Coming to Cambodia can be a difficult experience. Things here are complicated, there is a lot of poverty, but like the cliche says, the roughest stones yield the finest gems. Tourist attractions abound. Angkor Wat, Angkor Tom, Tonle Sap, Ta Prom, and of course the people! We have been all over SE Asia and haven't met the genuine kindness anywhere that we found here in Siem Reap. People call Thailand the land of smiles but I think that title belongs to Cambodia.
It is hot here though, dusty, dirty, and often very poor. It is easy to feel discouraged when traveling here. Much of the situation seems dire and without solution. As Tom Robins would describe it, the place is very vivid. Which is where the Villa Siem Reap comes in. It offers a refuge from the grime and noise from the streets. And when you think the future seems bleak for the Cambodian people you meet the staff here, who are the absolute best.
Yes the rooms are clean, cool and well stocked, yes the food here is delicious and sanitary (the two don't always go hand in hand in SE Asia), but the staff make the place. Their attention to detail, their simple and real manners, the fact that they want to make your stay comfortable but that it isn't a mask only to milk money from a foreigner, but a real genuine friendliness. These guys are all stars. But a few really stood out. Ms, Bor Srey Pheap was extremely attentive on the restaurant floor and also excited to practice her English and give us incite into her interesting life, she seems like someone with a bright future ahead of her, Mr Sok Phan backed her up and was also extremely friendly, Mr Rim Chamroeun, made us feel immediately welcome as did Mr Sean Phally. And this isn't to take away from anyone. All of the staff at the Villa did and awesome job and were quick with a smile.
Oh and let's not forget Mr Boone, our hotel arranged Tuk Tuk driver who's patience, warm smiles and safe driving skills allowed us to see all of the major tourist attractions.
After seeing a lot of poverty and destitution it is nice to come back to the Villa after a long day and see Cambodians who are quick to laugh and smile and who are, many of them pursuing college degrees, English classes and careers in hospitality. I wish only the best to our new friends here at the Villa and I hope the ownership is treating them well because these guys are the best.
I do have only one negative thing to say, while we were here we booked a 4 day all inclusive tour package through the hotel. It was amazing, I already listed the awesome things we saw. But a warning to other travelers about the Tonle Sap Lake tour. There is a common scam run by some of the boat operators (ours) that can be read about here http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=1907634 I won't go into detail about our negative experience. Suffice to say I spoke about it with one of the receptionists and he said he would look into it. So hopefully by the time you come to the Villa they will have either changed tour operators or resolved the issue.
Safe travels all. Stay at the Villa Siem Reap.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Villa Siem Reap offers the best central location, fantastic rooms, and the best service in Siem Reap. Information is available on touring the best of Siem Reaps temples and other attractions. All rooms have AC,HW,Safe,Mini Bar and Satelite TV. The Villa looks forward to welcoming you and being part of your Siem Reap adventure. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Villa Siem Reap Hotel Siem Reap