‘Welcome home, Mr Sy.‘ the team at Anantara Angkor ushered me away from the lobby and straight towards the spa. I was treated to a quick foot scrub ritual and my hands hugged on a glass of ice cool lemongrass lime refresher. ‘Ah, how interesting! It’s such a great day!‘ winked another guest who just had his welcome ritual.
We’ve set foot on one of Siem Reap’s most luxurious accommodations – a definite 5-star resort that has ‘suites’ as its most basic room category and provides personalised butler service for all guests.
Our experienced butler Kong was the man behind all our needs. He attentively arranged all our itinerary schedules and ensure that we always have all requests checked in minutes.
The Anantara Angkor has just 39 suites which almost all have just received its thorough makeover. Swiftly escaped from the airport within 10mins in its complimentary private pickup and another 10mins away from the temple ruins, Anantara Angkor is well-positioned as a peaceful retreat away from the noisy city bustle.
The hotel also offers free round-trip tuktuk to the city so you can visit the central market and pickup that 50cents draft beer at the pubs anytime of the day. Every guest is also equipped with a mini phone that allows you to contact the hotel for free return pickup from town once you prefer to head back.
Else, if you prefer to stay in-house, you’re forgiven. The Premier Terrace suite (above) is not your usual suite – it extends a ground-level seating deck and is just a step away from the mini plunge pool. It keeps you away from the hectic world outside and it is difficult to leave the oasis.
Don’t forget to check the minibar for complimentary beverages. Laze at your own private balcony and enjoy gulps of Angkor beer in the tropical weather, what a way to celebrate your vacation.
Back from your activities and need to freshen up? The suite has a see-through bathroom packed with all bathing amenities – 4 choices of soap and a stand-alone overhead shower.
Right next to the bathroom, there is a rainforest shower and bathtub ready to pamper you. This adds onto the essence of a resort stay experience, so relaxing and calm.
Love the sun? Take a few laps at the resort’s saltwater pool and order a few fingers food from the SALT pool bar. The wagyu beef burger and grilled fish tarcos are exceptional – remember to order them on your upcoming visit.
Customised temple tour
Leave all your planning to Anantara. Offering over 100 customised private tours, you can visit temples according to your needs (sunrise/sunset dinner) or even go to the outskirts – think of a dreamy pinic outing on the green padi fields!
Our guide engaged by Anantara is knowledgable on the hidden spots that we visited in Angkor. We made our first stop by the foot of a hill which made me rather peculiar that the sunrise choice isn’t right in front of Angkor wat temple. 15mins uphill by foot, i soon understand why – the place was scattered with ruins and gathered not more than 5 souls to embrace the view of sunrise.
Here, you can also observe sunrise/sunset at Phnom Bakheng which is claimed to be one of the first few temples that are set the ground in the city of Angkor.
Entering into one of the grandest religious monument in the world, you’ll first experience the grandeur by crossing the moat on a sandstone path. This leads you into the galleries in the central complex. Inside, you’ll rub shoulders with the wild – flocks of monkey conquering the areas and securing every moment to get your attention.
Before we entered into the older city born before angkor wat, this marks the main gate between both cities. This is one of the main attractions with rows of demon and devil statues lined up towards the south gate.
The Baphuon temple is another hidden gems in the archeological park at Angkor Thom. Previously restored from its poor state, it might take you quite abit of effort to climb up the steep stairs, but do be amazed by the breathtaking scenery from the top. You can also find Apsara statues in many parts of the temples.
Go deep into the forest with the guidance of your experienced guide and stumble upon many other temples that might already be taken over by nature. At the backyard of Baphuon temple, you can also witness the walls of palace and the moats built for bathing of the royal family and King’s concubines.
Trust me, it’ll be a lot easier to explore these places with a guide.
Anantara Resorts & Spa promotes well-being even on vacations and you’ll know how good the spas are. Check-into the Spa at Anantara Angkor after hours of climbing the temples and you’ll sure be pampered.
I took up the ‘Anantara Signature Massage‘ – a rejuvenating body massage rubbed with splash oil and totally loosens those knots of tiredness. Please (i repeat, please) ensure you book your massage early as they’re always full and you won’t want to walk home with regrets.
There is a hot jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and a gym if you’re feeling inspired to sweat out.
It’s always important to eat well on holidays. Anantara Angkor has a main restaurant known as ‘CHI‘ and a smaller dining area for gatherings at the ‘L Lounge‘. ‘CHI‘ deciphers as ‘herb‘ in khmer will mean that your taste buds will be well taken care at Anantara Angkor.
There’re too many choices to choose from so we’ll recommend the Grilled Taro fish (it’s really very very soft and dipped in rich mayo sauce) or tender soft teppanyaki wagyu beef sided with lots of greens.
If you prefer something light, there’s always pomelo salad with seafood for you. Crisp and juicy, it makes a great refresher after a humid day out.
Not sure what to take up? The Discovery tasting menu will be perfect – it comes complete with starter, salad, soup of the day, 2 main courses and dessert.
Khmer lamb shank curry is a signature dish at Anantara Angkor and we were lucky that we did not miss it. Heavily seasoned with herbs and spices and soaked in thick curry gravy, you get a large share of the lamb shank coupled with bread and a bowl of green curry for dips.
You don’t have to be decisive – you get a plate of grilled sea bass and Khmer lamb shank curry after those delectable salads and a bowl of pork broth.
For those who yearn for privacy, you can choose Dining by Design that grants you the opportunity to enjoy a meal out in the wild – at Angkor hidden temples or the countryside’s padi fields.
Finding a cosy place for afternoon tea? Anantara Angkor is just the perfect place for high tea with great sweets. Drown your sweet tooth with chocolate churros (have fun dipping them in hot chocolate tub!), lime cheese cake or softly-whipped tiramisu drizzled with chocolate bits.
Happy hour at Anantara Angkor comes with free flow of white wine, red wine and Angkor beer. Don’t forget to redeem this privilege and enjoy the tapas that come along at the CHI Bar.
Return to your suite in the evening and find your bed ready for sleep. Anantara Angkor provides daily turndown service that also comes with chef’s savoury sweets to spoil your palate.
Anantara Angkor serves sumptuous ala-carte breakfast choices that comes with a buffet spread of cold cuts and salads. Enjoy the whoopy egg Benedict or stir-fried noodles, one of the few choices for wake-up meal.
Check out Anantara Angkor’s special promotion for Suites from USD 192/night or all-inclusive Discovery packages from USD 565. See you there!
Anantara Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia