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"Short stories and travel reports from my life adventures around the globe".

Travel Report: Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel, Siem Reap.

Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel Siem Reap.

Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel.

March 2020. I’ll never forget our crazy months living in Siem Reap at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak. By late March we were both frantically trying to find flights somewhere… anywhere that would allow us to stay together. Primarily, it had to be a country that looked kindly upon our passports. Somewhere within budget and with a decent healthcare system, just in case the shit hit the fan. Moreover, and certainly adding to our stress levels, we needed to find new accommodation within Siem Reap while we figured things out.

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We had been living at Foster Apartments for six weeks in a spacious, top floor flat. However, the insane heat, a poorly functioning air con unit and daily power cuts had driven us to the verge of mental and physical exhaustion. Having taken the decision to move on, it was a relief when we quickly discovered Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel.

Suon Angkor Boutique Siem Reap.

Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel.

We immediately liked the place. After all, it was clean and stuffed full of greenery and colourful Cambodian art. While located right in the heart of the city, its position at the end of a long, dusty side street ensures visitors also get plenty of peace and quiet. Just what the doctor ordered.

Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel Siem Reap.

The young Khmer girl at reception instantly charmed us with her talk of “a home from home” and “if there’s anything we can do to help you, anything at all” etc. She also responded well to my usual grilling routine.

Would the wifi definitely hold up? We were both working online, plus there were flights to search for, embassy info to check, world news to follow and family to keep in touch with. “For sure!” she insisted, offering us a highly discounted nightly rate on the spot. Handing over our cash seemed like a no-brainer.

Welcome drinks Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel Siem Reap.

Welcome drinks at Suon Angkor Boutique.

“Welcome hooome!!!” 

she sang, as we arrived with all our luggage. As first impressions went, Suon Angkor scored highly with their cutesy welcome drinks and sugared nuts. Having dispatched our refreshments, the lady wasted no time in leading us to our new quarters.

Double room Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel Siem Reap.

Double bedroom 1 at Suon Angkor Boutique.

Our ensuite double bedroom was both spacious and homely, if a little rough around the edges decor wise. Unfortunately, we’d just finished unpacking when the wifi gave up the ghost. Suddenly, we were cut off from the world and we had a million and one things to do.

Double bedroom Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel Siem Reap.

Double bedroom 2 at Suon Angkor Boutique.

“Oh, the wifi can be a little unstable on this side of the hotel” giggled the woman nervously, much to my palpable annoyance. A short while later, a dude came to look at my Mac and run a few tests. When it became clear there was no solution, the lady suggested we move to the other side of the complex to a suite near reception. Thus we packed everything up again and relocated to a new, larger room.

“You should be careful!” 

Broken floorboards Suon Angkor Boutique.

Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel.

At first glance the room looked lovely. But as the days went by we realised just how weathered the place was. The dust and cobwebs in the closet. The broken lightbulbs, the plug sockets that didn’t work and the downright dangerous cracked floorboards in the bathroom. “You should be careful!” the woman told me. Uh….

Cambodian art Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel Siem Reap.

Local art on display at the hotel.

Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel.

Those days we spent at Suon Angkor were some of the most stressful of my life. Unable to go to The UK together, Sladja and I were in the midst of searching for flights to Serbia when the government shut down the airport. Suddenly, the borders around Cambodia also began falling like dominoes.

When teaching time came around in the evenings, the poor wifi threatened to derail my classes altogether. I tried reminding the woman that this was my main source of income and that she had promised it was going to be fine. But of course she had our money now… and no fix.

The pool.

Swimming pool Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel Siem Reap.

The pool at Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel.

Thank god for the pool! Sheltered by high walls and droopy trees, this was our escape twice a day. Somewhere to get the blood pumping and clear our troubled minds. Within three days of arriving, all the other guests had exited on some of the last flights back to their countries. Having Suon Angkor to ourselves definitely helped us chill out a little.

The restaurant.

Restaurant Suon Angkor Boutique Siem Reap.

Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel.

The restaurant was another source of comfort. Beautifully designed and wonderfully peaceful, we took virtually all our meals here that first week. To be fair, almost everything we ordered was delicious, especially in the beginning.

Time to eat Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel.

Time to eat! Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel.

But the situation soon deteriorated. Firstly, one of the chicken dishes was a bit ropey. Then, the availability of the kitchen became altogether erratic. “The chef isn’t here” explained the woman at reception. Finally, the portions began shrinking until one evening my fish came served with a somewhat laughable eight chips. Sensing the hotel was gearing up for closure, we began ordering take aways.

Angkor Wat artwork Siem Reap.

Angkor Wat artwork at Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel.

Eventually, we took the unsatisfactory decision of booking Sladja on a flight back to China where she had a residence permit. Separating was the last thing we wanted. But at the same time we recognised that, ironically, China was now looking like one of the safest countries in the world. A few days before her flight, the Chinese government announced a ban on all foreign visitors. And that was that, we were back to square one.

Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel Siem Reap.

Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel.

Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel decided to close at the end of March. Simultaneously, we received news that the Cambodian government had agreed to allow foreigners to overstay their tourist visas free of charge. Hence our course was set, we’d be staying in Cambodia for an extended period. And so we began looking, once more, for a place to live.

Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel.

Buddha statue Siem Reap Cambodia.

Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel.

We stayed at Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel for thirteen nights. It’s difficult to give a fair assessment at what must have been an exceptionally challenging time for the staff. It really is a beautiful and peaceful hotel, but terribly tatty for a place advertising themselves as luxurious. On that first day, when the woman told me “please inform us if there’s anything we can do for you”, what she really meant was “Whatever your problem, there’s very little we can do for you”.

Frankly, there’s so much more I could say about the place, all kinds of juicy titbits I’ve put to one side. As usual, I’ll leave the finer details of our experiences here for the eventual short story collection further down the road.

Cambodian art Siem Reap.

Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel.

At the time of writing, Suon Angkor Boutique has reopened! You can get in touch through their official website.

For more on accommodation in the city, take a look at my guide on to Where to Stay in Siem Reap. 

For a look at Siem Reap’s excellent cafe, restaurant and bar scene, check out my detailed guide on Where to Eat and Drink Siem Reap.

You can also read my exhaustive overview of What to See and Do in Siem Reap.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

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6 Comments

  • Nadia Willemse

    Ha! The word “luxurious” should be forbidden in the hospitality industry… unless it really is a 5 star hotel. My usual reaction when people ask “how was the hotel?” would be “thank god for the pool!” Glad you guys survived 13 days of tip-toeing to the toilet 😉

    June 11, 2020 - 5:45 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Nadia, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Totally agree about the luxurious thing. Here in Siem Reap everyone pedals that line. Stay healthy and safe!

      June 11, 2020 - 5:57 pm Reply
  • Passport Overused

    Great post 😁

    June 11, 2020 - 6:51 pm Reply
  • Memo

    Love the greenery and the artwork.

    June 11, 2020 - 10:15 pm Reply
  • Namz

    Oh gosh, can’t imagine how the thirteen days would have been. Glad you managed to get to the other nice hotel after this experience!

    June 12, 2020 - 2:45 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Cheers! It was all worth it in the end, as Apsara Greenland has been a total oasis. Can’t believe we’ve been here for two and a half months.

      June 12, 2020 - 8:56 am Reply

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