Cambodia’s capital has some of south-east Asia’s most affordable boutique hotels, urban resorts, B&Bs and hostels – and many of them even feature swimming pools. There are 3 luxury hotels in Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh may just have the highest proportion of places to stay with swimming pools of any Asian capital, and they are a treat after a day amid the dusty streets or riding around in an open-sided remork (Cambodia’s tuk tuk). Set in frangipani-filled gardens and surrounded by sunbeds and shaded salas with billowing curtains, The Plantation’s pool is one of the biggest (20 metres) and the best. The bright rooms have four-poster beds with mosquito nets, silk cushions and spreads in citrus shades, and a balcony overlooking the pool or the terrace. There’s a poolside cafe, spa, and a second pool – a 12-metre one, known as the red pool – open to the public. The location, minutes from the Royal Palace, National Museum and waterfront, is brilliant.
• +855 23 215 151, theplantation.asia. Doubles from £51 B&B
La Maison D’Ambre
No boutique hotel better represents Phnom Penh’s increasing cosmopolitanism than Cambodian-French fashion designer Romyda Keth’s chic suites. Themed around her favourite films – such as Hana-Bi, In the Mood for Love and Monsoon Wedding – the light-filled one- and two-bedroom suites are decorated with design statements and soft furnishings from Keth’s interior decor range. Generous in size and with fancy amenities such as big fridges and proper stoves (rare in Phnom Penh), they are more like apartments. Overlooking the city’s grittier old quarters – not far from the waterfront and markets – The Fifth Element rooftop bar-restaurant serves some of the best bistro food in town.
• +855 23 222 780, lamaisondambre.com. Doubles from £72 B&B
Expect a warm welcome and a can-do attitude from the young staff at this gay-friendly boutique hotel, which opened in October 2013. The owners poached the best people from their sister-property, Golden Banana Hotel and Resort in Siem Reap. In a remodelled 1960s villa – and a sleek contemporary new building – the minimalist rooms have polished concrete floors, comfy day beds, and big pieces of contemporary art on the walls. There is an aquamarine swimming pool, shady concrete cabanas with cushions, and a poolside cafe serving Cambodian and western dishes, including all-day breakfasts – the Khmer noodle soup is highly recommended. The hotel is in the fashionable BBK1 district, which has a cafe on virtually every corner, some of the city’s best restaurants and good street food options.
• +855 23 993 400, rambutanresort.com/phnompenh. Doubles from £30 B&B