This Amansara Siem Reap Review is part of a trip report on Siem Reap, Cambodia, including Asiana First Class and luxury resorts and dining in northern Thailand.
For the previous posts in this trip report please see:
Our final 3 nights in Siem Reap were a special treat, spent at Amansara, a luxury boutique property part of Aman Resorts. Amansara is a Virtuoso hotel, so TravelSort Clients receive these benefits when booking a qualifying rate:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Continental breakfast daily, for up to two in room guests (included as part of mandatory half board and touring charge)
- One 45 mins foot massage per person once during stay
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
Amansara Location, Lobby and Check-In
Amansara is the former royal guest villa of King Norodom Sihanouk, which once accommodated visitors of King Sihanouk such as French President Charles de Gaulle, Jackie Kennedy and Peter O'Toole.
Amansara is located on the Road to Angkor, about an 18 minute drive from Siem Reap Airport. Included in the rate are return transfers in Amansara's vintage black Mercedes:
Inside, chilled bottles of Aqua Panna and chilled towels offered a great way to refresh, given the humid heat.
Although we did see the reception on our way in, we were actually able to complete our registration formalities in our Suite.
Amansara Pool Suite
While most Aman Resorts are intimate, with 40 or fewer stand alone villas, Amansara is small even by Aman standards: just 24 suites total, 12 regular Suites and 12 Pool Suites. We were fortunate to be upgraded to a Pool Suite, and so far my clients who have stayed here have enjoyed a Virtuoso upgrade to a Pool Suite, though this is based on availability at check-in. The Pool Suites are arranged around this courtyard:
I didn't actually personally use our pool at all, as I enjoyed the main swimming pool. That said, it was nice to have our own private pool and not worry about our son's splashing around disturbing other guests–he and my husband got good use out of our pool.
It was around lunch time when we arrived, so we were delighted that our welcome amenities included these delicious rice paper wrapped garden rolls with minced chicken and fresh herbs, alongside glasses of fresh squeezed lemonade:
We were also welcomed with traditional Khmer scarves, which almost every Cambodian temple guide wears, as do many Cambodians working in the countryside.
There was even a nice coloring set for our son, which he enjoyed:
The bar and minibar area featured everything you might need for fixing yourself a drink or having some mixed nuts as a quick snack, although having a sweet tooth, I was happy to see the homebaked cookies that were provided:
Amansara's Suites offer a simple, clean aesthetic that is familiar to Aman fans. There were fresh flowers, which I always enjoy, and a Khmer carving on one wall of the suite:
Since Aman beds are on the firm side, we'd asked for a mattress topper, and that made the bed perfectly comfortable for us. Our son's bed was nearby, on the floor, which we actually prefer. Ever since his accident at age 4 when he managed to break his collarbone by falling out of bed, we've preferred a mattress on the floor.
There are his and hers sinks on opposite sides of the room, near the glass door that led to our terrace and pool:
The shower is high–perfect not only for my 6'5 husband, but for guests even taller than his height.
Bath products are locally handmade shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and soap:
The free standing bath is in the suite room, with a view of the outdoor terrace and pool. We loved coming back to our suite after a temple tour to find a fragrant flower bath drawn for us:
Outdoor Swimming Pools and Pool Service
The main swimming pool and sun loungers are near the dining room. Even though there were a number of other couples also staying during our time at Amansara, only a couple times when we were at the pool did we see anyone else lounging there. Nonetheless, pool service is attentive even if you're the only ones there. We would walk over to a sun lounger and an attendant would within seconds adjust the umbrellas as needed, and provide ice water and sunscreen.
A special complimentary poolside treat was this delicious guava sorbet–yum!
And if you swim for exercise, know that there's a lap pool on the other side of the wall at the end of the courtyard where the Pool Suites are.
At night, candlelight wrought a romantic transformation of the pool area; on one evening it was the perfect backdrop for a traditional Cambodian dance performance.
Amansara is fortunate to have Molly Rygg as its Executive Chef (Aman Junkies will recognize her in the iconic photo of her on Amanpulo's stunning beach, since Molly was at Amanpulo before Amansara). I'll cover some of our favorites from Amansara breakfasts, lunch and dinner in a future post.
In addition to the tables, there are comfortable sofas to relax on and perhaps read up on Angkor temples, while nibbling one of Chef Molly's delicious brownies. I loved the fragrant jasmine blossom centerpiece:
Amansara Temple Excursions
Amansara's half board and touring charge includes two guided temple visits daily, via custom-made remork (moped-powered trishaws). I'll cover our visits to Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Bayon in future posts.
Amansara truly made our Siem Reap visit special, thanks to the superb staff and unparalleled staff to guest ratio. As with other Amans, Amansara focuses on finding people who are naturally hospitable and then training them on the specifics, rather than recruiting from other hotels or hotel school graduates. This results in more a feeling that you're an honored guest in the estate home of a (wealthy) friend with excellent taste, rather than a more conventional hotel stay.
Certainly a stay at Amansara isn't inexpensive, but, in addition to the tranquil oasis of Amansara and superb service, the way the temple tours are done is a significant benefit to staying here. As I'll get into on my future post on Angkor Wat, the temple experience we had with our guide enabled us to enjoy the temples in a way that we wouldn't have otherwise.
At the end of our stay, to mark our 5th Aman Resorts stay, we were given a beautiful shot of Bayon by photographer John McDermott (who also leads special photographer visits to the temples) and the munchkin was given his own Aman Junkie Junior t-shirt, which he was excited to sport:
If you've stayed at Amansara, what was your experience?
Disclosure: I paid a travel professional rate for Amansara, however the views expressed in this post are my own.
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