Designed to replicate a traditional Cambodian village, Phum Baitang is a luxury all-villa resort with traditional wooden houses built on stilts. Set in eight acres of lush tropical gardens, it’s a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of Siem Reap – the main tourist town for the temples of Angkor Wat.
Complete with rice paddies (they harvest their own rice for their restaurants), swaying palm trees and resident water buffalo, all you can hear is the gentle sound of the breeze in the tree tops and the sweet sound of tropical birds.
Apparently, Angelia Jolie is a regular guest, so it comes with the celebrity stamp of approval.
The traditional private villas
The 45 individual villas at Phum Baitang are modern, contemporary and chic with a rustic look and neutral colours throughout. It’s very chic, like something out of a designer magazine yet reminas understated, with bare wooden floors, crumpled linen, hand-picked antiques and polished walls. The bathrooms are worth the room rate alone with free standing baths, walk-in shower and double sinks. Each room has a flat screen TV, DVD player, minibar, kettle, Nespresso machine, and organic Phum Baitang toiletries (which are lovely – make sure you grab a hand full). The veranda has a day bed and dining table to relax in the tropical heat.
You can borrow bikes to cycle around the resort, which means you will be poolside in a a few minutes. The 50-metre infinity edge pool is the heart of the action during the day, with sun loungers and covered day beds (which are perfect for couples). Sipping cocktails or healthy juices, you can grab a spot of lunch from Bay Phsar, whilst gazing across the rice paddies. Bay Phsar is also home to breakfast and dining Cambodian style on alternate evenings. Dining is a delight at Phum Baitang, definitely eat at the resort to try Hang Bay with its local speciality Fish Amok, made with fresh water fish baked in coconut milk and spices. Bay Phsar is for breakfast and it’s a buffet delight of tropical fruits and Asian specialities.
The spa at Phum Baitang
The Spa Temple at Phum Baitang has been designed as a homage to Angkor Wat and features design motifs from the façade of the main temple. It’s very easy on the eye, with muted tones, polished floors, antique furniture and soft lighting. Naturally, there are perfectly placed Buddha statues, and in this setting, it is de rigueur. The centre piece is a large wooden table displaying local herbs and spices that feature in the Khmer inspired treatments.The treatment menu makes ample use of organic, indigenous ingredients such as ginger, mango and raw honey. At the rear of the main building are seven treatment rooms (two are couples suites) housed in wooden pavilions amongst lush tropical gardens with a yoga pavilion. The treatment suites are self-contained with shower, toilet and changing area.
Touch of Cambodia Massage
The Touch of Cambodia Massage (80 minutes, £50) begins with a refreshing foot cleanse and scrub using salt and fresh lime. The massage is conducted fully clothed using deep rhythmic pressure focussing on the legs, then back, shoulders and arms. Warm compresses of lime leaves and lemongrass are used to sooth the muscles. It’s a vigorous treatment but well-paced and features some slower movements and some stretching and flex work. The therapist is on the bed most of the time to facilitate a full range of movements. Awakening and invigorating it’s a great treatment and totally unique.
The best bits:
Touch of Cambodia Massage
Relaxing in the Spa Temple pre treatment
Chilling out on the veranda at the private villa
Swimming in the infinity pool overlooking the rice paddies
Cambodian breakfast noodle soup
Room to improve:
I have since discovered there is a relaxation lounge or outdoor space to chill out post-treatment instead of returning to reception – it would have been good to be offered that choice
The spa menu is rather long and a bit overwhelming. Edited descriptions would help guests navigate what’s on offer