Feb 09 2013
From the family of Cambodian-French fashion designer Romyda Keth of Ambre fame, La Maison D’Ambre is quite a startling hotel, and certainly different from any other hotel you’ll find in Phnom Penh. With its incredible 1960s-era facade it dominates a corner of the city near Wat Phnom, but inside you could almost be on the set of a dozen films set around the world.
The elegant lobby is all bright hot pinks and gleaming greys; you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a European hotel and left the madness of the Phnom Penh streets just outside very far behind. While other new hotels tend to play up their history, like The Plantation — or simply pay homage to it, like The Sangkum — La Maison has kept its 1960s facade only, and otherwise decked out each of its 12 suites (doubles from US$100) imaginatively, with each themed to a particular city represented in film (yes, this is a genuine boutique hotel).
Suites — from one to two bedrooms — are immaculately clean and thoughtfully decorated with enthusiastic dedication to each theme; we particularly liked Casablanca, done out in a turquoise and white Moroccan theme, with a great lounge and softened archways throughout. We didn’t see it, but if you’re after more of a Cambodian flavour, Rose of Bokor, a film directed by recently deceased King Father Norodom Sihanouk, has its own room as well.
Suites include complete kitchens as well, making this a solid family choice if you want to be preparing your own foods — though the downside here is there’s no pool to while away a few hours. Instead the main communal space is a space age-y bar on the top floor of the hotel, with expansive views to Wat Phnom and the surrounds, making this a popular place for a sundowner among even those not staying here. Khmer and European cuisine is on offer, though we haven’t tried it yet. Nearby you’ll also find Phsar Chas (Old Market), where you won’t find tourist tat but you will find locals doing their every day shopping.
Prices are not cheap — and the market is competitive in Phnom Penh, so you won’t stay here if you’re looking to save a buck — but if you like sleek, sophisticated and filmic and aren’t bothered by the lack of a pool, La Maison is, at the least, an interesting, colourful choice with the kind of personalised service that comes with a very small hotel.
La Maison D’Ambre
123 St. 110, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 222 780
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