Contemporary and delicious
Set in a remodelled building in Siem Reap’s leafy north riverside, Santa Clara blends modernity with classical attention to details and an eye for the small, but significant, touches. So many hotels call themselves boutique that the word is losing all meaning, but if you were looking for a dictionary definition then there’d probably be a picture of Santa Clara next to it: small, beautifully designed, luxurious and personal.
The 13 rooms are super-contemporary with polished concrete floors, platform beds and an artful use of colour. The bathrooms are just wow. Huge, with terrazzo floors and features, great big rainfall showers, and plenty of space for the fridge, safety box, tea and coffee-making gear, hanging rails, and a couple of games of Twister if you fancy it.
Travelling families need not lose touch, as some of the rooms can be co-joined to create suites that can cater for up to three children with two adults, or four adults all together.
Outside the long, lemongrass-lined pool faces south for the sun-babies, while the sun-shy can take cover in the relaxed, open-fronted cafe/bar/restaurant area just beside it. The gardens are richly planted, and will mature quickly, but the eagle-eyed will notice herbs dotted around, which add to the fuller herb gardens in the back, all of which are used to flavour the dishes prepared here. “She loves to cook and is a great cook,” said one staff member of the owner (out of earshot). The Melbourne-native owner makes everything from scratch, including sauces, yoghurt, muesli, jams and chutneys. We’re already hearing great reports about the food here from independent non-guest diners. Vegans and vegetarians are well catered to here, and they will work with guests to individualise menus where required.
One very noticeable thing here is the pride with which the staff speak about their work. One feels a real passion and commitment that is almost tangible; they were very giving, and very helpful.
They’re adding a small spa which will offer massage, scrub and head and foot care treatments, though not facials or waxing.
A short 10-minute tuk tuk ride into town, this spot makes the most of being in one of the quieter areas of Siem Reap (believe us, there aren’t many of them).
The prices below are their baseline, though deals may be available depending upon occupancy.
Address: West Riverside, Siem Reap
T: (063) 765 801;
Coordinates (for GPS): 103º51'56.34" E, 13º22'26.83" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: US$75 to 150
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Standard double room|
"Classic twin" $110; "Queen twin" $140; Includes breakfast, free massage and pick-up (until October 2015)
Nicky Sullivan is an Irish freelance writer (and aspiring photographer). She has lived in England, Ireland, France, Spain and India, but decided that her tribe and heart are in Cambodia, where she has lived since 2007 despite repeated attempts to leave. She dreams of being as tough as Dervla Murphy, but fears there may be a long way to go. She can’t stand whisky for starters. She was a researcher, writer and coordinator for The Angkor Guidebook: Your Essential Companion to the Temples, now one of the best-selling guidebooks to the temples.
Provided by Travelfish partner Agoda.
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