Park Hyatt Siem Reap (formerly the Hotel de La Paix)

While in Siem Reap we rested our heads at what has easily become one of the best hotels we have ever experienced - the Hotel de la Paix, rebranded in 2012 as the Park Hyatt Siem Reap.  (Let's hope the current remodel doesn't mess too much with what was already a fabulous property.)

Upon entry into the foyer, our first impression was truly stunning.  Looking up into the multi-tiered conical ceiling above was easily akin to peering into one of Angkor’s mighty temples. albeit with better lighting.  The illusion was further broadened by handsome stone walls and aspara statuary fabricated to resemble the sandstone and limestone used at Angkor.  Fresh flowers awaited us at every turn; their most startling effect was witnessed as they dangled from the hands of the aforementioned female beauties, lovingly folded almost like origami.

The sweet smell of lavender instantly had a calming effect on these two weary travelers, and after we were greeted by an attentive staff member and her complimentary mango cocktails, we were excited to see what else was in store for us during our three-night stay.

The lobby area of the Hotel de la Paix doubles as its main bar and lounge.  The layout was quite unusual and featured an array of sprawling couches with side tables.  The “Arts Lounge” is named, naturally, after the rotating exhibits that adorn its walls, and while we were visiting, presented some rather intense mechanical sculptures soldered out of iron.  With vibrant lighting that is soothing at the same time, the Arts Lounge is great place to recharge your weary batteries (both figuratively and literally), or huddle indoors from surprise afternoon rainshowers! 

Of course, by night, the Arts Lounge turns into a swank watering hole that draws locals as well as patrons from other nearby hotels.  We noticed quite a few Western youths hanging out on our first night, and are certain that the fantastic exchange rate is what makes the Hotel de la Paix a much more accessible option for younger travelers.

Before heading up to the room, we managed to stroll through the outdoor lounge areas, pool and spa.  We were totally blown away at how wonderfully the designers have incorporated the chic aesthetic throughout the entirety of the property.  Fire pits and swaying beds that hang from the ceiling immediately set the tone.  These clever little suckers can used for drinking cocktails, eating an afternoon snack, or dare we say it, canoodling?  Another outdoor area nearby may have been used for weddings or other special outdoor events.

Sadly, even at night, it was much too humid for us to really relax outside and enjoy the surroundings.  To cool off, one might instead try the fabulous infinity pool located on the 2nd level.  The lush garden pool somewhat resembled “The Jungle Cruise" in Disneyland with ample alcoves and hidden corners to explore, much like the temples at Angkor.  In fact, the designers have done a great job of incorporating bas relief themes from the temples without hitting you over the head with them.  (Set of Drifter Brady certainly felt a kinship with whomever designed the Hotel de la Paix as he is always drawing little swirly-gigs similar to the ones on display here.)

Back inside on the way to our incredibly plush hotel room, the hallways were lit by tea candles.  Once inside, we were pleasantly surprised by an attention to detail that has been unparalleled in any of our other travels.  Again with the scent of lavender permeating the room, we were welcomed with fresh fruit and water, high-quality bedding and all of the other creature comforts one might expect (television, mini bar, etc.)  The lamps on the side of the bed and the light behind the headboard could all be adjusted to create various "cookied" shadows on the walls and the ceiling.  It truly was quite clever.  The accommodation also included a preloaded iPod with contemporary chill-out music... and then there was the bathroom!

We loved that quirky "waterfall" stone bathtub that joined the bathroom to the bedroom in an open plan layout.  And please, there are no boring towel hangers or toilet paper holders here!  Everything fit perfectly into the rippled walls of the bathroom!  We wanted to move right in.  Of course the best part may have been the adorable little copper vessels that housed the hair and body lotions and resembled tiny little stupas!  These “temple" bath bottles were on sale in the gift shop downstairs, though they were not cheap!
Overall, the environment at the Hotel de la Paix was both majestic and very organic at the same time.  We are certain that the designers had envisioned something that truly reflects the natural environment of Siem Reap, and yet still accepts the creative design style that so reflects Cambodia’s re-entry back into the hearts of the Western World.  Of course, the splendor inside the hotel grounds was in stark contrast to what lay beyond.  You see the odd things is that once you step outside the posh, incredibly detailed hotel, you find yourselves on one of the main intersections in town, and the roads are not even paved!

The Hotel de la Paix was so über chic, we imagine that if you popped it smack dab in the middle of Manhattan or London, it might set you back $500 - $1,000 USD a night.  Though while we visited Siem Reap, the experience cost us only about $60.00 USD a night!  (Now part of the Hyatt chain, we've heard management has raised those prices considerably.) 

Sadly, we did not really spend enough time in the hotel as we would have liked; there was just too much to see and do in town.  With that said, next time we are in Siem Reap, we know where we’ll be staying!  This place is really a must for anyone who appreciates the finer things in life, and at surprisingly affordable prices.

Set of Drifters tip:  The Hotel de la Paix may not be as well-lit during the day as it is by night, but it is still just as intoxicating.

A large portion of the pool on the 2nd floor is covered by the floors above.  This is very useful during the rainy season as it is still very hot outside, and visitors may just want to laze around in one of the many cushioned chill-out areas underneath.  And this is exactly what we did one day after a morning of temple trekking through Angkor left us hungry, exhausted, and looking for creature comforts.  A swim in the pool was the perfect way to reinvigorate ourselves.  We had room service brought to the pool and the food and beverage really hit the spot!  (Ahhhh, real cappuccino!)  The only downer here was the ants, and the noise from Siem Reap construction outside. 
Set of Drifters video:  Check out our YouTube channel for video from this event! 

Park Hyatt Siem Reap - Sivatha Boulevard, Siem Reap, 011 (855) 63 211234

http://siemreap.park.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html