Cambodia isn’t all about budget. In fact, its luxury market is on the brink of booming as a string of top international names line up to land in the kingdom. As well as boasting well-known brands, the Cambodian capital is also bursting to the seams with boutique beauties. Here are some of the best luxury hotels in Phnom Penh.
Raffles Le Royal
Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh | Courtesy Raffles le Royal
Wearing the crown of Cambodia’s finest five-star historic hotel, Raffles Le Royal first opened in 1929 and is set in grandiose grounds that pay testament to its colonial roots. Today, it wonderfully fuses colonial, traditional Khmer and Art Deco style throughout its 175 rooms, two restaurants and elegant Elephant Bar. A string of stars, including former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, have also stayed at the hotel, which has retained many of its original features.
Another familiar five-star brand can be found in the capital in the form of Sofitel. Set in sprawling grounds that take in 201 rooms, two swimming pools, a fitness centre, spa and various restaurants – think Italian, Japanese, French and more. In keeping with Sofitel’s French roots, colonial French elegance runs throughout this spacious hotel that seems a million miles away from Phnom Penh’s hustle and bustle.
The InterContinental is celebrating two decades in the Cambodian capital. Aimed more at the business market, this 346-room hotel is slightly out of town – in Cambodian terms. It’s actually a 15-minute tuk tuk ride from the centre. Kitted out in traditional Cambodian style, given a contemporary tweak, the hotel is also home to several restaurants, an art gallery, spa, fitness centre and outdoor pool.
Also steeped in history, this hotel that overlooks the Mekong River was born in the mid-1960s when King Norodom Sihanouk recruited Lu Ban Hap – a champion of the New Khmer Architecture movement – to create an iconic hotel for the capital. In 1969, Hotel Cambodiana was born. In 1970, King Sihanouk was overthrown by the Lon Nol government, and the property was used as military barracks. When peace was restored in Cambodia, the hotel was brought back to its former glory and today boasts 249 rooms and amenities including a spa and sports centre.
For a small slice of luxury tucked away in the chaotic capital, La Rose Suites ticks all the boxes. The stylish boutique hotel has 68 rooms, with one- and two-bedroom suites available, a tropical garden, salt water swimming pool – with a separate kids’ pool. A restaurant serves Khmer cuisine, with cooking classes also available. And all guests receive a complementary one-hour traditional Khmer massage during their stay. Bonus!
As a stalwart of Phnom Penh’s boutique hotel scene, Pavilion is a charming hidden retreat. Once home to Queen Kossamak, late King Norodom Sihanouk’s mother, the renovated 1920s property oozes colonial French class. The 26-room hotel is comprised of the original house and three restored outer buildings. A swimming pool forms the centrepiece, with sofas and beds dotted among the tropical garden.
While the staff are amazing, the rooms scream urban contemporary and the food is fantastic, it’s really all about the rooftop pool at Patio. The modern 45-room hotel may only be seven floors tall, but thanks to Phnom Penh remaining relatively low, for now, Patio’s rooftop pool affords incredible views of the surrounding city. Taking in neighbouring Wat Lanka, across to the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers, lounging by the infinity pool offers great insight into how development has this city gripped.
Phnom Penh’s luxury offerings are set to get a boost soon with the imminent opening of Rosewood Phnom Penh. Slated to open its doors in early 2018, the hotel towers over Raffles Le Royal, taking up the top 14 floors of Vattanac Capital Tower in the city’s burgeoning central business district. With its peak at 188 metres, the five-star brand is home to a wellness and fitness centre, swimming pool and restaurant and bar with a deck that promises spectacular views across Phnom Penh.