A designer boutique hotel dreamt up by a revered luxury architect, but with its own charitable foundation: Shinta Mani Shack is quirky, surprising and a real delight to experience while staying in Siem Reap.
Bill Bensley is the brains behind the Shinta Mani hotel collection in Cambodia, who has designed hundreds of luxury resorts across the globe.
But the Shinta Manis are more of a personal project for Bensley, having poured his signature, distinctive style into the properties; though also established the Shinta Mani Foundation, which helps local communities through its responsible tourism projects – and your stay contributes to the work they do.
At the Shinta Mani Shack itself, you can expect plenty of luxuries to make your Siem Reap visit one to really remember. The property is shaped around a garden and terrace, at the centre of which is a large outdoor swimming pool where sunbathing and refreshing dips are the order of the day; there’s also a pool bar here so you needn’t go far for snacks and drinks either. You can then choose to dine at any of the Shinta Mani collection’s three restaurants, including the garden-like Baitong eatery, an American steakhouse or Kroya, where cookery classes take place for anyone looking to take home a few local gourmet tips.
Next are the rooms and communal areas of Shinta Mani Shack which are a feast for the eyes, brimming with Bill Bensley’s eclectic design that incorporates jet black, fresh white and jewel hues to set off the monochrome palette. The artwork here has been created especially for the hotel and, together with the choice of décor and furnishings, it all comes together to evoke a contemporary Khmer space with plenty of nods to Siem Reap and beyond.
- Spa / Wellness
1/12 - Swimming Pool at Shinta Mani Shack, Siem Reap
2/12 - Lobby at Shinta Mani Shack, Siem Reap
3/12 - Lounge Area at Shinta Mani Shack, Siem Reap
4/12 - Baitong Restaurant at Shinta Mani Shack, Siem Reap
5/12 - Lobby at Shinta Mani Shack, Siem Reap
6/12 - Spa Treatment at Shinta Mani Shack, Siem Reap
7/12 - Spa Treatment Room at Shinta Mani Shack, Siem Reap
8/12 - Guest Bedroom at Shinta Mani Shack, Siem Reap
9/12 - The Steak House at Pub Street at Shinta Mani Shack, Siem Reap
10/12 - Cooking Class at Shinta Mani Shack, Siem Reap
11/12 - Poolside Garden Room at Shinta Mani Shack, Siem Reap
12/12 - Poolside Refreshments at Shinta Mani Shack, Siem Reap
The accommodation at Shinta Mani Shack is generous in size and sleek in style, with contemporary features like a wrought iron bed frame, wall of mirrors and atmospheric lighting. They are defined by splashes of black, orange and yellow with works of art splayed on the walls, while amenities include LCD TVs, Bluetooth speakers, Wi-Fi, tea and coffee making facilities, safety deposit box and minibar.
Poolside Garden Room
Like an interior garden, this leafy restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining for every meal of the day: plus afternoon tea. Start the day with sweet fruits from the breakfast buffet, then take your pick from the a la carte menu for lunch and dinner, serving up everything from meaty burgers to creative Khmer cuisine.
Both local and global delicacies can be enjoyed at Kroya, found at sister hotel Shinta Mani Angkor. Sample as many flavours as possible on the seven-course tasting menu – a must-try during your time in Cambodia.
The Steak House at Pub Street
Relish a fusion of American fare with Khmer flair at Shinta Mani’s Steak House, passionate about all things beef. A huge variety of cuts are found on the menu, including the star of the show: the Master’s Cut at 1.2kg!
With views of the courtyard and hip interior design, Bensley’s Bar (named in honour of the hotel’s architect) is a slick place to toast your holiday in style. Come for the Happy Hour between 5-7pm, and snack on small plates to stave off hunger pangs before your main meal.
Open all day for al fresco drinks and finger food, the poolside bar concocts zingy cocktails and fruity smoothies that are as tempting to look at as they are to sip!
Activities and Entertainment
Shinta Mani Shack might encapsulate luxury through and through, but it places as much emphasis on immersions into local life – for those who seek it. If you’re a gourmand, why not learn how to make rice wine, discover Shinta Mani’s organic farms or try your hand at a Khmer cookery class? There are also many opportunities to see the natural surrounds, such as taking a Tonle Sap boat cruise with brunch or sundowners (depending on the time of day) and touring nearby fishing villages, floating communities and of course the majestic Angkor temples. Go kayaking and biking, or for something less active choose a Vespa or ox cart ride instead!
Another amazing way to engage with local life is by exploring the villages that the Shinta Mani Foundation helps to support through charitable initiatives. You can see the work they have down to build homes, dig wells, and much more.
Take advantage not only of the facilities at Shinta Mani Shack but also sister hotel, Shinta Mani Angkor, including its spa. Try out treatments like the clay and Cambodian coffee body scrub, a ginger and turmeric body wrap or sweet almond oil massage, to name a few. Back at Shinta Mani Shack, the large outdoor pool enveloped by gardens is sure to tempt you in, and there’s also a boutique selling handicrafts, the profits of which go to the Shinta Mani Foundation.
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