This was our first, and our last, stop on our recent trip to Cambodia.
It would be very easy to use familiar phrases to describe The Pavilion Hotel, such as an oasis in the chaos of the city…and I will…because it’s just so true!! There is a reason why these phrases exist!
I had chosen the hotel for our first night in the country, as I wanted to kick off our trip with somewhere special to celebrate my partner’s birthday. The whole trip was dedicated to this event, so there were some surprises and a little bit of luxury thrown in for good measure along the way.
I had trawled through the listings of hotels in Phnom Penh and settled on The Pavilion, because of it’s location, the good reviews, the photos…and the fact I could book a private pool room! Yes!! I was doing this!!
What good is a significant birthday if you can’t use it as an excuse to spoil yourself?! (yes, ok, I was spoiling myself as well as my partner!)
I also noted they offered a transfer in a vintage Jag – yes, we are having that too!! Another little surprise for my partner when we arrived at the airport!
We were met by our driver, who helped us with our luggage and patiently waited for us whilst we sorted out SIM cards for our phones (very easily done at Phnom Penh airport).
And then we were off – it was definitely different (although a little warm, with no real air con in the car!) and a nice change from getting a tuk-tuk into the city.
Arriving at the hotel, it was hard to see where the hotel actually was! It was well hidden off the street and it wasn’t until we were ushered through a doorway in a wall that the full splendour of the hotel opened up in front of us.
Walking to the reception, passing the Lush pool area, we took it all in. Reception was based in what must have been an old colonial building and we were shown to some sofas and passed a cool drink.
Once check in was completed we followed the receptionist to our room, which was located in a building to the right of the main entrance and within very easy strolling distance of the Lush pool.
We were in room 11 and well, lets just say we weren’t disappointed.
The room was lovely, with a big bed as it’s central attraction. We were then shown to the private pool area – wow!!
It wasn’t just a small plunge pool, this was a decent size! We both looked at other with wide eyes, this is fantastic!
However, looking at the pool I noticed it was a bit cloudy and had a lot of leaves in it. I was quite disappointed as the water did not look that inviting.
It was then that I noticed a sign on the door which stated that the pool is only cleaned in the morning. If guests wished it to be cleaned again they just had to ring reception and ask. So I did just that.
In a matter of minutes, someone was knocking at the door and promptly cleaned out the debris. I think what had also happened was the filter hadn’t been turned on either, so this was done.
And what a difference it made – gloriously crystal clear water, now it was inviting!!
We spent some time checking out the facilities, and I read the information booklet in the room cover to cover (it is one of the first things I do in a hotel room!).
About 15 minutes later there was a knock at the door. When we opened it we were very surprised to find the two receptionists standing there with big smiles on their faces.
They edged into the room and started singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to my partner!! We were NOT expecting that. They handed over a small cake and a little present (a hotel tote bag) and left giggling.
In one of my emails I had mentioned that we were coming for my partners birthday, but I never expected anything would come of it. I was wrong and it was a lovely touch on behalf of the hotel.
And that kind of summed up the service, it was great and the staff were very attentive. All of the staff we encountered were lovely and very helpful indeed. Some were still learning and the occasional mistake was made, but that’s not something I would get uptight about.
On our two separate visits, we stayed in two different rooms, both private pool rooms, that were next door to each (11 & 12).
They were similar, but the first room (11) had a much bigger bathroom than the second.
Nothing to complain about though, they were both lovely, although I preferred the first room purely for the fact that the area around the pool was a bit more of a sun trap. It was lovely sitting out there in the afternoon, with my feet in the pool, just relaxing.
The hotel is in a great location, within walking distance to a lot of the main attractions in the city. We wandered down to the Independence Monument and to the riverfront passing the Royal Palace. We walked to street 240 which during the day houses some interesting shops and at night a few restaurants.
You would probably want to do as we did and grab a tuk-tuk to the markets though, or if you wanted to visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide museum (although this is likely to be done in combination with a visit to the Killing Fields – be prepared, it is an important but harrowing visit to make).
The hotel is hardly noticeable from the street outside, but this is one of the things I liked about it. It felt private and a bit secluded. Phnom Penh is a fantastic city but it can be hectic, so having somewhere quieter to return to after a day’s activities can be just what you need sometimes!
The Hotel Pools
Their are two pools in the hotel (how do they fit all this in, the hotel seems to go on and on!):
The Lush Pool
This is the first pool that we encountered as we were ushered through to the reception building. It is shrouded by palms, with day beds discreetly arranged around it.
The restaurant is located on the far side of the pool and a few people had gathered there for pre dinner cocktails when we arrived on our first day (they did have a 2-4-1 offer on!)
It was a lovely place to hang out in the day and in the evening when it was lit up with fairy lights. I was even served a complimentary iced tea, whilst I lazed on a day bed one afternoon. A lovely surprise and it was needed as it was swelteringly hot!
The Sun Pool
To be found by winding your way through reception and out the back of the building, through some little corridors.
This was my favourite! A real sun trap and a gorgeous pool with crystal clear waters – how could I not spend some time here! Surrounded by sun loungers, this pool is really made for sun worshippers.
As a lovely added touch, there is a small bar area where you can indulge in complimentary tea and coffee and a few light snacks – or just water if that is what you prefer. I found it very, VERY hard to tear myself away, even though we had a private pool room!!
We spent a lot of time in the hotel, which is quite unusual for us. Usually we are busy seeing the sights of the city we were in. However, having already been to Phnom Penh quite a few times, we settled on spending some downtime there instead.
We took advantage of the lovely restaurant area by the pool and indulged in a few dinners. The food was delicious and the setting was really romantic. And they had wine, I was a happy girl!
I noted that they offered a free welcome massage to guests on arrival, but as we were only there for one night when we first arrived in Cambodia, I didn’t partake in it.
When I knew that we were returning at the end of our trip, I vowed I would take them up on this offer!
I booked myself in for an appointment in the spa one afternoon when we were just lazing around the pool. On seeing how cheap the services were though compared to prices at home, I decided to splash out and add a back, shoulder and neck massage as well.
What I actually ended up having was a full body massage and head massage that lasted about 2 hours and cost me $25!! It was amazing and left feeling so unbelievably relaxed. I highly recommend it!
The added bonuses!
There were two occasions that I can’t thank the hotel enough for.
The first, as mentioned above, was surprising my partner with a small birthday cake and present when we first arrived. It was lovely and really made us smile!
The second was for saving my camera!!
We ended up having to depart the hotel very early in the morning for our flight back to Singapore. I had been fairly organised and packed up everything the night before. But it was early…very early…I did my usual one final sweep of the room and bathroom before we left to make sure we hadn’t missed anything.
No, all good, no belongings left anywhere…
Except I hadn’t checked the safe.
We had been using the hotel safe more than normal on this trip, but I hadn’t checked it as I thought I had collected up all of my electronics the night before.
So, we trotted off to Phnom Penh airport in the morning, sad to be leaving but with so many memories of a fantastic holiday!
We made our way through security and into the departures hall…and then I get a text.
‘Miss Stacey, we found that you forget camera in the room when you check out from our hotel…’
Nooooo!! Not my camera!! My stomach dropped, we were already through to departures and there was no way we could retrieve it. I was gutted. It was a brand new camera I had bought for the trip and I had taken so many photos on it.
They had kindly offered to try to get it to me at the airport, but that was not going to be an option. The other solution was for them to post it back to me.
I had a little meltdown, but had to park the problem whilst we boarded the plane and took our trip to Singapore.
Anyway, after quite a few emails back and forth, they arranged for the camera to be couriered to me. I had to pay for it of course, and at the time I wasn’t sure if I would ever see it again! But I am SO grateful that the hotel found the camera and got it back to me safely within a few days of us returning back to the UK…and I had all my precious photos intact!
And finally…they have a resident hedgehog!
If that doesn’t seal the deal I don’t know what will, haha!
All in all I was very impressed with the Pavilion! It was a lovely place to relax and unwind.
It’s not somewhere to stay if you are on a really strict budget, but I did think it was very good value for what we got… I mean a private pool come on!! And it was spot on for what we after, which was a bit of indulgence and relaxation.
We paid $166 for the first room, which we booked through booking.com. Booking directly with the hotel for our second stay cost us $162 a night for the second room. I would definitely recommend booking direct in this instance.
*Please note that at the time of writing the hotel is closed due to COVID-19. I hope that it won’t be too long until it is able to reopen.