But certainly much better than Cubic Zirconia.
Tucked away in one of the many streets that make up Phnom Penh, http://theplantation.asia is a hotel too big to really be a boutique, too small to be a chain, but a truly wonderful place to stay nonetheless.
20 minutes from the airport in a tuc tuc, and as you set your foot on the floor, one of the uniformed staff comes to take your bags. Off the noisy busy street and into an oasis, almost literally.
A large square area, with a huge pool in the middle, that you walk round before you get into the reception. As the check in process started, another uniformed staff member appears with an ice cold towel and a glass of fruit juice.
Check in carried out very quickly and efficiently, we were taken on a tour of the hotel and grounds, whilst our luggage was taken to our room. A large part of the buildings used for the hotel were originally part of the French civil service offices, and to be honest, it does show a little. We’d taken the cheapest room, and whilst I’m happy that you get what you pay for, it would be difficult to describe it as anything above functional. On the other hand though, we spent very little time in our room, we were out and about exploring so it didn’t worry us too much.
During the tour we were shown the swimming pool and bar area, which we fell in love with straight away.
Our first night we ate in the the hotel restaurant, the food was very good but probably a touch expensive given average prices in the local area.
Breakfast was a leisurely affair, the weather was warm, but not unpleasant, so a cold orange juice next to the pool was a great way to start the day.
The pool itself was lovely, there was a second pool to the other side of the white wall on the right of this photo, but whilst we were there, it was being refurbished so we never got to see it, and there was a fair amount of construction noise. On the plus side, during the work times, if we were ever by the pool during the afternoon we were given fruit juice and fruit as recompense.
In one of those curious things that happen in life from time to time, a friend of mine had just moved to the city when we were there, so he came to the hotel and we had a drink and a chat. He was totally smitten by the hotel, telling me he’d stayed in most of them over the month that he’d been looking for a decent apartment, and that was by far the nicest.
On the one occasion where I couldn’t think of what to do, I found a great place to think.
The hotel had a spa (untested) a restaurant (good food) pools (fantastic) different standard of rooms (from basic to luxury) and things you would expect. They also had things that make the difference. Umbrella’s placed all over the hotel for guests during the rainy season, antiseptic hand wash (in many places) and staff who just seemed to be “there” whenever you needed one.
We actually stayed here twice, first time was for five days, before we headed down to Siem Reap for a couple of days. Our luggage was left in the care of the hotel, even though we hadn’t confirmed that we would book back into The Plantation, but on our re-arrival, we were offered an upgrade for the price we’d previously paid for the basic room.
We took it, and had another two wonderful days in this great hotel before heading up to China.
After a week here, we would have no hesitation in recommending The Plantation to anyone, truly a wonderful hotel, with very few downsides. The one thing I would say would be to not book the lowest price rooms, even one class up makes a real difference.