Where's Butch Cassidy
Despite its less than salubrious surroundings and, in fairness, a few of its less than sober guests, Sundance offers very decently turned out rooms and a pool with clean efficiency, a charming smile, and pretty good value.
Street 172 is fiercely resisting the rush of modernisation that is overtaking the rest of Phnom Penh, but it is still a great base from which to work, only two blocks from the riverside, and walking distance of the National Museum and Royal Palace (unless you’re quite tired). Nearby dining options, if you’re not eating in-house, include the ever-friendly Laughing Fatman, and Friends restaurant is just around the corner. If you’re going further afield, finding a driver won’t be an issue — in fact you may have to beat them off. Quieter than spots right on the river, and less sleazy than spots right behind it, the street retains a certain local charm with fruit sellers and street food vendors calling their wares.
Sundance certainly aims to entertain guests. The wooden floored bar-restaurant downstairs hosts weekly quizzes, open mic nights and live gigs, and you can demonstrate your misspent youth at the slate pool table. While there may be no waterfall to jump off, there is a small pool to dip your toes into on a sunny afternoon in the small courtyard out back. If that’s too social, there’s a computer that is free to use.
In fact, even if you have brought your own computer, you’re going to want to play with the internet accessed through the very large TVs in the bedrooms. Unusual just-for-the-hell-of-it touches like this is where Sundance diverges from most in its price range. Each air-con room is slightly different, but expect wide beds, brightly coloured sinks and a mixture of wood, tiles and concrete. In one suite, a corner tub sits cheekily in the bedroom, extra to the separate bathroom with a shower rose so enormous it was surely the subject of a bet. These are rooms designed for guests to laze around in. The cheaper rooms on the top storey are cosy without inducing claustrophobia, but an extra $5-$10 will bag you a suite with your own sitting room.
Sundance has a low-key friendliness which reflects the general ambiance of the street. It’s worth booking ahead to ensure you do get one of the 11 rooms. It hits a point somewhere between backpacker and flashpacker, and is ideal for those who want a bit of comfort and easy access to the city. Proximity to the bar and the possibility of some night noise makes it less of a family option. Those who prefer to forfeit big TVs and interesting decor to save a few dollars should try Super Star Hotel or Last Home Guesthouse, a few hundred metres down the road.
By Nicky Sullivan
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.