Mar 10 2013
Don’t let the absence of magnolia trees put you off La Magnolia d’Angkor Boutique Hotel. Walking along the neat, tree-lined driveway, through the smart and airy reception to the spacious terrace with its gorgeous pool it’s easy to see why, less than three months after opening, this lovely little Siem Reap hotel has gathered quite a following.
The hotel’s 13 guest rooms are located in a large, modern, two-storey building with pitched terracotta tiled roofs and a handful of subtle Khmer details. The interior boasts high ceilings, huge hallways and landings with trademark wooden furniture and wall panelling, and a rather grand Cambodia-meets-Hollywood staircase. It feels like a no-nonsense, immaculately-kept, but much loved family holiday villa.
Published room rates start at $45 for a superior double or twin going up to $55 for a deluxe room with seating area and $65 for a triple or family room. However, there are plenty of deals to be had, and at the moment La Magnolia is advertising ‘two nights for the price of one’ on superior rooms until September and ‘three nights for the price of two’ from April to September. The price includes pick-up from the airport, bus station or ferry port, welcome drink and cold towels on arrival and a breakfast of fresh fruit, bread and pastries, eggs, bacon, juice, and tea or coffee.
Unfortunately someone hasn’t done their maths right and when you try to book the two for one online it offers two nights for $70 instead of $45 – so for now I would insist on getting a written confirmation of your rate before you set off.
Every room has large windows and good, heavy curtains – although only some of the upstairs rooms overlooking the pool have a view worth writing home about – a fully-tiled wet-room-style shower room with basic toiletries and towels, well-stocked minibar, air con, cable TV, WiFi and a daily supply of drinking water. In-room safes are still on order.
Big beds with white linens are complemented with colourful silk cushions and runners and the shiny tiled floors are decorated with large rattan rugs. The deluxe twin room I saw was particularly spacious and had no less than three windows, so getting your vitamin D fix would not be a problem here, even if you never left the room. But you should as the garden and pool are good for a hotel in this price range.
While much of the garden is still in its infancy — it couldn’t quite be described as lush at this stage – the restaurant area and pool terrace do provide plenty of space for you to indulge in absolutely nothing after a hard morning’s sightseeing. If you are feeling peckish a small menu features salads, sandwiches and light meals – both Western and Khmer – from $3.50 to $5.00, and a selection of soft drinks, beers, wines and coffees. Service is friendly, although we did see a man disappear on a bicycle to buy ice when we asked for some for our drinks, and it didn’t take long to run out of chilled beers.
The large pool and generous sun terrace is also the perfect spot to unwind and cool off. One detail that stood out here is that there are actually more sun loungers than there are rooms, and a veritable surfeit of sunny and shady areas in which to enjoy them. If you like sunning yourself to the sound of birdsong then this is the place for you.
La Magnolia is only about a 15-minute walk from the Old Market area and Pub Street, or five minutes from Wat Bo Road which has a growing selection of good bars and restaurants. The hotel also has a few free bicycles for loan if you fancy a pedal-powered promenade, and there are usually a few tuk tuk drivers waiting opposite the Sonalong Boutique Village which is about 100 metres away in the direction of town. The road is quiet and in very good condition, having recently been resurfaced, which not only makes it great for cycling but is also a bonus in rainy season as it doesn’t suffer from flash floods. It is not very well lit, however, so if you fancy walking into town at night you might want to bring a flashlight.
Despite a few teething problems, for a new kid on the block, La Magnolia has a lot going for it and I would happily recommend giving it a whirl. Even the full $45 a night is a decent rate for what you get — $35 would be better and if you can bag that elusive ‘two nights for the price of one’ deal, now that would be most excellent.
La Magnolia d’Angkor Boutique Hotel
Wat Bo Area, Siem Reap
T: (012) 731 638 or (063) 763 700
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