Aug 01 2013
On the banks of the Siem Reap River, just a five-minute stroll from the tourist magnet of Pub Street, sits popular and fairly priced City River Hotel. The convenience of this hotel’s central setting plus a rooftop swimming pool and terrace make it a worthwhile choice in Siem Reap.
While you won’t spot any actual temples from this vantage point, you can see Phnom Krom peeking out over the rooftops on the horizon. It’s not a bad place to rest those feet and indulge in sundowner drinks with one of the affordable cocktails on offer from the poolside bar after a day clambering over the ancient sites of Angkor. (Avoid the lacklustre “gym”, however — perhaps the desultory effort is actually a sales pitch for the bar?)
All 65 rooms at City River resonate with classic Khmer design. Wood on the floors? Check. Wood on the walls? Check. However, I’m fully forgiving of this over-the-top traditional Cambodian style since the rest of the decor is balanced by smart enough furnishings, which pull it all together tastefully, albeit simply. If white walls and design chic is more your thing, consider Frangipani Villa Hotel instead.
There’s not much difference between the superior and deluxe room categories; both have private balconies and all the expected mod-cons, such as minibar, coffee and tea-making facilities, cable TV and the like. Superior rooms have “City River Hotel” carefully carved into the (obviously) wooden headboard, lest you forget where you are when you wake up. The deluxe rooms, all located in the new building — not that you can tell from the outside or inside as they are seamlessly joined– instead are a touch more design-savvy and spacious, though I’m on the fence whether this alone is enough to merit the upgrade. There’s also one suite, but it wasn’t available at the time to see.
Where the difference in room choice truly lies comes down to which side of the building the room is on. Opt for the sidestreet side of the property, consisting of all double rooms and two twins, which has more expansive views of the street below and swaying tree tops and yet is no more expensive.
With a tendency for hotels in Siem Reap to claim to be five-star when they’re most certainly not, City River is refreshing in that it recognises its own position accurately as a respectful three-star. The staff I met were charming, attentive and displayed initiative.
Sure, City River doesn’t exude seriously top-notch sophisticated style, but it’s also not asking you to pay for that, with superior rooms in low season (April to September) coming in at a walk-in rate of US$50 — with the staff open to negotiation (“$45 ok!”). Definitely check online for the best deals.
Much like its name then, City River Hotel is not groundbreaking, but at the low end of the price bracket for a proper hotel, it’s a consistent safe bet with comfort, service and amenities in an excellent location at a fair price.
City River Hotel
Acha Sva Street (River Road), Wat Bo, Siem Reap
T: (063) 763 000
Travelfish.org always pays its way. No exceptions.