7 Boutique Hotels in Phnom Penh
Cambodia's capital offers an increasing number of tastefully retro hotel options. By Holly McDonald
Published on Jul 16, 2013
Oodles of atmosphere, nods to history and personalized service—Phnom Penh’s recently opened boutiques cater to discerning independent travelers. In deference to this charming capital’s French colonial past, many of these newer properties are decked out in a style reflecting an earlier era. And while the city’s 1960’s-era buildings—as well as their 1980’s copies—are fast disappearing, developers are taking advantage of the surviving structures.
Governor’s House (Villa 3, Mao Tse Tung, Boeung Keng Kong I; +855 23 987 025; governorshouse.net) is the result of Belgian interior designer and antiques collector Alain Garnier transforming a modern house into a 12-room mansion in the style of a French colonial building. A Marie Antoinette chandelier dangles from a three-story-high atrium in the lobby, while wood-louvred shutters and archways are nods to the period.
The 12-room Sangkum (35A St. 75; +855 23 987 775; thesangkum.com) is an exquisite 1990’s house, carefully renovated following the unique New Khmer Architecture style that emerged in Cambodia during the 1950’s and 60’s, a heady period when the nation reveled in its independence from France. The design is marked by a liberal use of claustras, as well as lots of white and airy spaces to stay chilled in the tropical heat.
Plantation (28 St. 184, +855 23 215 151; theplantation.asia) offers 70 rooms in sprawling, low-rise buildings behind a painstakingly restored French colonial building. The cleverly designed rooms make the most of their compact space; the pool is one of the city’s most relaxing and lush; and the hotel’s location near the Royal Palace, popular Street 240 and the river makes it an unbeatable central choice.
La Maison D’Ambre
La Maison D’Ambre (123 St. 110; +855 23 222 780; lamaisondambre.com) is a bold, playful entrant to the scene. The stunning facade of a 1960’s-era corner building has been restored while 12 suites are each decorated to evoke cities of the world, based on movies such as In the Mood for Love, Casablanca and Mogambo.
Simple, stylish bedrooms offer a taste of the past at Le Marais (33 St. 222, +855 23 996 266; lemarais.com.kh) and the fashion-savvy owner runs a clothing boutique out of the front room of this 1960’s-style house, featuring trendy silhouettes in all-natural fabrics.
A less polished, more relaxed option—with plenty of original period tiles as well as objets d’art—is two-year-old Circa 51 (155 Corner St. 222 and 51; +855 12 585 714; circa51.com), another garden-set 1960’s house on the same residential street.
Got to have a water view? Just-opened Riverside Suites (Corner St. 144 and Sisowath Quay; +855 23 211 927; riverside-suites.com) has nine suites in conjoined residential buildings with unbeatable views of the Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap—the feel is Khmer modern, with local artworks and fabrics adding touches of vibrant color.