Jan 02 2013
We walked into two-year-old The 252 in Phnom Penh by accident when we were trying to find Frangipani 60s, next door. The cute little semi-private cabanas with lime and purple accents around the pool were buzzing, people were sipping drinks at the bar, and the owner immediately came over to help me with my bags and usher me to the sleek, minimalist reception. I have to say, I was disappointed to be turned away when my Agoda booking number showed the owner I was in fact not booked at The 252 but instead next door.
But I came back a few days later to check out the rooms. The friendly, funky vibe around the pool continued into the 19 well-designed rooms spread across three storeys. The air-con, hot-water shower rooms were compact but cool; we’d say this is one of the hotels that rode the crest of a wave of new-style boutique hotels in Phnom Penh, with its no nonsense concrete cupboards, bedside tables and bedheads softened by Khmer silk accents and Roman blinds. Included are iDevice docks, flatscreen teles, DVD players, safe and tea and coffee-making facilities — pretty much what’s become standard at this pricepoint. WiFi is beamed throughout rooms and the restaurant (which we weren’t able to try this time but looked like a pleasant spot to hang out, right by the pool).
This place reminds us just a touch of The Plantation, with its poolside shelters and Continental vibe, but on a smaller, more intimate scale and with a bit of a 1960s feel.
The location is quite close to the Independence Monument, though a five-minute tuk tuk ride to Street 240 and riverside. With many more hotels opening up further south in BKK1 though, this is probably a slightly better choice, location-wise, unless you plan on a few trips to the Russian Market.
Rooms come in several flavours. Standard doubles or twins are $50, while deluxe doubles are $60 — the difference is you get a pool view, which we’d suggest going for if you’re not on too tight a budget and you plan on hanging out a bit in your room relaxing as the outlook is quite lovely. Standard triples are $65. A little sign in reception notes that you pay the same whether you book directly with the hotel or through Agoda.com.
If this is about your budget but you’d like to try something a bit different, you don’t have to pay much more to stay at the lovely new The Sangkum, though this is in the Wat Phnom neighbourhood. If bed linen is important to you, the most sumptuous we’ve found in town at slightly higher prices (though with no pool) is The Willow in Tonle Bassac.
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