As its' name so apt states, the Hotel De La Paix epitomizes peace and tranquility. The owners however were probably thinking more about the word peace in a diplomatic context since Cambodia emerged from very bloody conflicts with the Khmer Rouge and warring political factions less than a decade ago.
If you're the type of person into minimalist architecture, sleek lines and lots of clean surfaces, the Hotel De La Paix should be programmed into your GPS navigation system. This is a hotel where a chic Dior ensemble or a cool Varvatos outfit, would not be out of place, though shorts and t-shirts are perfectly acceptable and very much the norm.
Driving up to the hotel via the dusty main road through Siem Reap it immediately hits you that this looks nothing like the dozens of hotels you passed on your way from the airport. Most of the hotels worth throwing $ 200- $ 400 per night are located on acres of manicured lawns with pools, walkways and for the most part, a lush pallet of color. The Hotel De La Paix on the other hand, is situated on small piece of land that was once a rice depot and before that housed the original "La Paix" hotel. It is well placed in the middle of town where hip bars and great restaurants abound and is only a short distance from the majestic Angkor Wat temple complex. The hotel also sits across the street from a large construction project that is supposedly to bring a shopping mall of iconic luxury goods, to this little slice of Cambodia. One could say that the refining features of the hotel is that to the untrained eye, it would not stand out enough to draw curiosity seekers and tour buses like its neighbors down the road; the Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor and the Le Meridien Resort. It's cool leave me alone demeanor would play well in most of the world's hot spots such as the Meat Packing district in downtown New York, Ocean Drive in South Beach, or Meguro-dori in Tokyo. That is not to say that the architecture of the hotel is not beautiful to look at, because it is. The art deco inspiration that brings whitewashed clean lines and imposing designs motifs such as large urns where fire flames upwards on most nights, to an area which up to now has boasted projects in classical Khmer style, is really stunning.
Once inside and away from the dust and tuk tuk exhaust, you are immediately confronted by a grand Angkor sculpture, an Aspara, that stands alone in a large round foyer bathing cured black stone floors and soft white walls. It is stark and stunningly beautiful. Your fast paced itinerary filled with places to go and souvenirs to buy, will come to a halt if only for a moment, as you take in your surroundings. Urban chill music akin to the Buddha Bar or Hotel Costes collections, will immediately …