Sugato Tripathy visits the five star Borei Angkor Resort and Spa in Cambodia and reports back on a memorable Cambodian stay.
It’s always a traveller’s delight when one gets to experience a different culture and place without compromising in any way with the comfort factor. Borei Angkor, a 5-star property in Siem Reap and probably the most popular hotel in the city, promises a luxurious stay coupled with impeccable Cambodian hospitality and delectable Khmer cuisine. The interiors with a gigantic lobby, wooden staircases, fishpond, huge Buddhist artifacts, paintings, statues and murals and local musical instruments ticks all the boxes for an authentic Cambodian experience in a modern set up.
After a long flight what I always need is that the property shouldn’t be too far away. The resort is located in the centre of the city almost equidistant to the Siem Reap International airport and the Angkor Wat UNESCO World Heritage Centre. The din of the main road is non-existent when you step into the property. The Borei Angkor is perhaps one of the best known hotels amongst a plethora of other similar hotel options available in Siem Reap.
The most popular and pleasant forms of intraurban transport in Cambodia are Tuk Tuks (an open three-wheeler vehicle with a dedicated seating arrangement at the back). My evenings were mostly spent at the famous Angkor Night Market – a fifteen minutes’ walk from here. Shopping malls, local restaurants, bars and the landscaped Siem Reap river promenade are also nearby.
Set amidst lush green surroundings and beautiful manicured garden and plants, Borei Angkor is discreetly hidden behind a dense canopy of trees. Spread across a thousand square meters, it is easily one of the biggest lobbies I’ve ever seen. The standout thing about it is the fusion of Cambodian culture and tradition with a luxurious contemporary feel.
The aesthetically designed interiors have huge Cambodian artifacts rising up from a small pond with lots of goldfish, a separate place for showcasing Roneat ek – a xylophone used in classical Khmer music of Cambodia, a magnificent bell housed under typical slanted wooden roofs and even a Gold Ore probably referring to the rich history of artisanal gold mining dating back to 12th century A.D.
The interiors are dominated by wooden furniture and fittings. Tall pillars, swirling staircases, sofa sets, wooden frames with ancient paintings, large, polished tables, painted wooden sculptures and other decorative pieces adorne the entire property. The colour combination is distinctly earthy. Brown, green and grey are the most dominant colours, and the golden lighting complements these shades.
Rated second amongst all the swimming pools across the Asia Pacific, the Tropicana Pool is surrounded by exquisite slender palm trees. The shallow depth makes it ideal for people of all ages. I had some tasty snacks at the pool side Aha Rosil bistro and few delightful cocktails at the Tropicana bar (by the pool)
The Mudita Spa is an indulgent affair. I decided to succumb to a world of comfort and relaxation after a strenuous day of sightseeing under the harsh Cambodian sun. I tried the J’Pong herbal steam therapy – their signature offering – as it was branded as the traditional Khmer massage and it didn’t disappoint.
Inspired by the tastes and designs of the erstwhile Royal Angkor empire, I fell in love with my room. It boasted exquisitely carved classic Cambodian architecture along with plenty of amenities – 24 hour in-room dining, complimentary Wi-Fi, bathrobe and slippers, rain shower, in-room electronic safe. Each room has a private terrace with garden/pool/city view.
The Borei Café is the primary restaurant of the hotel and operates from 6.00 a.m. till 10 p.m. The breakfast buffet here is a smorgasbord of Khmer, Chinese and Continental cuisine. Live counters are not limited to egg stations. It also includes freshly made pan-fried noodles, sausages, pancakes, waffles. Freshly made juice, warm muffins, doughnuts, seasonal fresh fruits, a variety of cereals and flavoured yogurts adorn the buffet spread. On the recommendation of the Chef, I also tried the traditional Khmer buffet to get an essence of the distinct Cambodian cuisine.
The one thing that stood out is the impeccable hospitality. Greeted immediately with folded hands by the entire staff at the entrance, I got the feel of the level of service here. Almost all the staff go out of their way to help the resort’s residents. Be it customization of the dishes, additional stuff required in the room, information about shopping and dining in Siem Reap or any other special request, trust the Borei Angkor team to take care of the same. Everyone wears a smile on their sleeve and it makes the residents very comfortable.
Borei Angkor Resort and Spa manages to combine luxury with the region’s authenticity and that’s what makes the stay here so experiential and endearing.
Tell me more about the Borei Angkor Resort and Spa
Borei Angkor Resort and Spa, National Road 6, Banteay Chas,
Siem Reap, Cambodia.
T: +855 15 430 222 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
The low-end rooms start from Rs 3,000 onwards during the low season and Rs 7,000 onwards during the peak season (Nov – Feb). The Royal Suites would cost from Rs 50,000 per night.
Best Time to Visit: November to February
Getting There: Siem Reap is a prominent city in the international tourist map due to the presence of Angkor Wat. It is well connected to the major cities of Phnom Penn and Sihanoukville within Cambodia. Daily flights fly from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok as well. The resort usually provides one-way airport pickup for all guests.