With its inaugural flight having taken off just days ago, on July 1, the newest destination on Emirates’ flight map is Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Flying via Yangon, Myanmar in a Boeing 777 aircraft, this is the airline’s debut in the ancient Asian country which is home to exotic islands, epic ancient ruins and a capital chock-full of heritage. With more than enough on your plate to plan to see and do, take our recommendations for some of the best places to stay in style.
SLEEK IN THE CITY
Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra – Phnom Penh
The capital’s first five-star hotel to open since the 1990s, the chic French brand debuted in Phnom Penh in 2011 with this 201-room property. With eight restaurants, a So SPA by Sofitel and two swimming pools to swan around in, all amid French-colonial elegance – think hardwood floors and chaise longues – inspired by the city’s history, it’s likely the most stylish stay in town. It’s well located, too, on a charming riverside and minutes from attractions such as the Royal Palace and National Museum.
Belmond La Résidence d’Angkor – Siem Reap
The best place to be immersed in traditional Khmer heritage is Siem Reap, a stone’s throw from the famed Angkor Wat temple complex. And Belmond’s centrally located 59-suite Khmer-style hotel is perhaps the ideal for an authentic experience while surrounded by warm teak and basalt accents that pay homage to the neighbouring temples. The hotel also offer a stay package that includes a privately guided tour of Angkor Wat, to be sure you make the most of your exploration of the vast ruins.
ISLAND INDULGENCE WITH A CONSCIENCE
Song Saa Private Island – Koh Rong Archipelago
A 45-minute speedboat ride from Sihanoukville, the unspoiled islands of Koh Bong and Koh Ouen play host this this resort and its ecological and conservation initiatives. With a selection of villas – overwater, jungle and oceanfront – you can get whatever island experience you fancy most, and from within plush living spaces with striking tropical views. There are plenty of ways to explore those views as well, with diving, kayak tours and the opportunity to visit local villages, where you may even get to take part in a Buddhist blessing ceremony.
NATURE, RUINS & COUNTRYSIDE, OH MY
Amansara – Angkor
On the outskirts of Siem Reap and on the road to Angkor Wat archaeological park, this exclusive all-suite Aman property is snuggled within forests and rice paddies and on the threshold of UNESCO ruins, which can be explored via setting off in one of the resort’s custom remorks. Guests can also swap the mod-but-minimalist 1960s-style resort surroundings for an excursion to the centuries-old villages of Tonle Sap lake, or cycle through verdant fields shaded by sugar palms and dotted by fruit trees. It’s Cambodian luxury at its most bucolic.
AmaDara – Mekong River
Once you’ve got your fill of land, take to South East Asia’s mighty Mekong River on a cruise from Siem Reap to Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City). As you languidly make your way past historic pagodas, floating markets and a Buddhist monastery, the luxuries on-board AmaDara will vie for your attention. Each state room has a private twin balconies, and you can spend your days lounging poolside on the sundeck, getting pampered in one of three spas, or trying traditional cuisine at one of two restaurants.