The Hotel De La Paix – Where The Word Peace Has Many Meanings

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.

The Architecture

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.

The Interior

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 envelop the senses. Fabulous people watching, only adds to this understated, but luxurious environment. You can not help but want to know what else lies ahead. And indeed, just off the foyer is the Arts Lounge which is dominated by a large glass bar in which fiber optic wires change the colors of the bar itself from hues of yellow to pale blues and dading reds. Large scale couches can be combined into beds for a funky urban feel, while a continuous exhibition of contemporary art lines the walls giving the space a very sophisticated air. Needless to say guests were drinking everything from Cambodian concocted Gray Goose Martinis, which were delicious, to extremely fresh banana and mango fruit shakes. I was enjoying a great conversation with my "bed mates" most of what were from England and France when I was told by my hotel representative, yes, every guest is assigned their own personal hotel rep, that my room was ready. The 107 deluxe rooms include nine spa suites and one magnificent pool side duplex suite. In addition, the hotel's six stunning courtyard suites with private gardens and plunge pools are situated behind large wooden doors and closed off from the rest of the property, creating a sanctuary within a sanctuary.

The Hotel Room

I reserved a standard deluxe room on the second floor over looking the De La Paix's beautiful pool that is large enough to do laps. A large part of the pool is underneath an overhang lined with sleek daybeds and thick cushions, dramatically opening up to an open air view above the hotel's water garden and restaurant. The room I had was spacious, with large windows allowing a lot natural light in. I found that the rooms facing the street became very hot in the afternoon sun and the others facing the inner courtyard were just as nice as all the rest, but the view was well, of a courtyard.

Since I love a large luxurious bathroom, the Hotel De La Paix did not disappoint. Dark woods and soft yellow terrazzo combined to make a cool and calming statement. The bath tub alone was certainly large enough for two people. Sliding doors of diffused glass make the room at once light and airy, while the separate shower area sported a brushed nickel rain head that truly has a good dousing with more than enough water pressure to wash away the grit that built up from a full day of touring. Interesting accents such as small niches built into the terrazzo covered walls, house the spa towels while copper urns hold shampoo, lotions, gels and the like.

For those who like their room attended to constantly, this hotel delivers five star sensibilities. Three times per day, room attendants came in and changed the towels if needed, added flowers, lest the scent of jasmine ever leave the room, plump pillows, turn down the bed and leave delicious snacks fresh from the hotel's upscale restaurant, Meric.

The Restaurant

The restaurant, known for its fusion cuisine, has an indoor-outdoor flow. Outside tables are situated around a stunning courtyard that boasts a small pond with lotus, black rock and trickling water features. There are also several large dining beds attached by chains to the breezeway ceiling that gently swing back and forth There is nothing like taking your morning coffee on an overstuffed swing swathed in luxurious silks. The interior of the restaurant like the bar is cool and chic with floor to ceiling windows and poured cement floors. The wait staff not only remembers your name, but also remembers what you like to eat.

Loved it … but

Although my stay was enjoyable, I do have a short list of criticisms. First, the outside room windows were very dirty. I was told that they are cleaned on a regular basis, but with the amount of construction going on, the dust is hard to keep up with. I will give them that, but none-the-less, the beauty of the hotel includes everything, even the windows in my hotel room. Second, the hotel rooms scream for a plasma screen to be mounted on the walls. The room had a 24 "remote control television sitting on the dresser drawers. , no more than 30 'away, with drying clothes on their balconies and assorted eye sores that if I did not pay as much as I had, I would not really complain. bamboo or palm trees could be used to block out the disagreeable views.

With that said, everyone I came in contact with could not have been nicer. The staff of the hotel wear t-shirts that read, "The Answer is Yes," which about sums up the quality of service at the hotel. In some places it might have seemed forced, but not here.

Room rates start at $ 300 per night, but the hotel does run internet specials, periodically.

Hôtel de la Paix

Sivutha Boulevard

Siem Reap


Tel: + 855 63 966 000

Fax: + 855 63 966 001

e-Mail: [email protected]