The Kool Hotel was started by the same guy who now owns the Sanctuary Villa, and the Sanctuary Villa is a great place where we stayed for a long, long time in Battambang. So, when we decided to head to Siem Reap, it was an easy decision to stay at the Kool Hotel. Our long-time association got us a reduced […]
During our travels, we have developed criteria that define our idea of comfortable accommodations. There are seven.
1. It should be clean and bug-free. It should also be well-maintained, although worn-out and broken things are common in Cambodia and the rest of Southeast Asia, where people tend to keep using things until they break and are then slow to fix or replace them.
2. It should be large — about the size of the master bedroom suite in a middle-class, three-bedroom, two-bath, American home.
3. The bathroom should be of Western design, meaning there is a sit-down toilet, a sink that drains somewhere other than the bathroom floor, and a shower with its own stall. In other words, the bathroom should not be a water closet where the shower-head sprays onto the floor, and the sink drains onto the floor, and everything gets wet; and it shouldn’t have a squat toilet.
4. It should have a private patio or balcony, because we like sitting out at night to watch and listen to local life.
5. It should be quiet. This is a relative thing, as Cambodia is perhaps the noisiest place we have ever been. Motorbikes, monk chants, barking dogs, chirping birds, and loud music are part of the country’s sonic scenery. But we still don’t want to hear other guests through poorly-insulated walls, or children screaming and splashing in the swimming pool, or a late-night party on the hotel grounds.
6. Ideally, the accommodation is a detached cabin or bungalow.
7. It should have reliable internet access; ideally, it is accessible from inside the room. We write articles and post photographs when we are on the road, so good internet access is important to us. Every place we stayed in Cambodia had some form of internet access, even if it was spotty and only accessible from a common area. It was not always great, but getting internet access in Cambodia is still easier than getting internet access in Australia and some European countries.
Of the five hotels we used in Cambodia, one accommodation met all seven of these criteria, two accommodations met five, one accommodation met three, and the remaining accommodation met only one. All the accommodations met the most important criteria: clean and bug-free. Three of the five accommodations were of sufficient quality that we would use them again. One of the accommodations was a place we could live indefinitely.
Cambodian hotels did not always meet our ideal, but traveling the country did not require us to sleep on floor mats in bug-infested shacks. For a country still recovering from near-total destruction, the quality of offerings was surprising. You will not have great difficulty finding a reasonably-comfortable place to stay, and you are likely to come across a place that is truly great.
The Sanctuary is located on the northern end of Battambang. It’s far enough out that getting your own wheels is a good idea (on our first stay, we rented a motorbike from a shop called Gecko for $8 a day – which we haggled to $7 a day for a multi-day rental; on our second stay we rented a […]
This hotel is located on the Kratie riverfront strip. We stayed in two rooms over the course of two nights. On the first night, we stayed in one of their larger rooms. On the second night, we moved to a smaller room, due to someone else having a prior reservation for the larger room. Both rooms had air conditioning, a […]
This hotel is located on the Mekong riverfront, in a small strip of hotels. It’s a four story affair, with three grades of room. We stayed in the upper grade of room, on the third floor, which cost us US $25 a night. The room had a king bed, air conditioning, television, small refrigerator, and a usable balcony facing the […]
This hotel is located on the main highway through Kompong Chhnang (NH 5), toward the southern end of town. Because it’s on the highway, and lacks much in the way of sound insulation, it’s a pretty noisy place. The sounds of the street – people, motorbikes, vehicles, incessant horn honking – and of neighboring rooms fill your space like there […]