Rarely have I received as warm a welcome as at Pavillon d’Orient. After being handed a refreshing wet towel and a drink, Danny elaborately tells me all there is to know about Pavillon d’Orient and Siem Reap. Not only does he give me the standard hotel information, he also lends me a book on the Angkor Wat temple complex, a list of some English-Cambodian words (great idea!!), a map of Siem Reap, a voucher for two free massages and, last but not least, he introduces me to my personal tuk-tuk driver for the next couple of days: Mr. Pov. Mr. Pov is at my disposal from sunrise to 10 p.m. and can take me anywhere I wish to go in Siem Reap, Angkor Wat included. A brilliant idea while Pavillon d’Orient is located away from the city and my direct surroundings aren’t particularly inviting for a solitary trip.

Boy, that’s promising indeed! Next, it is time for me to be taken to my room, a Junior Suite. To get there, we cross the beautiful garden, which is wonderfully lush and full of colourful flowers. On our way, we pass the restaurant and one of the swimming pools (there turn out to be two pools, one of which is adults only). My room is situated in the new wing, which is more modern than the old one and contains the larger suites. It turns out that not only my arrival has been great, the room is a pleasant surprise as well: lovely spacious and comfortable. Again, everything has been considered: a minibar with complimentary bottles of water, coffee and tea-making facilities, a large balcony with oil lamp and mosquito coils, mosquito nets, an enormous rain shower, a turndown service with a surprise, etc.. I think I will be able to manage here for a while. Time for a dip in the (salt water) swimming pool after which, armed with my book and I-pad, I settle down to plan my next couple of days at Siem Reap.

The following two days I make optimal use of Mr Pov’s tuk-tuk services. He takes me to the enchanting Angkor Wat complex several times. Rarely have I seen something so breathtakingly beautiful and of such magnitude – a definite must-see!! By the way, Mr. Pov knows exactly where to go within the extensive complex and how best to plan the day. In the afternoon, it is lovely to relax at the swimming pool and take in all the morning’s impressions. Late afternoons is the perfect time to go out again. The friendly reception staff help me select some lovely restaurants for dinner, and again, Mr. Pov is waiting to take us safely back to the hotel, how very luxurious. Spending so much to time together, we develop a special bond, and when we leave, my children are genuinely sad to say goodbye to this sympathetic man (and, to be honest, so am I!).

At Pavillon d’Orient everything is just right, from the overwhelmingly friendly service to its colonial and tropical ambiance and comfortable rooms. For your information: the Deluxe double rooms in the old wing are a bit more traditional, with teak wood floors and ditto furniture. The new wing includes two extra-large family rooms that sleep up to six persons.…in short, there is something for everyone. This Local Hideaway offers the best of both worlds: with your personal tuk-tuk driver you can easily visit the busy town of Siem Reap or the temples of Angkor Wat, but you can also enjoy the relaxed quietude and space of the beautiful tropical hotel gardens. Pavillon d’Orient is an absolute must!