|The inviting pool at Hilary's Boutique Hotel on St 302|
Phnom Penh has gone boutique crazy. And I don't mean shops selling fashionable gear either. I mean the proliferation of small boutique hotels
and guesthouses that are springing up left, right and center. I visited a couple today and have been to a hatful of them over the last couple of months, as hotel owners start filling the accommodation gaps that have plagued the capital for the last few years. The word boutique has been overused quite a bit with hotels with 100+ rooms getting tagged with the word, but in my view, that's crap. Boutique hotels are unique, intimate, comfortable and often contemporary chic with no more than 20 rooms max. Phnom Penh has seen a mushrooming of them with names like River 108, Villa Salt, Maison d'Ambre, Willow, 252, Villa Samnang, Hotel Nine, Villa Paradiso, Villa Srey, Villa this, Villa that and so on. In fact the first one I saw today was Arun Villa, twelve contemporary rooms inside a converted villa, with pool and restaurant, still a few weeks away from completion but looking set to grab a slice of the boutique market with room rates pitched at between $60-80. Next up was Hilary's, with an increasingly-popular BKK1 address, fifteen neat rooms, smelling fresh and new, with pool and restaurant, smiles and welcomes and aiming a bit lower at around $50. There's even one on the corner of my street, which has looked a shit-tip for the last few months but will soon unveil itself as the King Grand II. The concern I have is that they all melt into one. There is little to choose from each other, with rates hovering around the same level, each with a pool or its own individual hook, a new lick of whitewash and hoping to win a slice of the visitor market either through TripAdvisor or by word of mouth. I wish them well.
Labels: Arun Villa, Hilary's Boutique Hotel, Phnom Penh