Destination Guide

Phnom Penh

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Once the so-called "Pearl of the East," the Cambodian capital is busy, congested and steamy. It is also the place where the country's more contemporary history comes into focus. The effects of the bloody reign of the Khmer Rouge in the mid-late 1970s can still be seen here, but the city also pulses with new energy. For travelers interested in history and Cambodian culture, this city should not just be a fly-over en route to and from the temples.


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Personality Suite at Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Raffles Hotel Le Royal

Known simply as Le Royal, this historic hotel has hosted such luminaries as Charlie Chaplin, Jacqueline Kennedy and President Obama in 2012.

Lounge at The Plantation, The Plaza, New York City, New York

The Plantation

Located just behind the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh’s historic center, this 70-room hotel is an oasis of lush greenery, bubbling fountains, and shaded seating areas. Although the entrance is off a lively street filled with tuk-tuks, taxis, and pedestrians, the hotel provides a true respite from the hustle and bustle. Spanning four buildings, the oldest of which dates from the 1930s and was expertly restored in 2011, the modern-style hotel centers on a large slate swimming pool lined with lounge chairs, shaded daybeds, and tropical trees including palms, acacias, and frangipanis. The airy poolside is a perfect spot to unwind after an active day of tourism and is also where the delicious breakfast buffet is served each morning. Other amenities include a very reasonably priced spa, a small air-conditioned gym, and an elegant restaurant housed in the upstairs quarters of the restored 1930s mansion.

Rooms at The Plantation are cheery, bright, and contemporary. Four-poster beds are draped with muslin and enlivened with silk pillows in poppy orange, yellow, or green. The modern furniture is made from local materials like rubber wood (desks) and palm wood (mirror frames.) The best rooms have small balconies with views over the pool (Deluxe Pool View) and the decadent Rooftop Suite, which is great for families, boasts two bedrooms, two bathrooms, three terraces, a private bar, and a Jacuzzi.

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