Feb 19 2013

Review: The Governor’s House, Phnom Penh

Published by at 3:42 am under Accommodation


If you like your hotels small, sumptuous and a touch quirky, The Governor’s House in Phnom Penh makes for an interesting place to stay, though it’s somewhat overpriced given the raft of other excellent stylish options now available in the city.

bar

The Grand Lounge Bar.

The 12-room Governor’s House gives the impression on its website and through its name that it’s a remnant of Cambodia’s French era, but it’s a refurbished 1990s building done out in a kind-of colonial style and packed with a wonderful eclectic range of antiques, from a stunning burned orange Marie Antoinette chandelier in the three-storey high atrium through to cupboards, vases and rugs. It’s all rather flamboyant, and while perhaps not quite to our tastes, it will appeal to those who like their decor luxurious and loud. We were particularly struck by the liberal use of fabrics throughout the hotel, which add a real touch of soothing luxury.

Each room is different, and if you plan on booking ahead of time, it’s worth spending time browsing their site to see exactly what you’re getting in terms of facilities — consider whether you want a balcony, for instance, and note that the cheapest room has no windows.

atrium

Chandelier to the left, zebra rug to the right.

While no expense has been spared on the interiors — the Belgian owner is an antiques collector — the hotel’s stated aim of being in the league of the Strand, Raffles Grand D’Angkor and the Oriental in Bangkok is probably a little over-ambitious. On our visit, the 2012-opened hotel had a slightly unpolished feel, though it’s possible we just caught them at a busy check-out time when rooms were being cleaned and maintenance jobs attended to. On the other hand, facilities are what you’d expect in a four-star joint, including very comfy mattresses with lovely linens, flat screen TVs, minibars and deep bathtubs.

The small pool out the back next to the restaurant where breakfast is served is a little oasis and makes for a retreat to come back to after a day touring the city’s sights; the Governor’s location in the residential area of BKK1 makes it a bit out of the way to riverside and the royal quarter compared to other mainstream Phnom Penh hotels, though it’s still only a tuk tuk ride away. If you’re a keen shopper it’s well located for quick trips to the Russian market.

bedrom

A bed made for sleeping-in in.

Rack rates are not cheap, starting at $68++ for the small romantically named, windowless “Paris attic room” — less than this gets you a room at the lovely, centrally-located Plantation or another newly opened place we are fond of, The Sangkum. Prices skip gradually up to the top room, the Governor’s Suite, for $223++ — though the Agoda rate is $202 (the claimed reduction is from $508, though as the hotel’s own website has $223++ so this is clearly overstated).

If you are really not fussed about spending up big and you love antiques, the Governor’s House may be for you; it’s certainly a unique Phnom Penh offering. If you’re after a bargain though, this isn’t the best choice.

Check rates & availability at Governor’s House.

The Governor’s House
Villa 3
Mao Tse Tung Blvd, Beung Keng Kong I, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 987 025
www.governorshouse.net

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