Looking back on our journey, Siem Reap was our favorite stop. The ruins of Angkor were hugely captivating, the food was incredible, and the property at which we stayed was fantastic. Although it’s a splurge, a stay at Amansara is a once in a lifetime experience that made our visit to Siem Reap special.
Amansara is the premier property in Siem Reap. Previously the guest villa of King Norodom Sihanouk, Amansara now hosts 24 exclusive suites, set in a tranquil garden sanctuary just steps from the town’s center and Angkor’s temples. The property has a mandatory half-board and touring charge. Tom and I were fascinated but a little apprehensive about staying at Amansara. We were concerned Amansara might be too confining with the inclusion of two meals and two tours each day. We laugh about it now because a stay at Amansara is personally crafted to meet each guest’s desires. Week’s before our stay, the staff at Amansara contacted us and designed an itinerary that fit our needs. The communication process and the individualized attention to our wants made our stay magical.
The Amansara experience begins with included transportation to the property. In this case, it is a vintage Mercedes limousine with driver and attendant dressed in impeccable white uniforms. Chilled mineral water and lemongrass scented cooling cloths were available for freshening up.
Upon arrival at the resort, you know you are in a special place. The resort has a beautiful feeling of subdued elegance that captivates your senses. It’s the little touches that matter. After a warm welcome upon arrival, the check-in process was completed in our suite. The walk to the suite was strangely tranquil, being just steps away from the hustle and bustle of Siem Reap. Along the way, we noticed a lovely Khmer gentleman in the courtyard peacefully playing soothing tunes from a traditional instrument. Thoughtful touches such as this were consistent throughout our stay.
The room was spectacular. Everything you can wish for was provided. The one thing missing was a TV. We were told it could be delivered, but we respectfully declined. Why mess with the peaceful sanctuary? We much preferred the quietly playing Khmer instrumental music that we controlled from the entertainment center. The room was expertly appointed with spacious closets, a beautiful desk and sitting area, his and her vanities, a soaking tub, and a large shower utterly open to our private courtyard. There was a fully stocked complimentary minibar, and fresh fruit and home-baked cookies to satisfy a snack attack!
During check-in, we were treated to a welcome refreshment of freshly squeezed lemonade and homemade spring rolls. Yum! As a welcome gift, Amansara selected beautiful Khmer Krama Scarfs for us to enjoy and take home. During our tours, we noticed many of the locals wearing these lovely accessories about town.
Being a small, luxury property, Amansara creates the perfect experience for all guests. Although the property was almost at capacity, the only time, we saw most of the guests on site were on a Friday evening at dinner. Otherwise, we felt the property was mainly ours alone. We did notice that guests ranged from couples like us to families with teenagers, as well as a young couple with a toddler. All guests are welcome at Amansara, and an appropriate itinerary is generated for each family’s wishes.
Tom and I are fiercely independent. We were initially concerned about the two things that Amansara is renowned for: the private tours and the dining experience. However, we are now converts! The team at Amansara knows their guests, and instead of feeling that we were on their schedule, it was quite the opposite.
Under the expert tutelage of Executive Chef Molly Rygg, the dining experience was spectacular. Although it is not well known, guests may dive deep into Khmer cuisine and take a cooking class. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience, which included shopping at a local food market with Chef Rygg.
A stay at Amansara includes two daily excursions with your guide and driver. We were transported via our remork (a motorized, upscale tuk-tuk). Our guide, Mean, has over ten years of experience. His expert knowledge helped guide us to secret entrances and hidden areas at the ruins so that we felt like the only visitors at the temples. Our driver, Ponleou, was very gracious and greeted us with cool washcloths and a fresh bottle of cold drinking water upon return to our remork. After our experience, we are truly spoiled and cannot imagine another way to visit the ruins of Angkor!
In addition to the famous ruins, there is so much more to learn about Khmer culture. We felt Amansara embraces local tradition and cultural heritage. From the lovely live musicians playing at the property to hosting concerts and dances, Amansara allowed us to explore the culture more deeply than we would have otherwise. We were also fortunate to be in residence during a once a year event: the blessing of the monks for the Khmer New Year.
Our visit to Amansara has left an indelible impact on Tom and I. Although a stay at Amansara is not inexpensive, the personalized attention and unwavering service cannot be surpassed. Amansara is an experience. Everything you could hope for and imagine is at your fingertips. Although there are several other luxurious properties in Siem Reap, only at Amansara will you feel like you are a guest in a grand private residence, rather than at a 5-star hotel. This personal touch sets Amansara worlds apart from other properties, and we hope to one day return to our “home” in Siem Reap!
Virtuoso Amenities for your stay
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Continental breakfast daily, for up to two in-room guests
- A 60-minute massage per room per stay
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Ready for your next fantastic adventure? Contact Us for additional details.