Friday, 14 October 2011

Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor in Siem Reap

This is without doubt the most romantic place to stay in Siem Reap - French colonial style, with hints of 1920's art deco, suffused with Khmer charm but with all the frills of modernity.
The rooms of course are superb, full of home comforts but with extra treats like a bowl of very exotic fruits, elephant chocolates & toiletaries from the Amtita spa range. The breakfast buffet has a lazy colonial feel with table service of fresh squeezed juices, cappucchino coffee, eggs cooked to order & a daily newspaper.

There's fine dining or informal dining but the thrice weekly evening BBQ on the Apsara terrace, under the stars or sheltered from the warm tropical rain, is hard to beat. Its a travesty to call it a BBQ when there are nine separate buffet options - straight-up BBQ, Tandoori, Noodle bar, Stirfry, Amok, a Khmer kitchen, a Salad bar, Deserts & an exotic Flambe station. But the highlight of this gourmet BBQ is a spectacular performance by a young Khmer classical dance troop - stunning costumes, beautiful dances & the genuine pride in their culture added a real sense of authenticity.
There's an exceptionally large pool surrounded by flowering Frangipani trees with coconut palms waving majestically behind them. There are lotus pools, towering betelnut & sugar palms, ginger, orchids, lillies after which I gave up trying to count the exotics in this manicured slice of tropical jungle.

Lion fountains tinkle in the background to the accommpaniment of bird song & for those that still need help unwinding there's the Amrita Spa for a Khmer style massage & an array of natural treatments But for those who have already unwound the poolside bar has an extensive selection of cocktails, champagne & the great local beer.
After dinner the resident pianist entertains in the conservatory bar or wafts guests to bed if they're planning an early start to the magnificnt Angkor Wat.

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