Thursday, March 28, 2013

Building frenzy

The pool at Villa Borann

One of the rooms at Villa Borann
Phnom Penh is in the throes of reconstruction. You can hear workmen's tools pretty much everywhere for the duration of each day with the city in a grip of a building frenzy. High on the list of new constructions and renovations is a plethora of boutique hotel accommodation. Behind every green corrugated fence there's a boutique hotel, restaurant or coffee shop sprouting wings. I paid a visit to three of the latest hotels to enter the race for tourist dollars, just as the high season is coming to an end. The biggest of the three – and yet another addition to the group of hotels that includes Plantation, Pavilion, Blue Lime, Kabiki and more – is what they've termed an Asian urban experience, called the TeaHouse Hotel on Street 242. Inspired by the world of tea, it has no less than 52 rooms on four floors, with a TeaLounge for dining and to test out different varieties of tea, a very tiny pool and spa facilities. It still needs some finishing touches in my view, as the rooms are quite bare and the gym isn't ready but it was fully occupied when I visited so they must be doing something right. My first stop had been at Villa Borann, which recently opened its doors on Street 19, in a converted villa with a new extension, offering 14 rooms on three floors with the usual amenities - wi-fi, flat screen, etc - as well as a dining area next to the pool. The bigger rooms were certainly spacious and it got my nod as the best of three. It's sister hotel is the quaint Villa Samnang. The final stop on my mini-tour was at The Sangkum, located in the former French Quarter of the city near the British Embassy on Street 75. With a pool and private garden next to a large, airy dining area, the Sangkum has twelve rooms, adorned with old pictures of the capital, while some rooms have balconies. Again, all the rooms were occupied, so there's definitely a market out there for small boutique hotels, but can it be sustained in the soon-to-arrive low season, well that's another question.
A room at The Sangkum

Its a tiny pool at the TeaHouse

A room at the TeaHouse Hotel

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