FCC Angkor

River Road, Siem Reap, Cambodia Book from

Reviewed by Rachel Everett
An old French governor’s mansion turned contemporary, buzzy hotel with mouth-watering Khmer cuisine, just minutes from the iconic Angkor Wat
FCC Angkor is more luxury residence than a hotel. Based on the banks of the Siem Reap River, this old French colonial governor's mansion has been given a contemporary update without losing any of its old-world appeal. The location is stellar, minutes away from the 12th-century Angkor Wat, and close to most of the historically rich places in Siem Reap. You're near enough to the frenetic main thoroughfare, but set back in a serene lawn, surrounded by lush foliage and abundant wildlife. And with its sleek strip of pool and evocative evening lighting, this dazzling white building dishes up a huge serving of old-meets-new glamour.

FCC (Foreign Correspondents Club) was used back in the day by journalists of every stripe - you half expect to see stringers at their typewriters on the veranda. But in keeping with today's young, effervescent feel, expect instead to see savvy locals and expats sipping cocktails at the bar and tucking into spicy Khmer curries in the restaurant. Service is immaculate yet unobtrusive; and with just 31 rooms and suites, this hotel is understated, intimate and unique.

Highs

  • Fantastic food, especially the lingering breakfasts with fresh pastries, tropical fruit, sweet honey and homemade yoghurt
  • Super-chic rooms and suites, each named after different herbs or spices - cardamom, mint, lemongrass
  • Unpretentious and buzzy atmosphere that would suit couples and friends alike: this is not your average hushed, sterile, luxe hotel
  • Spiritual massages and Apsaras body scrub at the on-site spa (30% discount to hotel guests): use of the pool, sauna and Jacuzzi is free
  • Idyllic view from the terrace of buzzy Siem Reap - day or night

Lows

  • At weekends, the bar and restaurant can get busy so book tables in advance
  • Mosquitoes can be a nuisance when having a sundowner on your veranda, so use plenty of citronella
  • Each room is full of incense which correlates to its name; if in doubt opt for lemongrass
  • Lack of facilities for children and proximity to a busy road mean this is not really a family place
  • Some may not like the louvered sliding bathroom doors which don't block sound

Best time to go

Avoid March to May, the hottest season, also the least popular. The rainy season is over by November and the weather is relatively cool (but still hot) through to the end of February (making this the most popular time to come, thus the busiest). The paddy fields are at their lushest in the rainy season (June to October), which is also the coolest time of year; the rains rarely last all day.

Come as soon as you can. More and more people are hearing of Angkor’s matchless splendour and in 5 years Siem Reap will have changed beyond recognition. There will also be more tourists at the temples.

Our top tips

You need at least 3 full days to do the temples of Angkor justice, and explore the town, which means you probably want to stay 4 nights.

Great for...

City Style
Eco
Foodie
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 31
  • Restaurant + bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

The 3 room types - all gorgeous - are Standard (which have garden views), Deluxes (which overlook the pool) and Suites. Rooms are the same size, with little difference other than their outlooks. The Suites are double the size with extra-swish bathrooms (bigger and with a separate tub), and a living area; if budget allows, they're worth the extra cost.

Each is simply decorated and named after a different herb or spice such as cardamom, lemongrass or mint. Every day rooms are scented with their eponymous fragrance so expect an uplifting aroma when you enter, making for a unique stay. Design is modern with clean lines and soft, dim lighting, and schemes are natural in mahogany, white and cream. Walls are adorned with vivid, brightly coloured art. Floor to ceiling windows with long curtains lead onto your breezy balcony or terrace. Here you have seating dotted with silk cushions (and little candles at night) for those evening impulses to sip a cocktail or two.

All room and suites enjoy contemporary comforts such as LCD flat screen TVs, DVD players, sound system and free WiFi. You also get a safe, air-con, a fan, a minibar (with cold towels in), and excellent coffee and tea making facilities with a cafetière and real ground coffee.

Bathrooms have natural eco-friendly Sense Nature products, hairdryers and bathrobes alongside gentle reminders about water usage. Uniquely, water comes through a stone passageway in the wall into the black slate shower/bath. If you're not a couple comfortable with each other's bathroom habits, the large long louvered sliding door may not provide as much privacy as you'd like.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • WiFi

Eating

The restaurant and bar are in the stunning French mansion itself. The best tables are alfresco, on the beautiful terrace amongst the French shutters, overlooking the greenery on the buzzy main street. If it’s too hot to be outside the air-con tables inside are a treat, or you can sit in the shaded pool area. The culinary delights make the restaurant one of the most popular in Siem Reap, with its own blend of East meets West cuisine. There is also a great selection of cocktails in the upstairs bar.

The highlight is definitely a decadent breakfast on the terrace - helpfully served from 4.30-10.30am giving you the flexibility to eat before or after the dawn excursion to Angkor (food is served to your room before 7am, and in the restaurant after). Feast on a vast spread of fresh pains au chocolat and other pastries, succulent tropical fruit, creamy homemade natural yoghurt (our personal favourite) with sweet, organic honey, and nutty muesli or Khmer porridge. Coffee is served strong with cream and there is a selection of herbal teas such as peppermint or camomile. Fresh juices are made to order, too.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. It boasts tasty Cambodian dishes such as K'mai kari bonlai - a thick, spicy vegetable curry with coconut milk and Tamarind chutney; Lok lak saich - Cambodian style stir-fried beef, and the generous Khmer platter for 2 - a mix of spring rolls, fish amok and curry with fragrant steamed rice (excellent). Other options include chilli mud crab with basil, mint and lemongrass sauce, and European favourites such as fillet of beef and lamb and confit of duck. There is also an interesting mix of vegetarian options.

There are lots of good Khmer restaurants in town - Pub Street is the best for a wide range of venues.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Spend time exploring the 12th-century Angkor Wat in all its glory, the principal temple of this ancient capital and the largest religious building in the world (it's surrounded by a 5km moat)
  • Be sure to visit Ta Prohm, where the roots of giant banyan trees hold temple ruins in their mighty grip as they soar towards heaven
  • And Bayon, the state temple of Angkor Thom, where 216 giant faces are chiselled into the stone
  • As well as Banteay Srei for its wonderful pink sandstone temples and their exquisite stone carvings
  • The hotel can arrange excellent guided tours, by tuk tuk, with English speaking guides, for 1-3 days
  • Indulge in some marvellous treatments for body, mind and soul at the fabulous Visaya Spa; 30% discount for guests
  • Laze by the pool and clear out the cobwebs with a cooling swim
  • Take a local tuk-tuk to the rice paddies outside Siem Reap and see local villages and lush, patchwork terraces
  • Go to the frenetic local market on a Friday and barter for local spices, herbs and hand crafted ornaments; you're a short walk from the Night Market
  • Support L’Artisan D’Angkor at work and visit the workshop for young Cambodians
  • Mingle with the local fraternity at happy hour on the veranda before heading to Angkor Kitchen for epicurean delights

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being

Kids

This probably isn't the ideal place for kids as there are no special facilities laid on for them and its quite near a busy road.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Suites are the best option as they can fit 2 extra beds or baby cots, while the rooms can only fit 1.

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
7/
Food
8/
Service
8/
Value
8/
Overall

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