The Pavilion Hotel in Phnom Penh offers the ultimate luxury hideaway in a tranquil oasis of pools, lush gardens and service excellence that is true to Cambodian hospitality.
The old saying that New York never sleeps is true to a certain extent but in reality, it only means that you will find a few places open at any time and a few cars on the road.
In Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, this statement takes on a much more literal meaning. The city is absolutely bustling with life, both day and night. From the main roads to the side streets and walkways, there seems to be an endless flow of people and cars filling the city to the brim.
Although this creates an incredible atmosphere, after a few hours it can become quite overwhelming. Staying in the city centre of Phnom Penh allows for great convenience as you can get to the main attractions quite quickly and equally speedily dash back to your air-conditioned room to escape the heat.
But it seems that one thing you struggle to escape from is the city noise. Much like the heat, it never seems to break. That being said, there is at least one exception.
Situated right in the heart of the city lies the Pavilion Hotel. An expansive yet very intimate-feeling oasis of calm, tranquillity and old-world luxury. From the moment you enter through the unassuming door, you are immediately transported to a world far removed from the hustle and bustle of what lies beyond the walls.
The jungle-like sounds of crickets, chirping birds and the calm of nature fill the air as you walk down the lushly planted walkways that connect the various buildings and amenities to and from one another.
The calming atmosphere here is so intoxicating that you rather quickly forget where you are all together.
The central location and even the atmosphere that the Pavillion enjoys is largely thanks to its unmatched history and heritage. Built in the 1920s, the primary building’s purpose was to serve as a private retreat for Queen Consort Sisowath Kossamak, the late King Sihanouk’s mother.
The close proximity to both the Royal Palace as well as Wat Botum could allow the Queen Consort to live in seclusion from the Royal Palace whilst remaining close enough to walk to the temple on a daily basis.
The Pavilion Hotel’s Rooms
The unique feel of the property is mainly due to its composition. The hotel itself is a result of opening up four heritage estates and creating one large complex consisting of 36 rooms and suites. Because of this, the hotel has an unmatched established feeling that cannot authentically be replicated.
Although expansive with all of the amenities and facilities one would expect from a luxury hotel, it feels more as if you are staying at a family friend’s villa than a hotel. Its peaceful environment is only equalled by its charm, elegance and exceptionally friendly staff. At the Pavilion hotel, no question is too big or request too far fetched and the staff is always ready to go the extra mile.
Suitable for up to three guests, the studio rooms at the Pavilion range from between 23 to 55 sqm in size. The expansive rooms consist of a large bedroom with a king-size bed, a bathroom as well as a spacious sitting area that includes a comfortable sofa and two couch-beds.
Tucked away in one of the gardens is the Jacuzzi Bangalow which is an elegant structure mostly incorporating wood and glass throughout its exterior design. This room consists of a queen-size bed and bathroom with a private patio and open-air jacuzzi set in the tropical garden. Whether you dip in during the day to break the heat or use it to cool down with a cocktail under the stars, this is a great choice to get away from it all.
This spacious room is situated above the main foyer and enjoys spectacular views of the main pool from its private balcony. The spacious double rooms range from between 28 to 32 sqm in size, with the private balconies adding an extra 10 to 20 sqm ensuring for a very spacious stay.
The Pavilion Hotel offers a range of superior double rooms which includes everything from wood and glass bungalows to beautifully appointed rooms in one of the main buildings with tranquil views over the gardens from the private balconies.
The twin room is ideal for friends travelling together as it offers two comfortable, canopied, single beds. The twin rooms vary in size, ranging from 20 to 30 sqm with the larger rooms being able to accommodate an extra bed. So, if you are three friends, travelling in a group this would be an excellent choice should you wish to stay together.
Many travellers use Phnom Penh as an almost stopover city with the eye of travelling from there to Siem Reap in order to see the temples. The double room at the Pavilion Hotel is the ideal choice for a short stay where you don’t want to spring for a deluxe room or even a suite without having to sacrifice comfort. Although these rooms are smaller, ranging from 15 to 23 sqm, the same level of luxury, attention to detail and refinement can be experienced for a fraction of the price. This is also a great option for young adults that want to experience the luxurious stay that the hotel has to offer without spending 90% of their budget just on the room.
The Pavilion Hotel has become infamous amongst those in the know for their suites. These expansive rooms range from 45 to 90 sqm and can accommodate up to four guests. The suites typically consist of two communicating rooms. These are either separated by a partition wall or a thick curtain. The main bedroom offers a king-size bed with the adjoining sitting room having two sofa-beds.
The Private Pool Suite at the Pavilion Hotel is not just one of our favourite rooms on offer in Phnom Penh but is under out top 5 hotel rooms in the whole of Cambodia. The room has a stripped back elegance that makes you feel both at home and relaxed from the moment you step inside.
The large suite consists of the main bedroom which has a daybed and king-size bed with canopy as well as a large en-suite bathroom.
Now, what makes this room so special is not the 20sqm interior but what lies behind the large glass patio doors. The Private Pool Suite offers an expansive private garden complete with a 6 x 3 m plunge pool.
Being able to cool off in the day in your own private pool is one thing but being able to take a midnight dip right from your bedroom is something really special.
This room offers the utmost privacy and relaxation for the decerned traveller or offers the ultimate sanctuary for a romantic getaway.
The Pavilion Hotel’s Amenities
The Lush Pool
Although aircon helps a lot, the heat that is found in these parts of South East Asia can only really be broken by taking a cool dip in the pool… or at least that is the best excuse for lounging around in the water all day we could think up.
If sipping cocktails poolside is your kind of an idea of paradise then the Pavilion has got you covered as well. There are two main pools at the hotel, not including the private pools of course, both of which offers a unique atmosphere in which to unwind.
The main pool, called the Lush pool, is situated amongst thick vegetation right in front of the main building and offers a tranquil escape from the world. There are multiple day beds as well as the main cabana where you can stretch out and relax.
At night, the trees are illuminated with fairy lights and lanterns are placed around the pool which can offer solace that has an almost dream-like quality to it.
The Sun Pool
Situated at the back of the hotel complex is the Sun Pool. Often forgotten by most guests, this mirror-like pool is the perfect place to make use of the pool-side bar and serves as an incredible backdrop for the ultimate Instagram post. If creating travel envy on your feed is what you’re after then this is the spot to go to.
Restaurant and Bars
The hotel complex is dotted with various sitting areas, bars and restaurants that make for an endless choice of dining, drinking or leisure possibilities. Whether you want to sit on the main restaurant’s terrace or grab a candle-lit table by the pool for a romantic dinner, the hotel really does cater for all needs.
P.s. If real seclusion is what you’re after and you are staying in one of the pool suites then why not order room service at your own private table next to your pool. This is a great option for a special evening, romantic moment or even just to reconnect in absolute privacy.
The spa at the Pavilion offers an intimate and authentic Cambodian experience. Here they have a wide range of treatments with a local twist and touch. Speaking of touch, just keep in mind that if you do ask for “strong pressure” true to Khmer style, that is exactly what you will get… and then some. So if you are in need of some serious pressure to really work out those stress-knots as opposed to most spa’s “light touching” way of doing things then these guys are exactly what is needed. Trust us, it might seem uncomfortable at times but the relief of stress and muscle tension is instant and you can feel an immediate improvement.
Now, if like most of us here at Salon Privé you do actually feel guilty about indulging on your holiday, no matter what you might say in front of everyone at the dinner table, then keep calm, the hotel offers a solution for this as well. The boutique gym is perfectly tucked away so that other guests don’t point at and judge the “gym bunny” working out during their holiday but offers just what is needed to keep those calories burning and most importantly, keep your body in your healthy routine.
We all dread that moment when we realise that we still have to find an “authentic Cambodian” gift for those at home (or even a keepsake for ourselves) and where do you start? Well, the hotel thought of this as well. At the front of the complex, the hotel shop acts more like a boutique, having curated a wide selection of authentic pieces that will save you from trying to find a market on your way back to the airport.
Apart from the fascinating colonial architecture found throughout Phnom Penh, it seems that another quintessentially French bit of culture has been left behind. The vibrancy that Phnom Penh has to offer cannot truly be appreciated from the confines of a car. You have to be in the thick of things and most importantly be able to decide when and where you want to go.
As part of their offering, the Pavilion hotel also has bicycles available to its guests free of charge. By taking advantage of the hotel’s convenient location, you can explore most of the city’s landmarks at your own leisurely pace while completely immersing yourself in the local culture.
The Pavilion Hotel is the kind of place that stays with you. It offers a stripped-back luxury that gives you just what you need (and more) without the pomp and pretence of it all. It is a place in which to indulge, escape and just get away from it all. It is easy to see why the Pavilion is not just considered as one of the must-visit hotels in Phnom Penh but also in the whole South-East Asia.
*For our US readers, we suggest checking out our Passport Book vs Passport Card article that helps you to understand the difference before booking your trip.