SIEM REAP, Cambodia From that first drive up the long curved
entrance to the Sofitel Royal Angkor Hotel, peacefulness takes
over. Perhaps it’s the prime location closest to those famous
Angkor Wat ruins or the smiling, bowing greeting that awaits you at
the door. Somehow, the feeling of sanctuary connects very well with
those ancient temple mysteries nearby.
The comfortable yet elegant lobby, a beautiful Cambodian silk
scarf across your bed, massage mats draped in soft cotton curtains,
the ever-present attentive staff, all these elements contribute to
the feeling of Asian dignity so prevalent here.
Rooms in three-story blocks with elevators are set to the back
of the property, while lakes, lagoons, ponds, bridges, fountains
and broad lawns form a centerpiece with the lobby and restaurants.
The pool, spa and fitness center occupy an adjoining landscaped
niche. In one lake, a traditional Cambodian sala (pavilion) invites
relaxation and meditation.
“Most American guests come as an extension of a trip to Thailand
or Vietnam,” said Franck Loison, Executive Assistant Manager at
Sofitel Royal Angkor. “They book a three- or four-night package,
which includes two days of guided explorations at the temples of
Angkor Wat, and wish they’d stayed longer.”
Angkor Wat, an amazing display of 72 major monuments, is the
largest temple complex in the world, and indisputably, the most
impressive site in Cambodia. Several tour operators offer
hotel/tour packages here.
Founded in the early 9th century as the capital of the Khmer
State, the “Lost City of Angkor” was rediscovered in the late 19th
century and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.
By this time, the entire collection of temples, monuments,
palaces and statues had fallen into ruins. These years of neglect
are accentuated at Ta Prohm, where tall trees and vines grow right
out of the ancient walls. Yet intricate carvings remain remarkably
intact, particularly at a few of the sites.
Today, international archeologists are hard at work restoring
these treasures, a daunting task from the standpoint of size
At sunset, if the sky is cloudless, the view from Phnom Bakheng
Mountain reflects the sun’s golden glow on Angkor Wat’s five
temples. Getting to this vantage point is quite a climb, but tours
can include the option of an elephant ride to the top. It’s a
unique experience clients won’t forget, and very popular, so be
sure to reserve it for clients in advance.
Books, maps and CD-ROMs on Angkor ruins are stocked in “The
Sanctuary,” Sofitel’s corner library overlooking the tropical
Angkor Spa, a tranquil oasis, offers the perfect treatment after
a day’s exploration. Guests choose from an exotic menu of scrubs
and wraps. Note: In addition to the price of the massage, guests
pay extra for the use of couples rooms and other special treatment
Sofitel’s gracious attention doesn’t end at the hotel. The Royal
Angkor Lounge is now open at Siem Reap airport. Clients can await
their flights in comfort, with a full buffet meal and drinks, for
$6 per person. This could make a nice gift to your clients,
supplementing their superb Sofitel Royal Angkor stay in exotic
Sofitel Royal Angkor
Vithei Charles de Gaulle, Khum Svay Dang Kum, Siem Reap, Kingdom
of Cambodia 800-221-4542, fax: 855-63-96-46-10 E-mail:
Hits: Stylishly appointed rooms. Five-minute drive to Angkor
temples. Dining choices from Leaf of the Stone Teppenyaki or French
delicacies in Mahout’s Dream, to a pizza bar and bakery case.
Shopping on premises for local art, crafts and souvenirs.
Misses: No shuttles around property, but provisions made for
guests needing assistance.
Plugging In: Rooms have IDD phones, Internet access and
satellite TV. In-room fax machines are available. Communication
Center offers secretarial service, computer, photocopying,
translation and Internet access.
Be Aware: The Angkor complex involves walking over crumbling
walls, tree roots and uneven stairs. Clients should pack sturdy
shoes. Ground tours are available through the hotel that include
car, driver and English-speaking guide. Book when reserving the
room, and ask for the elephant ride as part of it.
Clientele: Travelers interested in seeing the world’s wonders
while enjoying four-star accommodations. The hotel is fully
equipped for groups and meetings of up to 200 persons as well.
Rates: Superior and deluxe run $280 to $340 single/double,
including daily breakfast and government tax. Junior suites are
$420, and executive one-bedroom suites, $605. The Presidential
Suite is $1,815.
Commission: 10 percent on direct room reservations. Book hotel
and tour package through wholesalers for full commission on both