Coming here for the Angkor Empire Marathon was my main aim for this trip. Siem Reap has changed alot over the years since I came in 2006. From the only big establishment of Le Meridian Resort, they have many more to offer and also hospitality competition is getting tight. As this time I was travelling with older folks and all ladies, I had to make sure that the hotel is really comfy, especially my own mother is a very very stringent person when it comes to hotel selection. After consultation with her, we finally land on Samar. Just from the pictures, she said she felt that this little resort will be good. I must say I was a bit taken aback from the Poor reviews put forth here, but we nevertheless went ahead.
I originally booked on Agoda and Booking. com for two rooms as I needed 2 rooms, agoda.com could only provide me one. After the booking, I got in touch with manager Mr Bertrand, he was patient in replying and gave me clear directions on the amount to prepare for the trip. Throughout the e mails, he was patient and assured me that the rooms are well prepared for our trip. I like this French professional way of dealing things. So there we are prepared and packed ready to go.
To speak the truth, this hotel is not only the usual Pub st or Main National road, so it is of course not easy to find. But this is also its advantage, you can be sure you are out from the tourists infested area ( esp these days there are so many Korean and Chinese big tour buses and groups). If you are however going for those cliche big tours, then do not bother to come here because this place is all about style and niche. The establishment is smaller in real life than in the pictures, but it is definitely tastefully designed. It gives you the feel of a big home rather than a hotel. If I am not wrong there are not more than 10 rooms and one big villa in the whole ground. It is very well kept, very clean, tidy and a lot of plants around. Already we felt relaxed.
STAFF and MANAGMENT
We were greeted by the staff who was expecting us. The lady in the counter are more conversant in English, so they were the ones to serve us. But generally all the staff can actually speak English, but I guess the Cambodians are shy people, so they hardly speak. We were given a refreshing welcome drink, while I settle the bill with the staff. We had to pay upfront the stay. There is, however, no need to leave a deposit for safeguard. So do prepare cash in hand ready or a valid credit card or hotel voucher for your stay.
We all stayed on the second floor, the first room nearer the lobby is the one with 2 beds ( single) while the last room is one big bed. Both rooms are big and spacious and tastefully furnished with a European Colonial style design, I loved the black and white tiled toilets with nice bath tub. Definitely enough space. We were also given robes and slippers. Umbrellas and Hats were also provided for us as the weather is really hot. All these were free of charge. I must say the bed is really comfy, I had not problem at all snoozing like a pig for the 4 nights, even the aunties in the other room, who are light sleepers mentioned to me the beds are nice. There were choices of hard and soft pillows on the bed. Really comfy comforter and strong working aircon with fan to cool you down after a day in Angkor Wat is good enough a tourist can ask for ! The TV also provided many channels of entertainment in various languages. At the balcony, you can see the swimming pool and afar the vicinity. This is also a place good for chilling out and talking to friends.
Although the water pump was not working well at night, we mentioned it to the hotel staff and they quickly got the engineering plumber to get it fixed. So we could get hot soaks after visiting the Angkor Wat. There is no hot water making facilities but you can always get hot water from the kitchen from the staff who are more than willing to serve you. The fridge is cold and the hotel provides 2 bottles of drinking 500ml water.
The food is really good. Although pricey, but hey in Siem Reap everything is in USD, comparatively to Singapore, it is worth it. To begin, first night we had a selection of Khmer Asian Western fusion gourmet with an Italian red. The meats are really tasty paired with the unique Khmer cooking style, the first night was already a plus for us. We could not finish everything but it was really good. For the breakfast, there are no buffet spreads, but we get our daily fruits and fruit juice with coffee and tea. Bread baskets were also given to us with Baguettes, crossaints, choco rolls and toast. Homemade jam was also served. There was even home made yoghurt for us. Daily the residents gets a choice of egg with either bacon or sausage. I really love the sausage, it is home made and good meat, no unhealthy transfat here!
We only tried their lunch on the last day and of course, the quality is really not compromised! Very tasty kway teow chicken noodles, Asian yellow noodles with pork bits. Yummay! I think the sweet treats here in the hotel is really good. We absolutely adore the French pastries here, like the pana cotta.
One good mention is that the pool is not infested with chlorine like most big establishment does, it does not hurt and dry your skin. The area around the swimming pool is nice to chill and relax. I absolutely love to laze around whole afternoon.
I really hate the WIFI here, cos it was too efficient !! haha and I keep getting messages from work which I had to shut the phone down so that I can really enjoy the rest by the pool.
As the hotel is way out from the main road, there is no way to get out unless you walk out pretty far just to get the tuk tuk. I suggest you either get your own transportation and make arrangements with them to ferry you to and fro, or you can get the tuk tuk to come into the hotel via main road. From the pub st to the hotel is about USD4-5 per tuk tuk trip. Although the hotel also provide transportation at a higher price, the quality of the tuk tuk is better too. The hotel staff will not force you to take their tuk tuk, but if you need the service just let them know.
Free facial for the ladies ( one time) was good and refreshing, for the guys , they have shaving service which none of us used. But the spa was rather relaxing, we did the massage, although we cancelled last minute for 2 people, the staff also never forced us to pay for any late cancellation. They just smiled.
I must say the Samar is a place I would go back and also recommend. I was still worried that the staff will be like slow and cannot be bothered. But they are all generically very kind and quiet. They might appear non chalent but actually they are just shy, if you step out and talk to them, they will be more than happy to smile and talk to you, there is no hard selling in this hotel. Staff just let you take your time relax do your things. I love that factor, the last thing for a holiday is to handle hustlers!
Thank you Samar team for the wonderful five days four night!! Merci Beaucoup..”