Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh
This grand hotel is in a fantastic spot at the heart of Cambodia’s vibrant capital Phnom Penh, just steps from the 27-metre-high pagoda and Buddhist temple Wat Phnom, and close to the intersecting Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers. It has a rich history dating back to 1929 and is built around a central private courtyard with two swimming pools fringed by Frangipani-lined tropical gardens. A distinctive blend of Art Deco and French Colonial styles set the hotel apart, including a high-ceiling lobby with pristine white décor, glitzy chandeliers and palm trees. The hotel is also home to the superb Elephant Bar, once a hub for journalists in the build-up to the infamous period of Khmer Rouge control over Cambodia. There’s incredible attention to detail here, with artwork depicting the hotel’s role in Cambodian history and dozens of custom-made cocktails to indulge in — the signature Femme Fatale was created for Jacqueline Kennedy during her visit to Cambodia in 1967. It’s this unmistakeable old-world character and sense of intrigue which make Raffles so appealing.
There’s a good range of restaurants and bars to choose from. Dine in style at the prestigious Restaurant Le Royal, known for its enticing blend of Cambodian and French cuisine with recipes which have been handed down to the hotel by Cambodia’s Royal Palace. Café Monivong has tempting buffet dinners on Friday and Saturday night, while The Conservatory serves traditional afternoon tea and light refreshments with live classical music.
The rooms are elegant, with colonial features including sleek wooden floors and cabinets, soothing pastel walls plus golden curtains and pillows. Some of the newly refurbished State Rooms have a balcony offering views over the pool or gardens.