Shinta Mani Angkor in the bustling tourist town of Siem Reap in Cambodia is the perfect spot for temple touring when visiting Angkor Wat. The heritage site at Angkor Wat covers an area roughly the size of Birmingham and the temples are jaw-dropping. Shinta Mani Angkor is just 15 minutes away from the temples. The hotel is a modern, slightly quirky boutique offering with a great little spa on the side. It’s situated in a smart part of town, on one of the best kept streets in the French Quarter and is an Instagrammers dream.
Bill Bensley Design at Shinta Mani Angkor
Designed by acclaimed architect Bill Bensley, there are 39 contemporary rooms in the hotel which draw on elements of Khmer inspired design. The eye catching monochrome colour scheme is punctuated with splashes of colour, which makes for a refreshing change from hotels that follow the teak-heavy style of many South East Asian hotels. We were greeted with a glass of fizz on arrival which was a nice touch. Check-in was seamless and we were in our room in no time which had a large bed (super comfy) and a small terrace looking across the pool.
The pool at Shinta Mani Angkor is fairly small and surrounded by closely packed sun loungers. This wasn’t such an inspiring space. It’s enclosed on most sides by three levels of rooms, so it’s best to cross the road to sister hotel which has a large outdoor pool with bar and lots of loungers to relax in the sun. The staff are friendly with a relaxed can-do attitude, but service is not stuffy. Dining was a delight in the Kroya restaurant (where the breakfast buffet can be found). The rich Cambodian curries and market fresh seafood are the pick of the menu. Fish are freshly caught in the fresh water lake nearby.
The spa at Shinta Mani Angkor
The Shinta Mani Spa has a small reception area which opens out to a large open terrace where there are loungers which double as the pedicure and leg massage stations. It’s a wonderful place to relax and watch the world go by. It makes the most of its position at tree level on the first floor of the building.
There are no thermal experiences – but this is tropical Cambodia, just sit outside for a while and you will sweat naturally. The treatment rooms lead off this main terrace with one spa suite and three double treatment rooms.
The treatment menu is inspired by traditional Khmer healing techniques. There’s great variety and lots of good options.
I opted for the Khmer Delight Experience. On arrival I was offered a quick cup of ginger tea, sweetened with honey and then was swiftly taken to the treatment room. I changed into a robe and joined the therapist who began a relaxing salt foot scrub in a lotus flower foot bath. What a start!
The treatment starts with a full body scrub using ground rice and lemongrass. It’s a light scrub that exfoliates from head to toe. It’s not overly abrasive and is used in an oil base to thoroughly massage into the body. It begins with the back first, and then front. After this you are left to rest for five minutes. Then it’s time to shower it all off for the next phase of renewal. There’s a large shower and change area in the suite, making it perfect for couples.
The next phase starts with some dry massage and pressure point work to warm the muscles. Then it introduces warm oil for a full body work out. Deep pressure using forearms, knuckles and hands works deep into the muscular tissue, helping to really release tension whilst smoothing the knots and easing any tightness. It’s a full body massage that concludes with a great head massage. Finally, warm towels are applied to the feet and back to remove excess oil before it’s time to return to the reception area for ginger tea and a light snack which was a delicious vegetarian summer roll.
The best bits
The Khmer Delight Experience was a real treat
Breakfast of fresh tropical fruit and rice congee
The warm welcome and fizz on arrival
Room to improve
The communal areas are busy and a bit hectic at peak times
The building is a little tired in places – a fresh lick of paint here and there would help
Khmer Delight Experience costs US$108, and lasts 2hr 15mins.
Accommodation at Shinta Mani Angkor starts from USD220 per room per night based on two sharing, including breakfast, tax and service.