In a style of its own
Stunning, out of this world, design in a gorgeous 1960s building transports you instantly from the grimy streets outside to a world defined by class and elegance. It’s quite the transition. La Maison d’Ambre comes from the family of Cambodian-French fashion designer Romyda Keth, whose Ambre clothing helps Phnom Penh — and now Siem Reap — women stand out from the crowd in all the best ways. The same strong sense of aesthetics has been applied here, on everything from the decor to the staff’s tailored uniforms.
The elegant lobby is a backdrop of elegant greys offset by bold, hot pinks; you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a European hotel and left the madness of the Phnom Penh streets just outside very far behind. While other new hotels tend to play up their history, like The Plantation — or simply pay homage to it, like The Sangkum — La Maison has kept its 1960s facade only, and otherwise decked out each of the 12 suites to reflect a particular city as it is represented in film (yes, this is a genuine boutique hotel).
Suites — from one to two bedrooms — are immaculately clean and thoughtfully decorated with enthusiastic dedication to each theme; we particularly liked Casablanca, done out in a turquoise and white Moroccan theme, with a great lounge and softened archways throughout. We didn’t see it, but if you’re after more of a Cambodian flavour, Rose of Bokor, a film directed by recently deceased King Father Norodom Sihanouk, has its own room as well.
Suites include complete kitchens as well, making this a solid family choice if you want to be preparing your own foods — though the downside here is there’s no pool to while away a few hours. Instead the main communal space is a space age-y bar on the top floor of the hotel, with expansive views to Wat Phnom and the surrounds, making this a popular place for a sundowner among even those not staying here. Khmer and European cuisine is on offer, though we haven’t tried it yet. Nearby you’ll also find Phsar Chas (Old Market), where you won’t find tourist tat but you will find locals doing their every day shopping.
Prices are not cheap — and the market is competitive in Phnom Penh, so you won’t stay here if you’re looking to save a buck — but if you like sleek, sophisticated and filmic and aren’t bothered by the lack of a pool, La Maison is, at the least, an interesting, colourful choice with the kind of personalised service that comes with a very small hotel.
By Nicky Sullivan
Last updated on 11th February, 2016.