The Sokhalay Angkor Resort and Villa offers a true resort experience in the heart of Siem Reap. I had the pleasure to stay there recently as part of an assignment I was working on, and I was thoroughly impressed by the charming garden ambiance they’ve cultivated.
The Sokhalay Angkor is massive, and divided up into three separate properties. The best are the wooden villas that surround the biggest saltwater pool I’ve seen in my life. There’s also the Hotel with really fancy-shmancy rooms, and the Inn, which has more budget rooms and is usually used for conferences and tour groups.
There are 40 villas that have 149 rooms, even during the high season when the place is pretty booked up they are quiet and give you the feeling that you’re the only one staying there. All have either garden or pool views, and they are surrounded by greenery–a rarity in Cambodian design. The villas are luxurious, with flat screen televisions, a lounge area with couches, a minibar and a big plate of fresh fruit, and the beds are incredibly comfortable. The bathrooms are lovely, with a separate room for the toilet, and big tubs to soak in.
Much of the place was designed by Cambodia’s most famous architect, Van Molyvann. Apparently, this was his last work for hire was designing the Sokhalay villas and Green restaurant. The style of the villas is heavy on the wood as the Khmer riche seem to prefer, with Cambodian silk accents and a few photographs of local flora on the walls. My only complaint is that they are quite dark if you leave the windows closed, but leaving the windows open means leaving them unlocked, so I ended up leaving the windows closed most of the time and running the air-conditioning. Annoying, but not the worst problem in the world.
Starting at around $100/night (you’ll find the best deals on Agoda) they offer fantastic value for money.
You should be sure to enjoy a Sokhalay cocktail next to their enormous saltwater pool that’s perfect for relaxing in after a long day at the temples. They’ve got a live Filipino band that plays in the evenings. Most of the guests seemed to disappear for dinner, but they have a nice (if pricey) menu that features both Asian and European fare. The breakfast buffet was also pretty good; I had a few pastries and a noodle soup and can’t really complain.
The Sokhalay Angkor is located on the Airport Road a little bit out of town, but not unreasonably far. They can arrange temple tours, cooking classes and anything else your little touristy heart desires. They’ve also got a spa with an indoor pool offering a wide range of massage and salon services at what seemed like reasonable prices for a resort.
I go to Siem Reap quite regularly and stay in all kinds of places in every price range. However, I will say that when I visit the temples I am always very happy to come home to a slightly more upscale place with a pool and better yet, a spa. (For those who haven’t had the pleasure — a visit to the temples of Angkor usually involves waking up early and walking around in the hot sun all day.)
To sum it up, if you’re looking for a lovely place to relax with a giant pool, the villas at Sokhalay Angkor can’t be beat.
Sokhalay Angkor Resort & Spa
National Road 6, Siem Reap
T: 063 968 222