Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Imposing but closed

The imposing facade of the boutique hotel in Chhlong, La Relais
La Relais de Chhlong hotel in all its glory
The most imposing building in the sleepy Mekong River town of Chhlong is undoubtedly the Le Relais de Chhlong Hotel, which is closing this month for upwards of a year in order to renovate the existing four rooms and add another half dozen suites in a yet-to-be built annex. With its old-world French-colonial charm, swimming pool and gorgeous location on the river, the Relais has been the most expensive accommodation along the Mekong north of Phnom Penh for the last few years since it was renovated and opened as a boutique hotel. Built in 1917 for a wealthy Khmer-Chinese family, it had a series of owners but was allowed to fall into a serious state of disrepair before being brought back to life in its current incarnation. Inside the rooms and public areas, Chinese furniture, silks and ornaments proliferate and whilst the rooms are pleasant enough, the decoration is quite minimalist.
The swimming pool and Mekong River (in background) seen from the first floor
One of the bedrooms with the sparse furniture
A public rest area on the ground floor
Another of the hotel's 4 rooms
The view from the balcony of one of the upstairs rooms

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