French elegance, colonial style and a warm Cambodian welcome ensures that any stay at the Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, Phnom Penh will be a great one. It’s all rather glamorous arriving at the hotel and you feel like a celebrity as the staff rush to greet you from your car. You are instantly whisked inside and offered herbal tea or a cool glass of wine. It’s a great way to arrive and once oriented you can take in the surrounding view. The vast reception area captures the essence of the city’s colonial past with touches of carved wood, relaxing sofas, loungers and the most incredible chandelier as a centre piece. The front of house staff were fantastic and cocoon you in comfort during the check in process.
It’s a big international hotel and the lobby is always buzzing with activity, with guests coming and going from their various sightseeing and shopping expeditions. The concierge team will expertly arrange a trip to discover the history of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, book a local speciality restaurant (crickets anyone?) or hire a tuk-tuk for sightseeing around the city. A top tip is mix it up with some high-end retail therapy at the large Aeon shopping centre right next door. The hotel is fairly central, and it takes about 10-15 minutes to get to the Royal Palace and Central Market.
The hotel in detail: Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, Phnom Penh
The high-rise hotel boasts 166 rooms from superior to Club Luxury and 35 suites with most rooms benefitting from river or pool view rooms. In our Club Luxury room, we had a balcony with both river and city views (fantastic at night) and it was well appointed with a super comfy bed and a large bath for a long soak post-sightseeing. The room design was simple with hard wood floors and pale cream walls and locally inspired prints adorning the walls. As well as the mod cons you would except, there’s a Nespresso machine and bathroom amenities from Lanvin. There’s a large outdoor swimming pool with sun loungers for cooling off and enjoying the sun. It’s part of the So Fit concept from Sofitel and includes access to the gym, tennis, squash, sauna and steam room and there’s also an on-site kid’s club.
La Boutique on the ground floor offers a collection of exclusive souvenirs, arts and crafts, and spa products. But of more interest is the Artisans’ D’Angkor concept store showcasing Cambodia’s finest handcrafts from silk fabric to incredible sculpted pieces of art.
You won’t go hungry
Combining French and Cambodian influences, food is a big story at Sofitel Phnom Penh and it doesn’t disappoint. Breakfast is served in La Couple and is a huge buffet with the widest choice available. Choose a Khmer style breakfast of noodle soup, Chinese dumplings, Sushi and wok fried dishes. Our top pick is to head straight to the excellent bakery where there is a great selection of to-die-for French breads and patisseries to accompany the spectacular choice of fresh tropical fruit, yoghurts and cereals including a delicious bircher muesli.
During your stay you can traverse the four corners of the globe with La Couple serving western and live Asian cooking stations, Italian at Do Forni, Japanese at Hachi, whilst Fu Lu Zu presents fine Cantonese. A must-visit is Chocolat, a delightful patisserie and chocolate café – I dare you to resist the temptation. For a night cap, Le Bar in the lobby is always busy and features live music and occasional Karaoke.
SoSpa at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, Phnom Penh
Quite possibly the biggest spa in Phnom Penh, So Spa has 10 treatment rooms (five dedicated to traditional massage and five for normal massage, body and face therapies). With 32 treatments on the menu there’s something for everyone and it includes a capsule range of kid’s spa treatments too. Decorated in dark wood and scented with lemongrass it creates a truly Asian feel and the staff are enthusiastic and welcoming. Pre-treatment you enjoy some Lemongrass water and a cool refreshing towel and then choose an oil depending on your need from the massage. I was offered Relaxing (Lemongrass), Detox (Chinese Orange) or Energising (Ginger). I opted for Relaxing and didn’t regret it. I then enjoyed the Ethnic Fusion Massage(90 minutes, £60) it began with a foot wash and then used a series of long flowing massage techniques interspersed with medium to deep pressure across the back, neck, shoulders and legs. This is replicated when you turn over so that the whole body benefits from this soothing, relaxing massage.
The best bits
Breakfast – it’s a smorgasbord of flavours from around the world. And the freshly baked bread is a must.
Relaxing by the pool – Phom Penh is a crowded city, so the pool is the perfect spot to relax after a day sightseeing.
The spa treatments – of course