Hotel review: Park Hyatt Siem Reap (Cambodia)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a luxury hotel and/or flight review.

Today  (March 3, 2014): Review of the Park Hyatt Siem Reap (Cambodia). 

Hyatt rebranded the renowned Cambodia hotel to Park Hyatt Siem Reap in 2013, the first property of the luxury hotel brand in Cambodia.  The boutique hotel is situated in the center of Siem Reap, a 15 minute car drive from the famous 12th century ruins of Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage site that researchers believe was one of the largest pre-industrial cities in the world, and one of the world’s top 10 cultural destinations.

In this review (more info below my Youtube clip and slideshow):

  • Pros & things I like
  • Cons & things to know
  • My verdict
  • Tips for future guests & save money
  • Things to do in Siem Reap
  • Best time to visit
  • How to get there

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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • As you would expect from the exclusive Park Hyatt brand, the high-end hotel feels very luxurious. It’s an elegant mix of colonial architecture and trendy touches.
  • The hotel is located in the city center of Siem Reap, at walking distance from the French Quarter.
  • The hotel is an urban oasis of luxury and tranquility, a world apart from the huzzle and buzzle of the surrounding, dusty, and hectic town.
  • The service is outstanding and on pair with the best Asian resorts. The staff will serve you with a smile, always. And they all speak fluently English.
  • The on site restaurant, the Dining Room, is superb and highly recommended (albeit pricy for Cambodian standards).
  • The hotel has two swimming pools which never seemed too busy. There are enough loungers for the guests to relax after all the exhausting sightseeing at the nearby temples. Both pools, while not very large, are very enjoyable and the water has the ideal temperature to cool off under the hot Asian sun. The pool on the second floor is semi-indoor and shaded.
  • The hotel has a spa as well as a small but pleasant gym room.
  • The price is reasonable for a Park Hyatt, especially if you can make use of a best rate guarantee (which will discount the room rate by an additional 20%).
  • The rooms are large, and nicely decorated with all modern touches one could want. Beds are very good (although mattresses are a bit on the hard side IMHO).

CONS  & THINGS TO KNOW
  • Airport transfers are priced at US$50. This is expensive considering the fact that hotel is only a 20 minute drive away from the airport and that many hotels and guest houses in Seam Reap offer free pick-up and drop-off from the airport.
  • Bath tubes in the room are very narrow.
  • WiFi was of very variable quality during my stay: it did work in the communal areas of the hotel, but not in my room.
  • The safe did not open on the day of my departure causing some stress since we had to catch a flight (but kudos to the hotel, someone was promptly sent to fix it).

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 7/10
  • Design: 8/10
  • Rooms: 8/10
  • Food: 9/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Overall experience: very good: 8/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury resort like Park Hyatt Siem Reap and/or how receive many free perks.
  • Save money: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, one complimentary set menu “Taste of Cambodia” dinner for two per room at The Dining Room, destination-inspired amenities light snacks in hand-made jars with a large bottle of panna water, and cold towels and welcome drink, jasmine garland on arrival ).
  • Save money: make use of Hyatt’s best rate guarantee. If you find a better rate, the Hyatt Hotel Group will match it and give you $50 toward your next stay.
  • Elite members of Hyatt’s loyalty program, World of Hyatt, are well treated, with – amongst other benefits – complimentary room upgrade (when available), early check-in or late check-out  (when available), and free breakfast. Click here to read my review of the World of Hyatt program (with pros & cons).
  • Request a hotel room away from the street (to avoid any street noise disturbance).
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

THINGS TO DO IN SIEM REAP

Cambodia has a surprisingly diverse range of terrain with the landscape a blend of rice paddies, sugar palm plantations and remote jungles. But most people come all the way to Cambodia, and Siem Reap in particular, because it is the home to the magnificent ancient Temple ruins of Angkor, with the iconic Angkor Wat, the stone faces on the gateways of Angkor Thom and the ubiquitous Ta Phrom. Vast, beautiful and beguiling, these temple complexes contain a magic that makes them stand out from the crowd.

Some tips to help organize your visit to Angkor :

  • No matter how jet lagged you may be, get up very early to visit the amazing temple near Seam Reap, so that you can enjoy the magic of a sunrise over Angkor Wat (you will share this moment though with many others) and so that you avoid the unbearable heat of the day while exploring the temple complex.
  • If you want to avoid temple fatigue, limit your visit to the 3 main sites: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and the jungle covered Ta Prohm. You can visit them on a half day with the right guide (the Park Hyatt can arrange this for 55 USD per person for a party of 2, including the 20 USD entrance fee per person and the car driver).
  • Wikipedia has an excellent webpage for planning your visit to Angkor Wat.
  • If time is on your hand, consider combining the ancient temples of Angkor Wat with those of Borobodur in Indonesia and Bagan in Burma.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Like most of Southeast Asia, Cambodia varies from warm to very hot throughout the whole year. There are four annual seasons: cool and dry between November and February; (very) hot and dry between March and May; hot and wet between June and August; and cool and wet between September and early November. The best time to visit is the cool season, when the weather usually benefits from a pleasant dry heat and the countryside is still green from the rains.


HOW TO GET THERE

Most people reach Siem Reap by bus (from Phnom Penh) or by plane.

If you travel from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by bus (6 to 7 hours), then your best choice is the Giant Ibis bus company. You can book tickets online, the buses are modern and comfortable (with onboard wifi!)

If you fly into Seam Reap, then you have to start your journey in or connect via Southeast Asia. The following airlines (click here for direct links to their websites) serve the small airport:

  • via Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville (Cambodia): Cambodia Angkor Air
  • via Bangkok (Thailand): Bangkok Airways, Cambodia Angkor Air, Air Asia
  • via Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia): Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines
  • via Singapore: Jetstar, Silkair
  • via Hong Kong: Dragonair
  • via Seoul or Bisan (South Korea): Asiana Airlines, Korean Air, Air Busan, Eastar Jet
  • via Yangon (Myanmar): Myanmar Airways International
  • via Da Nang, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Luang Prabang (Vietnam): Vietnam Airlines, Cambodia Angkor Air
  • via Luang Prabang, Pakse, Vientiane (Laos):  Lao Airlines
  • via Manila (Philipines): Cebu Pacific
  • via Bejing, Shanghai, Kunming, or Guanghzou (China): Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Cambodia Angkor Air

LOBBY
LOBBY
SPA ENTRANCE
SPA ENTRANCE
CHECK INN AREA
CHECK INN AREA
LOBBY
LOBBY
HOTEL DELI SHOP
HOTEL DELI SHOP
HOTEL TERRACE
HOTEL TERRACE
HOTEL BAR
HOTEL BAR
HOTEL BAR
HOTEL BAR
SWIMMING POOL
SWIMMING POOL
SWIMMING POOL
SWIMMING POOL
SWIMMING POOL
SWIMMING POOL
SWIMMING POOL
SWIMMING POOL
POOL LOUNGERS
POOL LOUNGERS
POOL LOUNGERS
POOL LOUNGERS
SEMI-INDOOR SWIMMING POOL
SEMI-INDOOR SWIMMING POOL
SEMI-INDOOR SWIMMING POOL
SEMI-INDOOR SWIMMING POOL
LOUNGERS IN SEMI-INDOOR SWIMMING POOL
LOUNGERS IN SEMI-INDOOR SWIMMING POOL
PRIVATE TERRACE IN SEMI-INDOOR SWIMMING POOL
PRIVATE TERRACE IN SEMI-INDOOR SWIMMING POOL
SECOND, SMALLER POOL
SECOND, SMALLER POOL
BANYAN TREE INNER COURT WITH MAIN RESTAURANT
BANYAN TREE INNER COURT WITH MAIN RESTAURANT
HOTEL TERRACE
HOTEL TERRACE
HOTEL HALLWAY
HOTEL HALLWAY
BEDROOM
BEDROOM
BEDROOM SITTING AREA
BEDROOM SITTING AREA
OPEN PLAN BATHROOM
OPEN PLAN BATHROOM
BATHROOM
BATHROOM
BEDROOM WITH OPEN PLAN BATHROOM
BEDROOM WITH OPEN PLAN BATHROOM
BEDROOM
BEDROOM
ANGKOR WAT SUNRISE
ANGKOR WAT
TA PHROM
TA PHROM
ANGKOR THOM
ANGKOR THOM

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