Photo: Downtown street art, Phnom Penh.

Where to stay in Phnom Penh

Introduction


Where is the best part of Phnom Penh to stay in?

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The Cambodian capital Phnom Penh has over a thousand hotels and guesthouses to choose from, scattered across all quarters of the city, so where should stay? Here is our take on two of the best areas to stay in the city, along with some suggested hotels and hostels.

The rooftop deck at Onederz.

The rooftop deck at Onederz. Photo: Stuart McDonald

While grabbing some digs overlooking the river might seem to be the obvious choice, do your research carefully as many of the riverfront places are really not great value—either because they command a hefty premium for the views, or because the property is old and just not of the best standards. Bear in mind that many of the riverside hotels have rooftop bars and restaurants, so you can always enjoy the view for the price of a drink (or three) without needing to pay for a room. That being said, at the budget end of the stick, we did very much like Onederz. If you are really set on a river view, another option is to consider AirBnb—there are quite a few privately held apartments for rent on the site.

Aside from absolute riverfront, our preferred area is off the river but within a ten minute walk of the Royal Palace. This area, roughly hemmed in by Street 178 to the north, Norodom Blvd to the west, Sihanouk Blvd to the south and Sisowath Quay (and the river) to the east is packed with excellent accommodation options both at the higher end and also at more reasonable rates. At the mid to upper-range, Penh House, with its terrific rooftop infinity pool is hard to beat, while the long-running Pavilion remains one of the destinations in the city for lovers with a fetish for colonial houses. Also in this area you’ll find two of our favourite digs for families, the pricier Kabiki and the more flashpacker-budget Artist Guesthouse. Another good option for families, the Blue Corner Hotel, is a little further out to the west.

The pool at Penh House is not shabby.

The pool at Penh House is not shabby. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Moving south over Sihanouk Blvd you more into the BKK1 area of Phnom Penh. This was originally the NGO quarter in Phnom Penh as they were attracted to the large villas gracing the area’s many tree-lined streets. Sadly, the villas are making way to towers of glass and brass and of all the downtown parts of the city, this is where you are most likely to encounter heavy construction—often running all day. Don’t be shy about contacting your hotel beforehand to ask after noise.

Aside from the towers you’ll find plenty of mid range, fairly forgettable (though still totally adequate) mid-range tower-style hotels. If you place functionality about style and charm, pick a price bracket and search on Agoda and Booking—if you want something a bit better, consider the Patio Hotel. If you want higher standards still, and a dash of romance, Villa Langka remains excellent. We also like the environmentally conscious House Boutique Eco Hotel, and the stylish Rambutan Resort, both in the far southern reaches of BKK1. Over in the Basac Lane area, we were well impressed with Hotel Corduroy, nearby Corner 9 is another good option. There are still a bunch of budget digs in this area, and while we’re partial to the well-aged Top Banana, the ever-popular Mad Monkey is also nearby as is Envoy hostel a couple of blocks further south.

Let the kids go explore at Kabiki.

Let the kids go explore at Kabiki. Photo: Stuart McDonald

When shopping around, always check the hotel website and Agoda and Booking (and any other OTAs you use) as we found huge variations in price. Huge. So let your fingers do the walking and you could well save yourself literally hundreds of dollars. As a single example when we stayed at Penh House, the room was $110 on their website and just $55 through an online agent. Bargain!

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Hostels and affordable guesthouses

Phnom Penh has dozens of hostels to choose from, scattered right across the city. Dorm beds often go for $5 and under, with private air-con rooms with bathroom floating around the $20 to $30 mark. Guesthouses with quality private rooms for under $20, are very hard to find—at least close to the sights and attractions and you’ll be well served budgeting to spend a bit more money.


15 Street 174, Phsar Thmey III, Phnom Penh
Under US$10

SLA Boutique Hostel

# 15 Street 174, Phsar Thmey III, Phnom Penh T: (023) 997 515 info@slahostel.com http://www.slahostel.com

There is a lot to love about SLA, a relatively new hostel in the heart of Phnom Penh, and if you are not fussed about being near the river, it is well worth considering.

The building has slightly unusual layout with the rooms and dorms spread across three floors above the lobby and common area—what makes it unusual is there is a floor to ceiling atrium at the centre, which leaves the rooms in two towers and the light floods in from above. It generally works well as the ground floor is flooded with light and has a far airier feel than it would otherwise have.

Great bunks.

Great bunks. Photo: Stuart McDonald

The dorms themselves are spotless—we stayed in an eight bed mixed dorm (more on this in a moment) in the rear “tower” of rooms. The dorm was spacious, with oversized bunk beds (including a double bed bunk). The bunks are metal framed with a stylish modern design and we heard no squeaking at all from the frames. Each comes with its own security cabinet at the bed head, with two bed lamps, power plugs and ample shelving. Each bed also has a locker, though the lockers are not big enough for a pack (which instead you can store under the bed or against the wall).

Dorms are air–con and the shared–bathroom was fine, though in the morning it takes that warm water an awfully long time to arrive—we gave up and had a cold shower, finally getting a little warmth just as we reached to turn the taps off. Private rooms are also available (though we were not able to see one) but they’re not such good value.

The common area on the ground floor included a well equipped kitchen, dining table, lounge area (with a guitar on hand) and then, closer to reception, a bar area, where staff slap up very affordable cocktails—it is a shame there is no roof top bar.

Grab some kip before that very strict 2pm check-in.

Grab some kip before that very strict 2pm check-in. Photo: Stuart McDonald

The one issue here are the staff. They are friendly and the standard of English was solid—they were able to handle complex enquiries and so on, but at times they just seemed to be totally clueless. Checking in to a dorm should not take 45 minutes. Then when I realised I had been placed in a “Female only dorm” I went to sort that out to have them say oh don’t worry about it, we’ll just change the dorm to mixed. So, there is scope for a bit more training.

The staffing issue aside, the location is handy for the Street 51 bar scene and about a 15 minute walk to the Royal Palace. Shop online for a discounted rate—we paid just $5 for a dorm bed which struck us as excellent value.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 6—40
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'29.24" E, 11º33'55.91" N

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Near cnr with Street 110, 151 Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh.
Under US$10

Onederz

# Near cnr with Street 110, 151 Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh. T: (023) 982 822 onederzpp@gmail.com https://onederz.com/phnom-penh/

Set in a tall narrow building on Sisowath Quay, Onederz is clean, sparkling and friendly and has an excellent roof top bar and lounge around area which makes this one of the best value hostels in Phnom Penh.

The hostel has a mix of dorms and private double rooms split across three floors with the bar area up top. The ground floor is part lobby, part hang out area, with a split level lounge area (fitted out with axe pillows and a big TV) filling out the offerings. We found the staff to be helpful and courteous, and they had no problems giving delivering accurate and useful travel advice.

The rooftop bar area is even prettier in the evening.

The rooftop bar area is even prettier in the evening. Photo: Stuart McDonald

The peculiarity here is that the riverfront rooms are dorms, while the private rooms are at the rear. This means the dorms get all the views, but the curtains are often closed as people are sleeping at all hours. We would have thought putting the private rooms at the front would have made for a better plan (and they could certainly have charged more for the rooms!).

The dorms are clean, with metal framed, typical bunks. The power plug and storage is not as elaborate as what you’ll find at SLA, but it is adequate. Our double room had a less than distinguished view, but the room itself was light and airy with a clean and well finished hot water bathroom. There was plenty enough space and the air–con worked well. One advantage of being at the rear of the building is that you are better insulated from the traffic racket through the day and evening.

Private rooms are spartan but well maintained.

Private rooms are spartan but well maintained. Photo: Stuart McDonald

What we loved here though was the rooftop bar area. Backpacker prices with five–star views is how we would describe it and we were amazed it wasn’t jammed with people across sunset as it is a great and relaxing spot to take in the light show. Overall for travellers on a budget, this is a very solid option. The same owners also have One Stop Hostel, another riverside hostel a few blocks further north of here, but this is by far the better property. Recommended.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 7—27
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'42.06" E, 11º34'23.93" N

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4 Street 172, Phnom Penh
Under US$10

Originating out of Sihanoukville, The Big Easy is a very new (opened in late 2018), and welcome addition to Phnom Penh’s hostel scene, delivering smart and cheap dorms and a fun traveller vibe.

Always busy.

Always busy. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Dorms run across a few floors above the lobby meet bar meet restaurant area. They’re tube pod–style, in three stacked levels, with the upper layers reached by firm metal ladders. The end of each tube has a privacy curtain, while at the other end there is a single pillow, a bed light and charging point, though no other shelving to speak of. The mattress leaned towards firm and the linen was very clean. Each pod has its own locker, secured with a key supplied at reception. Lockers are huge and should easily fit all but the largest backpack. Towels are available from reception.

There is one dorm to a floor and three shared bathrooms to each. The shower was amongst the hottest and best pressure we had of our entire stay in Phnom Penh—it will get all the grime off you and give you a free steam while you are at it. Dorms also have a street–facing veranda.

Pick your tube.

Pick your tube. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Downstairs is given over to a large restaurant and bar area (the bar doubles as reception) which can get very busy across the afternoon and into the evening. We returned from an evening out to find the bar heaving with travellers, yet the ruckus could barely be heard upstairs.

For just five dollars, The Big Easy struck us as near unbeatable value, so if you’re looking for a young and fun atmosphere with spotless and well keep dorms, look no further.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 5—5
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'42.53" E, 11º34'1.21" N

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9 Cnr of Street 51 and 278, Phnom Penh
Under US$10

Top Banana Guesthouse

# 9 Cnr of Street 51 and 278, Phnom Penh T: (012) 885 572 topbanana.guesthouse@gmail.com http://www.topbanana.biz/

One of the long running backpacker havens in this part of Phnom Penh, Top Banana continues to offer solid value, with a great location, more than decent dorms and prices—and we love the social top floor hang out area.

Set on the second and third floors of a three-storey building on the corner of Pasteur (Street 51) and Street 278, access requires you to climb up several steep, metal staircases that wind around the building, adding to the feeling once you’re up here that you’ve really found a little enclave—if you’re in attendance for a big night, do watch yourself on the way down, especially that first staircase. This is not the place for travellers with limited mobility.

Pack earplugs.

Pack earplugs. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Travellers rave about Top Banana being a top spot for meeting people and hanging out, and the staff go all out to make this a lively backpacker spot with lots of events, parties and live music to entertain the gangs—if you’re a light sleeper be prepared to either join the party, pack industrial strength earplugs, or, well, stay elsewhere!

The clean rooms are not the most spacious but they are air-con and for the money not bad value once you factor in the social vibe of the hostel. Please note that we were not able to see inside a private room on our last visit (January 2019) due to them all being full, but in the past we’ve described them as being almost romantic in a peculiar, rundown kind of way.

In the dorms, the bunks are wide, with comfortable mattresses, and each one has their own light and socket—each has their own locker too. Dorms come in three flavours: 8-bed mixed, 10-bed mixed and a 6-bed female only dorm. All dorms are air-con and priced the same.

The location is handy to the Independence Monument and a bunch of restaurants and the Bassac Lane bar area is just five minutes (ten minute stumble) away on foot. If it’s full, check out Mad Monkey Hostel a few blocks south on Street 302, where the rates are similar and they have a small pool beside the foyer.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 5—16
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'33.82" E, 11º33'19.73" N

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96-98 Street 88, Phnom Penh
Under US$10

Eighty8 Backpackers

# 96-98 Street 88, Phnom Penh T: (023) 982 440 bookings@88backpackers.com http://www.88backpackers.com

There’s a good vibe at Eighty8 Backpackers, no matter what time of day you wander in, with a large hang out area and a pool (a pool!) tucked in behind a bright white wall.

The smart, spotless building looks like anything but a hostel, but that’s what it is, and they seem to lay on enough entertainment as though to prove the point. Two blocks from Wat Phnom to the north of Phnom Penh, it’s no more than a $2 tuk tuk drive to most places around town.

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Start the day with a dip.

Eighty8 has a mixture of dorm rooms and private rooms, most ensuite but some with a shared bathroom. The large communal area downstairs includes a bar, restaurant and swimming pool, with free WiFi, a big TV and a pool table to pass the time. Reception offer tours, bus ticket bookings and laundry—you pay a little extra for the convenience but it frees you up to explore the city, or lounge in a hammock.

The main accommodation is dorm rooms, with six or eight backpackers sharing a room, with air-con and an ensuite toilet and shower. There are mixed dorms and rooms exclusively for girls, although these get booked up quickly. The bunk beds are extra wide, with deep mattresses, and freshly made every day. Beds have their own lights and sockets and custom-built lockers are designed to fit the mother of all backpacks, so even if you brought the kitchen sink, it can be safely locked away. Private rooms can be very large, though we weren’t able to check on these the last time we visited.

The cheapest option here is a dorm bed. With some determined hunting you might find a private room for a similar price elsewhere in the city, but it would likely be far grubbier, and certainly wouldn’t come with a pool. Couples and those who prefer uninterrupted sleep will benefit from spending a few extra dollars for the privacy of an unshared room, at a price that is difficult to match for the facilities available.

Feeling more boutique hotel than backpacker shabby chic, the private rooms are best booked ahead. The biggest dent in your wallet is the cost of food—Eighty8 sources meat from refrigerated butchers and washes ingredients in filtered water which bumps up prices. Some guests prefer the abundant cheaper street eats and local restaurants on the road outside—the hygiene standards may be lower, but so are the bills.

Eighty8 is popular with younger backpackers, who appreciate the regular parties with guest DJs and $1 draft beer. Solo travellers will find plenty of people to hook up with and there’s usually someone around the pool who might fancy a chat. The relaxed and friendly vibe means that some guests don’t move on as quickly as they planned, finding there’s more to do in Phnom Penh than they first thought.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 6—24
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'10.09" E, 11º34'41.59" N

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22 Street 178, Phnom Penh
US$10 to 35

The Bright Lotus

# 22 Street 178, Phnom Penh T: (012) 676 682 brightlotusgh@gmail.com http://www.thebrightlotus.com/

The long-running Bright Lotus offers a great location with spotless if unvarnished rooms, some with views back over the National Musuem, and a busy restaurant downstairs.

The rooms have air-con, TV, private bathrooms with hot water, and a narrow veranda that curves around the building. In the past the verandas were shared among the rooms on the floor, but that is no longer the case, with a “veranda room” getting the veranda and the rest, well, just a barred window—perhaps make friends with whoever has the veranda! The balcony is not worth the extra $7.

Who left the toilet seat up?!

Who left the toilet seat up?! Photo: Stuart McDonald

Rooms are of a pretty decent size and include a small desk, but mattresses are quite spongy, the linen threadbare to the point of being almost see through and the pillows limp, but if you are staying here you are staying for the location, not the rooms. On our most recent stay we couldn’t lock the window (though the window was bared) so be wary of leaving valuables within reaching distance of the window. Rooms also require navigating a rather narrow staircase—if you struggle with stairs, Bright Lotus is not for you. These issues aside, the location puts you within a short dive of the riverside, FCC, the National Museum, Royal Palace, and with a little extra legwork, stylish Street 240.

While we’ve found them friendly in the past (we have stayed here on multiple occasions) on our most recent visit the staff were pretty disinterested to say the least. Because of its proximity to so many popular tourist sites, the hassle factor in the immediate area surrounding the guesthouse can be considerable. Overall if you’re floating around the $20 bracket and don’t want to stay in a dorm, Bright Lotus remains decent—if old school—value, just a short distance from the river. Light sleepers should pack ear plugs.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 18—18
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'51.24" E, 11º34'0.23" N

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19 Street 172, Phnom Penh
US$10 to 35

Sitting at the junction of backpacker strip Street 172 and Street 13, just two and a bit blocks from the riverfront, the very well-aged Angkor Mithona offers four floors of rooms in a terrific looking, rounded building, but the fare is sadly not the best.

We keep this property mainly because the $20 private room bracket is so hard to fill in Phnom Penh and while the rooms are very old and the bathrooms, well, extremely variable, we have always found the staff to be very helpful and cheery which helps sweeten the deal. The hotel also boasts great people watching verandas, decked out with lazy chairs and tables and a few palms to spruce it up. We have stayed here in the past and did spend an inordinate amount of time sitting on the veranda.

Easy to spot.

Easy to spot. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Rooms are plainly finished, with dated drapes and a few sticks of furniture, past their prime sheets and a fridge. WiFi is available throughout the property. Bathrooms, as mentioned are variable, and could do with a good sandblasting (or just replacement). While the decor is dated, you can drag upon the curtains and let the light flood in and it isn’t half bad. When we visited, staff didn’t mention dorms, but they apparently exist on the top floor. Shop online for a discounted rate regardless of the room type you are after.

Still, for the money, for the location, this isn’t a bad deal. If it isn’t up to your standards there are a bunch of small hotels along 172, most of which can be booked online, so let your fingers do the walking. If you’re prefer a spotless dorm for a quarter of the price, The Big Easy is just up the road from here.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 6—20
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'43.54" E, 11º34'2.82" N

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Memorable midrange stays

The city is no slouch when it comes to midrange accommodation and while there are plenty of converted villas to choose from, not all villas are made equally. While Phnom Penh has a glut of mini-hotels in the four to seven floor range, these can be tremendous value if you don’t mind the generic styling, so don’t be too quick to turn up your nose. The following are a very selective pick and all bar one have a pool. In this price range it really pays to shop around online for the best rate.


34A Street 240, Phnom Penh.
US$35 to 75

Penh House

# 34A Street 240, Phnom Penh. T: (023) 212 200 info@penhhouse.asia https://www.penhhouse.asia/

Brand spanking new when we rolled through Phnom Penh in January 2019, Penh House had only been open a few weeks and was an absolute steal, offering spacious rooms and a spectacular pool—if it fits with your budget, look no further.

Set right in the heart of the city on Street 240, Penh House is ideally located for sightseeing, shopping and cafe-hopping. The Royal Palace is minutes away on foot and the riverfront a relaxed ten minute stroll. Street 240 itself is lined with excellent cafes and plenty of shopping options, and the laneway right beside the hotel is home to Artillery Cafe—one of our favourite hideaway cafes in the city. If you want more eating options, the northern reaches of BKK1 are comfortably reached on foot as well.

What a pool.

What a pool. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Our spacious deluxe room (we paid US$55 as a walk-in when they agreed to match a rate we’d found on an OTA) was on the top floor and offered terrific views out and across the southern reaches of the city. With cool greenish tiles underfoot, light flooded in through the sliding glass doors to the half-size veranda and the large window above the daybed—the latter ideal for snoozing in the sun, or, in the evening, gazing across the lights of the city. The bed was of a good size, firm and with plenty of pillows and a toasty cover. Above the bed was tasteful art and it was flanked by bedside tables and lamps making reading at night a breeze.

Facilities included a large, good to work at desk along with a flatscreen TV, telephone, fully stocked minibar, coffee and tea and a kettle and complimentary water. The bathroom had a glass enclosed shower and was immaculate, with plenty of space to clutter up around the basin.

Get comfortable.

Get comfortable. Photo: Stuart McDonald

What really makes Penh House though is the rooftop infinity pool. Spectacularly situated, the pool faces to the north, overlooking the rear residential area of the Royal Palace, with its many large trees. They’ve cleverly planted some kind of tall grass around the edge of the pool making it really feel like you’re in the waters of the countryside rather than in the centre of the city. Swimming here at night under the stars (the pool is open till late) is magnificent. It does catch the full brunt of the sun during the day though. The pool shares the rooftop with a comfortable cafe and bar—breakfast is served here, though you can graze and drink here throughout the day.

One important note, somewhat confusingly, there are actually two properties—Penh House (the modern hotel reviewed here) and Jungle Addition (a restored villa not far away). On both the official hotel website and OTAs like Agoda and Booking, the rooms are listed together in a single list, so just be aware that any room descriptions with “jungle” in the name are for the other property.

We found the staff to be excellent—bend over backwards friendly and helpful and able to give solid and reliable advice for travel around the city. While this is a modern hotel (so no colonial charm at play), the property is nevertheless lovely and if it fits with your budget, we’d say look no further. If you want to spend less, consider Prantara Heritage, or, if you’d like something a little spendier, Aquarius also offers a tremendous rooftop pool, but we much preferred the rooms (and the price tag) here. Shop around online for a discounted rate. Highly recommended.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 110—150
Book online: Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'48.29" E, 11º33'38.33" N

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30 Street 9, Phnom Penh
US$75 to 150

Hotel Corduroy

# 30 Street 9, Phnom Penh T: (085) 981 818 corduroy@journeyside.com https://journeyside.asia/

Brand spankingly rebranded at at the start of 2019, Hotel Corduroy is easily the smartest digs in the Bassac Lane area, and if it fits with your budget and you like the area, look no further.

Previously TEAV Bassac Boutique Hotel, the curiously renamed Hotel Corduroy boasts a stylish and quite imaginative design—refreshing after tramping through classic Khmer villas one after another. Entered through a vaguely temple prang–shaped gateway, you’ll see the moderately sized pool immediately to your left. Look for the understated motif on the back wall. Insufficiently sized for anything more than a splash around (unless you’re a fan of extremely short laps), the three poolside salas with cushioned seating should make for a comfortable hour or so of lounging around—just be quick as we imagine they’ll go fast if the hotel is busy.

Cool off here.

Cool off here. Photo: Stuart McDonald

To your right is reception and then a fully stocked bar and cafe space. Tall ceilinged yet with plenty of fans and subdued lighting, this area is light and airy and is probably a good spot for a drink before or after a dip in the pool. Rooms are reached via a modern stylish staircase by the bar area.

Well sized, with low slung beds, the look is minimalist—don’t expect any daggy paintings of Angkor on the walls or arty draped mosquito nets—the rooms are largely bare. Facilities include a desk, which doubles as home to the fridge and safe, but because the LCD TV is above the centre (where the chair also fits) it isn’t so practical as a work desk—luckily you’re on holiday right? At least there are a tonne of power points. The bathroom is similarly minimalist, but we were surprised to see a large tub—long and narrow, with little area to rest your arms, we’re not sure how practical or comfortable a tub this would actually be—but it was a surprise at this price point. It doubles as a shower.

Rooms have a minimum of decor.

Rooms have a minimum of decor. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Price wise (depending on the vagaries of online booking prices) there is little to separate Hotel Corduroy and Corner 9, and they are just 30 seconds apart on foot, but they are quite different hotels—if you like a bit more style in your lodgings, choose here. Shop around for an online rate as the rates listed below (what they told us as a walk-in) were well over what we could find online.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 60—80
Book online: Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'50.46" E, 11º33'13.28" N

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76 Street 57, Phnom Penh.
US$35 to 75

Set in the southern reaches of Phnom Penh’s NGO and expat area, BKK1, the oddly named House Boutique Eco Hotel delivers smart and spacious modern rooms with some welcome environmental touches, all inspired by Phnom Penh’s most famous architect and father of the New Khmer Architecture movement, Vann Molyvann.

The hotel is not especially convenient to any of Phnom Penh’s traditional sights and attractions (unless you count the Lao or Burmese Embassy or Phsar BKK as sights) and the price reflects this, however do note that you’ll quickly make up the price differential in tuk tuk fares after a day or so of sightseeing. Our point is, don’t stay here to save money, rather, stay here because it is a pretty solid small hotel, with obliging and friendly staff.

Plenty of space.

Plenty of space. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Rooms are arranged in a two floor building surrounding a small swimming pool which has a small frangipani growing out of the centre of it. It is a very attractive look, but as the pool is already rather moderately sized, it almost makes it more of an oversized water feature than a small pool. Still, it is pretty and the water is refreshing after a long day prowling Phnom Penh’s markets.

The air-con rooms are as stylish as the exterior would lead you to expect—local designer Vannary San is responsible for their lovely look—made out with wooden platform beds (all the wood you see in the hotel is reclaimed), moulded terrazzo bathroom fittings, beautiful colonial-style floor tiles and raw silk curtains. A patchwork of Cambodian silks and cottons on runners, cushions, wall prints and otherwise white linen adds colour. Other amenities include toiletries, a minibar, comfortable work desk, LCD TV, WiFi that worked and tea and coffee-making facilities.

Splish splash.

Splish splash. Photo: Stuart McDonald

On the topic of water, no plastic water bottles here—instead the fridge comes with two large glass bottles of filtered drinking water—this is one of the few hotels we saw in Phnom Penh that didn’t go with plastic, so bravo. Another nod to the environment comes in the form of solar heating for the water, but, take our word for it, if you prefer a hot shower in the morning, start the shower while you are still in bed as it takes a while!

We had a ground floor room which faced onto the pool for our stay. Rooms are entered from the rear with sliding glass doors facing onto the pool. We assume again in a nod to the environment, these pool–facing glass doors are fronted by heavy wooden concertina doors to keep the room cool, but they are unwieldy to open and close (we cut our finger doing it) and as the glass doors can’t be locked it is a bit tedious—or just leave them closed.

While we started off saying the hotel is not especially close to any of Phnom Penh’s traditional sights, it is very close to BKK1 market, which is a great, and very local market. The evening we stayed here, we spent an hour circumnavigating the the market grazing on the food that was on offer. It was a great hour and we found the locals to be very friendly and open to a foreigner pointing at their food and asking for a bowl too.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 40—60
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'34" E, 11º32'44" N

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35A Street 75, Phnom Penh
US$35 to 75

The Sangkum

# 35A Street 75, Phnom Penh T: (023) 987 775 info@thesangkum.com http://www.sangkum.com

A beautiful hotel set in a classic 1950s/1960s villa, The Sangkum has 12 individually styled rooms with some of the most gorgeous furniture we’ve seen for a while. This place has everything a boutique hotel should, including a deep sense of individual style, personal and attentive service, and a certain refinement that lifts you out of the quotidian.

Located just to the north of Raffles Hotel Le Royal and Wat Phnom in an interesting spot, there’s also a tasteful restaurant and a small, welcoming pool.

sangkum7

We couldn’t walk by without snapping this room—check out the funky tiles.

While the Cambodian government sadly appears to be not overly fussed about the disappearance of the unique architecture of the country’s “golden age” (which saw not just architecture, but arts and culture in general flourish) it’s great to see hoteliers embracing the era’s style in something new (though of course, saving the architecture and seeing this would be better).

It’s called New Khmer Architecture, and this renovation really captures its happy essence. It emerged in the period running from 1953 through to 1970, known as Sangkum Reastr Niyum—hence the hotel’s name. (If you haven’t booked in to do a Khmer architecture tour—you must.)

sangkum1

A balcony shot.

Rooms come in four different styles, all with amenities you’d expect in the price range of $50 to $150: safe, flatscreen TV, tea- and coffee-making facilities, hair dryer and so on. We loved the wooden furniture in our room, which included a desk that was set at just the right height to work at, and a comfortable double bed with reading lamps cleverly added to the almost-antique bedhead. Bathrooms are spacious and the rainfall shower satisfying.

Prices depend on room size, outlook and whether or not there’s a balcony; even if you don’t get a balcony though, the pool/restaurant is a lovely space to hang out in.

A handful of deckchairs are tucked around the small but adequate pool amid a leafy garden. Soft jazz on the stereo and vintage cinema posters on the wall set the tone for a chilled out area to retreat to before or after (or instead of) sightseeing. A good Western or Asian breakfast is included; an interesting selection of French-inspired mains is served for lunch and dinner—think fish ceviche with tomato smoothie ($7.50) or linguine with ceps sauce ($9.50).

While walking distance to Wat Phnom and the Post Office Square, the hotel is a short tuk tuk away from riverside and Street 240. If you do really need to be closer to the river but are happy to spend around this budget, we’d suggest The Plantation instead.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 55—170
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'3.97" E, 11º34'48.5" N

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14 Street 282, Phnom Penh
US$35 to 75

Villa Langka

# 14 Street 282, Phnom Penh T: (012) 449 857 info@villalangka.com https://www.villalangka.com/

With all the construction going on in the northern reaches of this part of Phnom Penh, the charming and quite lovely Villa Langka offers a getaway awash with greenery accentuated by a sparkling pool.

Business was booming the day we swung by in mid January 2019, with only one room—an unmade superior—available to be seen, but the welcoming staff were still happy to walk us through. The room directly overlooks Wat Langka—an enviable outlook shared by only three rooms in the entire charming complex. Rattan chairs sat on the small veranda that looks over the temple, or, if too hot outside, you could still enjoy the view from the safety of your air–con room.

How is that for a view from your room?

How is that for a view from your room? Photo: Stuart McDonald

While the room was unmade, it was still of a good size, with Buddhist-inspired floral motifs on the wall, a desk and enough shelving. Rooms come with air–con, LCD TV and free WiFi standard. We were told other superiors, while the same overall size, do have different layouts—if you want to overlook the temple, do put in a special request when making a reservation.

The grounds are lush and green. Palms and other grand trees provide plenty of shade and cool the air around the moderately sized rectangular pool which is lined with white mattress recliners. We also loved the inverted umbrellas you’ll walk under to reach reception.

Long running and still going strong, with staff who remain helpful and engaging, Villa Langka is a good option for a mid–ranged resort that will certainly leave a firmer imprint in your memory than one of the other more bog standard hotels in this part of Phnom Penh. Shop around online for a discounted rate.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 55—90
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'38.6" E, 11º33'17.95" N

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134Z Street 51, Phnom Penh
US$75 to 150

Patio Hotel

# 134Z Street 51, Phnom Penh T: (023) 997 900 info@patio-hotel.com http://www.patio-hotel.com

Stylish, modern and a little bit hip, Patio Hotel is designed for those who want to combine sleek comfort with proximity to one of Phnom Penh’s better areas.

The hotel is tucked down a small cul-de-sac just off Street 51 by Wat Langka, Offerings are boosted by a rooftop swimming pool which offers terrific views, but if you’re after a proper swim, you might be disappointed—this is more for relaxed cocktails and dipping than laps. The pool is narrow and deep, with a bridge over it and loungers that you can launch yourself off straight into the water. If you’re not staying here, the day rate for using the pool is $10—great for sundowners, and we imagine it gets pretty crowded.

The interior of the room we were shown.

The interior of the room we were shown. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Rooms are accessed by lift, and while the standard single rooms are big enough for a solo traveller, superior and deluxe rooms offer a bit more space. Rooms feature firm platform beds, sleek black tiled floors, and clean, well-stocked bathrooms, all embellished with plenty of black distressed tiles, geometric art, polished concrete and natural wood to comply with Asian boutique chic style. The room we were shown had a small day bed to the side that a child could sleep on. There was also a workspace plenty big enough to get the laptop going.

Set in the northern reaches of BKK1, there are no shortage of bars and eateries nearby, but for something a bit more special, step out of the hotel, turn left and look for the Coca Cola machine, walk up to it, listen carefully and you’ll figure out the rest—we bet you never walked through a vending machine to reach a bar!

As with many Phnom Penh hotels, be sure to shop around online for a competitive rate. If you’re looking for something in the same area but significantly cheaper, consider Feliz—you’ll find it just a little further down the lane on the right.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 45—98
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'37.23" E, 11º33'16.02" N

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70b Street 244, Phnom Penh
US$10 to 35

Set in the heart of Phnom Penh’s royal district and within a short walk of both the Royal Palace and the riverfront, Prantara Heritage Suites offers smart rooms in a tucked away spot.

This small hotel—formerly the Penh and before that Boddhi Tree Aram—is down a busy little alley, filled with food vendors, playing children and gambling old men that leave little room, thankfully, for noisy cars and motorbikes. Around the corner is the British Ambassador’s residence and Street 240, with its many upscale shops and temptations providing a nice, soft landing into what can otherwise be an overwhelming city for some.

Our comfy room with a glassed in balcony.

Our comfy room with a glassed in balcony. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Set in a renovated 1950s house, Prantara boasts soaring ceilings, airy rooms and a comfortable balcony breakfast cafe. The air-con rooms, while not massive, are kept clean and are simply decorated. Amenities include desks, tea and coffee-making facilities, TV, fridge with minibar and bulk toiletries (as in, soap/shampoo on the walls). WiFi is speedy and free. The bathroom is probably the oldest looking part of the room, but the water is hot so we won’t complain too much.

Our room also had a glassed in balcony, which struck us as being quiet unusual, but it did keep the room even quieter. Through the windows we saw a hornbill in the trees beside the Ambassador’s house—never seen one of those in Phnom Penh!

In its current incarnation, Prantara is pretty good value, though if you need a pool you’ll need to stay elsewhere—at least the price reflects that. Their deluxe triple room could work for families with small kids.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 21—44
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'52.36" E, 11º33'38.52" N

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A lovely splurge

If you’ve got the budget and are happy to plonk down for rates in the $50-120 range, Phnom Penh boasts some truly special properties—both for those looking for that French colonial touch, as well as those seeking for a more modern and stylish meditation on the city. Again, shop around online for the best rates.


29 Street 71, BKK1, Phnom Penh
US$35 to 75

Rambutan Resort

# 29 Street 71, BKK1, Phnom Penh T: (023) 993 400, (012) 929 328, (017) 992 240 bookings@rambutanresort.com http://www.rambutanresort.com

Tucked a little out of the way to the south of the city, Rambutan Resort is a stylish and classy retreat from the hustle of uptown Phnom Penh.

While it’s certainly in a quieter part of town, it’s still only a short ride away from the capital’s major attractions. The decidedly boutique hotel, which pitches itself as gay-friendly, has just 19 rooms set in two conjoined, modernist, three-storey buildings built around a hook-shaped pool. The look and feel is hip and urban, with plenty of smoothly polished concrete and graphic lines neatly offset by splashes of vivid colour. The contemporary artworks by Christian Develter and Yue Minjun are worthy of further exploration and add a wonderful edge of quirk.

Designed

Social design.

The equally stylish rooms are spacious, with plenty of storage space, separate rainfall showers and toilet, and a discrete wash area to the side. The wide, comfortable beds are really tough to leave. You can choose from a pool or garden view, or the large rooftop penthouse complete with rooftop bath overlooking the neighbourhood. The staff here were fabulous when we stayed with them; fun, friendly, efficient and very helpful, all the way down to the parking guy who had a smile you could bottle.

The restaurant downstairs serves a decent range of Khmer and Western food, or you could take the opportunity to lounge around the pool, which is popular on the weekends among those who enjoy a sun-splashed chat, and maybe a cocktail or two. There’s no spa as such, but you can reserve an in-room massage between 10:00 and 21:00, with prices starting at $14 for an hour of reflexology or $16 for a one-hour head, back and shoulder massage.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 55—120
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'22.43" E, 11º32'42.14" N

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227 Street 19, Phnom Penh
US$75 to 150

The Pavilion

# 227 Street 19, Phnom Penh T: (023) 222 280 reservation@thepavilion.asia https://maads.asia/pavilion

Despite being within walking distance of many of Phnom Penh’s central historical highlights, the lovely Pavilion has an atmosphere of refined seclusion and offers spacious rooms priced at less than what you’d expect, given the quality of amenities and service on offer.

The hotel has something of a pieced-together quality, thanks to various neighbours being added to the collection of buildings in the property overtime, but the slightly ramshackle feel only adds to its slightly quirky character, and an overall calm of hushed pastels and charm is consistent throughout.

Don’t make them like they used to.

Don’t make them like they used to. Photo: Stuart McDonald

The reception is housed in a villa built by former king Norodom Sihanouk’s mother, Queen Kossamak, in the 1920s, with the architecture a blend of Khmer and French colonial styles, today glowing in lemon and vanilla. The “new house” was once the Royal Palace’s vet’s residence; two other buildings complete the quartet of offerings.

Thanks to the various buildings, a whole array of room types are on offer (36 according to their website). We booked through Agoda and paid US$65 for a twin in the original house, but the rates can be very variable day to day—so do shop around and bide your time for a deal. Several rooms sleep up to four and the deluxe doubles which overlook the main pool kick off at around the US$120 mark. Several rooms in the new house have private plunge pools, but we were not able to see these during our stay.

Our twin room had oodles of space.

Our twin room had oodles of space. Photo: Stuart McDonald

On a previous visit we stayed in a newer building towards the rear of the compound, so while it lacked colonial charm with features like shiny tiled floors, it had tasteful touches like Buddha statues and a bathroom large enough to turn cartwheels in. It was spotless, and had a small open-air patio just outside, which though didn’t have any view to speak of, would have been quite suited for a smoker’s five-minute break. Most recently we had a twin room in the original house and it was delightful—our only real complaint that the shower cubicle was a bit tight.

Regardless of what type you go for, rooms are all air-con, as well as fan-cooled—a welcome touch as these can keep mozzies away—mosquito nets, a day bed or couch, safety box, minibar, tea and coffee-making facilities and WiFi that worked throughout the property.

The rear pool catches more sun.

The rear pool catches more sun. Photo: Stuart McDonald

We advise taking up residence for a few hours by one of the two hushed pool areas. Though the area is not spacious, we prefer the old front pool, with its tiny wooden cabanas surrounded by shrubbery. The back pool is of a similar size.

All guests must be aged over 16 to stay the Pavilion—those travelling with kids should head across to the sister property Kabiki.

Despite an ever more competitive market, The Pavilion remains a solid choice for those who wish for their creature comforts and need to be located centrally. Service is smooth and professional, the atmosphere refined, and the amenities top-notch. If it fits with your budget, do it.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 68—138
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'47.61" E, 11º33'32.17" N

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28 Street 184, Phnom Penh
US$75 to 150

The Plantation

# 28 Street 184, Phnom Penh T: (023) 215 151 http://theplantation.asia/

Set across more than half a hectare of prime real estate in central Phnom Penh, The Plantation hides behind a white wall on Street 184, spitting distance to the Royal Palace, National Musuem and cafe chic Street 240.

Rooms are at once functional and stylish, with crisp colours punctuating an otherwise serene neutral palette. You won’t get the personal attention of the smaller hotels in the capital, but if you like anonymity and efficiency with a dose of chic, and your budget stretches this far, The Plantation is a fine option.

planta6

So many sights to see. Then there’s this pool. Good luck choosing.

Previously the Ministry of Labour, the front building dates back to the 1930s and now houses reception and the business centre. The hotel’s 70 rooms are then stacked in three separate buildings behind, two of which overlook the very tempting 20-metre swimming pool, flanked at one end by the main restaurant and on both sides by little cabanas for two. Squirrelled away as you enter reception to the left is a second 12-metre pool and an attached bar, with a top-notch gift shop as well.

Tastefully designed standard rooms cleverly make the most of their slightly compact space — the bathroom is open so make sure the friend you’re travelling with is a good pal (though the toilet door closes). The rooms have spotless tile floors, Khmer silk throws, good-size desks, comfy four-poster beds, free WiFi, LCD TVs, safes, small garden terraces and walk-in cement showers.

Pricier rooms offer more space and are perched poolside. Our only gripe — it’s minor — is that the curtains don’t quite completely cover the windows; we also had a lot of mozzies hiding away in the open cupboard in our ground floor room (may just be a seasonal thing).

planta8

Beds are none too shabby.

At least six different room types are offering, beginning with a single superior with no view that can be snared for $85 when they offer a promotional deal, or a double for $95, through to a deluxe double with a pool view for $180. Agoda rates were similar when we stayed here but it’s always worth checking. We think the pool-view rooms are a little over-priced and there’s better value to be found elsewhere in the city.

If you’re keen to get out and about to dine, the hotel is close to the restaurants along Street 240, such as The Shop, try ARTillery for coffee, or sample fancy Khmer at Romdeng. If The Plantation seems a little too large, the nearby Pavilion, part of the same group of hotels, delivers the goods and is a little more intimate.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 85—125
Book online: Agoda
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'36.79" E, 11º33'49.25" N

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277 Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh
US$75 to 150

The Quay Hotel

# 277 Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh T: (023) 224 894 info@thequayhotel.com http://www.thequayhotel.com

Bursting out in a blast of modernist white from within a sandwich of more traditional-looking Phnom Penh riverfront properties, The Quay is easy to miss as you walk past.

Slap-bang in the middle of riverside’s busy main thoroughfare, this boutique hotel is well placed for sightseeing, close to the Royal Palace and a 10-minute wander to Central Market and Wat Phnom.

Great

Great views — if you can look up from your phone.

With just 16 rooms, The Quay is modest in size but delivers with panache. A funkily lit ground floor restaurant serves Asian and Mediterranean cuisine while the lovely rooftop bar/restaurant has a perfectly petite plunge pool, ideal for sitting and sipping a cocktail during the 16:00-20:30 happy hours. WiFi is available throughout and lift access makes the views easier to appreciate.

Although each room type provides a modern, clean living space and a freshly cooked breakfast, there are significant differences between the standard and “panoramic suite” rooms, not least the price. The eight standard rooms, at the back of the hotel, are well-equipped with a TV, mini-fridge, safe, air-con and ergonomic ceiling fans — everything, in fact, but windows. Natural light is provided through frosted glass and generally the effect is cosy rather than claustrophobic. It’s almost like a modernist version of the The Jetsons, but super-stylish. Expect a sensory workout from the big abstract art, wooden floors and deep pile rugs in the sleeping area, and the contrastingly cool stone floors and slate-tiled walls of the impeccably designed bathrooms.

Roomy.

Roomy.

The pricier panoramic suites are set apart by the picture windows and private balconies for making the most of the river views. An enormous TV with DVD player is there to distract you if you tire of watching boats, promenaders and aerobics classes. The ‘suites’ don’t have separate rooms, but the space is large enough that the big bed looks almost dinky. A lounge area fits between the balcony and the bed, and there’s a built-in desk if you have work to catch up on. The ensuite bathroom features a classy monochrome bathtub and separate shower, with the same attention to design detail as the standard rooms. Someone had to very carefully comb out the thread on the bed throws, which we accidentally mussed up when we visited. It must have taken them an age.

If you can’t get in at The Quay, there are several similarly priced hotels along the riverside strip, although many have opted for the traditional wood and silk approach to decor. Budget travellers can make the most of the hotel’s rooftop happy hours, but will probably prefer to stay in a cheaper guesthouse on the roads running back from the river. While it looks a lot more expensive, you can get really great deals here during low season, so the Quay is really worth checking out. The rates include breakfast.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 45—140
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'47.81" E, 11º34'12.24" N

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For the family

For families, bear in mind most mid-range hotels will stick an extra bed in a room for around $10, making for an easy way to turn a $30 double room into a $40 family room. The following all appealed to us as places welcoming to children (both from a safety and vibe point of view). Not all have a pool.


22 Street 264, Phnom Penh.
US$75 to 150

The Kabiki

# 22 Street 264, Phnom Penh. T: (023) 222 290 reservation@thekabiki.com https://maads.asia/kabiki

If you’re not in the know (we certainly were not) Kabiki is a type of tree, and there is a huge example of one growing in the centre of the lovely Kabiki—arguably Phnom Penh’s most family-friendly hotel.

The heart of the resort is a restored colonial house (which now primarily houses reception, the lobby and a very lazy cat), and surrounding it is 3,500 sqm of landscaped tropical gardens, which includes over 500 native trees which were planted (and often labelled) by Kabiki staff. The result is an amazingly lush jungle experience, with meandering pathways steering around ferns and under towering trees. Butterflies are everywhere, in the morning you’ll wake to birdsong, and, come the evening, pale lanterns hung from the trees creative an evocative atmosphere. The grounds are just lovely.

Our room for the evening.

Our room for the evening. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Kabiki makes a big deal about its family friendliness, and as its sister property, Pavilion, does not accept guests under 16, this is close to the perfect alternative—if you can fit it into your budget. Facilities include a emerald-green tiled swimming pool (with a separate shallow section for young kids), and some staff can assist with baby sitting. There is also apparently a playground on site, though we missed that. The garden though, with its many pathways, is an ideal natural playground and kids should enjoy the plentiful butterflies while playing hide and seek.

Rooms are in a two floor building at the rear of the property. Ours was upstairs, with just a small, and, to be honest, with a pot plant containing nothing but dirt and very sun-beaten furniture, not all that appealing balcony, while the downstairs rooms have larger open plan terraces. The interior was very well presented, with a very comfortable four poster bed with a decorative mosquito net, a green throw across and no shortage of big fluffy pillows to sink into. Other facilities include a flat screen TV, fully stocked minibar, bed side lighting and, in the immaculate bathroom, a piping hot shower. The desk was fine for getting a bit of laptop time in.

Spy a pool through the jungle.

Spy a pool through the jungle. Photo: Stuart McDonald

The street Kabiki sits on is not open to traffic. Staff told us it was due to Hun Sen owning a residence on the same street. While this means you have a short walk from the boom gate to the resort entrance, it also makes the grounds and the rooms that little bit quieter.

Overall, if you’re travelling with kids in tow (especially younger ones) and Kabiki fits with your budget, this is really hard to beat for a lush getaway in the centre of the city. Recommended. Shop around for the best rates. If you’d prefer to spend a bit less, Villa Borann is just around the corner and is considerably cheaper (and has a pool).

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 65—100
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'46.32" E, 11º33'28.42" N

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37 Cnr of Street 63 and 180, Phnom Penh.
US$35 to 75

The Blue Corner Hotel

# 37 Cnr of Street 63 and 180, Phnom Penh. T: (023) 979 888 reservation@thebluecorner.asia https://www.thebluecorner.asia/

Set on the quite busy Street 63, Blue Corner is an oasis of calm hitting that under $50 sweet spot that can be difficult to fill in Phnom Penh. With well–sized rooms, excellent staff and a cute swimming pool, there is a lot to like about here.

Upon arrival, our main concern was traffic noise as the hotel sits at the intersection of Street 180 and Street 63, with the latter being a quite busy thoroughfare, but the hotel is wrapped in a relatively tall wall which seemed to keep the buzz of the traffic under control (save the odd errant horn). By the time we were being shown a room, the traffic noise has pretty distant, though light sleepers will probably appreciate ear plugs all the same.

Blue and on the corner.

Blue and on the corner. Photo: Stuart McDonald

The building used to be a Red Cross building and when it was converted into a hotel (in 2014 according to their website), one of the restrictions was that the building itself was not permitted to be changed—though we assume the Red Cross version wasn’t blue. The result is an interesting building that works really well as a hotel and which also has a restaurant on the second floor.

The blue theme continues throughout the property. The superior room we were shown has blue drapes, blue covers on the bedside lamps, blue decorative pillows on the bed and a blue sofa—at least you won’t forget where you are staying! The room was of a good size and the bathroom (shower only) was immaculate. Facilities include flat screen TV and free WiFi.

Blue all over.

Blue all over. Photo: Stuart McDonald

What really adds to the value here is the swimming pool. It is of a moderate size, but at this price point for Phnom Penh it was an unexpected bonus. The hotel emphasises its family—friendly outlook and there were at least a couple of families staying when we passed through. Location–wise the hotel is roughly a 15 minute walk to the Royal Palace and the river (heading east) and also about 15 minutes north to Phsar Thmei. Recommended.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 38—70
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'18.54" E, 11º33'47.55" N

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69 Street 178, Phnom Penh
US$35 to 75

Look, you can’t talk about The Artist Guesthouse without talking about the stairs, especially when, like us, you have room 11 which is on the fifth floor—talk about stairway to heaven—thankfully it was worth the walk.

Our room was an oversized double room with a balcony (unfortunately wired in, for security apparently) which looked out over the rear of the National Museum and, depending on how much you could crane your neck offered both sunset and sunrise views. The deck had a table and a couple of chairs—ideal for a sundowner. Some rooms come in a mezzanine format and just note that the ladders to the upstairs level are a bit steep—take care if you’ve been out on the beers.

The interior of room 11.

The interior of room 11. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Inside, the quite spacious room had both a comfortable four-poster style double bed and a single—making this very solid value for travelling families ... as long as you don’t need to carry them, though if they are old enough they can help you lug all those bags up the stairs... Facilities included a small desk, plenty of cupboard space and a standing fan (which we didn’t need as the air-con worked well). Also a small safe, and fridge came standard along with cable TV, and tea- and coffee-making facilities.

This is not a particularly modern hotel and while the room was very clean and well kept, the bathroom was pretty dated and steamy due to insufficient ventilation—and was about as clean as we think they could get it (without replacing it). The shower was really piping hot.

The ground floor gives over to a comfortable booth style cafe decorated with movie and actor photos—we didn’t eat here, though the coffee was good. We found the staff to be especially courteous and helpful and would consider staying here again on that count alone.

The location, just the tiniest walk to the Museum, Royal Palace, riverfront and numerous markets, restaurants, shops and spas is excellent. If you’re travelling with kids and want something a bit more spendy consider Kabiki, but if you are on a bit of a budget this is well worth considering and there were a couple of families staying here when we were. Shop online for a discounted rate.

More information

Walk–in rates (US$): 30—55
Book online: Agoda | Booking
Maps: Apple | Google
GPS: 104º55'39.67" E, 11º33'57.65" N

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Agoda coupon: Get an extra 7% off selected properties with the coupon code
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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Phnom Penh.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Phnom Penh.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Phnom Penh.
 Read up on how to get to Phnom Penh, or book your transport online with Camboticket.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
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