May 15 2012
I really want to start this review with a pun about wanting to put down my roots at the Plantation. I won’t though, as I’m sure it’s been used a hundred times already — I’m not sure how you could stay here and not want to put your roots down. The Plantation is lovely, and, at the moment, outstanding value.
Set across over half a hectare of prime real estate in central Phnom Penh, Plantation hides behind a white wall on Street 184, spitting distance to the Palace, National Musuem and cafe chic Street 240. Previously the Ministry of Labour, the front building dates back to the 1930s and now houses reception and the business centre. The hotel’s rooms are stacked in three separate buildings behind, two of which overlook the very tempting 20-metre swimming pool. Squirrelled away to the side there’s a second 12-metre pool, gleaming with tiles like shot Thai silk, and an attached bar. This latter pool is open to the general public while the former, with its draped-curtains-for-private-canoodling poolside, is for guests only.
Rooms come in three main flavours: superior in an annex with no pool view, superior and deluxe rooms with a pool view. I ended up in a ground floor room in the annex (US$55 per night through Agoda) and for that I got a very good-sized (the website says 22 sqm but it feels bigger) room with cool tiles under foot a half open-plan bathroom, big, comfortable bed and a small terrace looking over a (very muddy thanks to wet season) garden. Facilities include a very large LCD TV, WiFi, minibar, safe and a solid wooden bench/desk ideal for any work you have to do. Decor’s minimal, a Khmer silk throw here, a plant cutting there, but with large glass panes overlooking my terrace and the garden it all came together nicely and didn’t feel overdone.
For the money, I felt the room was excellent value, especially considering the pools, but there were minor irritants.
For starters, the WiFi, while free, has the password set in the browser rather than the WiFi connection, meaning every time I sat down to work, the password had timed-out and had to be re-entered. Not the end of the world I know, but annoying and totally unnecessary.
The shower has no door — not even a curtain — and the basin is in the bedroom, opposite the door to the room. Now my room was reasonably private, so this wasn’t a huge deal, but those more privacy-minded, or with a more exposed room, should keep this in mind. No bum gun either.
“Well, draw the curtains,” I hear you say — I did — the only problem was they didn’t cover all the doors and, in fact, the curtain rod moved meaning I could choose to cover one entire section of glass, or the other — but not both. Not ideal!
Wet season in Phnom Penh was well underway during my stay, which didn’t help for the mud in my garden, and I almost slipped over twice walking by the pool on very slippery concrete — families with kids will want to watch them by the pool.
In the scheme of things though, these are very minor gripes and coming from the team who put the original Elsewhere, Pavilion and Kabiki together, they’ve really outdone themselves this time around. I found the staff to be helpful and professional throughout my stay — even if one waiter mistook my order of a cafe latte for a chicken satay!
I booked my two-night stay through Agoda which cost US$55 per night including tax and breakfast and I’d classify that as outstanding value. If I was to stay again though, I’d probably pay the little extra for a pool view room.
Truth be told, $55 is a veritable splurge for me and I’d normally stay somewhere like Bright Lotus 1 (on Street 178 but much closer to the river) which is less than half the price. If you want something fancier still, the nearby Pavilion delivers the goods.
All up, if you’re looking for a very new property with a bevy of facilities, including a terrific swimming pool, look no further.
Looking for another opinion? Khmer440 has a review of the rather salubrious suite (a little out of our budget!)
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