Towards the fag end of 2013 Anantara Hotels & Resorts decided to launch their newest property and 25th overall which incidentally is the first of their properties to be located in Cambodia. Named aptly as the Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa, it has a story to tell as the name been taken from an ancient Sanskrit word meaning “without end” and embodies the age-old tradition of the Cambodian people to welcome complete strangers.
The 39 exquisitely decorated guest rooms and suites are each between 48 and 140 square meters and reflect the touch of contemporary Cambodian styling. Handcrafted teak wood furniture, textile furnishings oozing traditional Cambodian designs and a showcase of the unique local artwork makes every room a unique experience. Each room has its own private balcony which overlooks the central courtyard pool, a lounge space and a luxury bathroom complete with a bathtub and rain shower constitutes the remaining attractions of the guestrooms.
The Royal Deluxe Rooms at the Anantara Angkor resort & Spa has been designed in similar lines to a traditional Khmer home complete with an outdoor shower and traditional bathing jar. The uber-luxurious Sothea Suites on the ground floor have a private garden of their own. The ones on the first floor have a private balcony. All these luxurious accommodations have a private library of their own which doubles up as a lounge or a dining room, a meeting room or even a bathroom with closets for both him and her together with an ensuite spa that has two treatment beds plus a Jacuzzi bath to complete the experience.
The salt water pool is an inviting past time and one can take time to indulge in a bit of a swim in between appreciating the ambience and styling of the property and exploring the neighbourhood. If not in the mood for a swim one can idle away time doing nothing on the loungers. The Anantara signature spa is a haven for those who wish to indulge in some much-deserved pampering. The spa immediately beckons the troubled mind, set in a tranquil atmosphere, and pampers you with three spa suites, an outdoor Jacuzzi & rain shower, two Khmer massage rooms and a foot massage room that can accommodate up to four people. Expert massage therapists perform traditional Khmer massage rituals which extends to a choice of an extensive array of very special treatments involving rejuvenating scrubs and wraps, facials and healing massages culminating with specially crafted yoga packages on the rooftop garden.
For those who prefer to get up early and set out for a morning excursion, breakfast is served at The Gallery. A delicious choice of international cuisine awaits those heading for a lunch later in the day. Choices include an array of authentic Khmer (which in turn have been influenced by cuisines from all over Indochina) and international dishes. Those bent on spending their day by the pool will get a special poolside menu to order from. Evenings are best spent at the Sothea Restaurant, where brass chandeliers reminiscing the umbrellas of Khmer Buddhism, recreated by experienced craftsmen, add glitter and a touch of divine protection during your stay. Dance and music presentations by local artists offer an artistic touch to the evenings while you enjoy your favourite international or Khmer dish. For special occasions one can avail the services of a private chef and butler, pick from some of the best connoisseur menus and enjoy a lovely dinner in the pleasingly fragranced courtyard setting in the middle of frangipani trees and cascading water.
If your gastronomical urges finally gets the better of you, join an authentic Khmer cooking class at the Anantara spice Spoon Cooking School. Begin by a visit to the local market followed by a fascinating story-telling session where you learn about the history of Khmer cuisine. Also learn the many techniques that make up Khmer cuisines. Enjoy a special chef hosted meal that gives an insight into the world of Khmer cooking before you pick up some of the skills that is required to cook these dishes. A send-off will include a bag full of culinary accessories, making the day for a true cooking enthusiast.
Anantara offers a true destination experience and does not limit the guest to food and accommodation. Guests are encouraged to travel by local remork tuk-tuks to the Angkor Thom and picnic at the historic grounds. While taking a private tour of the local market Anantara’s Streetwise Guru will provide local information. Again, staying at the resort and not exploring the local highlights and wonders will render your trip incomplete. So take the initiative and walk for about 5 minutes to reach the museum and or the 11 villages that offer a glimpse of Cambodia’s village life (Cambodian Cultural Village). This village is a treasure-trove for those looking for an authentic experience of Cambodia’s traditional culture. Alternatively, you can take a half or a full day guided bicycle tour and check out the Siem Reap markets, the French Quarter, riverside attractions, art centres and the jewel in the crown, the Angkor Wat – the best preserved of all the temples currently in the UNESCO listed Angkor Archaeological Park and incidentally the largest religious construction in the world.
Siem Reap, an otherwise sleepy little Cambodian town has become one of the hottest tourism destination, thanks to the Angkor Wat, widely considered as the eight wonder in the world. The temple and its ruins spread across acres of land attract millions of travellers each year. Anantara Angkor Resort & Spa offers tourists an opportunity to now have a luxurious base from where they can launch their exploration of these temple and ruins and also the heart of the former Khmer Empire.
Anantara is a feast for the senses, more than just a resort it is a place that offers both peace & tranquil and at the same time an authentic experience for someone looking to explore and experience Khmer culture. In fact the design architecture of the resort is a tribute to the famed Angkor Wat and when looked at from ground level the resort immediately identifies itself with that of a grand Khmer villa with a courtyard pool that has been inspired by a royal bathing pool. Each of the stone pillar at the resort has been carved diligently to showcase a fan, a mark of royal welcome. A beautiful handiwork of local carpenters, the wooden carvings in the resort tell the country’s rich history.
A more personal and yet subtle touch around the resort celebrates women in general and mothers in particular. Water in Cambodian culture is synonymous to water. Gentle flowing water across the resort gives that special touch. A large sandstone sculpture of a woman and a child looks over the swimming pool. The guestrooms have bathtubs that resemble the basins used to bathe babies. Additionally, feminine touch can be found all across the resort in the form of artwork, silk work, lotuses and roses that add sweet accents in the air.
The resort is located very close to the Siem Reap International airport making it convenient for international guests. Additionally, the resort can also be reached over land quite easily, anywhere from Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. If coming by boat the resort is also close by from where you disembark on the Mekong River.