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Pampering in Phnom Penh


New openings have ramped up the Cambodian capital’s spa scene. By NAOMI LINDT

Published on Aug 11, 2010

Though most visitors come for the baccarat, this casino-hotel also boasts one of the city’s prettiest spas. Modeled on the temples of Angkor, the sprawling space features pillared doorways and giant Buddha images; the sound of running water puts guests in the right state of repose. Foot rubs (US$25) take place on soft leather chaises hidden behind a bubbling fountain, while traditional Khmer massages and body scrubs are executed in huge private rooms equipped with a steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi and queen-sized bed for post rub-down relaxation. Many of the treatments, like the 90-minute herbal hot compress massage (US$25), incorporate indigenous natural ingredients like cinnamon, clove, and coffee from Ratanakiri province.

Hun Sen Park., Phnom Penh, Cambodia; +855 23 228 822;

The first high-end day spa to open up along Phnom Penh’s riverfront, Amara offers a full menu of relaxation in simple, elegant surroundings. Malaysian owner Patricia Tan chose subdued black, white, gray and metallic hues for the dimly lit, three-story space, creating a welcome respite from the bustle outside. Inside the 20 treatment rooms, connected by stone pathways illuminated by floor-to-ceiling silk lamps, guests can choose treatments ranging from an anti-aging facial (US$58) to Amara’s signature hot-stone, four-hand massage (US$55). Traveling with friends? Then book one of the rooftop rooms, which each boast a Jacuzzi with views of the Tonle Sap River.

Corner of Sisowath Quay and Street 110., Phnom Penh, Cambodia; 855 23 998 730;

Early last year, Japanese businessman Jun Kikuchi opened the first foreign outpost of his minimalist, Tokyo-based line of salons in Phnom Penh. After constructing a strikingly Modernist building flanked by reflective pools in the expat area of Boeung Keng Kang, Kukichi brought over stylists, beauty products and even furniture, like the elegant
white leather swivel chairs used in the hair salon. The city’s fashionable set line up for expert facials (US$20), make-up applications (US$7) and manicures (US$7) as well as basic cuts (US$15). The attentive, black-and-white clad staff includes translators fluent in English, Japanese and Khmer.

19 Street 352., Phnom Penh, Cambodia; 855 23 999 707;


In search of a perfect complexion? This brightly lit, white-and–baby-blue clinic focuses on all things dermatological. After being greeted by the white lab coat–wearing staff, visitors are ushered into the office of Bangkok-trained dermatologist Dr. Em Samok, who peers through a large magnifying glass to identify and suggest solutions for fl aws in one’s visage. Using Derma-Rx products, concentrated natural vitamin extracts and rejuvenating masks, the clinic promises to hydrate, purify and soothe your skin, whatever its needs may be (facials from US$35). Intensive procedures like Botox injections (US$12) and chemical peels (US$50) are available for those wanting to get serious; pedicures (US$10) and waxes (from US$10) are on offer, too.

161B Norodom Blvd.,Phnom Penh, Cambodia; 855 23 217 092;

Acclaimed resort La Résidence d’Angkor is buffing its image with a recently completed US$3 million upgrade that includes new suites and an exclusive day spa, called Kong Kea. The spa’s six treatment rooms are spread over a verdant 475-square-meter area themed on water (kong kea means “water for the king” in Khmer), with illuminated water walls, an aquarium and an indoor dipping pool. Treatments like body scrubs, facials and massage (from US$35) incorporate handmade, organic products that can also be purchased in the spa’s boutique, along with an exclusive line of naturally dyed dresses and scarves designed by Wanderlust’s Elizabeth Kiester.

River Rd., Phnom Penh, Cambodia; 855 63 963 390;


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