Visiting the temple ruins of Angkor Wat was amazing and full of adventure and discovery! It was also nice to have a great place to stay where we could ask for suggestions or relax in between all the busy temple exploring!
As mentioned in my trip planning post, and much like what we did in the South Pacific Cook Islands and South America, we really like to mix up the kinds of accommodations we stay in. On days where we’re going to be spending most of our time outside, getting to know an area, we don’t need to stay somewhere luxurious – a clean and safe room & board will do. And on the flip side, after days of being on our feet, it’s nice to have a day to relax, splurge on a fancy place and then spend all of our time there taking advantage of the amenities 🙂
We stayed at a total of 3 places in Siem Reap. In order of where we stayed:
Golden Temple Villa
High Quality Budget Accommodation
We found this place listed on Trip Advisor for $3 USD a night which lead Eric to exclaim, “This is why people travel to South East Asia!”. Cambodia/Siem Reap is home to the cheapest hostel in the world with a guest house dormitory room for $1 per night. I love a good deal, but I love a private, secure room even more so we didn’t choose this one 😉 In the end, the Golden Temple Villa was around $25 USD a night which was a STEAL.
First of all, this *is* the cheapest accommodation I’ve ever stayed in so I felt like I was getting a fantastic deal! I know many people who have stayed in Thailand for ~$5/ night, but I haven’t been there so until then, this deal is awesome.
We arrived around 10:00 pm and after a short tuk tuk ride from the airport, we arrived – the place had an attendant outside and many decorations that made it seem warm and cozy. We checked in easily and were quickly escorted to their lounge area where we were offered a welcome drink, cold towels and salted nuts.
It was a humid night so this felt amazing!!
Once seated, one of the hotel staff explained the layout and the surroundings. She also showed us these menus of tuk-tuk tours we could book to explore the temples. We ended up arranging our driver, Mr. Pain, and our 3 days at the temples through this system.
During our stay, we were told we would always have complimentary tea, coffee and bananas. Yay free bananas!! This reminded me of the accommodations in Cook Islands where we were welcome to help ourselves to the bananas hanging outside 🙂 Otherwise, the meals were very reasonably priced with items from $2 – $10.
In addition to free coffee, tea, bananas and 2 bottles of water/day, there were several other perks:
1) SUPER helpful and friendly staff! Eric was sick one night, so one of the guys took me on his motorcycle to go get cold coconut for him.
2) FREE 1 hour full body massage. A fantastic massage!! The massage was held in a shared a room with 2 other people, separated by a curtain, so it’s not high end but still, it’s free!
3) Great location, we were a few minutes walk to Pub Street with all the restaurants. There’s a great restaurant connected to the hotel too and a laundromat that charged $1 per kg of clothes also just around the corner.
4) Parting gift 🙂
The only drawback, and this is to be expected for the price, was that there was no pool. This is why we chose to stay at 2 other accommodations in addition to this one, so that we could have some days to cool off!
Angkor Spirit Palace
Unique and peaceful – with modern amenities in a traditional Khmer building
We chose this place because it was reasonably priced at $30 per night AND it had the bonus of having a nice looking pool! The ground itself were also well maintained and it used to be a former Apsara Dance school so the architecture was unique and interesting!
Unlike the central location of the other places we stayed, this one was a good 5-10 min tuk tuk ride out of town, so a bit out of the ways. However, they arrange for free tuk-tuks to and from town which is really nice.
I think the value here is still very good because of the pool, and compared to other places I viewed online and the reviews I’ve read of other places, this is probably the nicest and cleanest place you can stay with a pool for this price range. Another place we originally booked and then cancelled, was in the $45-$50 range, had a pool, but I read reviews that it was close to a some sewage pipes and didn’t smell very nice.
And for our final day….
La Residence d’Angkor
Luxury Khmer style
Okay, I’m going to be honest. I really fell in love with this hotel group, the Orient-Express (as of March 26, re-branded to Belmond hotels…), after a magical stay at their Iguazu Falls location in Brazil. In that scenario, we justified the high prices, because of the unique location directly beside the waterfalls.
Here in Siem Reap, there isn’t really a location advantage the way other Orient-Express/Belmond Hotels can claim (ie. being the only hotel in the national Park at Iguazu Falls or the insane Sanctuary retreat in Machu Picchu)
However, when I browsed around at other luxury hotels, they looked a bit like concrete jungles and not very nice. La Residence d’Angkor, however, had a beautiful and calming style about it and the whole place looked very inviting and seemed to be truer to the local style. And of course, the bias I mentioned earlier. So we booked it and then spent as much time there as possible!
When we arrived, we were also offered a welcome drink at the reception, like at the Golden Temple Villa. We were also offered a tour where we walked by their galleries, past the gorgeous pool, restaurants, fitness centre and then up to our rooms. They accepted our request to have a late check out the next day so we could continue using the pool and facilities. The staff here was very friendly and helpful as well.
We spent a lot of time lounging by the pool. We had some books to read and they gave us a really handy temple guide that I went through and recounted the 3 days I had just spent at Angkor Wat!
While hanging out at the pool, we were served fresh sugar cane juice which was delicious and thirst quenching!
Now for the room itself:
A fresh fruit platter with tropical tasty things was ready for us when we checked in, and when we would come back to the room, little pastries and donuts would be laid out for us too.
At night time, this area was softly lit with blue lights which was so useful! I also appreciated the help of the hotel staff that organized all my toiletries after I spilled my whole bag out in a rush.
(Another angle of the pool and rooms)
(The indoor second floor bar and lounge where we got happy hour drinks to celebrate our surprise in Angkor)
Happy Hour: Drinks were 2 for 1!
The next morning we went for a jog in the neighbourhood.
The food, as expected, was delicious!!
The stand-out dish was the yogurt! So creamy and tasty. Like a dessert. I took several pictures of the plates Eric and I ate and we kept going for the yogurt.
After breakfast, we set up a lounge area on one of the beds and relaxed there.
We also made use of the gym that was stocked with water and fruits.
Another fantastic and memorable experience at one of the Orient-express /Belmond hotels!!
It wasn’t too chaotic to switch accommodations because the town is so tiny. Definitely think the value we got from all the hotels was incredible and the mix of places gave us a chance to indulge on our last days 🙂
Feel free to comment if you have any questions!