Amansara + Belmond La Residence D'Angkor + Siem Reap Site Visits
Yikes! Long overdue, from my stay in March 2017. I’ll add in the other bits over the next few days, but here’s Amansara to start with. I’ll update as I go.
DISCLAIMER: I was hosted to stay both at Amansara and Belmond La Residence D’Angkor. I am under no obligation to write a review on FlyerTalk - thoughts expressed below are my own.
Feel free to drop me a message (or preferably email) about bookings at any of the hotels/resorts for Virtuoso benefits, upgrades etc.
The room walk through video is of a different suite than the room in which we stayed, except for the timelapse at the end. That's from the suite we were in.
Sites of Angkor
More photos available on my Facebook page:
What I loved:
- Transport. That classic Merc, the beautiful remorks.
- Rooms. It does take a bit of getting used to, but for Siem Reap these are very spacious, nice rooms (they aren’t perfect - several layers/steps for starters between getting from the outside, to the bedroom, to the bathroom, to the pool - bit of a safety hazard!). If you get a pool suite, all the better in terms of space - and you really do need a nice pool in the heat of Siem Reap and after exploring temples for hours and walking. Lots of lounging space in the rooms too which is always great.
- Design. It does take a bit of getting used to (it’s not exactly Ed Tuttle at Amankila), and a lot of the structure is historic - but it’s been very nicely done and certainly a place you can stay at for longer as it grows on you.
- Pool and lap pool. Lap pool is again, very beautifully done for what they had to work with (reminiscent of Amankila’s beach club pool in many ways, less foliage though obviously).
- Location. This and Raffles across the street - really in an ideal location, only a short drive into Siem Reap town and also a short drive from the gates of the city of Angkor.
- Excursions and activities. Here is where Amansara really shines, even though the guide is not actually an Aman staff (the driver is) - but one they work closely with. Your daily trips to the temple are included in the rate (temple pass not included) - and they know exactly where to take you, and at what times. They are also very flexible and you can tell based on what you like/don’t like, they tailor the itinerary on the spot to the best of their abilities. It is however suggested to tip the driver and the guide, but when they earn it like that…! In terms of how well embedded Amansara is into its local environs, it does feel ever so slightly detached (vs Aman Bali) - however, the activities (we watched a local dance) that are present throughout the week are always welcome, and the Village House (breakfast after an Angkor Wat excursion) is also a great touch.
- GM/team - suggestions for within town. With Astrid and the team ever present, we had no problems with not only getting around town, but also their suggestions of where we wanted to go, what we wanted to do, where/what we wanted to eat, were absolutely spot on! They’re always on site to greet you and look after your needs.
- Cold drinks and towels. It isn’t until you walk around in 35 degree heat and 95 degree humidity how much you appreciate this. In addition to having cold drinks and towels available whenever we returned back to the property from anywhere, our driver was also proactive on our excursions, knowing EXACTLY when we wanted water and even having a good supply of fresh coconuts to keep us hydrated.
- Laundry and fast-track/VIP immigration. Always lovely to have this!
Points to note/improvements:
- Food. This was a pretty crucial sticking point for us. The first lunch we had was very average (best spring rolls we had all trip, but pretty mediocre everything else). The breakfasts (especially after Aman Bali!) were really poor - even my omlette was poorly done. We didn’t eat lunch/dinner again at Amansara after our initial lunch and our breakfast the following morning. The food at the Village House wasn’t great either, but the experience was fantastic. The rates do come with half-board, but I’m not entirely sure why in a place such as Siem Reap.
- Pool service at lap pool. We only used this once, but there was no pool service offered when we were there. We even walked past several staff
- Housekeeping. We did run into housekeeping once (I did go back to get my camera though…) and you do see them around the property (also because it’s so small I guess, in terms of footprint and how its laid out).
General note about temples
- Trust the guides to do their job but feel free to move the itinerary around with their advice - no need to stick to what was planned as it can get very exhausting.
- Found Angkor Wat itself to be a bit disappointing.
- Bayon and Banteay Sri were my favourites. The latter in particular is interesting - despite much of the complex being built over a period of approximately ~400 years, many of the temples are architecturally quite similar, save for Banteay Sri - the only temple not built by a king. Very intricate and intriguing structure.
As always, feel free to ask any questions!
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