Siem Reap has been made famous on the main South East Asian tourist trail for what has been labeled the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ – Angkor Wat and the UNESCO listed Angkor Archaeological Park which has over 400 km of scattered ancient temples throughout the landscape and that at the time was once a city larger than London.
In what has been described as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, the spectacular Angkor Wat and its surrounding breathtaking ruins have made the small sleepy Cambodian town of Siem Reap become one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world. Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa now offers travellers a new boutique retreat and a luxurious base from which to explore the heart of the ancient Khmer Empire.
Anantara Angkor is a sanctuary for the senses and the resort pays tribute to Khmer tradition and culture throughout every touch point. A bird’s eye view reveals that the resort is shaped to resemble Angkor Wat and at ground level it is reminiscent of a grand Khmer villa with a courtyard pool inspired by an ancient royal bathing pool. Each stone pillar at the resort has meticulously carved fans which represent a royal welcome and the Khmer wooden carvings throughout the resort showcase the country’s rich history.
On a more personal touch the resort has been built to celebrate Cambodian mothers and women. Water in Cambodian folklore represents a woman and gently flowing water features throughout the resort, a large sandstone sculpture of a woman and child oversees the main swimming pool and other feminine reflections offer a warm welcome. Guestroom bathtubs are shaped to resemble the basins used to bathe babies, feminine art and silk work are found in the rooms and lotuses and roses in the gardens provide sweet scents.
The collection of 39 exquisite guest rooms and suites of between 48 and 140 square metres are designed in contemporary Cambodian style, with handcrafted teak wood furniture, rich textiles and a unique local artwork. All include a private balcony overlooking the central courtyard pool, as well as a lounge space and a luxury bathroom with a separate bathtub and rain shower.
Royal Deluxe Rooms invite guests to relive the lifestyle of a traditional Khmer home with an outdoor shower and traditional bathing jar. Prestigious Sothea Suites on the ground floor feature a private garden and those on the second level a large balcony, and all of these suites offer a private library which can convert into a lounge, dining room or meeting space, as well as a bathroom area with his and hers closets, twin vanity units, a rain shower and water closet, and also an en-suite spa room with two treatment beds and a whirlpool Jacuzzi bath.
In between cultural exploration, quiet time can be spent relaxing on loungers or swimming in the regally inspired salt water pool. Extending the feeling of royal treatment, Anantara Spa offers indulgent pampering in a tranquil sanctuary that features three spa suites with an outdoor Jacuzzi and rain shower, two Khmer massage rooms and a foot massage room for four people. Signature rituals include traditional Khmer massage performed by expert therapists, accompanied by an extensive treatment menu of rejuvenating scrubs and wraps, personally prescribed facials and healing massages, as well as carefully crafted packages and yoga in a rooftop garden.
Guests setting out early for an excursion can enjoy a sunrise breakfast at The Gallery and for lunch it offers sublime international cuisine, as well as the unique flavours of authentic Khmer dishes which are influenced by cuisines from across the Indochina region. For those enjoying a leisurely pool day, a special poolside menu is also available. Sophisticated evenings take place at The Sothea, Restaurant where a welcome sculpture has his arms around his beloved wife to represent the caring service that awaits diners. Inside the restaurant, brass chandeliers recreated by master craftsmen depict the “chats” – or umbrellas in Khmer Buddhism – which are believed to offer divine protection to royalty. Dining is equally meaningful, with international and Khmer dishes inspired by the day’s fresh market produce, and savoured with dance and music performances. For tailor made occasions, Dining by Design journeys include a private chef and butler, a choice of connoisseur menus, and an enchanting courtyard setting amongst fragrant frangipani trees and cascading water.
Interactive elements add to the gastronomic appeals. Khmer cooking classes at Anantara’s Spice Spoons Cooking School begin with a local market visit, after which students return to the resort to hear about Khmer cuisine’s fascinating history and unique techniques, before learning to cook their selected dishes, enjoying a chef hosted meal, and leaving with a shopping bag full of culinary accessories. Combining Anantara’s gourmet cuisine with a true destination experience, guests can travel by remork tuk-tuk to Angkor Thom and picnic in historic grounds. While culture lovers can benefit from the insider knowledge of Anantara’s Streetwise Guru during a private local market tour.
A stay at Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa is not complete without discovering the intriguing local highlights and world famous ancient wonders. Just a five minute stroll from the resort, Anantara guests can visit the museum and 11 distinctive villages of the Cambodian Cultural Village to find out about the traditional customs of the nation’s diverse ethnic minorities. Half and full day guided bicycle tours provide up close and riveting personal encounters of Siem Reap’s bustling markets, charming French Quarter, riverside attractions and arts centre, as well as the illustrious Angkor Wat – the best preserved of all the temples in the the UNESCO listed Angkor Archaeological Park – the world’s largest religious monument.
Conveniently situated within a five minute drive from Siem Reap International Airport, Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa can also be reached by land from Thailand, Laos or Vietnam as well as via the Mekong River.