When you plan a trip to see one of the world wonders during high season - you need to really plan in advance. And that's exactly what my friends and I did. We contacted the hotel weeks before our January 1st arrival to coordinate airport transport and an English Speaking tour guide. We were assured in various emails from the hotel staff that everything had been taken care of. Well, it wasn't.
We arrived at the airport - there was no sign of our driver. Instead, we were met with dozens of yelling taxi drivers all trying to get us to get in their car. It was overwhelming.
Once we finally got transport arranged ourselves to the hotel - we arrived only to find that they had also no record that we had arranged a sunrise tour the next morning with a guide who spoke English. The staff made us feel as though we were insane - that we had made the mistakes until I showed them the extensive email exchange with their staff. They assured us they'd make it right.
Well, the next morning - they did not make it right. We got a driver who didn't speak a lick of English. It was 5am and I was asking him to pick us up at 7am to go to the elephant station. Well, he thought elephant mean "eleven" despite a game of charades acting out an elephant and me even drawing one on a napkin. We only got him to understand what we wanted after we were forced to buy a program from one of the people hawking guides who happened to speak English and could translate for us.
Interestingly enough, when we asked to leave the Angkor Wat ruins around 11am to go to lunch at a restaurant we found on LonelyPlanet - our guide mysteriously could speak some English. He was full of recommendations for places to eat and shop - but he refused to take us to the restaurant we wanted. (Clearly he was getting kick backs from these places.) We finally forced his hand to take us where we wanted and we terminated the "tour" (I use this term loosely) once we got back to the hotel. This was not how I wanted to experience Angkor Wat.
The hotel itself I will say is in a good location - a 5 minute walk to shopping and Pub Street. Don't be fooled by pictures - the hotel at one point may have seemed modern and nice - now it looks like it was a horse that was ridden hard and put away wet. It needs a major overhaul. Sheets were dirty. They were absolutely filthy! When we complained, we got new sheets that smelled like they had been washed in bleach, but someone forgot to rinse them before they went in the dryer. Ditto with the towels. I resigned myself to drying myself with my own t-shirts to avoid breaking out in a rash from the chemicals in the towels.
Overall, I'd say skip this place if you can find something nicer. Location can't be beat, but for the price, you can get way better hotels in Siem Reap. What a disappointment!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Karavansara Retreat and Residences is unparalleled — a world cultural heritage site, a beautiful natural environment, award-winning architectural design, exceptional service and a small number of rooms to ensure exclusivity and privacy. The ethos of Karavansara is founded in the sophisticated luxury that is afforded by attention to the smallest details. Come join us for an enriching, enlightening and rewarding 'lifestyle' experience that will make this the holiday you will always cherish. Comfort, convenience, relaxes and delicious are the hallmarks of Karavansara Retreat and Residences. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Karavansara Retreat & Residences Hotel Siem Reap
- Karavansara Retreat And Residences