Sky-high luxe at the Rosewood Phnom Penh
The most luxurious accommodation in the Cambodian capital
There is something to be said about countries like Cambodia, which have gone through deep periods of darkness only to emerge from them with grace and the will go on. Covid, be damned or so the busy streets of Phnom Penh would say. And nothing stands in the way of this testament more than the city's first skyscraper, rising 188 metres above the Cambodian capital, where the Rosewood Phnom Penh is housed.
The Rosewood Phnom Penh occupies the top 14 floors of the Vattanac Capital Tower. The building, initially erected as an office tower, was built to look like a rising dragon and that is noticeable from a distance and at a certain angle. It is also attached to a luxury mall, which may seem in stark contrast to its surroundings, but you know where to go if you’ve forgotten essentials. The moment you step out of the lobby, you are engulfed with 180° views of Phnom Penh, which only get better from the suites.
Having opened in 2018, the hotel has 175 rooms, including 37 suites. Though at 188m in the sky, the suite to stay in would be the Mekong Suite. Offering breathtaking views of the Mekong River, the one-bedroom suite is akin to residential-style living. The best thing about the suite is waking up to the views of the rising sun on the horizon with the mighty Mekong River as a backdrop. I never did want to get out of that bed!
Mekong suite bedroom.
The hotel is home to six dining venues, all of which are popular with the locals, at lunch and dinner. Breakfast is at Brasserie Lotus and the spread is remarkable, offering choices of local, Asian and Western favourites. If you do order a local breakfast of noodles, you may have to wait as each serving is prepared fresh. Though this gives you ample time to taste the freshly baked breads, pastries and housemade yoghurt and muesli. The restaurant also serves French comfort food and Cambodian favourites, and a Sunday brunch buffet with free-flow Billecart-Salmon Champagne and handcrafted cocktails. Yes, we still are in Cambodia!
A stay at the Rosewood Phnom Penh is incomplete without a meal at the award-wining Cuts, the surf and turf grill. Cuts specialises in artisanal meats and an impressive wine collection boasting more than 3,000 bottles. Though at lunch time, it is the Japanese restaurant Iza that is a popular spot. The izakaya-style dining space with its three signature kitchens, interactive robatayaki grill, sushi and sashimi stations and noodle corner is clearly the place to be at lunchtime in the bustling Cambodian capital. This is where business deals or casual business lunches take place.
One of my favourite places to enjoy the view amid calmness is the Living Room, which offers light bites and drinks, even sundowners. Though the only place to watch the sun go down on Phnom Penh would be Sora. Probably the busiest place to be at sunset and on a Friday evening, the cantilevered terrace is the place for a sophisticated night out or in, as the indoor bar is stunning. It even boasts of a whisky library with highball masterclasses, should that be your tipple of choice. Though once you return to your suite, the in-room cocktail as part of turndown service makes an excellent drink in bed with the city lights blinking away.
Since we are in the Year Of the Rabbit, it would a shame to not lunch at Zhan Liang, which is the only hotel dining spot housed in the Vattanac Capital Mall. The restaurant serves a fine dining experience, focusing on signature Cantonese, Sichuan and northern Chinese cuisines. It also has a tea library and a centrepiece roasting station, as any respectable Chinese restaurant should! If you’re craving yum cha, fear not, Zhan Liang also serves a yum cha breakfast menu.
22m indoor pool.
Perhaps the downside of being in what was supposed to be an office building is the lack of a pool with direct sun. But the 22m indoor pool has a certain charm to it since it’s bathed in sunlight that shines through the glass windows. No need for sun block here! Sense, the spa is adjacent to the pool, as is the state-of-the-art gym and other wellness amenities. I would encourage you to get one of the Lost Remedies treatments, especially the Ancient Angkor massage. You may need one after a visit to the Killing Fields or the museum.
It is without a doubt that one should visit the Killing Fields, if only to get a sense of the atrocities that the Cambodians have gone through. Though the happy faces, would never tell. Be prepared, mentally and emotionally for it. It is hard to forewarn as each person reacts differently to it. Once done, I would suggest a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum aka S-21. It is best if one goes through all the emotions these visits will bring in one day. PS: I couldn’t complete the entire tour of S-21 and rushed out in 30 minutes.
One can always wind down and relax from the day’s activities with a private sunset cruise on the Mekong River, organised by the hotel. The Rosewood Phnom Penh also offers a Khmer architectural tour, which means exploring the unique 60s heritage landmarks in the traditional Cambodian “remork”. More experiences here: bit.ly/3wpVvoa.
Whether it be business or leisure, the Rosewood Phnom Penh is one of the best hotels in the Cambodian capital offering luxury at its finest. It is a hotel that offers a bit of everything for everyone, even with its own curated art collection. Visit bit.ly/3XSrEQS.