Our guide to the best places to rest your head in Cambodia’s vibrant capital
Raffles Hotel Le Royal
Since opening its doors in 1929, Le Royal has contributed to the long and rich history of the Cambodian capital. Charlie Chaplin and Jacqueline Kennedy were once guests – the Femme Fatale cocktail invented for the first lady is still served at the hotel’s Elephant Bar – while the chaos of the 1970s saw war correspondents stationed at the complex. Today, Raffles is a bastion of colonial-era charm, with an equally elegant outpost in Siem Reap. Soak in claw-footed bathtubs or discover the well-preserved features throughout for a taste of enduring luxury and times gone by.
Tel: +855 (0)23 981 888 Website: raffles.com/phnom-penh
Providing an oasis of peace in urban Phnom Penh, Plantation combines modern creature comforts with effortless style. Known for the regular art exhibitions held around its spectacular lotus pond, the city-centre sanctuary also boasts one of the best pools in the city – a vision in turquoise banked by tropical palms and canopied pavilions. Rooms are light and airy, embracing a minimalist style that contrasts perfectly with the original architecture of the 1930s reception, making Plantation a sumptuous symphony of old and new.
Tel: +855 (0)23 215 151 Website: theplantation.asia
Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra
Lush gardens encircle the sprawling Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra complex, where well-appointed rooms and a sense of French refinement combine to create luxurious five-star accommodation in the heart of the city. The generous pool and indulgent brunch buffet at La Coupole, just one of five on-site restaurants, have made Sofitel a favourite haunt for the city’s expats, but it’s the top-class facilities and views across a rapidly developing city that will stay in guests’ minds.
Tel: +855 (0)23 999 200 Website: sofitel.com
Named after a constellation that symbolises the zodiac’s water carrier, it’s fitting that Aquarius has a spectacular rooftop pool, largely thanks to a transparent section of wall that allows views of swimmers plunging beneath the surface. If that wasn’t enough, slick classic-meets-industrial design, sweeping views from its open-air sky bar and a prime location on boutique-lined Street 240 have made it one of the most talked about new additions in town.
Tel: +855 (0)23 972 088 Website: aquariushotel.asia
A relative newcomer to Phnom Penh’s luxury hotel scene, Arunreas has raised the bar for boutique properties in the capital. The large rooms are full of luxurious furnishings and welcome touches such as a complimentary minibar and toiletries by L’Occitane. They also contain the biggest baths we’ve ever seen, which would comfortably accommodate a family of four. The exquisite design throughout the property includes welcome nods to Cambodia, with paintings by Chhim Sothy lining the hallways and rooms featuring their very own bas-reliefs depicting heavenly apsara dancers.
Tel: Tel: +855 (0)15 813 888 Website: arunreas.com
If your stay in Phnom Penh extends beyond a few days, you would do well to consider one of the capital’s serviced apartments. Located in the heart of the commercial district, Central Mansions mixes contemporary luxury with the architecture of the capital’s French colonial past. Over in the sought-after Boeung Keng Kang area, Silvertown Metropolitan has an ultra-modern feel to its 15 storeys and bills itself as having all you would expect from a hotel with “the touches that make it a home”. Finally, Bellevue, very much living up to its name, boasts great river vistas over the Tonle Sap from the peaceful Chruoy Changvar peninsula.