Aug 31 2013
Tucked down a narrow street just five minutes’ walk from Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace and Independence Monument, Number 9 Hotel is a flashpacker joint with pretensions. You won’t find tired rattan sofas or Bob Marley flags here; instead you’ll find clean rooms, flatscreen TVs and delicious frozen cocktails. Choose the right room and, for the price, you’ll feel like you’ve been upgraded.
The downstairs bar lounge is pimped out in trendy black leatherette banquettes and wooden tables, with a water wall feature and funky bar lights. Great in the evening for a few drinks, in the morning it rather put us in mind of eating breakfast in a nightclub. Still, you can watch the Phnom Penh world go by through big windows flung open onto the active street outside. Upstairs, the second bar has more sofas, widescreen TV and a free pool table. The second floor open terrace, with jacuzzi pool and loungers, is placid by day and a good place to enjoy BOGOF cocktails in the happy hours of 16:00 to 20:00.
After all this attention to decor, the rooms themselves are simple. Each room has air-con, hot water and a TV, with free WiFi. The dark wooden beds are adequately comfy, but the orange curtains are loud enough to keep Sleeping Beauty awake. Unlike many Phnom Penh guesthouses in this range, there is a choice of twin or double beds — to snuggle or not to snuggle, that is the question.
The 40 rooms, all air-con and with private bathroom, vary in size and amenities, so it’s worth looking at a few before you decide. Some rooms don’t have external windows and some have reduced storage space, while others come with a small fridge. The single rooms ($15) are particularly ‘bijou’ and some of the twin ($25) or triple ($35) rooms require you to be on very good terms with your roomy. If stairs are a challenge, or you’re forgetful and always having to pop back to your room, you won’t want to be on the top floors — the hotel is five storeys but lacks a lift.
Number 9 Hotel is popular with single travellers, groups of backpacking friends and older, value-savvy visitors. Depending on your co-guests, it can be a sociable and occasionally noisy hub or a quiet, undemanding base. The major sights are within walking or cheap tuk tuk distance, and the small street has a few restaurants and massage spas if you don’t feel like moving very far.
Number 9 Hotel
#7c Street 258, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 984 999
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