Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Luxury Hotels and Travel
Reload this Page >

Amansara and Amanoi, February 2018

Amansara and Amanoi, February 2018

Old May 10, 18, 6:52 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeAman Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Baltimore MD
Posts: 3,379
Amansara and Amanoi, February 2018

Planning

I have three kids… which basically means my life is governed by having three kids… Our last trip to South East Asia was 2013 I think- it also was our first Aman trip (Amanjiwo, Amandari, Amankila)... now my parents (foolishly) agreed to watch our kids and let us take a trip… my wife has been aching to see Angkor Wat so that made the top of the list… she has also read Crazy Rich Asians (which I am not) and decided that she wanted to see Singapore as well… so Angkor Wat and Singapore it is… Given that we didn’t want to burden our parents too long with our kids, we decided on 8 days in Asia, which meant a 4/4 split…


My wife, fortunately or unfortunately knew of Amansara, which meant that we were staying at Amansara… It is, unfortunately, incredibly expensive but at least quite inclusive. I booked via Citi Prestige for the fourth night free the Discover Angkor Rate which included over the Daily rate:
  • Spiritual water blessing with Buddhist Monk at Wat Atwear Pagoda
  • A traditional noodle breakfast at Amansara’s wooden village house in Angkor Park
  • Private visit to Conservation D’Angkor museum and day trip to the remote temples of Beng Melea & Koh Ker with picnic lunch
The rate was also $100 cheaper than the standard daily rate, which includes:
  • Daily excursion to Angkor temples with English speaking guide
  • Remork transportation within Siem Reap town
  • Daily breakfast, afternoon tea, and a choice of lunch or dinner with non-alcoholic beverages
  • Return airport transfers & laundry (excluding dry cleaning)
The GM at Amansara also threw in a complimentary massage for two for 90 mins….


The Siem Reap portion of the trip was easy; the hard part was Singapore. Now ideally Singapore would be the first portion of the trip (the old adage of always finish with Aman), however the flights made flying to Siem Reap first easier than returning from Siem Reap…. So where to stay in Singapore is the age old question. It seems that there’s a general consensus that there’s pretty much not a clear cut winner in the market. Fullerton Bay gets high marks, but none of the room types interested me (well that’s not true; the rooms with the outdoor jacuzzi did but try as hard as he did, Besvisor could not get a confirmed upgrade to that room). As much maligned as the MO is; Besvisor was able to confirm an upgrade to a Marina Bay Suite with the 4th night free…


So, trip planned eh? Well, I continued to check in with my wife re: Singapore about what she wanted to do… because I’ve been to Singapore and all I could forsee doing is shopping and eating… So I asked her to put together some things that she wanted to do there.. So she finally got to looking at what there is to do in Singapore when she realized: there’s not much to do there except shop and eat (and apologies to Sinaporeans I know that it’s a much more intricate city than that)... I also dangled the option of another Aman in SE Asia to her… I offerred up Amanoi, Amanpuri, Amanpulo, and Amantaka as options… so she spent time looking things over and decided that Amanpuri would be great, as it was the first Aman and who doesn’t want to go to the first Aman! I finally had to sit her down and be direct with her: Amanpuri is incredibly large, older room type and I really really wanted to go to Amanoi, which incidentally was offering a 4th night free.


Flights

I know most of you guys don’t bother with the silly points/miles game but one of the main reasons I can afford to stay at an Aman occasionally is that the flights are not paid for out of pocket. I was able to find space from DCA-BOS-HKG-REP on Cathay in F with the return on Vietnam/Korean CXR-SGN-ICN-IAD in C/F. Now the flights from REP to CXR are not straight forward. Vietnam Airways offers a direct connection with 6 hour layover in SGN. I looked into a private aircraft option, which at $12,000 was a bit more than I wanted to spend… I decided to book a combination of flights of 3.5 hour layover on Cambodia Air Angkor and Vietjet. Amanoi offerred up fast track service at SGN, which I took advantage of. It went swimmingly and I was able to actually catch an earlier flight to CXR, even with immigration, baggage, and buying a new ticket. We were able to cut that layover time to 1.5 hrs. So, I wholeheartedly recommend the fast track service if you’re trying to make a tight connection in SGN… and air tickets are really amazingly cheap in Vietnam so it’s easy to book a new one and not worry about the cost of your previous ticket.
FlyingDoctorwu is offline  
Old May 10, 18, 7:08 pm
  #2  
Original Poster
Aman Contributor BadgeFour Seasons Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Baltimore MD
Posts: 3,379
Perfect Amansara

Amansara

Map| 7 Reviews | 71% Recommended

Amansara

Road To Angkor Siem Reap, KH

Perfect Amansara (66 Photos)

Amansara

Pre-Arrival Communication

Amansara was very responsive, both via Astrid the GM and through her various deputies. We had our detailed itinerary planned out way in advance of our stay, which was nice to be able to see a day to day view of what the plans were…

 

Arrival

We were met inside the arrivals hall by the fast track service. He handled our visa on arrival ($20 per person) and took care of our lack of photograph ($10 per person). After obtaining our luggage and breezing through customs he handed us over to the two waiting Amansara representatives who then escorted us to the 1967 Mercedes limo. It’s a beautiful car I must admit but if you were hoping for seat belts then you are out of luck. Don’t worry; we learned it’s a recurring theme in Cambodia… We were greeted with of course a cold towel, scented with whatever delicious smell that Amansara uses. Spoiler alert: Amansara has very very strong cold towel game. Never have I ever had so many… in fact we actually refused a couple times given that we had just received them within a reasonable interval. Anyone it was about a 20-25 minute ride to the hotel, and the AC in the car did keep but but I imagine it would be more troublesome during the heat of the day. There was of course the expected snacks and cold water in the car. We passed Angkor Wat on our way to Amansara and soon enough we arrived at Amansara…. Drogon, who I believe is the assistant GM, met us after our limo (hey it’s not often I get to say that) pulled up. We were welcomed with an amazing lime drink, which was cool and refreshing (hot tip: if the drink/dessert says lime, order it… if it says kaffir lime, order two).. He handed us off to an assistant who took us on a quick tour of the property, and then onto our room… we were also welcomed to our room with some delicious fresh spring rolls.  After a quick discussion of the room, she took our passports to complete the check-in formality.

IMG_6359.jpg

IMG_6360.jpg

IMG_6374.jpg

 

Room

Amansara is a very small property at 24 rooms. There are 3 suites and 9 courtyard suites and they comprise the original property, with the pool suites added on later. All the rooms are laid out the same, with the bed when you entry and a little sitting area followed by a step down to a bath/sink area. We had a pool suite, partly because I had this semi romantic/misguided vision of swimming in our pool after a hot sweaty day of templing… I personally loved the room; I think it’s just a timeless property. One flaw I would say is that there needs to be a light over the luggage area… or maybe I’m just getting old. However, the combination of the dark wood and no direct light makes it hard to see…The room (like most Amans) is not suited for more than two people, preferably two people who are quite intimate with each other. The tub is in plain sight and there’s not any separation at all.. I know people do bring kids; I don’t think that the room is great for kids… The pool is 6x5 m, not too big or too small but a nice private pool. It was nice to have, we did use it, but I don’t think it’s worth the extra cost… I don’t want to think of the per use cost that we ended up at (and I think we used it daily..) Included in the room were a couple of cotton scarves to wear that I think were complimentary (at least we brought ours home) and a couple of silk sarongs, which were noted to be not complimentary (and to which we paid the $85 to bring home…)

DSCF1157.jpg

IMG_6376.jpg

IMG_6378.jpg

IMG_6381.jpg

IMG_6382.jpg

IMG_6384.jpg

IMG_6386.jpg

IMG_6387.jpg

 

Property

Amansara is a very very small property; probably the smallest Aman there is (maybe Le Melezin is smaller)... It’s a formal royal guesthouse and I love the 60s style architecture.. It is, very well located in Siem Reap as it’s possible to step outside the gate and walk around town (or catch a remork to further off places).. It is immaculately kept. Absolutely gorgeous. I found it incredibly peaceful. We did swim in the main pool once, and it’s a wonderful pool but it doesn’t seem to get a ton of use (whether that’s a function of everyone just being so busy or something else I don’t know)... the lap pool I would imagine gets even less use. I loved the dining room space (where there were always yummy baked good to have!)... Loved the set out spirits and the awesome martini cart (but I never got around to getting anything form it)Nights were just magical as they lit tons of candles.

IMG_6397.jpg

IMG_6398.jpg

IMG_6403.jpg

IMG_6404.jpg

IMG_6436.jpg

IMG_6437.jpg

IMG_6438.jpg

IMG_6441.jpg

IMG_6443.jpg

IMG_6444.jpg

IMG_6559.jpg

IMG_6560.jpg

IMG_6585.jpg

IMG_6896.jpg

IMG_6898.jpg

IMG_6907.jpg

IMG_6912.jpg

IMG_6913.jpg

IMG_6981.jpg

 

Dining

Mornings started with first breakfast delivered to the room prior to the days excursions- fruit, pastry basket, and coffee.. Definitely a nice way to start the morning. After the morning’s excursion, second breakfast occurred. There’s a selction of Khmer/Western dishes for breakfast, as well as Nasi Goreng. My wife and I are huge Nasi Goreng fans and we ended up eating it almost every morning… it was very well done, though not quite as good as Amankila. I will say on one morning I had an eggs benedict which took too long, mainy due to having to make the Hollandaise sauce (which they apologized for). For lunch they feature an all day menu of a mix of again Western/Khmer food. Dinner is either a Khmer set menu versus a Western menu, which featured a choice of an entree, main and then dessert. In addition, the all day menu is available. Highlights from the food included a yummy beef curry, Nasi Goreng, and kaffir lime donuts. The rate included either lunch or dinner each day and so we ate at least one meal off property each day. It’s kind of a double edged sword with the included meals… with Siem Reap so close it was convenient to go into town and grab something to eat.. My first visit to Siem Reap was in 2003; I must say that there were quite an array of options these days… however, it was also nice just to have the option to stay in and eat… so we did both. We had a solid Italian meal at Al Forno, and got quick meals at the mall across the street (which was waaaay overpriced for Siem Reap, but super convenient).

IMG_6447.jpg

IMG_6448.jpg

IMG_6450.jpg

IMG_6452.jpg

IMG_6543.jpg

IMG_6555.jpg

IMG_6767.jpg

IMG_6768.jpg

IMG_6917.jpg

IMG_7113.jpg

IMG_7321.jpg

IMG_7342.jpg

IMG_7343.jpg

 

Excursions

This is the meat of Amansara. The whole reason that one goes to Siem Reap really… Amansara works on the “safari schedule,” which means early morning and afternoon exursions, leaving the heat of the day to things like being out of the heat of the day.  At Amansara you are assigned the same guide each day.. While I had a number of recommendations for a guide, I just decided to roll the dice and go with whoever they assigned me. I forget his name (Brohm?), he was excellent, which is good because you spend a lot lot of time with him…. We arrived in the morning after a loooooooong flgiht from the USA, but hit the ground runnimg with an excursion that afternoon. All excursions depart from the same gate, with the type of transportation varying depending on the day. My favorite was probably the vintage jeep with the remork (tuk tuk) the least primarily because of wind issues. All vehicles are of course equipped with plenty of water and plenty of cold towels. There was no shortage of cold towels. Not to delve into the individual excursions themselves but suffice to say that there are a lot lot of temples to see in the Angkor area. I thik we averaged 3-4 per day. The schedule is setup to try to avoid most of the crowds and I must say that one of the highlights was visiting Angkor Wat early in the morning.. There was a point where we were one of the only people around for about 10 minutes. I had been to Angkor Wat in the past but there was a little extra Aman cool aid that made it private and magical… Honeslty though it’s very very easy to get templed out over the course of the excursions….. The full day trip to the remote temples was probably the longest day and as our last excursion while stunning, it was probably right at my limit for temples… of course when Aman packs you a picnic lunch, they do it right! They set up a table at one of the local resaurants with a table cloth and all of the accoutrements… very nice I must say.  The Khmer House breakfast was a nice stop… they have a traditional house (with a good bathroom) where you can have a noddle breakfast (eggs are also available). My wife ordered eggs but someone ended up with a noodle dish… my wife, being waaaay to nice for me, didn’t want to say anything.. However the serve did catch the mistake and insisted on also bringing some eggs… having done the water blessing at Amandari, my wife and I were eager to do the same at Amansara… one nice thing about Amandari is that the blessing is done at the temple on sight, however, this is done at a temple remote to Amansara (About 20 minutes away).. Amansara has constructed a nice changing room on site and when they say take all your clothes off, they mean take all your clothes off…. While at Amandari it was a water sprinkling, at Amansara is a water drenching… so we got very wet.. But it was refreshed and I felt like perhaps my sins had been cleansed… at least for the time being… The itinerary had one afternoon of boutique shopping that in the end seemed to be fairly poorly organized… we just got taken to a bunch of shops that semed like the traditional places tourists get taken to that have overpriced items. Finally we asked to be taken to specific places that we had researched, which they were more than happy to do… the places that they had picked, while I’m sure were of high quality, also had this very “I want to see you a rug quality” to it.. finally, we also opted for the Tonle Sap sunset cruise. This is a extra activitiy and @ $480 I don’t think it’s as terribly overpriced as it could be… I’ve been on the Tonle Sap before, but in one of the boats that you see crusing up and down the river.. More of a transportaion device then a cruise… I didn’t find it particularily romantic or anything, but definitely interesting to see that way of life.. It’s a completely different experience with Aman of course…. Lots and lots of cold towels, canapes eo enjoy, and just pure luxury. The $480 price includes your option of wines or a split of champagne, which is just great to enjoy while watching sunset… just an amazingly memorable experience. I will say one negative is that our guide did accompany us on the trip and that while he was good about leaving us alone, I think that this is one excursion that we would have been happer doing on our own. Of note, they have dance troupes that they bring in on occasion which is nice; however I do not like that they charge extra if you attend the performance..

DSCF1174.jpg

IMG_6414.jpg

IMG_6464.jpg

IMG_6489.jpg

IMG_6524.jpg

IMG_6530.jpg

IMG_6619.jpg

IMG_6645.jpg

IMG_6656.jpg

IMG_6660.jpg

IMG_6666.jpg

IMG_6721.jpg

IMG_6735.jpg

IMG_6740.jpg

IMG_6756.jpg

IMG_6785.jpg

IMG_6882.jpg

IMG_6935.jpg

IMG_7008.jpg

IMG_7105.jpg

IMG_7296.jpg

IMG_7333.jpg

IMG_7335.jpg

 

Spa/Fitness

Spoiler alert: there is no gym.They apparently have an arrangement at Raffles if one feels the need or has time to squeeze in more activity.. I was fine with all the walking that I ended up doing. The spa is quite a nice and serene space, which I think was purpose built when they added the pool suites. They apprently offer massages by local blind people, however, my wife and I both opted for the traditional massages, which were very very good. My wife considered getting another treatment, days were just busy at Amansara so we opted not to…

 

Service

I would rate the service at Amansara as overall just stellar. Astrid has done a great job here… she was unfortunately not on site during the stay (ironically it appeared she was at Amanoi) and I would have loved the opportunity to catch up with her. Roman and Dragon were excellent stand ins and quite enthusiastic. Everything was just spot on. Our first day there was a frog swimming in our pool, which didn’t particularly interest us and while I think that initially they were confused when I talked to them about it, they then eagerly (ie 3 people) rounded it up and took care of things, Honestly nothing in stands out because everything and everyone just seemed to be doing the right thing at the right time. For instance, one night there was a dance presentation (which was an additional charge; a minor quibble not related to service) and I was sitting/sprawling/laying on a wide bench while watching. One of the staff saw me and brought over some pillows for me to lounge on. Just perfect and spot on. Good service by the pool where we of course downed more of their delicious lime drink..  Housekeeping of course was ninjas but they were probably a little weaker than I expected… and by weaker I mean that they forgot water bottles by the bed one night at turn down and one day didn’t return us a tea pot… all very minor and not a huge deal.. And that’s me nitpicking.. Having laundry service included is probably the biggest luxury. However, I was super confused because I didn’t think I was getting a lot of clothes back… I just however, neglected to look in the closet where my Under Armour shirts were hanging.. Overall I would say the the level of service at Amansara was higher than any other Aman I’ve been too, mainly because of the lack of lows…. Finally, I will say that the whole tipping thing at Amansara is the antithesis of any Aman I’ve ever been to… no tipping for most staff; however the guides are not Aman employees and they recommend $30/day for them. In addition, they also recommend $10/day for the drivers; however I do think that they are Aman employees. While I get the tips, at least for the guides, I wish that Aman would just take care of everything...

Departure

Bill was in order and checkout painless. We left about 2 hours before our flight time I think with the standard Aman farewell. They also gave us a little to go box of brownies, which were quickly consumed… then off to the airport, which is painless. Do note that they just drop you at the curb and do not offer any sort of escort service on departure…

Overall

Phenomenal stay. Defiitely a once in a lifetime bucket list type place and experience… it was definitely way expensive; probably moreso then it needs to be. I would, as DSI told me many times, not spring for the pool suite. Just cost/benefit isn’t there. However, the Tonle Sap cruise is a definite must.. I also would caution againist trying to do Siem Reap in shorter than 4 days. Sure it’s possible, but there’s a lot to see there and probably best to try not to rush it. Amansara is an incredibly amazing experience and I won’t forget it..  Service incredible; my only quibbles would be the tipping policy and the extra charge for the dance events. At that price level it seems that Amansara should just truly take care of everything...other than that a perfect stay…

Perfect Amansara

Would you like to write a review on the Amansara?

No, thank you.
Yes
callmedtop, SanDiego1K and Ericka like this.
FlyingDoctorwu is offline  
Old May 10, 18, 7:25 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
Aman Contributor BadgeFour Seasons Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Baltimore MD
Posts: 3,379
Idyllic Amanoi

Amanoi

Map| 6 Reviews | 33% Recommended

Amanoi

Vinh Hy Village, Vinh Hai Commune Ninh Hai District Ninh Phuoc, VN

Idyllic Amanoi (53 Photos)

Amanoi

Planning

I booked this portion through Besvisor, who was able to leverage the Virtuoso benefits with the fourth night free special, which definitely saved us some cash. The virtuoso benefit here is an included lunch for two. Try as hard as he could, and he really worked for my meager comission, he unfortunately could not get a guaranteed upgrade at booking. I had him book the Mountain Pool Villa in hopes of an Ocean Pool Villa… shortly after he made our booking, Amanoi announced the Amanoi Ocean Pool Villa, which to my eye looked great on Instagram. Within the week of our arrival at Amanoi, I noticed that both of the AOPV’s were still bookable for our stay, so I asked Besvisor to reach out to the property and let them know that I was more than happy to move our booking to the OPV if they would just so nicely confirm an upgrade to the AOPV… try and pry as hard as he did, they just wouldn’t go for it… Still the fourth night free plus virtuoso benefits was just a great great benefit…

Pre-Arrival Communication

Nicholas the GM (not to be confused with Nicolas from Amanjena) and his staff communicated excellently, answering all our questions about the various excursions and etc…We had considered doing the excursion involving the Cham Temple and the associated dinner, but in the end, we decided to leave all the planned activities to Amansara.. However, we had quite enjoyed our Pak Bilal dinner at Amanjiwo, so decided to book dinner at Ong Bay’s house for one night.

 

Check In

As I might have mentioned before, there aren’t very straight forward flights from REP to CXR. There was a combination of Cambodia Air Angkor/Vietnam Airways that would have been 8 hours of total travel time, all bookable as one ticket.. I did look into a charter but the cheapest I could find was just north of 12k I think.. Maybe I was looking in the wrong place.. Anyway so I went with the Cambiian Air Angkor/Vietjet combination and was reasonably happy… I had budgeted 3.5 hours for the transit, but things went so quickly with the fast track that I caught a flight two hours previous.. VietJet was perfectly fine for the 35 mins of flight time from SGN to CXR. I had asked the fast track representatives to notify Amanoi of our earlier arrival; but I also called to alert them as well… Upon arrival at CXR there was an Amanoi representative waiting as we arrived at the baggage claim. He helped us with our bags to the awaiting Amanoi vehicle, which was some sort of luxury van coach of some sort (reminded me of a bachelor party vehicle)... Of course the ubiquitious cold towel and snacks were waiting for us… interestingly enough, while water was provided it wasn’t ice cold. There was also a ipad loaded with menus/etc. The ride was fairly comfortable for the first half, but then when we pulled off the main road, and things got a little curvy...my wife remarked that it reminded her a lot of the drive to Amanzoe… nonetheless after a total of about 75 minutes we arrived at Amanoi.. We were greeted by many staff and the assitant GM Joy, who I had met many years previously at Amanjiwo.. Unfortunately for some reason I have no recollection of the exact nature of our welcome drink or anything not sure, probably just tired from the journey.. Anyway, Joy handed us off to Andrew who escorted us to our villa via buggy.

IMG_6938.jpg

IMG_6940.jpg

Room

Villa 17 is an Ocean Pool Villa that’s at the very end of the path… I think it’s probably about as far down as one can go… The path to 17 is shared by 15 and 16 as well, and honestly 16 is a bit close. It’s possible to see into both units from the path (including the bathroom/tub area) so if you’re looking for privacy I would definitely recommend against 15 and 16.. I think that 17 is unique in that the pool is before the entrance to the room, rather than on the other side of the villa. I really struggled with whether or not I liked this- on one hand the balcony got expansive ocean views and the pool also got nice views of the beach club area and water as well; however on the other hand, there was no mechanism for the do not disturb to be in seen before one sees the pool.. Thus there wasn’t any real privacy to the pool in that anyone coming up the path would see you... I raised these concerns with Joy and mentioned the method that Aamnyara has to denote do not disturb… and in true Aman fashion, Amanoi had the rope up overnight… So more about the villa itself.. The pool is extremely large; quoted as 16 m in length, which I believe is one of the largest in the category. . The short side of the rectangle is the infinity edge, which I had initially thought I would not like.. However, I really liked the pool and the views from the pool… it was nice to be able to see what was going on down at the beach club. In addition, one of the private coves is also visible from Villa 17’s pool… so keep that in mind when you’re enjoying your private cove excursion. Anyway, onto the villa itself. It’s very very comfortable and well laid out. The cursed TV is of course there and while there’s no cabinet for it to hide in, they do have a back panel cover. Of note, we did actually use the TV while we were there, which is a new development for us… it’s our first TV use at an Aman, and our first TV use at a hotel in a long time… but they had Netflix included so we finished up watching Stranger Things 2 while we were there… My wife actually said it’s her favorite Aman villa yet; just based on comfort.. I’ld have to disagree a bit, liking Amanzoe and Amanera a bit better because there’s more space delineation which is important for the early rises like myself. Anyway, usual requisite double vanities…. Andrew also showed us the shower, which he acknowledged is small (too small really for the size of the villa) but does note that it opens to the outside to get more space… and the outside is a nice long deck which gives expansive water views. One design drawback though is that I assume that the outside shower in other pool villas opens to the pool; which would be super convenient; however, in Villa 17 there is not the option to enter from the pool to the bathroom area.. All of the requisite things were present in the villa: plenty of water, tea kettle, Nespresso with plenty of pods (think that my profile must mention I’m a coffee junkie).. There was also a minibar, however, it was not complimentary which is a bummer… Local beers were like 3.50 or so, which is probably 100x the cost in a store in Vietnam but cheap enough for me to grab and enjoy in the pool. All and all I loved our villa, loved the privacy (with the do not disturb rope) and loved the pool.

IMG_6942.jpg

IMG_6975.jpg

IMG_7006.jpg

IMG_7012.jpg

IMG_7013.jpg

IMG_7114.jpg

IMG_7232.jpg

IMG_7290.jpg

IMG_7358.jpg

IMG_7360.jpg

 

Property

In contrast to Amansara, Amanoi is huge… it abuts a national park also; further emphasizing the vastness… But seriously it’s huge… We tried to walk as much as we could and it was 0.6 mi from our villa to the beach club, .38 mi to the Central pavillion.. And ridiculously far to the tennis courts… but it’s an absolutely beautiful property.. Lots of mature growth that they left in place it seems… all of the paths were well lit and marked, in stark contrast to Amanyara.. The center of the property is the Central Pavillion. Reception, dining and afternoon tea occurred here.. There was also a bar but like most Aman bars, it went woefully under utilized. However, not as underutilized as the library… which was pretty much impossible to find.. It’s tucked underneath the main restaurant and we had to ask where it was… I’m a big fan of the Aman library and this one was just disappointing.. Nonetheless, the Central Pavillion boosts impressive views.. And serves as a great focal point from the property.. Not being an expert on Vietnamese architecture, however, the architecture of the property does seem to follow the whole generic Asian NOS (not otherwise specified) theme.. Adjacent to the Central Pavillion is the boutique, which as usual peddled incredibly overpriced goods and the Cliff Pool which seemed nice but also seemed woefully underutilized. Once more beautiful views but just out of the way for my purposes. The one time we went to check it out, someone materialized and asked us if we needed any help. Other stuff on property that we used.. Let me think- beach club is definitely a high light. Pool is nice and they kept the beach pretty clean. There are a couple on property hikes that one can do, which is nice. It’s a large property and they did a great job keeping with integrating the natural features into the design.

IMG_6967.jpg

IMG_7004.jpg

IMG_7009.jpg

IMG_7017.jpg

IMG_7018.jpg

IMG_7028.jpg

IMG_7045.jpg

IMG_7046.jpg

IMG_7088.jpg

IMG_7386.jpg

 

Dining

Spoiler alert: I’m not a huge fan or conosseuir of Vietamese food. I’ve generally found the food at Amans to run from pretty good (Indonesian Amans) to merely average (Amanyara, Amangiri). It’s never really been anywhere close to Michelin level and I’ve honestly found the best food to be the simpler food that’s just done well.. Well. Amanoi isn’t Michelin level but the quality of food here was some of the best we’ve had at an Amanoi. Breakfast each morning was at the Central Pavillion and honestly doesn’t stand out too much. Eggs solid, I had the pho one morning and while it’s probably a bit westernized; let’s face it, I’m fairly Western so it was fine enough for me. I will say that Vietnamese coffee just doesn’t suit me… Lunch was typically something light by the beach, of course accompanied by the everpresent Ginger beer that Joy brought over (which recipe she did share…) Salade Nicoise was nice, as well as a couple of the other dishes we tried.. Dinner was either in the Central Pavillion or in Villa. Some personal favorites:eggplant and pork, salt and pepper squid, mixed vegetable and spicy tofu. All really simple food that was just done quite well. Definitely felt that the flavors and ingredients felt really really fresh. Afternoon tea was good, but we found it hard to trudge back to the main pavillion after a hard day of beaching... We did have dinner in Ong Bay’s house one night. While I felt the setting wasn’t as nice as Pak Bilal’s, I really enjoyed the food. I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin, but really quite enjoyed the Pumpkin and pork rib soup.. The highlight was probably the rare beef sald- so much so that we asked for it at our next two dinners. Overall the food and service at Ong Bay’s was just top notch. We are huge ice cream lovers and found that the ice cream here was quite quite good. In summary we really enjoyed the food..

IMG_6959.jpg

IMG_6963.jpg

IMG_6982.jpg

IMG_7077.jpg

IMG_7078.jpg

IMG_7116.jpg

IMG_7187.jpg

IMG_7197.jpg

IMG_7198.jpg

IMG_7205.jpg

IMG_7208.jpg

IMG_7218.jpg

IMG_7302.jpg

IMG_7332.jpg

IMG_7349.jpg

IMG_7443.jpg

IMG_7495.jpg

 

Activities

This was our relaxing vacation, after Amansara.. Our day kind of went like this…I’ld  wake up.. Watch sunrise with a cup of coffee… off to central pavillion for breakfast… hike (there are a couple on property hikes that are nice) or fitness class.. hit the private pool.. Then off to beach club for lunch/beach activities.. Paddle boarding, hanging out in the pool etc.  we also went out on the sailing catamaran once which was nice to do (they sailed us).. There are the usual water devices available free, as well as the option to pay for the water bike.. After the beach off to the spa and then dinner.. There was enough to do (or rather not do) on property that we dind’t feel the need to venture off or avail ourselves of any of the supplemental activities.

DSC02781.jpg

DSC02790.jpg

IMG_7066.jpg

IMG_7068.jpg

IMG_7071.jpg

IMG_7119.jpg

IMG_7133.jpg

IMG_7252.jpg

IMG_7264.jpg

IMG_7305.jpg

 

Spa/Fitness

The spa complex is impressive.. There are a couple of jacuzzi/steam room areas that you can call ahead and use without any charge. We used them once before a treatment and they are a nice area just to relax. They don’t keep them hot all the time, which is why a pre-call is necesary… there’s of course the requisite fitness center which we stayed out of thankfully. The Yoga Pavillion is one of the focal points of the complex and it’s where the morning classes are held. We went to two, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, which was much to my suprise actually pretty enjoyable. I had two treatments as well as my wife and they were exactly what we needed. Very solid.. Overall, of all the Amans I’ve visited, probably the best spa area yet..

IMG_6972.jpg

IMG_7083.jpg

IMG_7085.jpgIMG_7430.jpg

Service

Service was mostly quite quite good. As I may or may not have mentioned before(I’ve been working on this report for probably 2 months) , Nicolas the GM was off site the entire time. Joy, who I had previously meet at Amanjiwo, was a more than adequate assistant GM. She was great and very responsive. A couple specific examples: the beforementioned privacy issue with the pavillion. She got that fixed up for us overnight, and in true Aman fashion. I also was unhappy with the temperature of the pool our first day (it was quite windy) and asked if the pool could be turned up. She told me that the pool heaters were unfortunately all the way up but that she could move us to one of the Spa houses which had a different heating system and could get warmer. In the end we declined becase the spa houses didn’t look very private plus they had pretty much no view. Thankfully the next day the wind stopped and the pool was plenty warm. She was present all over the property and just great. Now I will say that things weren’t 100% perfect because it seemed that breakfast was a dumpsterfire. Our first breakfast, we waited about 45 minutes for our food before saying something. I ended up saying something to Joy who apologized and breakfast speed was a bit better the next couple days but I would say the breakfast team but have been the B team. Empty coffee cups would be collected but no offer or query re: additional coffee. Anyway, the rest of the meals got the A team…just breakfast (like our breakfast service at Amanyara). Chef would come out at meals to talk, explain the dishes etc… They were quite accomodating re: special requests and menu items. I’m pretty sure we ordered the rare beef salad dish from Ong Bay’s dinner at least 2-3 times. Things that were only on the dinner menu they happily also made for lunch etc. Other standout service came from Andrew. Not sure his exact title other than that he’s in the front office somewhere… He made sure to always be around (does thay guy eve sleep). Everytime we went on a hike, he would walk us over to the entrance instead of just pointing it out.. We wanted a deck of cards and couldn’t find one in the library so he tracked one down for his. Dude was definitely the biggest rock star. Kim, the F and B manager, made sure our Ong Bay dinner was perfect (which is way)... She also was instrumental in our purchase of the Amanoi placemats… we had a lot of question about them, primarily the care of them and she either answered them or found the answer to them. Beach service was great; the guys were very very helpful with the paddle boards and always set our loungers up with the requisite ginger beer. Finally, housekeeping here were the ultimate ninjas. My wife felt that the housekeeping here was superior to Amansara (which was quite good).

 

Departure

Not much to say here other than normal Aman farewell.. Our bill was in perfect order; they took off our most expensive lunch as our Virtuoso amenity.. It was a real shock of course to leave Amanoi and re-enter the real world.

 

Overall

Overall a top top Aman stay… Really good food, just a perfect idllyic setting… service almost perfect except for breakfast… really relaxing and I’m just bummed it’s so far away… Ranks amongst my top Aman stays. Thanks for bearing with this trip report.. If it’s disjointed, or just hard to follow, or repetititve I apologize.. It took me a while to write this and as I get older I may have forgotten what I said/written. Thanks!

 

Idyllic Amanoi

Would you like to write a review on the Amanoi?

No, thank you.
Yes
FlyingDoctorwu is offline  
Old May 10, 18, 8:17 pm
  #4  
formerly known as deathscar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: Virtuoso | SPG | Hyatt Prive
Posts: 1,816
Thanks for the wonderful review and photos!

Think I'd echo your comments for both properties really and specifically:
  • Amansara Pool Suite isn't worth it - book lower and hope for the upgrade. What you do need at Siem Reap though is a hotel with a very good pool, and Amansara has two (three if you get the upgrade to the pool suite).
  • Food at Amanoi some of the very best I've had - consistently better than at Aman Indonesia (although the latter's best dishes still take the cake, so to speak).
I did have the chance to stay in an Amanoi Ocean Pool Villa - is it worth booking into by itself? Difficult - I'd argue potentially yes. I do think you need to book an Ocean Pavilion (and hope for the upgrade to Ocean Pool) though rather than booking Mountain here, as gorgeous as the mountains are
chinmoylad is offline  
Old May 11, 18, 9:50 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: BOS
Programs: AA EXP, DL PM, Hyatt Diamond
Posts: 1,673
Great reviews! Really takes me back to Amanoi, which was one of our most memorable stays of all time.

Did you get a chance to see the new Amanoi Ocean Pool Villas? Any thoughts?
callmedtop is offline  
Old May 11, 18, 9:51 am
  #6  
Aman Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: OSL
Posts: 2,078
Fantastic and very entertaining and fun report. Thanks a lot.
Musken is offline  
Old May 11, 18, 6:21 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: IAD/DCA
Posts: 31,510
always appreciate the great reports, and good to hear!

Originally Posted by FlyingDoctorwu View Post
level of service at Amansara was higher than any other Aman
Originally Posted by FlyingDoctorwu View Post
amanoi...food was some of the best weve had at an Aman

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; May 12, 18 at 11:27 am
Kagehitokiri is offline  
Old May 11, 18, 11:22 pm
  #8  
formerly known as deathscar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: Virtuoso | SPG | Hyatt Prive
Posts: 1,816
Originally Posted by callmedtop View Post
Great reviews! Really takes me back to Amanoi, which was one of our most memorable stays of all time.

Did you get a chance to see the new Amanoi Ocean Pool Villas? Any thoughts?
I have - they're absolutely spectacular. There are 2 - one has a more open sea view (#3 ) and uninterrupted pool but all the terraced space is built around the side of the pool.
The one we stayed in (#1 ) has the rock by the pool (kind of cool, but makes it harder to swim all the way across without stopping midway through) but it also has a terraced space at the end of the pool, at a lower level which works out really nicely. There is a lounging space at the entrance of the pool as well of course. The view is also different for these, more side on with the cliffs/mountains across, with a lot of sea around the side (better sea view from sitting down at the recessed terraced area, vs from the room itself)

Big question is - worth booking into all by itself? Not sure. They're spectacular, but I think so are the normal Ocean Pool Villas.

Some pics below - I'll do a full report later.

#1









#3

SanDiego1K likes this.

Last edited by chinmoylad; May 11, 18 at 11:55 pm
chinmoylad is offline  
Old May 13, 18, 3:56 am
  #9  
Original Poster
Aman Contributor BadgeFour Seasons Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Baltimore MD
Posts: 3,379
Originally Posted by chinmoylad View Post
Thanks for the wonderful review and photos!

Think I'd echo your comments for both properties really and specifically:
  • Amansara Pool Suite isn't worth it - book lower and hope for the upgrade. What you do need at Siem Reap though is a hotel with a very good pool, and Amansara has two (three if you get the upgrade to the pool suite).
  • Food at Amanoi some of the very best I've had - consistently better than at Aman Indonesia (although the latter's best dishes still take the cake, so to speak).
I did have the chance to stay in an Amanoi Ocean Pool Villa - is it worth booking into by itself? Difficult - I'd argue potentially yes. I do think you need to book an Ocean Pavilion (and hope for the upgrade to Ocean Pool) though rather than booking Mountain here, as gorgeous as the mountains are
Originally Posted by chinmoylad View Post
I have - they're absolutely spectacular. There are 2 - one has a more open sea view (#3 ) and uninterrupted pool but all the terraced space is built around the side of the pool.
The one we stayed in (#1 ) has the rock by the pool (kind of cool, but makes it harder to swim all the way across without stopping midway through) but it also has a terraced space at the end of the pool, at a lower level which works out really nicely. There is a lounging space at the entrance of the pool as well of course. The view is also different for these, more side on with the cliffs/mountains across, with a lot of sea around the side (better sea view from sitting down at the recessed terraced area, vs from the room itself)

Big question is - worth booking into all by itself? Not sure. They're spectacular, but I think so are the normal Ocean Pool Villas.

Some pics below - I'll do a full report later.
Thanks! I always enjoy your reviews as well...
I don't think I would book the entry level rooms at Amansara.. I'm sure that most people get upgraded from them but I think I would be unhappy if I got them... they are in a weird location off to the side underneath the rooftop area...

During our stay, we booked a Mountain Pool Villa and received an upgrade to an Ocean Pool Villa. An Ocean Villa to Ocean Pool Villa would be a double upgrade, which I don't think is impossible but we wanted to at least guarantee a pool....

The delta between the Mountain Pool Villa and the Amanoi Ocean Pool Villa is $700/night... while the pictures look incredibly stunning, the villa itself is the same hard product, so it wasn't worth it to us (rather me) to spend the extra money... of course I was hoping for a double upgrade but it didn't happen.... I really liked our room in that we had a balcony right off with great views and the Pool area with a different view; however, I do wish there was a wet entrance into the bathroom from the pool side...



Originally Posted by callmedtop View Post
Great reviews! Really takes me back to Amanoi, which was one of our most memorable stays of all time.

Did you get a chance to see the new Amanoi Ocean Pool Villas? Any thoughts?
Unfortunately didn't get to see it... but very happy with our room....
You got engaged there right? I can see how it would be memorable...

Originally Posted by Musken View Post
Fantastic and very entertaining and fun report. Thanks a lot.
Appreciate it; thanks!
Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
always appreciate the great reports, and good to hear!
Thank you!

Last edited by FlyingDoctorwu; May 13, 18 at 4:05 am
FlyingDoctorwu is offline  
Old May 13, 18, 9:15 am
  #10  
formerly known as deathscar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: Virtuoso | SPG | Hyatt Prive
Posts: 1,816
Originally Posted by FlyingDoctorwu View Post
Thanks! I always enjoy your reviews as well...
I don't think I would book the entry level rooms at Amansara.. I'm sure that most people get upgraded from them but I think I would be unhappy if I got them... they are in a weird location off to the side underneath the rooftop area...

During our stay, we booked a Mountain Pool Villa and received an upgrade to an Ocean Pool Villa. An Ocean Villa to Ocean Pool Villa would be a double upgrade, which I don't think is impossible but we wanted to at least guarantee a pool....

The delta between the Mountain Pool Villa and the Amanoi Ocean Pool Villa is $700/night... while the pictures look incredibly stunning, the villa itself is the same hard product, so it wasn't worth it to us (rather me) to spend the extra money... of course I was hoping for a double upgrade but it didn't happen.... I really liked our room in that we had a balcony right off with great views and the Pool area with a different view; however, I do wish there was a wet entrance into the bathroom from the pool side...
Thank you!

Regarding the wet entrance - there was! All the rooms I saw (including ocean pool villa) have the bathroom opening out onto the pool deck area (the shower door opens up)
chinmoylad is offline  
Old May 13, 18, 9:24 am
  #11  
Original Poster
Aman Contributor BadgeFour Seasons Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Baltimore MD
Posts: 3,379
Originally Posted by chinmoylad View Post
Thank you!

Regarding the wet entrance - there was! All the rooms I saw (including ocean pool villa) have the bathroom opening out onto the pool deck area (the shower door opens up)
Indeed I believe that to be the case. Our villa however the pool was before the front door, and the shower opened up to a deck.. so it seems that they should have flipped the location of the shower and toilet for that villa's layout to accomplish the same thing. I'm not sure how many villa pools share that layer though.. I'm guessing not many

FDW
FlyingDoctorwu is offline  
Old May 13, 18, 6:51 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: PDX-EUG
Posts: 129
Very timely, as I'm beginning my plans for Siem Reap and plan to stay at Amansara. Your details are very helpful.

Your opinion please - they offer a Spiritual Angkor Journey which includes the usual temple guides, Khmer breakfast and water-blessing - but also the following:
  • Evening talk : Understanding Buddhism
  • Two excursions to Angkor temples with English speaking guide (supplement for temple pass applicable)
  • Traditional Khmer Breakfast at Amansara’s Wooden Village House at Angkor Archaeological Park
  • Khmer bath therapy (Sras)
  • Hot herbal compress massage (Sor om Massa)
  • Forest bathing experience
  • Monk led forest walking meditation ( Monk lead offering charity)
  • Monk chanting in local Pagoda
  • Ancestral Khmer incense class

Do you believe this to be too much for a 5 night stay?
Chancensam is offline  
Old May 13, 18, 7:32 pm
  #13  
Original Poster
Aman Contributor BadgeFour Seasons Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Baltimore MD
Posts: 3,379
Originally Posted by Chancensam View Post
Very timely, as I'm beginning my plans for Siem Reap and plan to stay at Amansara. Your details are very helpful.

Your opinion please - they offer a Spiritual Angkor Journey which includes the usual temple guides, Khmer breakfast and water-blessing - but also the following:
  • Evening talk : Understanding Buddhism
  • Two excursions to Angkor temples with English speaking guide (supplement for temple pass applicable)
  • Traditional Khmer Breakfast at Amansara’s Wooden Village House at Angkor Archaeological Park
  • Khmer bath therapy (Sras)
  • Hot herbal compress massage (Sor om Massa)
  • Forest bathing experience
  • Monk led forest walking meditation ( Monk lead offering charity)
  • Monk chanting in local Pagoda
  • Ancestral Khmer incense class

Do you believe this to be too much for a 5 night stay?
That sounds like quite the experience. We had a 4 night stay and honestly by the end we were quite cultured out. We also found that the days were pretty busy so we had a tough time scheduling our massages and the Tonle Sap excursion.. I can only imagine how busy that package sounds... but if you're really into those sort of actiitivies (and honestly we aren't) then this would be a great experience.. Rest assured that regardless of what you do; Amansara will provide a top notch experience...

FDW
FlyingDoctorwu is offline  
Old May 13, 18, 8:34 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: PDX-EUG
Posts: 129
Thanks for your response - greatly appreciated. I will probably contact Amansara and found out the details about how they fit in all those activities! It just sounds interesting to me, but if it's hot and I'm shuffling around all day long - I probably won't be so interested at that time! I would like to be able to enjoy the peace and quiet at Amansara, as well. Thanks again.
Chancensam is offline  
Old May 14, 18, 12:25 am
  #15  
Aman Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: OSL
Posts: 2,078
Originally Posted by Chancensam View Post
Very timely, as I'm beginning my plans for Siem Reap and plan to stay at Amansara. Your details are very helpful.

Your opinion please - they offer a Spiritual Angkor Journey which includes the usual temple guides, Khmer breakfast and water-blessing - but also the following:
  • Evening talk : Understanding Buddhism
  • Two excursions to Angkor temples with English speaking guide (supplement for temple pass applicable)
  • Traditional Khmer Breakfast at Amansara’s Wooden Village House at Angkor Archaeological Park
  • Khmer bath therapy (Sras)
  • Hot herbal compress massage (Sor om Massa)
  • Forest bathing experience
  • Monk led forest walking meditation ( Monk lead offering charity)
  • Monk chanting in local Pagoda
  • Ancestral Khmer incense class

Do you believe this to be too much for a 5 night stay?
We never took advantage of the afternoon temple visits while we were there. Instead we added on cooking class, Tonle Sap, a monk blessing, massage etc. for the variation. We found that brilliant, so I would definitely want to go for the journey you mentioned. Going on two temple visits PLUS the mentioned programme every day, would be too much for us, but I am sure that they have a good idea of how to fit in everything, maybe including combining some of the activities and temple visits or shorter temple visits etc.
Musken is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread