Siem Reap is the best city in Southeast Asia! City might be a bit of a stretch as it really feels more like a resort town teeming with cottage goers buying nicknacks and applying sunscreen. The people are kind, the streets are clean and the temples, oh the temples, are an absolutely world class attraction!
We were lucky to call the Park Hyatt Siem Reap home for a week. We really do feel lucky to have chosen the hotel, from the dozens and dozens available, and made some genuine friendships with the staff there. From Minh's warm welcome and her company at a lovely afternoon tea to Mey's humble, cheerful service in the dining room to the many, many security guards who minded my motorbike and were eager to spend 5 minutes chatting about life and Cambodia.
In terms of luxury accommodations in Siem Reap you are deciding between the Park Hyatt and the Grand Hotel d'Angkor. We visited both properties and so I can be certain when I make this assertion; the Park Hyatt is the premier hotel in Siem Reap! Nestled halfway between the hedonistic Pub Street and packed Market Street it boasts the best location, in my opinion, of any hotel in the downtown core. Hedonistic is a monicker that might scare off some, but I mean it with reverence and adoration. A strip of bars, massage parlours and restaurants where the wares are only limited by your imagination. 'Happy pizza' parlours are dotted throughout where it is possible to order a 'happy' ham and pineapple pizza and receive a pie with a delicious crust, fresh toppings and a smattering of marijuana whose taste is undetectable, but whose effect is undeniably serene. It's perfectly legal in Siem Reap and when in Rome...
The lobby of the Park Hyatt is a lavish, cylindrical space which goes all the way up to the top floor, the third, and ends with the Hyatt's signature steeple which can be seen for miles. Whisked into the Living Room, a grand space with towering bookshelves and capped by an amazing bar, we were welcomed and offered some history on the property and Siem Reap. Sitting and absorbing the environment a sense of calm envelopes you. As you walk out into the courtyard the huge banyan tree surrounded by a big fountain shines with the light of the sun and invites you to wade into its shallow waters. But you mustn't. There are two actual pools after all.
Our suite was incredible! You walk into a wood on wood on wood oasis with a modern twist. The Italian marble in the washroom, the grand, lavish, incredible washroom, looks as expensive as it does refined. The mattress was like a fluffy cloud, a very fluffy cloud, and you could nestle in there for hours, days, weeks or years without feeling like you're missing any part of the human experience. Combine that with the large living room, adequate kitchenette and spacious walk in closet and I would live there. Full stop.
I will not, I refuse to, play favourites with the pools. The first floor salt water pool has its merits. On second thought I will play favourites; the second floor indoor/ outdoor pool is amazing! Large and warm and boasting several jetted alcoves, a bridge and a nearby bar it is a top notch oasis. It is a tie with the first floor dining area replete with swinging tables, large beds suspended from chains, in terms of opulence and comfort!
The food at the Park Hyatt is amazing! We were blessed to enjoy breakfast everyday, best eggs Benedict of my life, but we also indulged in the age old British tradition of high tea. Being the typical white guy with typical white guy tastes I partook in the Signature high tea set while Jenn ventured into the Thai tea set waters. Tea and crumpets and sandwiches and deliciousness. Jenn's tier seemed a bit more adventurous and I almost envied her curry this and that until I got to my pastry layer. I love carbs. My energy level loves carbs. My belly hates carbs, but he's a jerk anyway! Indulge in afternoon tea at the Park Hyatt! Having tried both high tea offerings from the two top Siem Reap hotels I can say, without hesitation, that the Hyatt's is no less than five times better!
When you tell locals, the poor yet incredibly congenial Cambodians I grew to love, that you're staying at the Park Hyatt they gasp and shift their gaze. Local Siem Reap hostels, which cost close to pennies, are the preferred accommodation for people who look like me: young, Caucasian males. I dress like those people. I act like those people. I crave the same Cambodian experience as those people, but I am privileged to stay in properties like the Park Hyatt. Siem Reap is, as I mentioned, the best town in Southeast Asia and if you don't make it there to visit after reading this you will feel cheated. If and when you go check out the Park Hyatt. You will not regret it.