages, body wraps, body scrubs, hand and foot care and therapeutic facials.

The standard rooms are compact and feature either a large and very comfortable double bed or two equally snug queen-sized beds. Everything is kept in black and white, including the artwork on the walls and the incredible photographs of Angkor ruins mounted in recesses within the ceilings above the beds. The immaculate, bright and minimalist bathrooms each come with a rain shower, and the rooms feature either a small balcony, a patio with a miniature garden, or a terrace opening onto the pool.

The in-house Korya Restaurant serves gourmet Khmer cuisine and a small selection of western salads and main dishes. The seating inside is air-conditioned and comfortable but diners can also opt to sit outside on floating cushioned platforms that are suspended from the ceiling with views of the street life.

Treeline Urban Resort

Treeline Urban Resort is a luxurious haven just footsteps from the river. Pared down but packed with plenty of Khmer soul, its stylish rooms alone would make a charmed setting for post-temple lounging sessions. But this laid-back, eco-friendly bolt hole has plenty more to offer, from its rooftop pool to a lively noodle bar and an eye-catching art collection.

Clean-lined and whitewashed, rooms have a hint of urban edge, thanks to dark-stone floors and brushed concrete walls. Locally sourced textiles and objets d’art, including burnished plant pots and hand-carved hangings, add a certain bohemian spirit. Deluxe living rooms have peaceful courtyard views and an attractive outdoor living space with a day-bed – just the ticket after a day of exploring. If you’re in the mood for a long soak opt for the Executive Suite and its inviting bathtub.

The hotel’s rooftop pool is spectacular and emerald, with sunset views over the river and Siem Reap’s Old Town beyond. There is a row of sun loungers for gentle idling, and a poolside bar. The stylish Suri Spa has four airy treatment rooms decorated with locally made ceramics and architectural plants. Treatments such as a coffee scrub with tamarind and honey, or a hot compress made from Khmer herbs are prepared on site by the therapists, who harness the powers of essential oils extracted from locally grown, organic plants.

Heritage Suites Hotel

French architectural elegance meets tropical luxury in this quiet, romantic boutique retreat near Siem Reap’s royal quarter. Spacious villa suites with private gardens exude 1960s retro cool with Khmer design elements. The hotel is located next to Siem Reap’s oldest pagoda, Wat Polanka, two blocks from the Siem Reap River, and five minutes by tuk-tuk to the Old Market area.

The Royal Gardens and the Angkor Museum are within walking distance, and it is a mere 15-minute ride to Angkor Wat. The main building, which houses the lobby and restaurant, has enough heritage elements to call it French colonial style, but there’s also a strong modern Cambodian vibe harking back to King Sihanouk’s golden age of the 1960s, particularly noticeable in the furnishing of the rooms and suites. There is a saltwater pool, flanked by sun loungers and a spa with three treatment rooms.

There are just six compact entry-level rooms with hardwood floors and high ceilings, but most guests go for the 20 spacious open-plan suites which exude a 1960s’ cool ambiance coupled with modern amenities. The suites too have high ceilings and feature skylights as well as small private gardens with rain showers and a seating area, some with private plunge pools. Inside, the bathroom facilities, from the massive free-standing black marble tubs to the private steam room, are elegant and spotless.

The main building is almost entirely given over to culinary delights. The downstairs Cocktail Bar & Lounge offers a comfortable seating area with tables arranged alongside the windows where you can enjoy a light lunch, dinner and an excellent à la carte breakfast. The mezzanine floor above is dedicated to fine dining.

The Heritage Restaurant has the feel of a classic, smart French eatery with views down into the bar and lounge. The food is excellent, a great combination of Khmer and European dishes and flavors. The Pool Bar offers cocktails and light snacks and is the place for a pre-dinner drink.

Off-the-beaten-track luxury experiences include a guided ATV trip, a champagne and canapé sunset cruise on the Tonlé Sap Lake, and a luxury tent experience near the Angkor era river carvings of Kbal Spean.

Amansara

Amansara started life as King Sihanouk’s elegant royal guesthouse, which then became a hotel, but was abandoned in the face of revolution in 1975. Since its most recent reopening in 2002, the building has been lovingly restored and significantly extended with 12 pool suites around a grassy courtyard that segues perfectly into the quietly luxurious ambience of yesteryear, making it one of the best hotels in Siem Reap.

The staff are recruited from the city’s best hospitality schools and bring genuine charm to their highly efficient service. There are two pools including a lap pool. The one-story property has hosted Jackie Kennedy, Peter O’Toole, Charles De Gaulle and Angelina Jolie, all drawn by its great service and absolute privacy.

The Amansara is well placed in the French Quarter, across the road from the Raffles Grand d’Angkor. It is a 10-minute tuk-tuk ride to the Old Market area and the Angkor monuments. You will be picked up and dropped off at the airport (a 15-minute ride away) in one of King Sihanouk’s 1960s Mercedes. The Amansara prides itself on the many unique experiences it has designed, from yoga lessons to more original wellness treatments including cranial osteopathy.

Cooking classes can be arranged at a village house. Other activities include trips on the Tonlé Sap Lake in the hotel’s own boats, and meeting with local cultural movers or international Cambodia experts. The large rooms boast a similarly elegant retro-style as the rest of the hotel, with heavy, dark furniture amid smoothly finished white concrete walls. Floor-to-ceiling windows lead onto a private courtyard with high walls. An integrated sound system and a tablet in each adds a modern touch.

Some rooms come with their own plunge pools. The bathroom facilities are integrated into the living space, with only the toilet and rain shower closed off. They also feature large baths and twin vanities. Once a dance hall, the Amansara’s restaurant is spectacular, a circular room with a domed ceiling.

The menu features a thoughtful selection of Khmer and Western dishes. Guests get two à la carte breakfasts, one at the crack of dawn before heading off to the temples for sunrise, a second breakfast at around 11, either at the hotel or in a rustic Khmer village house inside the Angkor Archaeological Park. The best place for a pre-dinner cocktail is by the property’s original pool, a great spot to soak up whatever echoes remain of the funky, free-wheeling ambience of the 1960s.

Maison Polanka

Maison Polanka prides itself on privacy, space and peace, and is an ideal residence for families or small groups wanting to explore the Angkor temples. It is located in a quiet area of Siem Reap, next door to Wat Polanka, which is open to visitors. The Old Market area can be reached via tuk-tuk in less than 10 minutes and the Angkor temples are 15 minutes away.

Once the French-Khmer owners’ family home, Maison Polanka is now a heritage boutique retreat, nine rooms are situated in three tastefully restored traditional Khmer wooden houses in a huge garden, complete with a pool and a spa in its own dedicated thatched hat. Dedicated massage beds in the open space underneath Khmer House can be used by guests who don’t need the indoor air-conditioning. Maison, the main building, which houses six of the rooms, was built on the property, while the second building, Khmer House, which has just one large room, dates back to the 1940s and was brought to town from a nearby village.

A third building, the Garden Cottage, originally from the 1960s, features two connecting rooms for families. Rooms and common areas are decorated and furnished with tasteful antiques from France, Cambodia and China; contemporary Khmer art; and wonderfully restored Art Deco furniture. Each of the nine spotless rooms at Maison Polanka is unique, although each comes with air-conditioning, a safe, Wi-Fi and eclectic Art Deco furniture.

The absence of televisions makes for a relaxed heritage atmosphere – everything is geared towards getting away from it all. The Green room, the largest in Maison, leads onto a broad veranda with views over the pool and the sala. The large room in Khmer House has high ceilings and is perfect for a family stay. The bathrooms are spacious and well designed with hardwood shelves and generous shower areas. Modern fittings go well with the retro ambience and everything is in top condition.

Bicycles, breakfast and afternoon tea are included in the room price. The dinner menu changes every day and includes a wide variety of excellent Khmer cuisine with an emphasis on vegetarian and fish dishes. Cooking classes are available.

Navutu Dreams Resort & Wellness Retreat

Navutu Dreams is an intimate and quiet luxury resort offering 28 Mediterranean-style spacious and bright rooms and villas around three pools, along with an extensive wellness program designed to detox both body and mind. The resort has its own small fleet of tuk-tuks which will take you to the Old Market area and on the 30-minute journey to the temples.

Rooms and small villas are clustered around the pools and the grass-roof restaurant. Well-kept lawns are dotted with Angkor era replica statues, and quiet walkways lined with palm trees connect the rooms with the lobby, spa, gym and yoga room. The three pools, two of them salt water, are the most outstanding features, but it is the wellness side of Navutu Dreams that sets the property apart from other high-end resorts in Siem Reap.

Here, you can indulge in various regenerating detox treatments, including crystal healing, Tibetan bowl sound bathing, Pranic healing, chakra balancing and reiki to reduce stress, as well as traditional Chinese medicine practices such as acupuncture and shiatsu. Three- to seven-day wellness and yoga packages include meditation and an organic diet. There is also a spa, a small gym and a dedicated room for morning and evening yoga sessions. Khmer cooking classes can be arranged.

The standard rooms are spacious and bright and each offers air-conditioning, a television, a safe, minibar and bathrobes. All rooms have a veranda and a private garden as well as rain showers in generous and immaculate bathrooms. The restaurant, located under a thatched roof between two of the pools, serves mostly international cuisine, particularly Italian dishes. The ingredients are as ‘wellness-centric’ as possible. Everything comes fresh from the market and is, where possible, organic.

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This entry was posted April 27, 2021