Viroth's Villa

Wat Bo, Siem Reap, Cambodia Book from

Not a villa, but a serene Old Town hotel with modern Khmer design, a small saltwater pool and an open-air tropical lounge-cum-spa
Like a yin-yang symbol, Siem Reap is a swirling study in contradictions. Crowded yet calm, it has survived a horrific stretch of history but its people are proud of their culture and extraordinary artistic heritage; it is a shockingly poor place yet the residents are industrious, friendly and generous - especially with their smiles. In such a city, Viroth’s fits nicely. Compared to the often dusty, hot streets outside its walls, it is a sparkling-clean oasis of peace, contemporary décor and simple comforts.

Tucked on a side street that runs parallel to the Siem Reap River, the space has a quiet and secret feel as the road sees very little traffic. Inside is a very welcome sight: a small but pretty saltwater pool nestled in a corner of the outdoor tropical lobby. A slick lounging couch and collection of vintage Buddha statues next to the mirror-tiled reception desk completes the welcoming atmosphere. The rooftop hosts a plant-filled lounge where bright yellow chairs contrast with dark wooden tables, and an inviting selection of seating options invite lingering after breakfast.

Highs

  • High-quality design, spacious rooms and great prices; you’ll keep wondering how you got such a great deal!
  • The pool may be small, but with only
    7 rooms, it’s rarely crowded and is a great place to chill on comfy loungers
  • Open-to-the-skies spa, complete with mini hot tub
  • Super-friendly staff, very eager to please and happy to share their thousand-kilowatt smiles with you
  • Gigantic rainheads in the stylish double shower stalls

Lows

  • Bath products only include soap and shampoo (though these smell divine) - bring your own lotions and conditioner
  • The bathrooms are open plan; not for newly established couples!
  • Bit tricky to find; tuk-tuk drivers need directions to the bougainvillea-clad doorway
  • The desk set-up is cramped and lighting is not intended for extended periods of work time - but you’re on holiday anyway!
  • Breakfast offerings are standard and a bit dull, but you can order the whole menu if you’re really hungry

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 though.

Our top tips

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

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 7
  • 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
Room:

Rooms

Three of the 7 guest rooms are on the ground floor, the remaining 4 on the floor above; all bar one have outdoor space. Large in size, minimalist in style, they provide a refreshing calm after spending the day ogling ornate temples and experiencing sensory-overload at the markets. Colour is used sparingly: grey floor tiles and concrete surfaces on the sink and shower area make the splash of red on the outside of the shower partition extra striking. Speaking of splashing, you can do plenty of it in the extra-large shower space featuring a gigantic rain-head fixture.

The queensized platform beds covered in a soothing chocolate-coloured comforter are the perfect place to rest temple-tested feet and backs. Air con and a powerful ceiling fan keep things cool. Recessed lighting above the beds is a little bright, but contributes to the modernist feel as the room is thus uncluttered by lamps. Decorative details are provided by natural objets d’art, inspired by the Cambodian landscape.

A small bookshelf area holds a TV with a surprisingly good selection of channels, as well as a 'desk area' to hook up your computer and take advantage of the hotel’s free WiFi – although the bench on which you sit to do this is not suitable for people of all heights.

Storage space is impressive: large closets with ample hangers, a sink big enough for 2 people to unpack their entire toiletry kits, and lots of shelves and nooks for keeping things neat plus a safe. A built-in daybed provides a nice spot for reading.

Rooms on the ground floor (#1, 2 and 3) all have private outdoor patios, the one belonging to room #1 being the most secluded. Of the first-floor rooms, #4, 5 and 7 all have balconies, with room #7 being a favourite thanks to its proper desk area and view over the pool. Room #6 has no outdoor space but is private, spacious and quiet.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is a simple affair, served in the chic rooftop lounge cafe. Each night, front desk staff will give you a ticket to make your selections for the next morning. You can tick boxes next to a variety of hot and cold beverages, different kinds of breads, eggs prepared to your liking, cornflakes, noodle soup, yoghurt and/or a small fresh fruit plate. If you change your mind the next morning, the smiley staff seem happy to accommodate.

There's a bar on the roof, too, which serves drinks and snacks throughout the day.

The hotel is owned by Kol Viroth, who is also responsible for the famous Viroth’s Restaurant, located a few blocks from the hotel and well worth a visit. Its open-air contemporary setting is the perfect place to sample affordable and excellent Khmer cuisine such as Fish Amok - a popular Cambodian dish. If you prefer, you can have Viroth’s food delivered to your room or it can be served in the rooftop lounge.

There are plenty of restaurants nearby should you want to eat out. Make a left out of the hotel, turn right and you’ll see Chilli Si Dang Restaurant which serves excellent Thai food on a lamp-lit patio beside the tranquil Siem Reap river; it’s hard to beat the waterside charm of this spot. Or, if your budget allows, try Chez Sophea and Matthieu, a French-owned oasis near Angkor Wat, which serves up stunningly good local and continental cuisine.

Features include:

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

Activities

  • You're probably here for the spectacular and eerie Angkor World Heritage Site, a labyrinthine and extensive Khmer temple complex dating from the 12th century, which is a must-see in anybody's lifetime. Front desk can help you plot a strategy for exploring the temples based on how much time you have to spend, and will book a taxi or tuk-tuk as well as a guide to show you the way. If you want to do it in style, you can soar over the site in a hot-air balloon
  • Explore Siem Reap with its colonial and Chinese-style architecture, busy bar scene and bustling Old Market; to pedal around the city, hire a bicycle at the shop nearby
  • Order a spa treatment and cocktail and settle on a lounge cushion by the pool for an extra-happy hour! Reflexology and mojitos go particularly well together…
  • Khmer cooking classes can be arrange on request
  • Visit the silk farm. You’ll look at worms - and silk for that matter - in a whole new light after an hour at this impressive facility located just west of town. Admire the entire silk-making process in action from feeding the worms to the mind-boggling task of weaving intricately patterned fabric by hand
  • For the fitness minded, there are 3 golf courses in Siem Reap; if you want to practice yoga, Viroth's recommends Raja Yoga
  • Stop in at the Land Mine Museum on the way to Banteay Srey. This might seem like a strange attraction but it's extremely well done and in 30 minutes you get a concise history of Cambodia’s difficult past. The organisation continues the diffusing of left-behind mines and your support helps
  • Go birding with Osmose (a local NGO), on Tonle Sap Lake, which has Asia's largest water birds' reserve. Your contribution will help preserve the sanctuary
  • Call into the Happy Family Orphanage, which doesn’t get a lot of visitors or attention. Your driver can take you to pick up rice and other necessities before stopping by and the smiles on the kids’ faces make the hour diversion well worth it

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures

Kids

The modern décor, small pool and open-sided steep staircase are meant for adult customers, and in fact, we only saw adults during our visit. That said, children of all ages are welcome, and older kids will love the impressive temples.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

A number of the Deluxe rooms can be made up as Triples. Do note that no baby cots are available.

Distances:

  • Airport: 20 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
7/
Food
9/
Service
8/
Value
8/
Overall

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