Saturday, June 18, 2011

Siem Reap Report - Amansara

Having heard so much about the legendary AMAN resort, I decided (after reading the good reviews on TripAdvisor) that AMANSARA will be the best choice of accommodation when we visit Siem Reap, Cambodia. It is the most expensive hotel in Siem Reap, but it also supposedly offers the best tour planning and service.

We stayed at Amansara from 8th through 12th June, and I now fully comprehend why AMAN resorts have such stellar reputations. Here's why you should stay at AMANSARA if you are planning to splurge when visiting Siem Reap...


Amansara is located near most sights and markets, but not right smack in the hustle and bustle. It felt very much like a private residence with convenient access to most tourist attractions, but without compromising on the tranquility. To give you a sense of bearing, it's 15 minutes from the airport and 10 minutes to Angkor Wat.

2. Heritage

Amansara was once known as Villa Princere, built in 1962 for King Shihanouk to accommodate visitors such former French President Charles de Gaulle and Jacqueline Kennedy. It has since been transformed into a 24-suite retreat.

3. The Rides

Airport transfers via a vintage 1960s Mercedes Benz. Need I say more? Love the old school glamour.

Daily transport in the form of pimped-up 'remorks', similar to tuk-tuks. I can see serious remork-envy from other tourists when they passed by us.

Ex-military jeep was used for one of the daily tours. What an experience!

4. The Design

The corridor leading to the rooms, facing a peaceful courtyard.

The peaceful courtyard. More like a house than a hotel.

Modern and well-designed room. I could find no design flaw in it. Seriously, and I am a serious fuss.

The spacious and bright open-concept bathroom

There are 12 pool suites available, each with its own small pool. I love the design of the shower area as the glass panel creates an "outdoor" feel without the invasion of insects.

Pool by the restaurant

The pool by the restaurant is more of a decorative feature and I haven't seen anyone swimming in it. Perhaps I was there during the off-peak season.

The secluded lap pool that is zen in design. There's no gym at Amansara, so swimming is a good alternative form of exercise.

5. The Dining Experience

The circular dining hall with its seven-metre high ceiling offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. There's also a walk-in cellar and cheese room. The informal sofa area is also a good place to lounge about during tea time, where we helped ourselves to the homemade cakes and cookies. The banana cake is a must-try!

The house menu features Khmer and international cuisine. The menu changes daily to include fresh, seasonal produce... so dining there everyday was a new discovery for me. I am now a fan of Khmer cuisine.

The Khmer menu option offers 5 dishes each time and it is right up my alley. They even have fish sauce and chilli padi as condiment. What's there not to love?

Special fish curry noodles for breakfast. You need to order this a day in advance so they can prepare in time for breakfast.

The best porridge I ever had. Bor Bor is Khmer porridge served at breakfast. I love it so much, I had it for breakfast and lunch.

We had breakfasts twice a day when we had morning temple tours. We get a petite breakfast at 5am before we set off and then at 10am when we are back from tour.

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