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Le Meridien Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia [Master Thread]

Le Meridien Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia [Master Thread]

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Old Jan 13, 06, 11:52 am
  #1  
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Arrow Le Meridien Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia [Master Thread]

I stayed at this hotel for 3 nights during the first week of January. It is the closest hotel to Angkor Wat, but is still quite a distance from the temple proper (it is close to the temple ticketing/checkpoint station).

After tuk-tuking past the expansive, semi-concealed (but obviously lush) grounds of the Sofitel, riding up to this large, exposed property next to a scrubby, open field (which turned out to be LeMeridienís Palm Garden) was a bit disappointing. I believe that the hotel tried to fuse Khmer design elements to modern lines, but the hotel put me in mind of a campus building at a Chinese University.

The hotel lobby is also very large and open (and bland) -- all the better to accommodate all the Japanese tour groups waiting to meet up with their guides. There were hordes of Japanese tourists staying here, perhaps due to LeMeridien's partnership with Hotel Nikko.

Check-in took a long time (was it because I jokingly asked for an upgrade based on my SPG Platinum status?), and the hotel's record of my reservation, which I had made on LeMeridien's website, did not contain my Moments Reward number. The front-desk clerk asked us to have a seat in the lobby while we waited to be checked in, during which time we were brought refreshing ginger drinks and cold towels.

Finally we were led up to our room on the third floor. The hotel has only 3 floors and climbing the stairs is an easy alternative, so there is only one small elevator at each end of the lobby. Not to nitpick, but the hallways were really cheap-looking and made me think I was in a dormitory rather than in a 5-star hotel. The room was probably a Moments preferred room, as it had a nice view of the attractively landscaped inner courtyard. The room was relatively spacious, with a narrow dressing area off the entry and a decent-sized black-and-metallic brown-tiled bathroom with separate shower, and was decorated in a modern scheme with dark wood furnishings and wood floors. The bathroom had a shuttered window over the tub opening up into the room, so aural privacy was lacking for more intimate bathroom functions. Toiletries were LeMeridien private label.

At turndown Housekeeping delivered two bite-sized brioches on a plate. The next day when Housekeeping made up the room a plate of assorted fruit was delivered, and at turndown a plate of jelly sweets was left. The following day another plate of assorted fruit was delivered and the old plate removed, even though we hadnít touched the first plate of fruit, but then nothing new was delivered at turndown. On our last day of housekeeping, no new plate of fruit was delivered, nor was the old plate, now holding discarded lychee skins and apple cores, removed, which attracted insects. (Various insects, including mosquitos and moths, shared our room during our entire stay; this is probably unavoidable in the hotels closer to the temple parklands.) Everyday towels appeared to be re-hung rather than replaced, while toiletries were never re-stocked.

The bed was FIRM. I prefer a softer bed ŗ la the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper, so the bed was not to my liking and did not provide me with restful slumber.

Breakfast was not included in my room rate, so to save some $ I took the continental buffet ($9) every morning rather than the full American buffet ($15). Now, the Asian definition of "continental" is quite generous. I was permitted to eat everything from the full buffet except for eggs, bacon and sausage. I was also given a choice of the fresh fruit buffet or fruit juice, but I could not have both. This left me with an array of stir-fried noodle, rice and vegetable dishes to choose from, not to mention a noodle soup bar, in addition to the usual cold selections. While the coffee and tea were some of the worst I've ever tasted, the croissants were scrumptious (in my travels I've found that the best croissants to be had these days are always outside of France, in former French colonies). Service by the wait staff was rather poor due to their limited English-language skills. I would imagine that this frustration is experienced only during breakfast, when the hotel does not need to staff strong English speakers because most guests' room rates include the full buffet, in which case the only English the staff has to master is "coffee" and "tea." I did not eat lunch or dinner in the hotel and so did not have a chance to test my theory.

The swimming pool is large, with a number of sections to swim in, and the surrouding decking and even the pool itself are beautifully landscaped. I never had time to use the pool during the day and did not see many others using it either -- a shame. By evening, there were so many bugs and other flotsam floating in the pool that I no longer wanted to use it that hour.

The spa is housed in a detached building on the far side of the pool, and, while normally I would check out any spa facility, I was usually too hot or tired to make the trek over to see it. There was a spa menu in the room, however, and this listed a good selection of treatments, all reasonably priced when compared to U.S. prices. An hour-long treatment, facial or scrub, is $42. Wraps and body masks are more expensive at around $54. Lucky for hot, tired me, there was a foot relaxation lounge off of the lobby where one could pop in for a half-hour foot, hand or head massage, or for an hour-long treatment called the "Reviver," which includes all three. The best $25 I ever spent in my life was for the Reviver. I would have gotten another Reviver treatment the next day had my schedule permitted, but I had to check out of the hotel so I opted for the foot massage ($14). These two treatments were just wonderful -- the best part of my stay at the hotel.

Last edited by StarpointsSlave; Jan 13, 06 at 7:25 pm Reason: Finish Report
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Old Jan 13, 06, 4:22 pm
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Talking

We stayed next door at the Sofitel last year, but came over to the Meridien for dinner which was superb. To jump start their kitchen, they had a Chef consultant now living in Hong Kong who had grown up in Italy staff their Italian Restaurant. We also purchased a fantastic Budha head from the shop keeper who was located on the left side of the lobby. Thanks for your review. When we go back again, we had planned to stay at this hotel, especially now that it may become a Starwood property.
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Old Jan 13, 06, 6:21 pm
  #3  
 
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Thank you for the report. The hotel is relatively new and clearly things are not as well run as it should. When we were there last August, the tap water was yellow and smelled metallic. They however allowed us to use the vouchers to upgrade a corner suite to the grand suite (supposedly, the voucher does not apply for suites) ^ . The amenities there are Hermes and they gave us new sets every day (2 bathrooms) even though the old ones had not been used.

I kind of like the sterile, clean-lined decor which is quite ubiquitous in the newer asian hotels. To each his own, I guess.

Remember that Cambodia is a poor country that became democratic only recently. The service industry is not as well established as other countries like Thailand, Hong Kong, etc. I do find though that the staffs try very hard to please you. I am looking forward to reading the rest of your report.

Last edited by TiteG4; Jan 13, 06 at 8:54 pm
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Old Jan 13, 06, 7:39 pm
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The Water Now Runs Clear

TiteG4, you will be pleased to know that the tap water now runs clear and is odorless. This was not true at Hotel de La Paix, where I spent my first night in Siem Reap (LeMeridien was sold out for New Year's Eve). Apparently there is quite a quantity of iron in Siem Reap's water, which causes severe discoloration of the water. Hotel de la Paix is in the process of getting a new water system to combat the problem; LeMeridien must have installed a new system after your stay.

If I was disappointed by the architecture of LeMeridien, perhaps it was because I was comparing it to La Paix, which is one of the most architecturally distinctive and stylish hotels I've ever stayed in inside and out (although I will admit it tries a little too hard to be a temple, literally, of high design).

Except for the breakfast wait staff, I found the staff at LeMeridien generally helpful. The concierge staff was the most helpful (or had the best command of English).
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Old Jan 13, 06, 9:50 pm
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Originally Posted by StarpointsSlave
The spa is housed in a detached building on the far side of the pool, and, while normally I would check out any spa facility, I was usually too hot or tired to make the trek over to see it
Hey *Slave, I figure I would tag-team with you: The spa house shares the space with the gym, but the spa section itself is disappointingly small. There is no separate waiting room that one can lounge around in bothrobes. In stead, the guests just wait in the crampy reception desk area. Given all the acreage they have (ala the palm garden), I wish they made the spa more spacious. The treatment rooms also felt crampy. The decor is a typical asian spa (dark woods, aromatic candles, etc). They offer hot herbal tea (lemongrass with something or other) and hot towels while waiting.

I had an aromatherapy massage with frangipanni oil (the scent regrettably lasted for the entire trip). There was no masseur (just masseuses). I like my massage heavy and those petite asian therapists just did not quite cut it. The facial, pedicure, manicure were fabulous though.

About the pool, as Slave said, there are different sections. There is a reasonably long straight section where one can do laps. This is separated from the larger section by an arched bridge. There is a 'jacuzzi' section off to the side. The gym (in the spa house) overlooks the lap pool.

As for foods, the pastries were excellent as Slave said. I do find this to be true for LM in general (Samui, Phuket, Khoa Lak, Bangkok, HKG and even Cancun). The european dishes were well-done IMO. However, I did not find the local cuisine appetizing. Cambodian foods are similar to Thai, but lacking the spice oomph i am accustomed to. In any case, foods are much pricier at the hotel than at the local restaurants. Still relatively cheap though compared to other SEA countries.

I don't mean to sound negative. I certainly did not go to Siem Reap for the 5*hotel royal treatment. Angkor Wat is just amazing. The Buntay Sri temple is simply exquisite. The people are very friendly.

BTW, the Thai currency are widely accepted here: a good way to spend the left-over bahts. ^

Last edited by TiteG4; Jan 13, 06 at 9:56 pm
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Old Jul 4, 06, 12:22 pm
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Any update after the hotel became part of Starwood ?

Hows SPG Platinums treated here ?
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Old Jul 5, 06, 1:03 pm
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Originally Posted by mario33
Any update after the hotel became part of Starwood ?

Hows SPG Platinums treated here ?
Or golds....I'm hoping to be there in August
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Old Jul 6, 06, 2:15 pm
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Originally Posted by NOLAnwGOLD
Or golds....I\'m hoping to be there in August
Me too in August!
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Old Jul 9, 06, 5:50 pm
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Just got back...

My wife and I just got back from this property two weeks ago and overall it was a steal for points paid. We were greeted by the front desk staff by name (I guess because we used their shuttle they knew it) and upgraded to a corner sweet for the three nights.

Hotel:
The exterior of the hotel is very modern and ugly (IMHO) but the interior is big and well done, as are most hotels in Asia. Our room was very large with a sitting room, bedroom and bath that were all separated. The bed was hard and I couldn't fall asleep on my side as my arm would go numb. I've noticed that all the Asian LeMeriden properties have hard beds so maybe it's a LeMeridien thing... but the sheets were soft and made up some for the hard bed. The pool is okay (not enough plants and green living things to keep the heat down, as it is mostly concrete).

Spa:
My wife and I enjoyed a hot stone massage at the spa and felt it was worth the ~$60/pp but make sure you realize they don't have any double rooms if you want to be together (my wife and I requested to be in the same room and I noticed my bed was in the steam room during the massage). Also, this spa asks that you keep you panties/briefs on so make sure you don't go commando to your appointment.

Food:
We only ate at the hotel once and the food was very good, although my wife couldn't finish her hamburger as it wasn't quite an American version of a hamburger (I finished it and didn't think it was bad). There are plenty of great restaurants in town and I'd suggest you try some of the local places.

Transportation:
Tuk Tuk and Taxi prices have gone up since our last visit three years ago and they are building 5 star hotels by the dozens. We were able to rent a tuk tuk for $11/day or you can pay by the trip (one dollar to downtown and one dollar back). I'd also suggest you hire a tuk tuk for temple exploration. Some of the most interesting pictures we got were from the tuk tuk and you get a more local experience.

Temples:
I'd recommend getting a guide for your first day at the temple then going on your own for the rest of your time. Most guide books give you more detailed explanations than the guides (language is somewhat of a barrier). Must see temples are Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Phram, and Angkor Wat. I'd also highly recommend going to the Rolos temple group about 30 minutes south of Siem Reap. There are three temples there and not nearly as crowded as the Angkor complex. One of the temples has a school and monastery at its base where we talked to the kids (who were not as used to seeing tourists).

Buying things:
Please don't buy things from the shops in the old market. Most vendors there do very well and if you're interested in buying t-shirts or other things stop by the stalls at any of the temples. That way the money goes to the people who need it most. Also, the kids who are selling things are usually doing so to fund their schooling (some are working for their parents or others) but most are not trying to rip you off. My wife took some bracelets she made and match box cars to give to the kids and it was great to see their reactions (we gave most our stuff out to the kids at the school in the Rolos Group of temples).

Other:
Landury costs $1/kilo and takes about 12hours to do. High speed internet access can be had at the hotel for $15/day or $1/hour in town. If you try and speak a bit of Cambodian it goes a long way...
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Old Jul 11, 06, 10:17 am
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Thanks SLC2002 for the update.

Did the hotel comp your breakfast on your award stay ?
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Old Jul 14, 06, 6:04 am
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I have been staying here for the past 3 days. Was upgraded automatically to Corner Suite as Plat. The room is fairly modern with electric controls for lighting and 1 1/2 bathrooms. The bed is rather hard like a past reviewer mentioned but it's probably good for the back. There was a fruit plate as well as a snack plate on arrival. I thought it was pastries but it turned out to be some kind of spicy peppers which was disappointing but still a nice touch. Turndown service offered macaroons which was nice but inconsistent (only once during stay). The amenities were not replaced daily which is kind of cheap. Internet access is $15/day using wireless which is pretty slow and low signal everywhere in the hotel.

I only saw two other people so far during my stay here seems like the hotel is completely empty must br low season. The breakfast buffet is IMO not worth the $15 as there is only one small table of food (equivalent to most hotels exec lounges). Service is not up to par and they forgot to bring one of the orders although the waiter reconfirmed the order before leaving. I would suggest having breakfast in town at one tenth of the price.

Room service food was pretty good but I had to order items by number they didn't understand basic requests such as adding mushrooms or even the names of dishes. They were also out of two entree items. For breakfast room service took an hour to show up although I ordered only the Fitness Breakfast (toast, all bran, and fresh fruit). They also screwed up and brought a wrong dish (yoghurt with fruit instead of mixed nuts and berries).

The concierge arranged for a driver for the day which is cheap at $25 full day or $13 half day as well as a tourguide. After asking the tourguide to take me to a specific spa (Vicaya) he instead had the driver go to a small local place and said I should go there instead but drove to the right place after I refused. He also pretended not to know where certain things were. Also they did not offer any assistance in escaping local beggars trying to sell various trinkets. The hotel had more expensive options for renting a driver but they all had to do with the type of car (Landcruiser 2005 was $80) but no options for the quality of driver/tour guide. Also asked the concierge about upscale nightlife venues and he recommended a club that turned out to be very ghetto. They also did not know the opening hours of most restaurants.

Since I haven't stayed at any other properties here I can't compare it to anything- basically a nice hotel but definitely not 5 star service and although staff speaks English they do not seem to understand much. There is a boutique hotel called "the One hotel" which is to e very nice starting at $250/night that I will try next time. If anyone else happens to be in Siam Reap please PM or email.
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Old Sep 1, 06, 8:07 am
  #12  
 
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Trip Report: Le Meriden Angkor Cambodia

Just got back from a 2 night stay at the Le Meriden Angkor as a gold using points (4,000 per night, a steal!).

Overall, nice hotel. On check-in at 10 AM they sat us down, offered a ginger welcome drink while they got the room together. After about 10 minutes wait, was escorted to the room by one of the front desk staff and the bags followed about 2 minutes afterwards. Was told about the amenities the hotel offered which was nice. Some fresh fruit was waiting at the room on arrival. We got a corner room (very nice modern hard wood floors great bathroom with a window to the bedroom) overlooking the beautiful pool. The first afternoon, got little appetizers, a salmon mouse, blueberry infused vodka, 2 stuffed eggplants, and some coconut bread.

I took a taxi from the airport ($5) and liked the driver for his quiet but helpful, not pushy demeaner, so used him to shuttle me between the temples of Angkor Wat. $20/day. The hotel can arrange a driver and guide for $25 per day each person too.

Had a lunch and dinner at the Royal Cafe which were pleaseant. The food took forever to come out though. The river lobester ($22) is awesome, as is the Aspara Salad (smoked duck, mango, papaya, carrot salad with a passion fruit dressing $11). The seafood soup ($26) wasn't worth the price. The Freshie Naga cocktail (Malibu rum with fresh coconut juice and mint $4) was great and refreshing. I had 3.

Definately a great trip and highly suggested for anyone considering the trip.
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Old Sep 1, 06, 9:01 am
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Decent hotel, stayed there in June. Had the same experience checking in but when I inquired about upgrading to a corner room (as a Gold) they politely said no. I found the restaurants to be overpriced (especially breakfast) but I think that's the case in most of those "5 star" hotels in that little strip.
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Old Sep 1, 06, 9:31 am
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OT, I know....As for eating at the restaraunts, consider going into Siem Reap for dinner. There's some good food to be had there, you can mingle with the Khmer people, and the money you spend goes into the local economy. One of the complaints about all the luxury hotels is nobody leaves them except to go to the wats. Since the hotels are mostly foreign owned, the belief is the money goes straight out of Cambodia.
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Old Sep 1, 06, 11:24 pm
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Originally Posted by deckman
Since the hotels are mostly foreign owned, the belief is the money goes straight out of Cambodia.
Has anyone tried remitting large amounts of money out of Cambodia ?

Lets not forget these foreign owned hotels provide jobs for the locals, and significant amount of money have already flowed into the country to build them. If everyone stopped staying at foreign owned hotels, the flow of capital into the country will definitely stop.
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