We learned a few lessons when, over a two week period, we stayed at three different hotels near Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia:
– Surprisingly, the best hotel we stayed in was the least expensive.
– Also not expected, the noisiest hotel was the furthest away from the hustle and bustle of town.
– We had not expected that the best service to be offered would be at the least expensive of the three hotels.
We’re puzzled and have no explanation for these surprising findings.
Our daughter and we thoroughly vetted a long list of possible hotels that met our priorities. We thought all would be much the same, with the exception that two of the hotels had a pool. How wrong we were.
We reserved the least expensive double room at each hotel for ourselves and were eager to see what we’d get. Golden Temple Villa’s room dared to show flair and style. Brightly colored walls, 4-poster bed, and windows with chic curtains impressed us. The bathroom was utilitarian. Price: $26/night for a 4-night stay.
Les Bambous’ room was by far the smallest with almost no decoration, not even a bedspread. There were reading lights on each side of the bed, but we puzzled where to put our suitcases. The bathroom needed repairs and renovation. Price: $34/night for a 7-night stay.
Soria Moria’s plainly decorated room doubled the size of the little room we’d had at Les Bambous. Two uncomfortable straight-backed wooden chairs and a table sat in front of the window. The bathroom bettered the other two hotels. Price: $54/night for a 4-night stay.
“Free breakfast” differed a great deal among these three hotels. Les Bambous offered a choice of Continental or American breakfast. We were bored by the same fare at the end of our 7-day stay. Soria Moria’s “free breakfast” buffet provided options, but the low quality food had been warming for hours, except for the omelet station. Golden Temple Villa brought us a menu with many choices and the food won our prize for best breakfast fare of the three hotels.
We’d underestimated the importance of service at a hotel in Siem Reap. Need a tuk tuk driver to take you to Angkor Wat? How about a reservation at a restaurant? Bikes to ride? Recommendations? Soria Moria and Golden Temple Villa have staff at the front desk to assist guests.
Les Bambous operated more like a B&B, so at times we needed to track down one of the owners for assistance, rather than find staff at the front desk.
Soria Moria checked us in while we stood at the reception desk, offering a glass of juice as refreshment. Les Bambous seated us in the garden, gave us tea, and chatted. We finally asked to see the room. Golden Temple Villa led us to a pillowed bench in their restaurant and gave us a fruit tea in metal tumblers along with peanuts to nibble on. Their staff gave us a quick and professional orientation.
We wanted swimming pools for our grandsons (ages 4 and 6 years old), and the tiny one at Soria Moria was adequate. However, the gorgeous pool at Les Bambous was perfect, and, also, the large enclosed garden and yard provided our grandsons a wonderful place to play. Did this account for the huge jump in price?
Soria Moria and Golden Temple Villa’s location in central Siem Reap made life so easy for us walkers. We walked every day to restaurants and markets. We had worried about noise there, but noise was minimal. The move out of town to Les Bambous proved to be both noisy and inconvenient. Trips to town required a tuk tuk ride.
Three hotels in the same small town proved to us to be vastly different. We learned that a higher room rate and a “quiet” location out of town didn’t buy us happiness in Siem Reap.