Cambodia Travel Guide

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Park Hyatt Transforms Siem Reap's Hotel de la Paix

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  Site Where: Sivutha Boulevard, Siem Reap, Cambodia
August 20, 2013 at 9:15 AM | by | Comments (0)

We’ve past the midway point of 2013 already, and the hotel world still has some substantial work to do if it is going to live up to all the planned/promised openings for this year. Park Hyatt did its part at the beginning of this month with the opening of its hotel in Siem Reap, the gateway city to the Angkor region in Cambodia.

While it may have shortened the list of openings by one, it has just as fast made our personal list of hotels to visit longer: fashioned out of the classic Hotel de la Paix, there are 108 super stylish rooms around a central courtyard with an ancient Banyan Tree, and gardens that contain an equally stylish free-form swimming pool.

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Sustainable Luxury At Song Saa Resort Island in Cambodia

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  Site Where: #108e1 Street 19, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
February 12, 2013 at 5:53 PM | by | Comments (0)

After a weekend of snow and cold, you might be looking for your escape to warmer temps and relaxing atmosphere. Imagine trading your snow shovel for a snorkel and boots for a bikini (or board shorts) and head to a private island off the coast of Cambodia. The ultra-luxury Song Saa Resort has your cure for not only winter doldrums, but year round stress.

Cambodia's first private island luxury resort will be setting the tone for resorts to come with their private villas perched over a marine reserve. Technically, it isn't a private island since it spans over 2 separate islands that are connected by a foot bridge, but it most definitely is private and luxurious.

Each of the 27 villas are inspired by Cambodian fishing villages, and the resort features beach-side, rainforest and over-water buildings. Unique in their own way, every one boasts thatch roofs, rough-hewn natural timbers and driftwood furnishings. Imagine waking to the gentle sound of the sea directly below your bed and soaking up the 360-degree views of the Gulf of Thailand. Yeah, this is paradise.

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And the Award For Best-Dressed Christmas Tree Goes To...

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  Site Where: 1 Vithei Charles De Gualle Khum Syay Dan , SIEM REAP, Cambodia
December 22, 2011 at 11:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

...the Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia! We got sent a photo yesterday of their colorful, bright, silk-adorned tree, which manages to make our tree at home look about as elegant as a bundle of twigs with a star on top.

But then again, we don't normally hire a Paris-educated couturier to design our tree, now do we?

Internationally-acclaimed designer Eric Raisina, who relocated to Siam Reap because of the region's native silk, and who has created textiles for the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Lacroix, decided to use the lotus flower as his inspiration for the tree, citing its associations with "purity." Hats off to him, because this is definitely one of the coolest trees we've seen yet, with its bright blossoms and irregular shape, looking like it sprouted straight out of the hotel lobby floor.

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My Own Private Island: Cambodia's Song Saa Sweethearts

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  Site Where: Cambodia
March 3, 2011 at 2:06 PM | by | Comment (1)

All this week, HotelChatter contributor Eric Rosen will be taking us on a guided tour of the globe’s most exclusive, luxurious, over-the-top vacation retreats in our new Private Islands Series. We’ll venture from the Bahamas to Fiji, from Africa’s crystalline Lake Tanganyika to the emerald waters of Cambodia, and everywhere in between. That is, everywhere you can be ruler of your own little island.

Last month we told you about a resort in Cambodia's jungle hinterlands in our Glamping Series, but since this week we're heading to the tiny country's undiscovered islands for a preview of the next exclusive resort in our series on Private Islands. Song Saa started construction last March, and won't be open until November, but that doesn't mean we can't tell you all about it and stoke your wanderlust with a few choice photos.

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Places To Get Your Glamp On: Four Rivers Floating Lodge, Cambodia

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  Site Where: Tatai, Cambodia
February 11, 2011 at 10:31 AM | by | Comment (1)

All this week, we’ll be trekking across the globe with HotelChatter contributor Eric Rosen as he tells us about the most exciting new glamping experiences out there. From the savannahs of Africa to the shores of Western Australia to the peaks of Patagonia, this is a full-fledged, five-star adventure to the most thrilling and luxurious camping resorts in the world.

So far this week, we’ve been to the savannahs of Africa, the Western Australia beach, the mountains of Patagonia and the Dubai desert. For the final installment of this edition of our Glamping Series we travel to the jungly hinterlands of the Cambodia-Thailand border…and the watery wonder that is the Four Rivers Floating Lodge.

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Dining With Horses: The Nature Lodge Lives Up to the Nature Part of Its Name

September 15, 2009 at 5:16 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last year, Claire Duffet gave us the low-down on the Siem Reap Hotel Scene. But this year, she's taking us off the beaten path to some of Cambodia's Remote Hotels. Any questions or suggestions? Let us know.

Mondulkiri is one of our favorite places in Cambodia. Just south of Ratanakiri in eastern Cambodia, the two provinces make up the country's remotest and most rural region, where ethnic minorities and waterfalls abound. Mondulkiri's capital, Sen Monorom, is set atop a plateau, making it the coolest and most comfortable place in the hot, sticky Southeast Asian nation.

Instead of wet jungle, you get rolling hills, sparse trees, and instead of hardened city residents, you get lovely locals who will welcome you into their homes or offer you a ride on the village elephant.

About five minutes away from the main town, which is a challenging, uphill, 12-hour drive from Phnom Penh, is an oasis-within-an-oasis, Nature Lodge.

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Knai Bang Chatt brings WASPy to SE Asia

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  Site Where: Kep Beach, Kep, Kampot, Cambodia
September 11, 2009 at 8:58 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last year, Claire Duffet gave us the low-down on the Siem Reap Hotel Scene. But this year, she's taking us off the beaten path to some of Cambodia's Remote Hotels. Any questions or suggestions? Let us know.

While visiting Kep’s many hotels, it’s quickly apparent that the seaside town--as opposed to sprawling, seedy Sihanoukville--wants to be upscale and subdued. Refreshingly for Cambodia, development here for the most part, seems slow, careful, and planned. One hotel owner told us he was banned from building on the road where King-Father Sihanouk’s old mansions are located. We were happy to hear it.

Listed among Conde Nast Traveler's Hot List 2007, and with rates that start at US$110 a night, Knai Bang Chatt isn't trying to be anything but the very best. The setting is sublime -- three main buildings sit upon a landscaped lawn estate with a sizeable horizon pool accompanied by a wooden lovely, open-air restaurant along the waterfront that serves up fine, very healthy, food.

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Stay in High-End Bungalows in Pol Pot's Hometown

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  Site Where: Democrat Street, Kampong Thom, Kampong Thom, Cambodia
September 10, 2009 at 11:23 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last year, Claire Duffet gave us the low-down on the Siem Reap Hotel Scene. But this year, she's taking us off the beaten path to some of Cambodia's Remote Hotels. Any questions or suggestions? Let us know.

Kampong Thom is usually the town travelers pass through en route from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Set on the Stung Sen river, this backwater town is also the jumping off point for visiting Sambor Preykuk, ruins from the Chenla period predating the famed Angkorian temples to the north, as well as Phnom Santuk, a rundown hilltop temple similar but inferior to Udong in Kandal Province.

It’s also the area from which Cambodia’s most notorious despot, Khmer Rouge "Brother Number One" Pol Pot, hailed. About a half million people reside in the province, Cambodia’s centermost, and its terrain is how one envisions the country’s landscape, with flat, green rice fields being plowed by villagers on water buffalo extending as far as the eye can see.

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Ratannakiri's Terres Rouge Offers More Than Red Dirt

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  Site Where: Boeung Kansaign, Banlung, Ratannakiri, Cambodia
September 9, 2009 at 9:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last year, Claire Duffet gave us the low-down on the Siem Reap Hotel Scene. But this year, she's taking us off the beaten path to some of Cambodia's Remote Hotels. Any questions or suggestions? Let us know.

Banlung is Cambodia's most far-flung provincial capital and retains the Wild West atmosphere of a rough, rural town that once gripped the entire country. It's at least 12 hours' drive (or a precarious propeller-plane flight) from Phnom Penh, over roads that are mud pits during rainy season and dust clouds during dry season.

For those who make it to the country's northeasternmost region, tucked in the jungly "dragon's tail" between Laos and Vietnam are rewarded when they arrive at Terres Rouge, a lakeside resort set on expansive, green grounds with a pool, spa, and a restaurant with fantastic French cuisine.

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A Beautiful Hotel, Minus the Unexploded Bombs and Human Remains

September 8, 2009 at 9:24 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last year, Claire Duffet gave us the low-down on the Siem Reap Hotel Scene. But this year, she's taking us off the beaten path to some of Cambodia's Remote Hotels. Any questions or suggestions? Let us know.

If Cambodia isn’t remote enough for you, there are regions within this Vietnam-Thailand sandwich that are even more difficult to access, with hours-long rides on bumpy, red dirt roads from the nearest airport cities of either Siem Reap or Phnom Penh.

However, some of the lodgings hidden deep inside Cambodia’s jungles, in its remote towns, or atop its forested hills, offer historic charm, quiet beauty, and luxurious rewards for those willing to brave the dust, heat, and blasting karaoke music on some of the world’s most uncomfortable bus rides.

This week, we’ll bring you five of the countries most remarkable—and inaccessible—luxury hotels.

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Siem Reap Hotel Guide: Hotel De La Paix's Hidden Water Wonderland

Where: Sivuthva Boulevard, Siem Reap, Cambodia
October 24, 2008 at 9:56 AM | by | Comments (0)

A few weeks ago, we discussed the merits of Hotel De La Paix from afar. This week, we had the chance to step inside the hotel and snoop around. Despite a distinct feeling of inferiority like only the French can impose, the experience was pretty sweet.

Our takeaway? Other than enjoying the avant garde installations in the hotel's swank lounge and discussing with a cocktail waitress the myriad wildlife living in the giant Bayon tree in the center of the hotel's courtyard, the thing we most enjoyed about the place was its pool. This thing is ridiculous.

Hidden on the hotel's second floor, it has everything: a bridge, an infinity ledge overlooking the ground-floor courtyard, poolside beds and cabanas, benches and tables in the water, and a series of tree-laden canals that made us wonder how many lovers have taken advantage of the privacy all the nooks and crannies afford.

Whereas the rest of the hotel has this understated, Egypt-meets-Art-Deco feel to it, everything about the pool is over the top. And we like it.

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Siem Reap Hotel Guide :: Raffles, In Contrast, Is Fit For A Queen

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  Site Where: 1 Vithei Charles de Gaulle , Siem Reap, Cambodia
October 23, 2008 at 9:15 AM | by | Comments (0)

Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor provides what's expected of it...no more and no less. Like Amansara nearby, the hotel focuses on understatement to liken itself to royal tastes and emphasize its subtle class. The hotel's sterile, colonial exterior continues inside the building's hallways and guest rooms. The result is a removed feeling from the air and bustle of Siem Reap--welcome to some and disconcerting to others.

Still, it's the best way to see how high society of yesterday (and today) experience Angkor, from a safe, removed distance. The newly-built extension continues the hotel's austere feel that the more critical might (and do) call "uninspired." The rear gardens resemble a place where Queen Elizabeth might let her basset hounds roam. And the buiscuits served at tea resemble something she might serve her guests, though the confections seem a bit too rich for such a disciplined woman.