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.
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.
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.
Address: 76 Street 57, Phnom Penh.
T: (023) 220 884;
Coordinates (for GPS): 104º55'34" E, 11º32'44" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: US$35 to 75
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Standard double room||US$40||US$40|
|Superior double room||US$48||US$48|
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
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