Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Luxury living with Raffles in Cambodia


For discerning travellers visiting Cambodia who are looking for a luxury living experience, an experience full of unforgettable moments and memories that will last a lifetime, then look no further. Choose this duo of opulent hotels that are steeped in history, marvel at the spectacle of Angkor Wat at sunrise, delight your tastebuds with refined Khmer cuisine, and as your day comes to an end, enjoy bespoke spa treatments that will relax your mind, body and soul. Nowhere in Cambodia can you find a pair of hotels that boast a history quite like the two esteemed Raffles properties, one in Siem Reap and the other in Phnom Penh. These havens of refined luxury have been the choice for world leaders, luminaries, and esteemed travellers alike for nearly a century. Experience lavish luxury, rich history and first rate service combining to create a luxury living sanctuary that you will never want to leave.

Stay at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor Siem Reap

Our first stop was the iconic Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor in Siem Reap which was originally built in 1932, during the French colonial period, and quickly became a symbol of elegance and sophistication throughout the region. The architecture, grand facade and tranquil lobby reflect the colonial style of the time, blending Khmer and French influences seamlessly. During the troubled history that Cambodia faced the hotel faced numerous challenges, including periods of closure during political unrest and conflict. However, it was meticulously restored and reopened in 1997, marking a new era of luxury hospitality in Cambodia. This level of luxury was further enhanced by a major refurbishment project that coincided with another enforced closure, this time during the global pandemic. With brand new rooms and suites throughout, this luxurious hotel set new standards when it was once again introduced to esteemed guests in 2022, perfectly timed to celebrate an incredible 90 years in the Kingdom.

Dining at 1932 is not to be missed when staying at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor Siem Reap. The elegant fine dining restaurant offers a culinary journey when choosing one of four meticulously crafted menus, each a homage to a chosen decade of rich and diverse Cambodian history. Each of these fine dining tasting menus features local seasonal produce, no more so than the perfectly plant based ‘Grand Renaissance’ menu which celebrates the 1950s, a decade during which Cambodia gained independence. Our meal was a sublime blend of culinary creativity and Khmer flavours, traditional Cambodian dishes elevated to suit the environment, and adapted to make them vegan. The smoky eggplant atop our Khmer rice cakes, the light, refreshing and re imagined ‘nom banh chok’, the rich and and delightfully creamy amok, and the trio of palm sugar filled ‘nom pla ai’ each took us on a delightful journey though the history of Cambodian cuisine.

Stay at Raffles Hotel Le Royal Phnom Penh

Having left Siem Reap after an early breakfast, our driver delivered us to Raffles Hotel Le Royal just in time for a late lunch. This luxury hotel in Phnom Penh is a true gem in the hospitality landscape of Cambodia, with the rich history being intertwined with Cambodian high society and colonial legacy. The hotel was originally opened in 1929 and was quickly recognised as a luxurious retreat for royalty and dignitaries who were visiting Cambodia. Periods of political instability and conflict impacted Raffles Hotel Le Royal as they did the whole country, and during the Khmer Rouge era the hotel had varied uses and it became a symbol of resilience. Following meticulous restoration, modernisation and refurbishment, Raffles Hotel Le Royal reopened its doors in 1997, blending the historic past with contemporary luxury. Today, it stands as a proud and iconic landmark in the centre of Phnom Penh, offering opulent accommodations, unparalleled service, and refined dining experiences to esteemed guests who wish to experience the rich history of Cambodia during their time in the capital.

Le Phnom 1929 is the French styled brasserie at Raffles Hotel Le Royal where we enjoyed long and lazy breakfasts during our stay, starting each day with tropical juices, strong coffees and traditional breads, all freshly squeezed, brewed and baked to perfection. The attentive team were happy to create off menu dishes that catered to our dietary requirements meaning that we were very well catered for as vegan guests at Raffles Hotel Le Royal. However, that extra attention was not required at lunch when we were able to enjoy clearly marked vegan options from the menu. These included a vegetable tian with flaxseed dressing, and a simply divine cauliflower steak, served atop a bed of velvety pumpkin mash, with sauce vierge, that combined to deliver a light, flavourful and perfectly plant based dish.

Relax at Raffles Spa

Both Raffles Hotel Le Royal Phnom Penh and Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor Siem Reap have exquisite spa facilities, as you would imagine from such prestigious hotels. Relax your mind, your body, and your soul in the sauna, steam and jacuzzi, before preparing to be pampered in one of the luxuriously appointed treatment rooms. We felt revitalised and rejuvenated after our aromatherapy massages, they offered the perfect antidote to our day exploring the temples of Angkor, or the bustling streets of Phnom Penh, and most certainly should be part of the itinerary during your stay.

Check in at Raffles in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh and enjoy luxury living in Cambodia at its very best. These two historic hotels seamlessly blend timeless elegance with unparalleled service, ensuring that the memories from your stay will last a lifetime. From the opulent rooms and suites to the refined dining experiences, every aspect is meticulously curated to exceed expectations. With a commitment to preserving, protecting and respecting the rich history of Cambodia, Raffles is the premier choice for the ultimate in Cambodian indulgence and luxury living.

Paul Eyers

Paul Eyers is co-founder of Vegan Food Quest who write about luxury hotels and resorts in Southeast Asia with a focus on sustainable travel, eco travel and vegan travel. Currently based in Malaysia, Paul also writes about sporting events and some of the finest golf courses throughout the region.

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