Indulging in a bit of luxury at The Pavilion Hotel, Phnom Penh

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!

Vintage Jaguar pick-up
The price list for the vintage Jag!

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.

pavilion pool IMG_20200311_161017
The Lush Pool with the restaurant on the left and the main reception through the door at the end.

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.

Pavilion path IMG_20200301_081950
The route to our room!

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!!

Pavilion room IMG_20200229_140609
Room 11 – not too shabby!

It wasn’t just a small plunge pool, this was a decent size! We both looked at other with wide eyes, this is fantastic!

Private Pool
The private pool in room 11 – pre-clean!

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!!

pool IMG_20200229_141514

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!).

Pavilion table IMG_20200229_140708
Plenty of information provided by the hotel

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.

Pavilion cake IMG_20200229_144233
Happy Birthday to you!

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.

The Rooms

On our two separate visits, we stayed in two different rooms, both private pool rooms, that were next door to each (11 & 12).

Private pool room 12
The pool in room 12 – it was lovely, with a bigger patio than room 11, but the sun disappeared a bit quicker from it.

They were similar, but the first room (11) had a much bigger bathroom than the second.

Pavilion bathroom IMG_20200229_140624
The bathroom in room 11
Room 12 bathroom
And the bathroom in room 12…much smaller!

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.

Pavilion pool IMG_20200229_140810
A small patio area around the pool of room 11, but it was a nice suntrap into the afternoon!
Room 12
Room 12 felt slightly smaller than our first room

The Location

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.

Independence Monument
The Independence Monument in Phnom Penh
Walk to the riverfront
Walking to the riverfront – locals were out exercising, playing badminton was a big favourite!

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).

Riverfront road
The riverfront

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

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.

Lush Pool from reception

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!)

The Lush Pool II

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

The Sun Pool
The gorgeous sun pool – now this corner of the hotel IS definitely a sun trap!

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.

The Sun Pool III
The Sun Pool – so inviting!

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!!

The Sun Pool bar
The Sun Pool bar area

Dining

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.

The Pavilion restaurant
Enjoying our last meal of our hols at the hotel!

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!

The Spa

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!

Pavilion Hedghog

If that doesn’t seal the deal I don’t know what will, haha!

Pavilion Hedgehog II

In Summary

The Pavilion entrance
At the entrance of the hotel!

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.

33 thoughts on “Indulging in a bit of luxury at The Pavilion Hotel, Phnom Penh

  1. A wonderful stay in a glorious hotel. The main building is reminiscent of earlier times with safari jacketed men! I found that booking directly at hotels saves money too. Booking.com takes a big slice of the payment and have to recoup that in the room rate. Booking direct means the hotel itself receives more of the much-needed funds – especially now. Thanks for sharing this. I don’t like travelling to humid climates, but I certainly would love to stay there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It is a beautiful building! I would highly recommend the hotel if you ever do travel to that part of the world! I’ve found that booking direct sometimes also means you benefit from special deals, I think it will be a route I will follow a bit more in future whenever we are able to start travelling again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, definitely. And talking directly to them means that you may be able to select the same room as last time. I found that booking online meant the room I ended up with was very different from what was pictured or purported to be on offer on the net.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We stayed there too! I loved it. Such a haven in the middle of the busy city. It was a bit of a splurge but I’m glad we did it. I remember returning to the serene grounds and our beautiful room after a very emotional visit to the Killing Fields and Genocide Museum—it felt both odd and comforting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aaah did you? When did you visit? Same here, it was a special treat for us, but so definitely worth it. I can imagine the mixed emotions after the trips visiting those sites though. It’s a really hard day isn’t it, but I think very important to see them if you are visiting the country.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, it’s absolutely gorgeous! I would love to stay there too. I’ve been to Phnom Penh on a work trip and we stayed in a very strange Casino hotel. Not very interesting for someone not into gambling, LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no, that doesn’t sound like a great place to stay, what a shame! I hope the rest of your trip went well though! Would definitely recommend the Pavilion if you return for a more leisurely stay 🙂

      Like

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