Thursday, 13 October 2011

Raffles Phnom Penh

Having been slumming it for a bit in Vietnam I thought it was time to wallow in a bit of luxury & in Phnom Penh that has to be Raffles - Le Royal hotel.
My $2 tuk-tuk ride deposited me on the sweeping drive of Raffles, just behind a gleaming black limo but the liveried door staff unloaded my bag with the same grace & welcome as they had shown to the limo occupant. Looking scruffy & unkempt after my 6 hour bus ride from Saigon I was ushered to a comfortable lounge chair, given a welcome drink & a cool flannel, whilst someone else took care of all the bothersome check-in details for me.
Escorted to my room & informed about the pool, the spa, the dining rooms & the bars I just had enough time to shave & change into some cleaner clothes for lunch.

Opened in 1929 the French colonial Le Royal has always been THE place to stay in Phnom Penh & suites are named after notable guests including Somerset Maughan, Jacqueline Kennedy & Charles de Gaulle.

It saw some rough times during the Khmer Rouge era in the 1970's but has been returned to its former glory with new extentions & renovations that update facilities but reatain as much original restoration as has been possible.

Cambodia is the true land of smiles, regardless of what the Thai Tourist Boards says, & at Raffles there's a real pride in their country & culture which comes through as the most genuinely friendly & hospitable welcome you could imagine.

Rooms are of course a dream & I feel quite rejuvenated after just one night & ready to continue my travels. The secluded outdoor pool has one of the most attractive setting I've seen & you don't need to leave your lounger for a drink as staff are always close by.

Breakfast was on the verandah, with whirling ceiling fans, birds chripping in the tropical trees & staff buzzing around to ensure that everything was perfect - which it was.

Its a haven of lazy charm, reminiscent of days gone by, but with just the right level of pampering that I needed after some very basic travelling.

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