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Travel Report: Where to Stay in Siem Reap.

Best hotels in Siem Reap.

Where to Stay in Siem Reap.

June 2020. Cambodia really is one of Asia’s jewels when it comes to fantastic accommodation at affordable prices. Here in Siem Reap, my eventful and somewhat chaotic adventures throughout 2020 have seen me experience all sides of the city’s varied hospitality landscape.

Where to Stay in Siem Reap.

COVID-19 in Cambodia.

As the gateway to the stunning Temples of Angkor, Siem Reap welcomes scores of visitors each year. Or at least it did until COVID-19 wiped out the tourism industry. During these crazy months of March, April, May and June, analysts say over 70% of the city’s hotels and guest-houses have closed down. Some are reopening or scheduled to return, others have sadly gone under.

Coronavirus in Cambodia.

COVID-19 in Cambodia.

Siem Reap’s speciality is its so-called boutique hotel scene. Basically, we’re talking upscale rooms set in gorgeous jungle gardens, with Insta-worthy pools. The kind of places that, in most countries, would cost you an arm and a leg.

Apsara Greenland Boutique.

Apsara Greenland Boutique Siem Reap.

Apsara Greenland Boutique, Siem Reap.

From those boutique hotels that did stay in business, we were lucky enough to find the amazing Apsara Greenland Boutique on Palm Street. As far as value for money goes, this place has to be one of the best deals in town. Especially when you consider their standard doubles now go for under $300 a month. You can read my full review of Apsara Greenland Boutique here.

Suon Angkor Boutique.

Double bedroom Suon Angkor Boutique Hotel Siem Reap.

Suon Angkor Boutique, Siem Reap.

Another joint in the same price range is Suon Angkor Boutique, off Wat Bo Road. We stayed here for thirteen nights at the height of the city’s mass exodus. Although a peaceful and beautiful little hotel, we admittedly didn’t fall in love with the place. Check out my full review here.

The Golden Gecko Villa.

The Golden Gecko Hotel Siem Reap.

The Golden Gecko Villa, Siem Reap.

Also hovering around the $300 mark for month-long stays is The Golden Gecko Villa. While we haven’t personally stayed here, we did pop in for a look one weekend. This is one of the smallest boutique joints we’ve seen so far. On the day of our visit the place was bustling, with expats at the bar, a family by the pool and several kids running around.

Where to Stay Siem Reap.

The Golden Gecko Villa, Siem Reap.

Ultimately, The Golden Gecko wasn’t what we were looking for. Nevertheless, the Khmer lady I spoke to was friendly and we were suitably wowed by some of the stupendous jackfruits in their jungle garden.

Navutu Dreams.

Navutu Dreams Siem Reap.

Navutu Dreams, Siem Reap.

Want to take things to the next level? Check out the amazing Navutu Dreams. This place certainly lives up to its luxurious claims. And then some. The massive complex features no less than three swimming pools, a spa and wellness centre, a small gym and a yoga studio. Moreover, you can take your meals in the thatched, open-air pavilion restaurant and bar. Their chefs are of some repute and they have a wood oven for home-cooked pizzas.

Where to Stay in Siem Reap.

Where to stay Siem Reap.

Navutu Dreams, Siem Reap.

The general manager, Jeremie, showed us around Navutu Dreams. It really is a wonderland, with spacious, chic villas set tastefully around a series of sculpted stone pathways. With virtually zero tourists in the city and a slow recovery process ahead, the hotel recently announced its first ever long-stay rates.

Navutu Dreams Resort Siem Reap.

Starting at $750 a month including breakfast, this is definitely on the pricy side. However, it’s also an unprecedented opportunity to live somewhere that would usually be out of reach for all but the very wealthy.

Victoria Angkor Hotel.

Victoria Angkor Hotel Siem Reap.

Victoria Angkor Hotel, Siem Reap.

With accommodation prices across the city plummeting, we also decided to stop by the famous Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa. This five star colonial hotel enjoys a prime location right in the heart of the city centre next to The Royal Gardens. When we visited, the place was deserted. Eventually, we came upon the manageress, who told us she did have “a few short stay guests”.

Where to stay Siem Reap.

Victoria Angkor Hotel, Siem Reap.

She was more than happy for us to look around independently. The entire place channels a nostalgic colonial vibe, with dark wood furniture, signature yellow paintwork and traditional Khmer art.

An antique French elevator clunks visitors up the floors, while dining takes place in a number of restaurants. L’Escale, for example, offers a range of Western and Khmer dishes. Le Connaisseur meanwhile specialises in French cuisine.

Where to Stay in Siem Reap.

Victoria Angkor Hotel Siem Reap.

Victoria Angkor Hotel.

As for the pool, I’m sure the above photo sums it up nicely. Having looked around, we were curious to know if there was a special monthly rate available for these turbulent times. A simple enough question, you might imagine. Firstly, she told us they’d need to confirm by email. Then, three days later, and only after I’d sent a reminder mail, came a message saying “this has been forwarded to our sales department”. Another 48 hours passed, after which we finally got a quote. $2700 for the month, down from the usual $3500. We politely declined.

Raffles Grand Hotel.

Raffles Grand Hotel Siem Reap.

Raffles Grand Hotel, Siem Reap.

I suspect the rate would be even pricier at Raffles Grand Hotel. Not that we could get an actual quote, because Siem Reap’s fanciest hotel closed its doors back on April 3rd. They have vowed to return in the near future, although at the time of writing there’s still no update on when that will be.

Raffles Hotel Siem Reap.

Raffles Grand Hotel, Siem Reap.

We were hoping to experience this place for at least a night. In fact, I’ve wanted to stay at one of their hotels since I visited the historical Raffles residence in Singapore. The Siem Reap Raffles has been serving visitors since 1932, when it was originally known as The Grand Hotel d’Angkor. The facility has gargantuan colonial suites, 15 acres of landscaped tropical gardens and a signature Sikh doorman, who personally greets and bids adieu to customers.

Where to Stay in Siem Reap.

Funky Flashpacker Asia Siem Reap.

Funky Flashpacker, Siem Reap.

Hostels have been perhaps the worst hit in Siem Reap. After all, who wants to chance sleeping in a dorm in these times of social distancing? It’s been particularly devastating for the city’s party hostels, most of which have had to give up the ghost completely. One of SR’s most famed institutions was The Funky Flashpacker, located on Funky Lane.

I used to take breakfast at the excellent (and now sadly closed) Brother Bong Cafe just across the road. Hence I often witnessed first hand the stumbling, jeering millennials that once inhabited this place. I’m guessing for these guys, it’s going to be an even longer road back to any kind of new norm.

Foster Apartments.

Foster Apartments Where to Stay Siem Reap.

Foster Apartments, Siem Reap.

Long term expats in Siem Reap usually bypass the service industry altogether and rent an apartment. In our early days Sladja and I went down this route with a two month stay at Foster Apartments on Sala Kamreuk Road. You can read my full review of here.

Where to Stay in Siem Reap.

Sakura Home, Siem Reap.

Finally, an honourable mention for the tiny guesthouse we lived in for three weeks when I first arrived in Siem Reap back on January the 1st. Sakura Home was one of many budget guesthouses, where one can secure monthly stays for as little as $200 a month. There’s no pool and you’re really just looking at a single room with ensuite bathroom and air con. Furthermore, having crocodile farm views from our window was a definite travel first!

Crocodile Farm Siem Reap Cambodia.

One of Siem Reap’s numerous crocodile farms.

Sakura was a good starting point for us and, while the place was almost suffocatingly claustrophobic, we have fond memories of life here. The owners, a Japanese woman and her Spanish husband, are lovely people. Sadly, they had to give their business up after COVID-19 hit. I’m guessing there must be a million and one stories like this across the world.

Leighton Travels travel reports short stories.

Want to know more about the accommodation options in Siem Reap? Check out my individual location reports here.

Looking for a place to stay in Siem Reap? Your best bet is to hit the city’s expat Facebook groups, such as Expats and locals living in Siem Reap, Cambodia. 

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

  • Eromonsele Emmanuel

    All great recommendations Leighton, plus they also feature a ‘homey’ look. What happened during the great exodus? I’m curious.

    June 12, 2020 - 11:54 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Basically, anyone who wasn’t a committed Siem Reap expat just fled. Thousands of tourists, part time residents and western residents worried about healthcare called it a day. Even now, with things returning to normal for locals and expats, it’s a quiet city.

      June 13, 2020 - 12:01 am Reply
      • Eromonsele Emmanuel

        Ah, that’s so not cool. Maybe it was all for the better. Afterall, the city recorded minimum cases.

        June 13, 2020 - 12:15 am
  • oldbirdtravels

    I stayed at a lovely place there too. Loved it there

    June 22, 2020 - 12:34 am Reply
  • Rebecca Lucas

    I have stayed at Dream Mango Villa, and was booked again for March/April but the pandemic hit. A lovely spot near George’s Restaurant. I’m loving reading all your reports as have been to Siem Reap a number of times, mainly due to the charity ‘Heartprint’. Check out their new initiative HOPE, helping young people, some with disabilities, achieve great things.

    September 13, 2020 - 3:54 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hi Rebecca, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I will certainly have a look at Heartprint and HOPE. Hope you enjoy the rest of the SR reports.

      September 13, 2020 - 4:01 pm Reply

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