Smart, sophisticated, spacey
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.
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.
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. If you have a real hankering for a balcony on a medium budget, try the Pillar Hotel at the northern end of riverside.
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.
By Nicky Sullivan
Last updated on 11th February, 2016.