I recently travelled through Cambodia and had the privilege of staying in some of the most incredible hotels in the country.
Each hotel possessed its own unique qualities and personality, oftentimes reflecting the varied and exciting cultures and landscapes that I discovered during my life-changing trip. Now that I’m back from my travels I can’t seem to get Cambodia out of my head, so I thought I’d share the highlights with you and show you why I’ve fallen head over heels in love with Cambodia.
1. ROSEWOOD PHNOM PENH
Will you want to leave Rosewood Phnom Penh with views like this?
I can’t think of a better place to begin a Cambodian adventure then at Rosewood Phnom Penh. Housed within the Vattanac Capital Tower, the tallest building in Phnom Penh, and occupying only the upper floors, this hotel has city views that cannot be matched.
With floor-to-ceiling windows in every room and a gym and indoor pool overlooking the city, you will be constantly immersed in the beauty of Phnom Penh. With authentic tuk-tuks available at any time of day, the hotel provides prime access to the city and its many landmarks, including the moving Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and several delightful traditional markets.
Expect attentive service all day and enjoy delicious sushi on the terrace as you look out over Cambodia and plan the next move of your trip.
Best for: Panoramic city views over Phnom Penh that literally cannot be beaten.
Delicious eclairs from the in-house patisserie waiting in my room upon arrival.
2. SHINTA MANI WILD
After an extremely bumpy three-hour journey into the middle of the Cambodian jungle, I arrived at Shinta Mani Wild – a hotel crafted by world-famous eco-designer Bill Bensley that is comprised of 15 beautifully curated tented camps.
Upon arrival, you are greeted by camouflaged butlers who show you to a zip wire that propels you through the treetops and deposits you safely in the bar where you are handed a custom cocktail – talk about making an entrance!
The food was a particular highlight, particularly the Around the World in 7 Dumplings cooking class. As unlimited excursions are available at Shinta Mani Wild you can get to know the area through boat trips along the river and anti-poaching hunts with the Wildlife Alliance. If you’re going to stay here you’ll need sure footing to get around and plenty of mosquito repellent to make your stay comfortable.
Best for: Getting closer to nature on adventures through the stunning Cambodian forest.
Arriving on a zipwire! What could be cooler? Definitely a highlight of my trip.
3. SIX SENSES KRABEY ISLAND
My natural explorations continued as I made my way to Six Senses Krabey Island, an eco-friendly island retreat that lets you sink into a Robinson Crusoe-style atmosphere of hideaway bliss.
Private pools enhance the feeling of exclusivity and make up for the lack of beach, while spa and jungle gym facilities dotted all around the island allow you to remain active during your stay. This serene island is the perfect place to unwind, and with only 40 villas dotted around the island you truly feel like you are separated from the outside world.
The famous Six Senses Spa harnesses this laid-back ambience and crafts an impossibly relaxing spa experience.
On this castaway island, you can expect the freshest seafood, idyllic jungle views and unrivalled relaxation.
Best for: Relaxation - the spa treatments and serene ambience are second to none.
Cinema Paradiso, an under-the-stars cinema on the beach, which was a lovely surprise.
Relaxing yoga at Six Senses Krabey Island
4. SHINTA MANI SHACK
I ended my travels in Siem Reap at Shinta Mani Shack, another marvellous Bill Bensley designed hotel.
One of the great positives of this hotel is its charitable endeavours. A percentage of their earnings are given to the Shinta Mani Foundation to build houses and provide dental care and training to local youths. Shinta Mani Shack plays a large role in its community and has a staff of butlers that are extremely knowledgeable and can double as personal guides, taking you off the beaten track on incredible excursions.
We enjoyed a private breakfast served in our tuk-tuk as we marvelled at ancient sites before undertaking the steep climb up to Ta Prohm, the temple famously used in the Tomb Raider movie.
Quirky rooms blend the indoors and outdoors to cultivate a wonderful sense of calm and craft a welcome escape from the bustling tourist crowds of the city centre.
Best for: The range of eye-opening excursions on offer and the knowledge of the incredible staff.
The banana chip snacks are to die for and I don’t even usually like bananas!
You won't be stuck for things to do at Shinta Mani Shack
The wonderful hotels that welcomed me during my stay in Cambodia enhanced my experience greatly and allowed me to feel as if I was discovering the true personality of the nation without being part of the regular tourist masses. Some top tips that I picked up along the way are; bring lots of mosquito repellent, prepare for very bumpy roads, don’t attempt to do all of the temples in one day – it’s very hot and you will get tired – and make sure you get off the beaten track for excursions in Siem Reap.
Want to follow in Nina’s footsteps? Call one of our Travel Specialists today for more insight, recommendations and help to tailor-make your luxury holiday to Cambodia.