Angkor Wat, Apsara Dance Show, Borei Angkor, Cambodia, Privileged Floor, Siem Reap, Siem Reap Hotels
Since both the Shinta Mani hotels were full (not surprising since they are well situated, reasonably priced and look very new and contemporary!), we ended up at the Borei Angkor during our trip to Siem Reap last December. While it may not be the nicest hotel in the area, we found it surprisingly good value and were quite happy with it!
The Borei Angor = Privilieged Floor: The important thing to note about the Borei Angkor is that it is the same hotel as the Priviliged Floor. This is not immediately obvious on Tripadvisor. The Priviliged Floor is ranked the #3 top hotel in Siem Reap with a price tag in the low US$200s. The Borei Angkor on the other hand is ranked #20 and costs a little less than US$100. But they are actually both in the same complex sharing the same facilities (very tricky marketing here!).
So what is the difference? From what I can tell the Privileged Floor is essentially the equivalent of a club floor. You get access to a special lounge as well as 24/7 personal butler and a car service. According to the reviews, the service is top notch and even a little bit over attentive. But the hardware for both “hotels” are more or less the same. Since we had already arranged our own driver/tour guide and don’t have much use for more personal attention the cheaper Borei Angkor was the obvious choice for us.
Location: The Borei Angkor is not quite as ideally situated as one would like within walking distance to the Old Market and the Pub Street Area (where all the action is). But it is not far. About 5-10 minutes away by tuk tuk (~US$4 for 4 people). Since we spent most of the day at the temples and only went to town for dinner and shopping, we thought the distant was reasonable. Otherwise there is really nothing of interest near the hotel.
It was also only about a 15-20 minute drive from the airport and about 20 minutes to Angkor Wat. But I’m guessing you can say that for pretty much everywhere, since the whole town seems to have been built around Angkor Wat.
Airpor transfer: Our package included airport transfer (which seems to be the norm in Siem Reap). I read about cases where the hotel forgot to pick guests up from the airport, but we reconfirmed twice and was duly picked up at arrivals. But we did have to share our ride with another guest. It seems that they have a free airport shuttle service that just goes around and around, and you sign up for a specific timeslot in advance. We actually missed our scheduled time going back to the airport, and caught the ride half a hour later. TIP: The airport is so close by and so small we had more than an hour to spare after immigration. Do NOT go to the airport too early. Leaving the hotel 2 hours ahead of flight time is fine.
The hotel: When we went, the entrance of the hotel was marked by a somewhat tacky large red ball (which can double as Christmas and Chinese New Year decor I supposed). But it was a welcome sight compared to the surroundings (very local and industrial).
From an international traveler perspective however, the hotel is definitely dated with some wear and tear here and there. It felt a little bit like I walked into a time capsule. The lobby was probably grand a few decades ago. But it was clean (with maybe only a few mosquito looking insects flying around the lobby), the check-in process was smooth and we were quickly shown to our third floor rooms.
The Rooms: Having read the reviews about tired looking rooms, we went for the Landmark rooms hoping for a better experience (it is supposed to be part of the “newer” wing). The price difference was very small. And since my expectations were not that high to begin with, we were actually pleasantly surprised!
Despite the unfortunately colored curtains, the room was clean, spacious and (most importantly) insect free. The air conditioning, lighting and the plumbings worked. There wasn’t any weird smell. We sighed a breathe of relief.
If one were to be picky, the bed was a bit hard for my liking. It felt a little like they wrapped feather around a plank of wood. The slippers looked re-used, so definitely bring your own! The internet was weak. Our doorbell rang for no reason on a few occasions. There weren’t enough electric sockets. And they indeed only provide you with 2 bottles of water everyday (BYO water!).
The most impressive thing about the bathroom was definitely the fact that they had an anti-fog glass mirror. Who would have thought?
The shower area was a little bit dark. We didn’t use the bathtube. But everything else worked fine!
Breakfast: Even though I typically only like to eat eggs, bacon, hashbrown and toast for breakfast, the quality can vary a lot from place to place. The Borei Angkor was surprisingly good.
The egg was large and the bacon was just right (not too fat and not too fried)!
The variety of food was also quite extensive. Fresh fruits, western food, local food and lots of made-to-order stations.
They even had TWO egg stations (less waiting!), one noodle station and one crepe station (though they typically reheat crepes vs. make fresh ones). Impressed!
Culture Night: The hotel offers a Khmer Apsara Dance Show a few nights a week at their outdoor Pavilion. We knew it would be a tourist trap and that the food would probably be awful, but we figured that we should see an Apsara dance while we were in Cambodia. It is like how one should see belly dancing in Turkey or caberat in France.
At US$45/night (?) it was our most expensive meal in Siem Reap. But I guess it IS in a hotel. We did each get a traditional khmer scarf as a souvineer. The Pavilion was also quite beautifully decorated (yes, it is outdoors – remember to wear mosquito repellent!). The food could be better, but was not too bad. The whole show was not too long.
And the dances itself were pretty good. The 5-6 dances were well spread out in between courses, sufficiently different and most of all, I loved the outfits! It is so rich in color and detail!
Conclusion: While the hardware was decidedly dated, given the price point it was surprisingly good value. Would I recommend it to friends? Yes, if they are looking for a good value stay in Siem Reap while they go temple-ing. No, if they are looking for somewhere to chill and relax. For that, I personally prefer somewhere more modern.
- It is cheap (especially compared to the other Meridiens and Anantara’s of Siem Reap)
- It offers many types of rooms: Doubles, triples, connecting rooms etc. (especially compared to some hotels *ahem* Heritage *ahem* which only offers King beds)
- Clean rooms
- Good breakfast
- The whole Pavilion and Borei Angkor thing is a sham
- The hardware is very dated
- The beds are too hard
- Location not quite central
- Stingy on water – only 2 bottles/room/day
Tips: Definitely get a Landmark room!!
Borei Angkor, Siem Reap
Address: National Road 6, Banteay Chas, Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia
Telephone: + 855 63 964 406