Heritage Suites Hotel

Wat Polanka, Siem Reap, Cambodia Book from US$165

Reviewed by Tom Bell
A unique stylish hotel with great rooms and suites, a salt-water pool and mouth-watering Khmer cuisine, where privacy abounds
Everything here is a treat. The hotel blends French colonial cool out front with contemporary design in back. In the main building, a magnificent colonial wood-and-steel construction is dominated by a brushed chrome bar and sparkling mirrors, plus there's a galleried restaurant with the sweetest staff in town. Through a long classical gallery (housing the Classic Rooms) you reach a fabulous shaded pool, with a bar and padded loungers flanking the water. Beyond that lie the suites - and you really want to try for one of these, as they were among the best rooms we saw in town. They come complete with private walled gardens where you can shower in the shade of palm trees, and free-standing stone baths in the middle of each room.

This is the perfect bolthole for couples after action and adventure paired with ultimate relaxation. The hotel has its own tour company offering tailor-made adventure trips; try mountain-biking through the forest into Angkor’s secret temples or live it up with a Champagne cruise on the Tonle Sap, Asia’s largest freshwater lake. There’s also an impressive spa to help you unwind in at the end of the day.

Highs

  • The suites are seriously spoiling and romantic: fabulous beds, steam rooms and power showers, private gardens and massive terrazzo tubs
  • The pool terrace, with its smart loungers, lush gardens and staff on hand to fix you a drink
  • This is a very private place: if you’re looking to be left in peace, you will be
  • Set in a pleasant and peaceful area, and just a 10-minute drive or 30-minute cycle ride from Angkor Wat
  • The loveliest staff in the world

Lows

  • You’re not that far from centre of town, but you’re not really close enough to walk and the immediate residential area is somewhat ordinary
  • On the temple side the chanting starts before dawn, goes on for a long time, and the abbot has a very peculiar voice
  • The redecoration of the rooms - all made by local craftsmen - is easy on the eye but a bit bland
  • Despite all the luxury the towels are curiously mean in conception
  • It’s keenly priced

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 quite 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 a little muggy, but it usually only rains for an hour or two.

Our top tips

You need at least 3 full days to do the temples of Angkor justice.

Great for...

City Style
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 26
  • 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
  • Tour company
Room:

Rooms

All rooms and suites are in a style known as Asian modern, with indirect fluorescent lighting and an almost-achieved tadelakt effect that pretty much washes over you. Bathrobes and slippers are provided, as are hairdryers, air-conditioning, lotions and potions.

Along the second-floor of a smart colonial building, the Classic Rooms sit between the main house and the pool. They’re compact at best but make up for it with their wonderful location.

Given the choice we'd opt for a suite. All have green roofs, are named after local herbs and fruit, and sit either side of a winding path. Inside, one whole wall is glass and opens onto your private garden, where a largely decorative outdoor shower is safely walled from prying eyes. Inside, uniquely, is your own programmable steam bath as well as a power shower and an oval terrazzo bath opposite the bed. As for the rest of your micro-palace, super-comfortable beds come as standard, and colour-washed walls come in blues, greens, reds and yellows. The Executive and Royal Suites have added square footage and outdoor sunken Jacuzzis. There are bowls of fruit, paper lanterns, clever espresso machines and a sound gewgaw. TVs are available on request, a nice touch.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Internet access
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

The main building is a great barn-like structure with Eiffel-style steel struts supporting an upstairs gallery, with myriad French windows. You eat here by default, but all meals can be served in your room or, in good weather, poolside. Lunch and dinner share the same menu, but snacks can be arranged throughout the day from the pool bar (sandwiches, salads, a bowl of pasta). The menu mixes European and Khmer dishes, so try crispy duck salad, baby calamari soup, pan-roasted chicken marinated in lemon, then crepe suzette or banana and walnut spring rolls. The wine list and cheese board are both excellent.

Breakfast is seriously excellent, with a choice of eggs including (delicious) Benedict and Florentine, good bread and pastries, good tea, and homemade jams. Staff are tear-inducingly lovely.

The grand open space also serves as a lobby bar with an impressive range of cocktails, and hosts a popular jazz night on Thursdays that brings in the posher expats. Tuesdays in high season see the Khmer BBQ which is accompanied by Apsara dancing - reports are excellent.

Head into town and find loads of restaurants to choose from, especially nearby Bo Street.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Book an à la carte adventure day trip with the hotel’s tour company. Try jungle-trekking, mountain biking, a Champagne sunset cruise, or even guided tours of temples by resident archaeologists
  • Visit Angkor Wat, the principal temple of this ancient capital and the largest single religious building in the world. It is surrounded by an impressive 5km moat
  • Equally striking is Ta Prohm, where the roots of giant banyan trees hold temple ruins in their mighty grip as they soar towards heaven
  • Bayon, the state temple of Angkor Thom, is where 216 giant faces have been chiselled into the stone
  • Drink in the Old Market/Pub Street, the bustling and deliciously horrid tourist ghetto. It has plenty of restaurants and bars, of which Miss Wong’s, down an atmospheric alley, is the best
  • Hotel staff can arrange elephant rides near the temples, golf at a nearby course, even a ride in a balloon hovering over the Angkor temples
  • Unwind in the hotel spa with a couple's massage and do leave time for a spot of reading and lounging by the hotel's salt-water pool...

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome, and the lush grounds are great for little ones to explore.

Best for:

Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Royal Suite has 2 kingsize beds, and all of the suites can fit an extra bed or a baby cot.

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available.

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

Families Should Know:

The pool is not supervised.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

{{ review.firstName }}{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},
Feedback is only from guests who have booked and stayed through i-escape

Rates for Heritage Suites Hotel