by Rachel Brean, Blogger
I kicked off a big vacation traveling Southeast Asia in May with a stay at the Belmond La Residence D’Angkor in Siem Riep, Cambodia. There is a lovely Belmond property in my hometown of Charleston, SC and I consistently find Belmond properties are a great in between option if you like the feel of a boutique hotel but the reliability and luxury of chain. Upon arriving to La Residence D’Angkor we were given cold towels and iced tea while we checked in. The manager greeted us and explained some of the hotel amenities and offerings such as the on site Buddhist monks who did a blessing each morning and a photography exhibit of Angkor Wat.
The staff were extremely kind and helpful, bowing and greeting us by name the entire week. The expectation for a luxury hotel is to have top notch service, but at La Residence they really went above and beyond. There was some very distant construction going on at another property next door one afternoon. I mentioned to a friend while sitting by the pool that I had a headache and was going up to the room for medicine. When I walked by the staff member at the pool, he asked if I needed him to “stop the construction next door for my head”. I explained that I had barely noticed the construction and that it was most likely the heat.
The pool area is remarkable and the focal point of the hotel and had a tropical feel with sculptures in the local style. We spent a good bit of time there due to the typical oppressive heat and were happy to find complimentary bug spray and sunscreen. They sprayed for bugs one morning at 10 am and we had to remain indoors for 20 minutes or so. The spray seemed extremely cloudy and harsh and I was apprehensive to lay outside immediately after. But, I felt completely fine and appreciated the lack of bug bites I went home with.
I usually avoid dining at resorts, but given that Cambodia is so inexpensive, I did a few cocktails and lunches at the hotel. The food and drink were excellent. I would recommend skipping eating at the Khmer dance show. The meal was good and entertainment ok but not worth the price tag. There are similar dance shows at local spots for far less. The hotel breakfast which was included in our stay was extremely impressive. They had a full menu to order from of traditional American and Asian cuisine breakfasts and a large buffet of fresh juices, decadent pastries, and authentic dishes such as spring rolls and dim sum.
The rooms at La Residence were not huge but were ample size for the little time we spent in them. The bed and linens were extremely comfortable. The soaking bath was very spa like and the lush tropical plants that covered the outside window added a nice touch. The room had a very open layout with sliding tours partitioning off the double sinks and bath and probably would have not been ideal for a family. We were in Cambodia during the off season and the hotel in general seemed a bit empty, but we still did not see any children there. The turn down service provided a nice treat each night from cake pops to macaroons.
I did not use the spa, though the friends I was traveling with did and one remarked that the facial was “the best she’s had in her life” and that the included upper body massage really targeted her achy spots. Another friend who received a pedicure said that it was worth the $40 USD because he ended up spending two hours there between the pedicure, steam room, and sauna.
Most of my time in Siem Riep was spent at the temples of Angkor Wot, exploring the chaotic yet inviting downtown area, or enjoying the pool and restaurants at La Residence D’Angkor. It was the perfect mix of adventure and luxury and a hotel I would highly recommend.