When I was planning my trip to Cambodia some time ago, I was pleasantly surprised by the many contemporary hotels there turned out to be. A good example of this is my second Local Hideaway in Siem Reap: Viroth’s Hotel. Its owners has been considered trend-setters in this town for quite a while now.
It all started over ten years ago, when Kol Viroth opened Viroth’s restaurant, a modern restaurant that served traditional Khmer cuisine with a new twist. It became (and still is) an instant hit. As an extension to the restaurant, he started a small-scale and intimate boutique hotel some seven years ago, which by now has been renamed Viroth’s Villa. This turned out to be a bull’s eye as it broke with the traditional Khmer design that was commonly adopted in Cambodia at the time. Add to that the fact that Viroth’s Villa was affordable luxury and this explains the great success it became. Time to expand, and thus the idea was born to build a new Viroth’s Hotel, which opened its doors in the spring of 2015.
I was fortunate to be one of the first guests at this hotel, that is situated in the Wat Bo area in Siem Reap. The area presents a welcome change from the busy commercial centre with its loud ‘pub street’ and is located across the river. In no time at all, you’re in the city centre, either by foot or in one of the many Tuk Tuks. But the Bo Wat area is also offering lovely little restaurants and coffee bars. Here, you will find the well-to-do locals and the expats rather than the masses of tourists and partying teenagers.
Back to my visit to Viroth’s Hotel, for I am majorly impressed with the sleek (Modernist inspired) architecture and the fabulous interior design, with its sleek retro furniture and beautiful colours that contrast vividly with the white walls. Reception is professional and Mr. Saay proves to be an inspired manager and a cordial host. The entire 35-room hotel breathes an atmosphere of contemporary refinement and from the speakers come the warm sounds of lounge music. Everything is open plan and transparent, with several lovely nooks and corners to settle in with a drink. At the centre is a beautifully designed staircase, a true eye-catcher. My room is spacious and, in addition to all the modern conveniences, boasts a lovely private terrace and sleek furniture. The wall features two shelves on which several artefacts and ‘objets trouvés’ are displayed….’this makes each room unique’ Mr. Saay tells me. The bathroom is done in terrazzo, very stylish and luxurious!
The hotel consists of two wings that are connected by sleek corridors and a 20-meter swimming pool (salt water). The hotel also houses one of the best spa’s in the city and a fitness area. How lovely it is to relax here after a day of sightseeing in Siem Reap….For you will have to leave this elegant hotel at least once in order to visit the overwhelming Angkor Wat temple complex: never have I seen anything so magnificent. It is also great to take a bicycle tour outside of Siem Reap, which will allow you to get to know Cambodian country life, with its sleepy villages with amazing markets; rice fields that are an unbelievable shade of green and enchanting lotus plantations. The attentive reception staff will help you plan your activities. Viroth’s Hotel also has its own restaurant, but I decided to have dinner at Viroth’s restaurant, which is only a five minute walk away, and had a wonderful evening with delicious food.
And then the time has come for me to say goodbye to Cambodia, and I am sad to do so. But I say goodbye in style, for a chauffeur-driven classic Mercedes takes me to the airport….a great ending to my stay in this lovely, contemporary and affordable Local Hideaway!