F Where the rest of the royalty can stay - jeepneyjinggoy

Where the rest of the royalty can stay

Raffles Hotel Le Royal

While the King of Cambodia resides in luxury at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, I get to stay at the next best place-- at the Raffles Hotel Le Royal. Sans any title but “mister”, I still managed to get a treatment fit for royalty…for two nights at least…with my travel mates.

Special treatment was evident from the moment we arrived. The hotel front liners were present by the open doorway, the General Manager included, where we were met and greeted, and handed our refreshing cold towels and welcome drinks. I was impressed.

THIS welcome drink is mine, for sure!..... a much needed ice-cold drink after a long, hot trip.

Apparently, the grand welcome wasn’t actually intended for us. We were just a minute ahead of the arrival of the VIP they were expecting. Well, it was good while it lasted. At least I now know what to expect when I reach that status. 

This is as far as my VIP treatment went....the red carpet. But it's for everyone entering the hotel.

No room upgrade for us this time. I suddenly missed the Raffles Hotel D’Angkor’s villa we stayed in and looked forward to the trip back to Siem Reap in a couple of days. The room was very nice. I love how the original, quaint touches were preserved—white bathtubs, cement tiles, hardwood panels and doors, and fused with the modern amenities.

As for the butler service, Hotel Le Royal has a more attentive and efficient steward than its Siem Reap counterpart. I was very impressed with Thy Sothea whose extra mile on personal service I will rate as excellent (talk about THE royal treatment). I wish I could say the same about the service at Café Monivong. 

Raffles Hotel Le Royal is referred to as the most prestigious hotel in Phnom Penh. Establishment in 1929 with 55 rooms, this historic hotel underwent restoration and re-opened in 1997. With 170 rooms today, the recently refurbished hotel integrates the building’s colonial architecture and design with the contemporary appointments required of a five-star hotel. The result—old world charm meets modern comfort.

Hotel Le Royal’s guest list is as rich as its history. It has welcomed renowned writers, journalists, dignitaries and royalty during the hotel’s early years until present. Jacqueline Onassis, authors W. Somerset Maugham and Andre Malraux and Charles de Gaulle were four of the hotel’s noted guests that Hotel Le Royal named its suites after. The Personality Suites, as it is referred to, now hold prized memorabilia and original artifacts of these famous guests.

If you’re a tourist like me, location is a priority. It is always best to be within easy access of the attractions. Hotel Le Royal may be an exclusive joint but not isolated. The hotel is within walking distance of the main thoroughfare, the Wat Phnom, the Central Market and the Grand Boulevard, and a short tuktuk ride to the Royal Palace and the other must-visit of Phnom Penh. 

Just like Hotel D’Angkor in Siem Reap, Hotel Le Royal is consistently awarded and listed as one of the best hotels in Asia and around the globe by prestigious award-giving bodies.

Two days after, we move back to Siem Reap. For the rest of the Cambodia sojourn, it will be at the sister hotel – the Hotel D’Angkor, which I find it more charming, relaxing, filled with warmer locals. The provincial vibe is what attracts me, really.

I am blessed, I will admit, and have to credit my friends/travel mates for this Cambodian “royal” episode. I got to see a dream destination, Angkor Wat, immersed into Cambodia’s not-so-distant history, and at the end of each day, rest soundly in luxurious comfort of the Raffles Hotels. This was indeed a happy trip with you guys!

P.S. I loved reading the bedtime story leaflets left on my pillow after the turn down service. There was a different story each night. 

For more travel & lifestyle stories, visit http://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ and http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/ 

Published in Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 24, 2012.