Just back after a 4 nite stay in Nov09. The Kool was rated #2 when I left, so having enjoyed a great experience, it is sad to see it slip to #3 when I return home. But the management can take heart that the other top hotels charge multiple times more, so being in the top 3 is already a testament to their ability to deliver. Sothy and his team are ever so eager to please and greet you warmly everytime (and you get the feeling that they do recognise you and are not just greeting you blindly).
Not having time to research my trip before arrival, I emailed to ask for help in planning the itinerary, and the GM Nat was prompt in his responses and accommodating with my requested changes. Everything was made very easy upon arrival, and Sothy made it a point to confirm my preferances over the next few days. There are also a couple of other staff who seem to be under training while studying, and they are equally promising and forthcoming with their assistance whenever possible.
The room is roomy and tastefully decorated. The restaurant serves up yummy Amok and BBQ beef, and breakfasts are substantial enough to last you through lunch.
No doubt it is not 5 star, ie, no lift, no fitness room, no opulent surroundings and also not in the pub street area. But there are so many things going for it - comfortable room, cosy environment, quick & cheap transport readily available (plus the free shuttle to town in the evenings), and most of all, committed staff and great hospitality. For the price you pay, I'd say it is definitely value for money.
If there are any areas of improvement I can suggest to help them improve their ratings, here's a couple:
- while Sothy is a great manager, he cannot be available all the time. There was some confusion one morning when Sothy was not available and the staff did not know of my planned schedule. And since guests are increasing with the peak season, it would be better to have some backup with staff who are more conversant in English and aware of guests arrangements.
- the guide, who perhaps was not their usual cos he told me it was only his 3rd time cooperating with the hotel, was not very good. Our trip to the lake was his 1st in 2 years and he was not aware that we had to transfer to a small boat to do the flooded forest and that there was a temple that we could visit along the way. A few times at the temples he would asked me to go up the tower myself and only provide a brief when I come back down. So if I did not observe something before, I would have to imagine what he was talking about or climb up again to see it. He also told me he is teaching at a private school in the late afternoon, so was hinting that we need to hurry up at some places, even though I had contracted for a full day of guide service. On the last day at Angkor Wat, when I noted other guides stopping at some place to provide commentary, I had to ask him whether there was any story to hear. Granted it is difficult to screen guides, but after getting such good dedicated service everywhere else at the hotel (even their regular tuk tuk drivers are good!), it is a bummer to be letdown by a less than dedicated guide.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Kool hotel is located on a quiet lane yet in the heart of Siem Reap town, close to transports and the airport, minutes away from the world's famous Angkor temples, shops, and restaurants. We offer immaculately clean, good value for money, chic, friendly, mid-range luxurious accommodation with modern facilities, also featuring Khmer, Thai, and International fusion restaurant, massage, tours, and pick-up. Our personalised services during your stay sets us apart from others. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kool Hotel Siem Reap