The mention of Siem Reap evokes thoughts of an ancient world with palatial temples, immense rice fields and quaint villages. Although the once sleepy provincial capital in northwestern Cambodia is best known for being the gateway to the famous Angkor ruins — where the 2000 Tomb Raider movie was filmed — as well as its sprawling World Heritage-listed complex of more than 400 grand temples, there is more to Siem Reap than meets the eye.
The town is a bustling spot filled with restaurants, bars, boutiques, massage parlours, and luxury hotels.
Our sanctuary of choice? Park Hyatt Siem Reap, a 104-room luxury hotel housed in a beautiful colonial style building right in the heart of the “Temple Town.” Re-designed by award-winning architect Bill Bensley in 2013, the hotel was Hyatt’s first venture in Cambodia — and remains one of the top properties in the country.
Located just 20 minutes from Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport, Park Hyatt Siem Reap is in close proximity to some of the best spots in the city. As the hotel is set on the main street of the Cambodian city, you can take a leisurely walk to some of the best bars and restaurants around, as well as popular tourist areas.
What’s more, it’s a mere 15-minute drive from the famed Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom temples.
We stayed in the Park Suite King, a spacious 71 square-metre room with a separate living room, an ensuite bathroom, a beautiful tub and refreshing rain shower, his and her sink, separate showers and toilets, as well as a walk-in wardrobe. All rooms in the hotel are decked out in Khmer-inspired contemporary art, adding to a sophisticated residential feel.
The Park Suite King is great for travellers who want to soak in the lively and bustling Siem Reap atmosphere, as it faces the main road. If you prefer a more peaceful room, be sure to ask for one that faces the other direction.
Park Hyatt Siem Reap boasts a myriad of dining options for a unique culinary experience in Cambodia. The hotel houses three restaurants, each with their own speciality — these are The Dining Room, The Living Room, and The Glasshouse Deli. Patisserie.
The Dining Room, the hotel’s main restaurant, is where we indulged in breakfast every day. Executive chef Pisith Theam, who was born and raised in Siem Reap, whips up French cuisine with Indochine influences. Each dish uses seasonal products freshly available in the market, as well as selected premium import items.
We highly recommend the Pouk Menu from the restaurant’s Khmer-inspired set menu. Pouk, where chef Pisith grew up, is a quintessential Cambodian village bursting with local markets, stunning pagodas, lush rice paddies and lotus farms. The menu features flavourful dishes inspired by the traditional cuisine of the village.
We started off with the roasted eggplant salad, served with roasted fried garlic and fried shallots, followed by the main course — sautéed chicken prepared with ginger, palm sugar, spring onion, saw leaf and Kampot fish sauce, which was best savoured with steamed jasmine rice. We ended our sumptuous meal with delicious banana cake and cassava pudding. Paired with fine wine from the restaurant’s extensive wine selection, it was one of the best meals we had in Siem Reap.
There’s nothing like treating yourself to an authentic Cambodian spa after a day exploring Siem Reap’s streets and magnificent temples. The Spa in Park Hyatt Siem Reap is an oasis overlooking the heart of Siem Reap, offering a peaceful retreat for the ultimate wellness experience.
We chose the Apsara massage (S$124 for 90 minutes), which was much needed after a day of exploring temples à la Lara Croft. The rejuvenating massage targets your pressure points to release emotional tension, improve sleep, and soothe the nervous system. We loved it so much we went back twice before leaving for Singapore.
One of our favourite features of the hotel is the beautiful lap pool on the first level, surrounded by lush greenery and offering just the right amount of privacy in a resort-like environment. Additionally, the hotel also has a smaller saltwater pool on the entrance level, located right next to the Dining Room. The former is connected to the spa and the gym — which is well-equipped with new cross fit and treadmill machines, as well as free weights and balance balls that we’re sure fitness junkies will love.
Located in the heart of the city within proximity to the main cultural areas, the Park Hyatt Siem Reap is the gateway to Siem Reap’s bustling nightlife and Cambodia’s rich heritage — perfect for the culture vulture.