The Hotel de la Paix had many desirable features such as the design oriented common areas, especially the lounge with art exhibit space which seemed a magnet for locals and visitors. Within the hotel walls there was most anything I might want including my spacious and quiet air conditioned top floor room, an attractive pool area, an air conditioned fitness room within the spa, a gourmet restaurant, a bar, WiFi connectivity and an inviting cafe.
Staff, who all seemed to speak some English, were friendly and service oriented. The concierge desk staff coordinated several private escorted visits to the world famous nearby temples at an optimum time of day and an excursion to a nature reserve all of which were enjoyable and well organized.
Returning to the property, at the end of a tour or after exploring the neighborhood around the hotel, felt pleasant and familiar thanks to the smiling staff at the entrance who handed out refresher towels and greeted me warmly. Meal times were a particular favorite. At breakfast, I looked forward to the Khmer dishes and the yummy French style pastries. At dinner I enjoyed the delicious and well presented Meric Khmer Tasting Menu.
The Hotel de la Paix’ many pluses such as central location, facilities, spacious and well appointed accommodations, WiFi connectivity, friendly and efficient service, and delicious meals made my stay a pleasure and would draw me back the next time I visit Siem Reap.
Class Of Accommodation Boutique hotel and spa
Concierge Darith Hour, the front office manager, was acting concierge
Connectivity There was complimentary WiFi available in my suite. There was also a computer on floors one and three for guest use although that tended to be busy, especially in the morning and late afternoon. Although I was able to connect to Google and other websites I had trouble reaching my server to download emails because of closed ports at the property. A young man from the IT department assisted me in connecting and collecting my emails.
General Manager Bill Black (Wendy Morris was in charge when I visited the property)
Handicapped Access According to a spokesperson the hotel welcomed wheelchair bound guests. One of the rooms had a bathroom with a handrail.
Length Of Stay Five nights
Location Within the central area of Siem Reap.
Managed Ativa Hospitality, an Asian-based management company specialising in the development and management of independent deluxe boutique hotels, managed the hotel. According to hotel representatives, Ativa Hospitality managed properties in Thailand and Cambodia with project developments in Vietnam, Laos and India.
Owned KS Resorts of Bangkok, Thailand
Pets Allowed No
Size There were 107 rooms in the 120,000 square foot multi-story hotel and a staff compliment of 250.
Year Opened-Renovated The original French owned and operated Hotel de la Paix (French for hotel of peace) opened on the same site in 1957. After changing hands many times during the following years the hotel was re-established and opened under new ownership in 2005.
Straight beyond the entrance there was a wall facing desk on the right past the stairs that led to the second level and a living area with a black leather loveseat and two matching armchairs set around a round and small wood table over a patterned black and white throw rug atop the wood floor. There was a rectangular table with a lamp on either side of the loveseat and behind it there was a wood table built-in to the wall the length of the room that reached to the desk. The floor was of speckled stone by the entrance, in the bathroom and upstairs and the bedroom area had hardwood flooring. The sleeping and living area ceiling reached to the upper level.
There were two black and white framed temple photos adorning the walls. A wood cabinet was the sole divider between the living and sleeping areas. A large Samsung flatscreen television, a Phillips DVD player and a preloaded Apple iPod nano occupied the central area of the cabinet and would swivel for viewing from the bed or the living area. There were three phones in the suite: a phone on the night table, one in the water closet and a wireless Panasonic unit on the desk.
The sleeping area of the suite was taken up by the cabinet, a queen bed with individual wood headboards and a silver ornamental piece on the wall. Identical wood night tables with lamps (one had a telephone) framed the bed. Double curtains covered an oversize window that was about two thirds the length of the room, providing privacy from neighboring rooms and shade from the sun. The walls were white and the high ceiling had recessed lights.
There was a small refrigerator on one side of the cabinet that housed the mini bar and a coffee and tea service. Within it there were soft drinks, 37.5 centiliter size bottles of Ballentine’s Whiskey and Gordon’s Gin as well as Evian, Perrier, a can of Cambodian beer and five centiliter size plastic bottles (one of each) of Black Label Johnie Walker, Gordon’s Gin, Bacardi Rum and a slightly larger glass bottle of 42 Below vodka.
Atop of the spiral staircase there were twin massage tables. To the left there was an open rooftop terrace with two loungers, an umbrella and an oversize bathtub. I had a 90-minute Deep Tissue massage the night of my arrival in the comfort of my suite followed by satisfying Khmer Stir Fried Rice with Vegetables from the room service menu before going to sleep.
Although I had no time to sample the menu at Cafe de la Paix on the ground floor of the hotel the items on display looked appetizing. The Cafe menu listed sandwiches, salads, pizza, sushi and pastries.
Meric restaurant served refined delicious meals. I sampled the Khmer Tasting Menu twice and both times it was outstanding. The Khmer Tasting Menu dinner Monday night began with Pomelo Salad with Prawn served at the same time as Chicken and Banana Bud Salad. Next there was Grilled Beef with Cucumber and Prahok Sauce served with Khmer organic white rice next to Pork Rib Sour Soup “Jungle Style.” Next there was Stir Fried Frog with Fresh Ginger served at the same time as Cat Fish and Green Curry. The final dish was a small tray of Assorted Khmer Sweets for each of us. I washed my dinner down with a glass of South African pinotage. The next time the menu featured Pomelo Salad with Crispy Pork Fritter served at the same time as Green Mango Salad with Dried Snake (both favorites). Then there was Grilled Prahok with Khmer Crudites served with Khmer organic white rice at the same time as Prawn with Water Lily Sour Soup. The final savory courses served at the same time were Stir Fried Frog with Ginger (had a definite bite) and Beef Shank Curry with Morning Glory (a favorite). For dessert there were assorted Khmer Sweets.
Boutique La Petite Boutique, the hotel’s unmanned store near reception, was open on request. Many of the cultural items including jewelery, handbags, artwork, souvenirs, photographs and prints on sale were commissioned by the Hotel de la Paix from small local businesses as part of the property’s community support efforts. Some branded items such as bathrobes, t-shirts, postcards and toiletries were available for purchase.
Facilities The Arts Lounge (an exhibit area), Café de la Paix, Meric restaurant, bar, Fire Garden, Spa Indochine, swimming pool, and a 90 square meter function room.
Fitness Center And Spa The three-story 255 square meter Spa Indochine facilities included four double and two single treatment rooms, a Thai massage room, a steam room, a rooftop relaxation terrace and a 52 square meter air conditioned fitness room where I worked out in the mornings. It had free weights, a treadmill, an upright bicycle and two elliptical machines. There were towels, chilled bottled water and chilled towels.
Pool The pool area was attractive and stylish. There were large lounge chairs built in next to one wall and other pool furniture scattered about in sunny and shady spots throughout. The pool was 1.5 meters deep.
Other Water at the hotel was filtered and the staff recommended I drink only bottled water. There were four 600 milliliter bottles of house brand bottled Drinking Water in my room and I was advised to use the water to brush my teach. With regular service my laundry arrived promptly in the afternoon the same day it went out.
The hotel staff organized excursions to the nearby temples. To avoid crowds the private tours departed at 6 a.m. (this was optional). This meant there was a likelihood I would miss the hotel buffet breakfast. To make up for the loss the hotel provided me with a care bag with cold water, fresh baked pastries, and fruit (apple, bananas, orange). There were also lemongrass scented refresher towels and extra bottles of water in the hotel car.
The hotel was recognized as Best in Cambodia in the Travel + Leisure T+L 2010 World’s Best Awards and the best in Cambodia in the latest T+L 500 annual list of the world’s top hotels. Conde Nast Traveler recognized the community work the hotel is committed to in its 2010 World Savers Awards, with two honorable mentions in the Education Programs and Poverty Relief categories.
According to promotional materials, the Hotel de la Paix “actively supports and encourages the interaction of guests with the surrounding environment to provide unique human experiences.” The hotel works closely with organizations in Cambodia to participate in customized, community-based projects, including rice and water well sponsorship and educational support. The property had collaborated with MasterCard Worldwide as part of the Mastercard Purchase with Purpose program to provide 500 school bags and bicycles for needy children living in the outlying villages around Siem Reap so they could get to school. Another major project involved a sewing training center for vulnerable local women to learn sewing skills, attend daily English classes and develop basic life skills. Upon graduation from the program each student was provided with a sewing machine and start-up kit of materials in the hope that they would return to their village and start their own business, and possibly enabling them to support their families.
Date Of Review September 2010
Reviewers Article and photographs by Elena del Valle
Service There was twice daily room service. All the staff members I encountered such as the doormen, bellhops, room service attendants, driver, reception, bar, cafe and restaurant staff was service oriented, helpful and friendly. Some of the hotel staff found that I had been wanting to taste durian, a well known although rather smelly fruit, and when I returned one afternoon from a day excursion they had a durian plate awaiting me. I sat down in the courtyard and throughly enjoyed the odoriferous sweet fruit. It was a lovely surprise! Lundy at breakfast was friendly and especially kind. He remembered my meal preferences from earlier days in the week (I was fond of the Khmer fried noodles with chicken and tofu and the vermicelli soup with chicken and vegetables).
I borrowed a DVD from reception but when I went to play it in my suite DVD player I had trouble getting it to work. One of the turn down staff members (there were three young men) helped me with the DVD controls until it played. Another staff member adjusted the controls for the sound set up.
Would You Stay There Again? Yes