Enclosed behind a cream colored wall and centrally located in Siem Reap, the Amansara is a sleek, modernist oasis of calm and refinement. When I arrived from the small but efficient SR airport, I was greeted by eager smiles and cordial niceties. The pebbled driveway lead to the simple outdoor reception area where I briefly sat to check in.
The great thing about reception here is that it doesn’t feel like reception; everything is hidden from view. The attendants come from behind a door where they work. Even the door was hidden, as it matched the wood wall…there were no papers, keys, or anything pertaining to office work or registration in sight. Only my reservation form rested on the table. Already I was impressed; the lack of a laborious, typical check in involving attendants standing behind a high desk staring at their computers and all their papers made it feel like I was staying at a private residence rather than a hotel.
I was then guided to my room, but first given a brief tour of the property. I saw the cute library, the pool and central courtyard dotted with striking ocher colored banners, the dining room and sitting area, and the enticing gift shop. The shop
carries local and regional objects from ceremonial rice containers, to textiles and key chains (at use at the hotel). There is a lot to admire and purchase here. There is also the spa, housed in a separate building.
I noticed the constant soft sound of leaves being cleared away by traditional brooms; it’s a sound that I got used to hearing during my stay. There are attendants brushing away leaves all over the property, and the swoosh sound becomes part of the atmosphere here.
Bit of history: Amansara is not a new construction. It was built by French architect Laurent Mondet for Prince Sihanouk, the King of Cambodia, as a guest house for visiting dignitaries and family. It was completed in 1962. The name “Amansara” is derived from “Apsara” which is a mystical beautiful girl who appears as a dancer, usually in the palaces of the gods.
Both of us removed our shoes before entering my room. It was a large open space, with a back private enclosed garden space and plunging pool. There was a large bouquet of lotus flowers which I love, and what’s more there was a great glass enclosed rain shower. You could look out on to the private deck as you shower. Also, if you prefer a tub, there was a free standing one also looking out to the outside which is filled each evening (before dinner) with organic scented salts and flowers. More about my room and the rest of the hotel in my next post………
*NV = no view