The iconic Pavilion Hotel is one of the most popular hotels in Phnom Penh, steeped in French colonial glamour.
The Pavilion is an iconic Phnom Penh hotel, housed in several beautifully restored colonial buildings. Although these days it has a lot of competition, it has managed to remain one of the most popular hotels in town, thanks to a combination of colonial splendor and meticulous attention to detail.
The Pavilion Hotel has 27 rooms across several different buildings on the same property. Four of the rooms have a private pool, and one has a jacuzzi (plus there’s a non-private pool for those in regular rooms). The main building, with a beautiful mix of French colonial and Khmer architectural features, was built by Queen Kossamak, King Sihanouk’s mother, in the 1920s. The reception building, which is paved with colorful antique Khmer tiles, is buttressed with Greco-Roman columns that lend an air of old-fashioned glamour.
Located in the center of the action on Street 19, the Pavilion is just a block away from Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace. It’s walking distance from the many shops and restaurants on Street 240, and there are tuk tuk drivers outside who have been sternly cautioned by the Pavilion management not to rip guests off and can generally be counted on to stick to a set of reasonable set rates.
The rooms at the Pavilion have a mix of hardwood and Khmer tile floors, and the furniture is made of local palm wood. Jasmine flowers are scattered on the headboard and a canopy of white linen is draped over the bed, a nod to the mosquito nets of yore, while an antique metal fan spins lazily overhead. Of course neither are necessary — every room has air-conditioning and glass windows — but the effect is no less appealing. And this is what you are paying for, in essence: the French-colonial ambiance of the Phnom Penh of days past.
Every room has a large flat-screen television and DVD player, electronic safe, mini-bar stocked with Champagne, and hot water taps and showers. As with many of the older buildings in Cambodia, the bathrooms are on the small side and not as nice as the other rooms, but are stocked with locally made Senteurs d’Angkor natural soaps. And while the rooms are uniquely gorgeous in all their old-timey splendor, they are less luxurious than new-build hotels in the same price range. If you’re looking for something super-fancy with gleaming tiles and bathtubs with golden taps, you probably won’t like the Pavilion.
The room we stayed in had a balcony overlooking the pool, which is set in a shady garden
with loungers and umbrellas. There’s also another large pool in the works that should be ready for next high season. Breakfast is included with each room, a selection of Eric Kayser breads and pastries, fresh juice, and a menu that offers eggs, bacon, Cambodian rice porridge, and several other choices. On check-in, guests receive a complimentary welcome massage at the hotel’s spa, and there’s also a tiny gym with a single treadmill and exercise bicycle.
The hotel does not allow guests under 16 or outside visitors. The pool is closed to the public, and the hotel does not allow sex tourists. These rules can seem overbearing, but they have the effect of making the place into a quiet oasis from the madness of Phnom Penh.
Room rates run as low as $50 or $60 in the low season and go up to $120 for a private pool. During high season, rates can go as high as $100 for the least expensive room and $155 for the most expensive. The prices on Booking.com and Agoda can be as much as 20% lower so it’s worth checking there before you book.
The Pavilion Hotel
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