Known for its elegant, plush and classic colonial style, Raffles Hotels & Resorts offers the kind of character that we seek in a hotel, because staying here allowed us to imagine ourselves as graceful aristocrats traveling back in time to a royal palace. Such noble ambiance
all around me inspired my elegant taste and I could appreciate the nuances of exquisite details from that era. It was a rather immersive holiday experience.
The hotel we chose this time was Raffles Hotel Le Royal Phnom Penh, an iconic luxury hotel that towers in the center of the city, opposite the American embassy. The popular Central Market and Russian Market are within walking distances, endowing the hotel with convenient location. If you wish to visit the Royal Palace, National Artefacts Museum and Mekong River, this is the accommodation of choice.
Built in 1929, the hotel has received royal families, entrepreneurs, writers and celebrities from all over the world, therefore its service quality and finesse are indisputable and immediately noticeable upon entering the lobby. The service staff here was very hospitable. Since Little Princess had reached her crawling age, so while we were checking in or dining, the sta not only greeted us warmly but also helped to take care of Little Princess, even holding her in their arms so that we could enjoy our delicious dinner. The friendly waiting staff and hotel supervisors now still keep in touch with Little Princess via Facebook. The hotel's considerate and friendly demeanor towards children immediately let us feel warm and at ease.
Since the hotel was built in the French colonial period, the original French elegance was Little Princess's fantastic journey 073 retained, where simple colors and quality of the black and white tiles, immaculate high ceiling, wooden window blinds and wooden ceiling fans with carvings created an authentic French feel, tricking us into thinking that we were in France. However, the hotel is unique in that it has incorporated the history and heritage of Cambodia, where the red roof tiles, golden royal sculptures, elephant's artistic ornaments and Smile of Angkor paintings transform the hotel into an art gallery. Artwork can be seen everywhere in the hotel.
The room is also something to behold. The capacious, comfy living room emanated understated luxury, while the Asian-style furniture complemented the French colonial flair impeccably. The sofa and mattress in the bedroom were supremely comfortable as well. Despite its ancient history, the hotel's hardware and software are constantly being updated to keep up with the latest technologies, therefore it does not feel obsolete or outdated.
All the rooms are equipped with a balcony to accommodate the westerners' lifestyle of drinking coffee, and we often saw people relaxing on their balconies. When we woke up in the morning amid the sound of chirping birds and fragrance of owers, we also ordered room service to enjoy coffee and breakfast on the balcony as other western room guests did. We really enjoyed our time on the balcony with Little Princess. As birds sang on the luxuriant trees, she also started singing while basking in the morning light and savoring the mouthwatering egg rolls. Spending time with our loved ones such serene environment, what more can one ask for?
Our room had a view of the swimming pool, garden and river, and there is a vast stretch of lawn outside. After breakfast, we would take a walk in the hotel with Little Princess. The hotel features verdant horticulture, thus guests are surrounded by flourishing flowers and trees that created a sense of nature. The immaculate lawn is the favorite area among local citizens. By the end of class or work every day, students in school uniforms and office workers can be seen picnicking on the lawn, a reminder of the adorable personality of the city.
The swimming pool radiated a welcoming vibe, and many foreign guests loved to come here to swim or tan under the sun. There was no clamor or noise, and everyone enjoyed a peaceful, leisurely afternoon by the pool. Some could spend the entire afternoon there reading a book. We also liked taking Little Princess swimming here or simply lie on the deck chair while enjoying foot massage under the tree shade. Taking an afternoon nap with the cool breeze blowing over our bodies was sheer bliss.
Pulsating vivacity of Phnom Penh
The hotel is located in the city center, therefore we were able to witness the progress of the city, which is a far cry from the stereotypical impression of Cambodia as being a backward developing country. Consequently, we were eager to travel out of the hotel and explore the city's developments.
Phnom Penh's primary mode of transport is the highly convenient motorc ycles, embodying an urban concept of organized chaos. We boarded the hotel's car to the well-known bookstore in Phnom Penh called Monument, which offered a vast collection of foreign books. There was also a café in the bookstore, thus one can purchase a book and a cup of coee to spend some quality time in the clean, comfortable bookstore featuring contemporary furnishings. Little Princess had a great time picking picture books that she loved, it felt like we were back in Taipei. There were sprawling construction project along the riverbank; Phnom Penh is unleashing its boundless vivacity, endeavoring to catch up with the other metropolises in the world. This is something that Taiwan should pay attention to, because we can no longer afford to be complacent and be content with the status quo if we are to remain competitive on the global stage.
Home-like hotel After enjoying top-notch French and Cambodian cuisines at the Restaurant Le Royal, we headed to the Elephant Bar to enjoy a glass of Femme Fatale, a signature Cambodian cocktail. At that moment, we were overwhelmed with the sentiment that "This is the life!"
Raes Hotel Le Royal Phnom Penh
Number of rooms: 175
Room price: Starts at NT$13,000 per night
Address: 92 Rukhak Vithei Daun Penh, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh
Tel.: +855 23 981 888