May 12 2013
Describing itself as an intimate “boutique” villa, The Landing Point Villa Hotel is one of a handful of Siem Reap hotels whose size, service levels and visually pleasing design make it genuinely deserving of that now ubiquitous adjective. With rack rates from $90 a night for a double room – and online offers making it cheaper still – it is well worth considering for a romantic break, or even if you just fancy a couple of days of relatively guilt-free luxury to break up the drudgery of weeks of low-budget travel.
The nine-room hotel was opened in December 2012 in the Wat Bo area of town, about a 15-minute walk or five-minute tuk tuk ride from the old market and Pub Street. The location is traditionally better known for budget accommodation than for small, higher-end independent hotels, although that is starting to change. For now at least it offers a little luxury in close proximity to the bright lights of downtown, while still being in the heart of real-life, everyday Siem Reap – with street food vendors, local stores and a couple of local schools providing a lively street-scape to really make you feel like you are in Cambodia.
The Landing Point has quickly and deservedly built a good reputation and like similar hotels in the vicinity – such as Maison 557 on Wat Bo Road — it offers more a personalised alternative with a much lower price tag than the big brand luxury hotels in town. Another little touch that gives The Landing Point an edge over other hotels: not only do they send a tuk tuk to meet you at the airport when you arrive, they take you there when you leave as well, at no extra charge.
Guests are greeted by friendly, (mostly) English-speaking Khmer staff in the smartly furnished open-air reception — lots of Balinese-style teak and troppo-chic rattan — with a welcome drink and equally welcome cold towel. Adjacent to reception on one side is the restaurant, with the swimming pool on the other. For the cynics who think the word “boutique” is just a euphemism for “small”, this does apply to the pool area. While it’s an attractive feature of the hotel, with four sun-loungers and shady frangipani trees, large, it is not. And if swimming to keep fit is your aim rather than dunking to keep cool, you may be disappointed. Tanning would be challenging too, unless you bring an inflatable lilo and float slap bang in the middle of the pool at midday.
Inside the hotel, however, everything else definitely errs on the spacious side. Rooms have an enviable square footage with very high ceilings and minimalist decor which accentuate the feeling of light and space. Unfortunately their size does mean the air-con has to work hard to keep the rooms really cool, but there are ceiling fans too. Bedrooms are open-plan to bathrooms with industrial chic concrete baths and vanity units, and a glass-brick partition concealing powerful rainforest showers. Minibars, in-room safes, English-language cable TV and tea- and coffee-making facilities come as standard, as does a little bowl of tropical fresh fruit on arrival.
Some guests have complained about unreliable WiFi, but I had no problems on my recent stay and generally the service all round was very good. When I asked for extra pillows, and for someone to check a bedside lamp, a member of staff arrived within five minutes. The only problem I had was not being able to communicate what I wanted for breakfast – included in the room rate – so I didn’t get what I thought I had ordered, and with a flight to catch I had no time to ask them to rectify it. However, if the standard of service for the rest of my stay was anything to go by I am sure they would have dealt with it just fine.
For those with a little more time to convey their breakfast desires you can choose from a range of set menus, including Western cooked breakfast, omelettes, pancakes, Khmer noodle soup and fresh fruit, all served with juice and tea or coffee. The restaurant also offers a menu of mostly Western snacks and light meals throughout the day, but for a wider range of dining options Wat Bo Road has a good selection of both Western and Khmer restaurants and is less than a 10-minute walk away.
A couple of tips: If you are booking a pool-view balcony suite, ask for a downstairs room as the only way you can see the pool from the upstairs suite is by standing on the balcony.
Alternatively ditch the view and save a few dollars to spend on a good meal – there are plenty of excellent restaurants in town. And while part of The Landing Point’s charm is its location — in a thriving part of the real Siem Reap — there can occasionally be some street noise so, as always in Siem Reap, ear plugs would be a good idea if you are a light sleeper.
Landing Point Villa Hotel
Off Street 26, Wat Bo area, Siem Reap
T (063) 969 686; F (063) 965 676
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