Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.
I recently enjoyed a wonderful holiday in Thailand (home to my favorite hotel in the world: Soneva Kiri) and the Kingdom of Cambodia. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Etihad Airways Airbus A380 First Class Apartment from Paris to Abu Dhabi
- Review: Etihad Airways Dreamliner B787 Business Class from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok
- Review: Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, Thailand
- Review: Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang, Cambodia (today)
- Review: A visit to Angkor Wat, Cambodia
- Review: Alila Villas Koh Russey, Cambodia
- Review: Bensley Collection, Shinta Mani Wild, Cambodia
- Review: Cathay Dragon Airbus A320 Business Class from Phnom Penh to Hong Kong
- Review: Cathay Pacific First Class Boeing 777 from Hong Kong to Frankfurt
Today (20 May, 2020): Review of Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang (Cambodia).
- Location: Google maps
- Hotel website: Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Classic Travel
Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang − also called ‘the green village’ − is the best 5-star luxury resort near Siem Reap in Cambodia. Set within 8 acres of lush gardens, lemon-grass meadows and rice paddies, this elegant retreat is a gateway to the Angkor World Heritage Site and numerous natural and cultural wonders. The property is home to 45 private villas made to resemble traditional Cambodian houses in plantations. The hotel also has two gourmet restaurants, a magnificent pool, cigar & cocktail lounge, and an indulgent spa.
Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in Cambodia.
Have you ever stayed at Phum Baitang? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my YouTube clip & slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
REVIEW OF PHUM BAITANG: PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Phum Baitang is the best luxury resort in Siem Reap and one of the premier hotel destinations in Cambodia. Recreating the simple charm of village life, this sublime retreat is nestled peacefully in a quiet rural area just outside of town, slightly apart from Siem Reap’s many hotels, busy markets, and tourist restaurants. The property is only a short 15-minute ride to the Angkor ruins, the Old Market downtown area and the airport, yet its serene and tranquil ambiance feels a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Siem Reap town. Phum Baitang has its own fleet of tuk-tuks and cars to pick up guests at the airport or to drive them around town or to the temples.
- Designed by the Parisian architecture firm AW₂, Phum Baitang is gorgeous recreation of a Cambodian village. Clusters of rustic hotel pavilions are scattered over 8 acres of lush gardens, which are organized around a traditional landscape of rice fields, creating vast perspectives from all sides. A long wooden walkway floats above the palm-lined rice paddy and leads from the intimate lobby on one side of the resort to the main pool and one of the restaurants on the property’s other side. It truly feel like being in the middle of a working rice farm; the rice is harvested three times a year and given to guests as a farewell gift upon departure.
- Both in its public areas and private villas, the resort’s design achieves a striking balance between rustic elegance and genuine luxury. The materials used – timber, bamboo, cotton, stone, and renders – are voluntarily understated, with natural textures and colors being preferred. The architectural elements are taken from the local vernacular architecture. The shutters and the vertical or horizontal rhythm of the timber cladding create touches of Khmer references throughout. The traditional Cambodian colonial aesthetic is further infused with hand-picked antiques, giving the hotel design a sense of belonging and a form of timelessness
- Phum Baitang is comprised of 45 wooden and stilted villas that are designed to resemble traditional Khmer houses. There are 25 spacious villas with private terraces, and 20 others with private plunge pools, all of them standing amidst the rice paddy and verdant lawns. During my visit, I stayed in a terrace villa, which was organized as a single space with high-pitched ceilings, featuring a kingsize bed, a separate sitting area and a desk. The elegant ensuite bathroom was equipped with a huge freestanding tub, rain shower and double vanity. A large glass door opened up the view towards an outdoor living terrace, creating a direct contact with the landscape.
- Phum Baitang features a magnificent infinity pool, which overlooks the rice paddies, sugar palms and traditional resort pavilions. Clad in rough-hewn black stone, the freeform salt water pool is a generous 50 m (164 ft) long and lined by one row of stylish loungers and sun umbrellas. Thatch-roofed salas at either end of the pool make good hideaways for couples to lounge the day away. Adjacent to the infinity pool is a pool bar, which offers a stunning open-air setting with magnificent views. Here, guests can enjoy a light meal or refreshing homemade juices while soaking up the Cambodian sun.
- There are two locally-inspired gourmet restaurants that offer delicious meal choices that go far beyond the norm for what is considered typical Khmer cuisine:
- With views over the surrounding rice paddies and gardens, Bay Phsar restaurant is located along the main pool and offers an array of vibrant Cambodian flavors created using local ingredients. Each morning, it’s also the scene of an excellent breakfast (with buffet & menu).
- Hang Bay restaurant is located next to the lobby and serves a fusion of international cuisine, from the freshest seafood to the finest steaks, either in an elegant dining room or on a stylish porch with great views of the beautiful sunsets and starlit nights.
The villas and restaurant pavilions are new, but the 100-year old Cambodian farmhouse at the heart of the rice paddies is not. Smartly restored and repurposed as the hotel’s cocktail and cigar bar, it’s easily one of the most atmospheric venues in the Siem Reap area, with rattan wing chairs and oriental carpets evoking the glamorous turn-of-the-century era when French explorers settled here. At the lounge, guests can delight in the pleasure of sipping a wide variety of cocktails (from the traditional to the innovative), a selection of fine wines, and vintage liqueurs location while watching the sun slowly set behind the property’s swimming pool.
- For those seeking the relaxing ambiance of a first class wellness center, the Temple Spa truly is a sanctuary within this resort oasis. The pavilion housing the spa reception is modeled after a temple with design motifs based on the elegant carvings and columns of Angkor Wat. The spa features seven spa treatment rooms, a sauna, steam room, relaxation area as well as a yoga pavilion. Therapies based on traditional Khmer rituals or massage techniques such as Tibetan, Swedish or Ayurvedic can all be performed by highly trained therapists. A yoga pavilion, sauna and steam room, and a small but well-equipped fitness room complete the resort’s spa facilities.
- Phum Baitang is managed by Zannier Hotels, a family owned luxury hotel group, driven by passion for hospitality and gastronomy. The group’s vision and philosophy is based on Leonardo da Vinci’s famous quote “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. The key principle behind every project of the group is the devotion to simplicity and the product’s authenticity. Zannier Hotels are pure, unique, and nestled in exquisitely beautiful parts of the world. The welcome is personal and the accommodation sumptuous. And yet it’s the total experience − the unique impression imparted by the hotel’s ambiance in that particular locality − that makes a stay unforgettable.
- The resort’s understated luxury beckons guests to unwind and recharge after a long day exploring the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat, the principle draw card for many savvy tourists from around the globe. Built during the reign of King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat was constructed to symbolise Mount Meru, the mythical mountain of gods. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with stone carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the wars Suryavarman II fought during his reign. Angkor Wat’s walls are decorated with more than 2,000 dancing figures, animals and devatas.
REVIEW OF PHUM BAITANG: CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang is by far the best luxury resort near Angkor Wat. The property offers a stunning green setting, traditional design, beautiful villas, sophisticated food, and world-class leisure facilities. Although there is little to say against the resort, you may want to know the following when considering a stay here:
- The gorgeous property is tucked away in what seems like the middle of nowhere in Cambodia’s countryside. But that is exactly what makes it so unique: it’s secluded, private, quiet and serene with its own amazing rice paddies, great dining options, and exclusive facilities. Although the isolated location is part of the appeal for most guests, it’s important to emphasize that you won’t find any restaurants, shops or night life within walking distance (although it’s just a 15 minute tuk-tuk ride to Siem Reap center if you are in need to venture outside the resort).
- Twenty of the 45 villas feature a lovely garden with private pool, but the privacy of these gardens is not always great, as public walkways offer peak-a-boo views into these gardens. This is mostly because of the sparse and young vegetation in some parts of the resort, but I assume this should get better over time as the plants grow taller and the vegetation becomes more dense.
REVIEW OF PHUM BAITANG: MY VERDICT
- Location: 8/10
- Design: 10/10
- Pool: 10/10
- Rooms: 9/10
- Food: 10/10
- Breakfast: 9/10
- Spa: 9/10
- Service: 10/10
- Value for money: 9/10
- Overall experience: exceptional 9,2/10
REVIEW OF PHUM BAITANG: TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Classic Travel (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast for two, early check-in, late check-out, and round trip airport transfers).
- Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Zannier Hotels Phum Baitang (and/or receive many free perks).
- Room tip: every villa at Phum Baitang is great and features a similar layout, but it’s worth splurging on a villa with a private plunge pool.
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
REVIEW OF PHUM BAITANG: BEST TIME TO VISIT
The weather in Cambodia is dominated by a tropical monsoon climate which means there are three main seasons: a cool, dry season between November and February (which is the best period to visit the area); a hot, dry season from March to June; and a rainy season from July to October. Expect daytime temperatures to be in excess of 30 °C (86°F) throughout the year (with the possible exception of late December and early January, when it’s a bit cooler). The two periods April to May and September to October are characterised by high, almost untolerable humidity. The southwest monsoons arrive between May and October bringing unsettled, cloudy conditions and, for many, this is a welcome respite.
REVIEW OF PHUM BAITANG: HOW TO GET THERE
The resort is located a 15 min drive from Siem Reap International Airport (REP). Click here for a continuously updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Siem Reap.
REVIEW OF PHUM BAITANG: PHOTOS
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