Jul 03 2012
Although it’s a small hotel, there’s certain things Monument Hotel likes to do big. There’s the impossibly large entrance gate, the enormous tassled room keys and the ear to ear smiles from staff as you walk in. Even better, they don’t miss the little things that make your stay — candles at night around the saltwater pool, expensively soft linen, WiFi that works throughout the building.
In a residential neighbourhood just four minutes’ walk to Independence Monument, the hotel is well located. The riverside, Royal Palace and National Museum are all a brief tuk tuk ride away, but the peace and quiet mean it’s easy to forget you’re slap bang in the middle of a capital city.
The 23 air-con rooms manage a balance between homely and crisply clean, with fabulously comfy beds, white wooden wardrobes and pretty yet practical lamps and easy chairs. The walk-in shower is generously sized and partitioned from the rest of the colourful en-suite bathroom — a blessing if you haven’t got to grips with Asian-style wet rooms. Standard twin or double rooms don’t have much of a view, so if you’re picky about a panorama, you’ll need to upgrade to a deluxe, with a balcony overlooking the pool.
Complimentary buffet breakfast is served until 10:30 in the unpretentious fourth floor cafe. The elevation provides interesting views across Phnom Penh’s rooftops, while the lack of a lift means your appetite will be sharpened by the climb upstairs. There’s also a bar next to the guest-only pool, pleasant for a dip after a dusty day. Staff can arrange tours and transfers for you, or make bookings at Bodia Spa — perhaps the citronella scent that pervades each floor is some kind of subliminal advertising.
The hotel tends to attract couples, business travellers and older families — the stairs and open pool make it tricky for those with young kids. The happy hour cocktails and a relaxed vibe make this a good hideaway, but if you’re in search of a party, you’ll need to travel to find it.
Monument Hotel offers value for money, especially if you can get a discount through a booking website; we were quoted $40 for a standard double room which was advertised on the hotel’s website for $60.
If you’re not a water baby, the pool-less Willow Boutique, one street away on Street 21, has more spacious rooms at similar prices. Budget backpackers requiring a pool should head instead for The Eighty8 (surprisingly, on Street 88) near Wat Phnom.
22s Street 29, BKK1, Phnom Penh
T: 023 634 8008, 023 22 13 22
F: 023 22 13 11
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