Review: Amansara in Siem Reap, Near Angkor Wat

Amansara Review

 

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:

SWISS Lounge JFK Terminal 4 Review

Review: Asiana First Class Suite NYC JFK to Seoul ICN

Park Hyatt Seoul Review

Review: Cornerstone Restaurant, Park Hyatt Seoul

Lounge Review: Asiana Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon

Asiana Business Class A330 Review

Review: Novotel Bangkok Airport Hotel Suite

Review: Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort

Anantara Golden Triangle Sala Mae Nam Restaurant Review and Menu

Mahout Experience at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp

Dining By Design at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp

Hotel Review: Park Hyatt Siem Reap

Beng Mealea Jungle Temple Photo Tour, Siem Reap Cambodia

Touich Restaurant Siem Reap Menu and Review

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:

Amansara Virtuoso Review Siem Reap-Vintage Mercedes Transfer

 

Inside, chilled bottles of Aqua Panna and chilled towels offered a great way to refresh, given the humid heat.

Amansara Siem Reap Review-Aqua Panna and Refreshing Towels

 

Although we did see the reception on our way in, we were actually able to complete our registration formalities in our Suite.

Amansara Reception

 

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:

Amansara Pool Suites 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.

Amansara Pool Suite Review - Private 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:

Amansara Review - Delicious Chicken Herb Garden Rolls Welcome Amenity

 

We were also welcomed with traditional Khmer scarves, which almost every Cambodian temple guide wears, as do many Cambodians working in the countryside.

Khmer Krama Scarf Welcome Amenity, Amansara

 

There was even a nice coloring set for our son, which he enjoyed:

Amansara Kid's Welcome Amenity: Coloring Cards and Pencils

 

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:

Homebaked Cookies, Amansara

 

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:

Amansara Pool Suite Review

 

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.

Amansara Pool Suite Review - King Bed and Welcome Refreshments

 

There are his and hers sinks on opposite sides of the room, near the glass door that led to our terrace and pool:

Amansara Pool Suite - Vanity and Sink

 

The shower is high–perfect not only for my 6'5 husband, but for guests even taller than his height.

Amansara Pool Suite Shower

 

Bath products are locally handmade shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and soap:

Amansara Bath Products - Locally Handmade

 

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:

Amansara Flower Bath

 

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.

Amansara Review-Main Swimming Pool

 

A special complimentary poolside treat was this delicious guava sorbet–yum!

Delicious Sorbet Poolside at Amansara

 

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.

Amansara Lap Pool

 

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 Pool Lit by Candlelight at Night

 

Amansara Dining

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 Dining Room - Jasmine Blossoms

 

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.

 

The Verdict

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:

Sporting an Aman Junkie Jr. T-Shirt!

 

If you've stayed at Amansara, what was your experience?

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Disclosure: I paid a travel professional rate for Amansara, however the views expressed in this post are my own.

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