Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Open-air, indoor cinema-cum-dining

The exterior of Le Palais des Anges
I visited a new hotel at the end of last week. Thirty rooms are open for guests so far out of 70. The top two floors are not yet finished, which includes the roof-top swimming pool and sky-bar. What is open is the hotel restaurant, called Phkar Romyool which has an unusual feature. The renovated three-storey restaurant used be known as Cine Hawaii, when it was built in the 1930s. It was a cinema. So the Khmer-German owners of the new hotel have decided to make the building double-up as a dine-while-you-watch theatre. The only original feature that remains after renovations is a floral emblem above the space where the screen stood. Tables and chairs face a blank white canvas onto which films are projected after dinner. Everything is open to the sky – an extendable roof can be closed if there’s a threat of rain. Painted yellow on the outside to make it look French colonial in style, Le Palais des Anges is called a boutique hotel, but with seventy rooms that's fifty more than what I would term boutique. I have a bee in my bonnet about the term boutique. The hotel is a cricket-ball throw from Phnom Penh's renovated Central Market, which is also bright yellow, so the two go together. Message to owners of all colonial-era buildings, paint them bright yellow, so we know where they are.
This bathtub will be replaced by a swimming pool fairly soon

The indoor restaurant which doubles as a cinema

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