Index:

Let me start by saying I made a pretty big strategic mistake. I hadn’t spent much time investigating how to get around Siem Reap before departing for Asia, and I wanted to make the arrival at night as easy as possible, so I simply emailed the hotel for airport pickup.

Sometimes it can be a reasonable value although almost always much much pricier than ‘locally’ arranged transport (whether in a city with public transportation, or just dealing with an airport cab). Sometimes I find good value, actually, for instance when priced right and when the car will have internet and I’ve traveled for a full day and need to catch up on work — and if the car ride is going to be about an hour I can get enough done that I can just go straight to sleep when I hit the hotel.

In this case it was a very short drive to the hotel. And the airport transfer price was ludicrous at US$50.

Why is that ludicrous? A pre-arranged car can be had for $12 even.

Still, if the spread were closer, having a hotel pickup can be nice the way a driver and guide can be nice in an unfamiliar city — I often think of it as hiring one tout to keep away the others. If I were a first-timer in Bangkok I might even want a guide, if only to keep away all of the scammers pretending to be police telling me the tourist sites are closed (but who can direct me to a tuk tuk who would be happy to give me a tour… to a jewelry shop).

But I didn’t even get that because the driver spent the entire trip to the hotel trying to sell me on his services as a guide visiting the temples during my stay. Seriously? I’m paying $50 and getting a sales pitch? Let that be a lesson to us all..

The Park Hyatt Siem Reap is reasonably priced for a Park Hyatt (although Park Hyatt Chennai must be the cheapest) but is impossibly priced for Siem Reap.

Rates often hover ~ US$190++ per night, although get higher when near capacity.

Now, this is hardly among the priciest properties in town. It doesn’t come anywhere close to Amansara. The Raffles is generally more expensive. Among chain hotels though you’ll find better pricing at the Le Meridien.

There are numerous local boutique properties that can be had for far less, both in town and closer to the temples. A friend’s Journey’s Within Boutique Hotel, for instance, is outside of town (and nearer temples as a result) and offers free internet, free cell phone use with local SIM card, free tuk tuk into and back from town each evening, as well as complimentary laundry, breakfast, and minibar sodas – all for less than the Park Hyatt but more than what modest accomodations chage in the area.

Nonetheless I was specifically interested in the Park Hyatt, and have been since Hyatt was first announced to be taking over and renovating the old Hôtel de la Paix.

And all that said, I found this to be a fantastic hotel with great facilities, a very convenient location, and outstanding service.

On arrival I was taken into the bar to do a seated check-in, rather than to the front desk. While normally quite pricey there, your cocktail during check-in is complimentary. I found the ambience to be how I imagine 1930s colonial.

The welcome menu (click to enlarge):


Disappointing to many dear readers, perhaps, I had only a soft drink.

From there it was up to my room.

I had confirmed a suite at booking thanks to the generosity of the Hyatt Gold Passport program.

Entryway

Guest bath

Living room:


    Not quite done decorating?

Bedroom:

Bathroom:

From the winowd I could see all of the action right smack in the middle of town at night.

Diamonds receive complimentary breakfast in the morning, buffet plus the ability to order hot items off of the menu as well. They bring you a bill, but then take the charges off the bill.

The restaurant is off of a courtyard area in the center of the hotel, and I took my breakfast outside each day.

The first two of three days I took it at the tables directly outside the restaurant. The third morning those were all full, so they set me up across the courtyard at a table outside the bar.

Here’s the menu (click to enlarge):

The restaurant inside had plenty of seating, but outside was quieter and generally more pleasant.

The buffet was certainly extensive enough, although not impressively so for the region.

The soups for me were a highlight.

And especially the Khmer fish curry noodle soup.

The hotel has a small pool area that never seemed busy.

And inside, shops and a gallery that were also not well-trafficked.

Ultimately I had a fantastic stay. I really liked walking out of the hotel and right into the middle of town. I liked retreating to my suite, which was a great value for the price, and of course including daily breakfast I felt like I got my money’s worth even though it’s expensive for Siem Reap.

At category 4 (15,000 points per night, or 7500 points + $100 if cash and points are available) it’s too many points for a $200 room in my view. Although the numbers make more sense if you’re trying to stay at the property when pricing jumps over $300.

I think this is a really good hotel, in a city with many, many options to choose from.


  1. Andrewj said,

    What category of suites are diamonds eligible to be upgraded to please .

    Also I looked at your friends journey website, and perhaps it is just me but I did not see a map showing their location just a reference to it being out of town, nor any indication of pricing, just a reference to guaranteeing the best price. Unless I am mistaken, omitting both place and price is a tremendous discourtesy and time waster.

  2. Gary said,

    @Andrewj – they can’t publish price, I suspect, because of agreements with the online booking services which sell the rooms. I looked them up yesterday at Booking.com and saw a $130 price but they’re happy to work something out with you, online travel agency sites are taking 20%+ of the room revenue remember. It’s 3km closer to the airport than the Park Hyatt, off Airport Rd.

    Confirmed upgrades at the Park Hyatt Siem Reap book into Park Suite King.

  3. R B said,

    I stayed there for 2 nights between Christmas and NYE, rooms were going for $500 a night. I thought it was a good use of my points.
    Great hotel, I second your opinion.
    And Siem Reap is simply a ‘one of a kind’ travel destination.

  4. FullMoon said,

    I used this fellow and was very pleased. He gave me fascinating insight into his culture for little cost.
    http://taxiservicerak1.blogspot.com/

  5. Tony said,

    @Gary, I will be going to Siem Reap next month. Did you get a guide? Do you have one you can recommend? Also you mentioned the points is too high for reward stay. Is it worth the cash and points?

  6. Susan said,

    @Tony – We have a guide we can highly recommend if you’d like. He was originally recommended to us by diplomat friends from Bangkok – he’s known to and recommended by quite a few Bangkok and Hanoi diplomats and expats. His English is excellent and he can take you to all the usual temples as well as some further afield that have only jrecently been excavated. We used him on both our visits.

  7. Necessary Indulgences said,

    @Susan – I would love to get your recommendation for a guide. We’ve got a visit planned to REP but no guide arranged yet. Thank you!

  8. Matt said,

    FYI, that pool is a bit small and boring. But on the first floor there is a second huge pool! It leads to the fitness center and spa area.

    Tony: if you’re not too concerned about costs, absolutely go with this company: http://www.aboutasiatravel.com/ (bonus: they donate all of their profits to local schools).

  9. Susan said,

    His name is Chhor Chamnan (Chamnan is his first name) and he can be contacted by email at chhorchamnan@hotmail.com. His mobile number is +85512786723.. My name is Susan Williams – feel free to tell him you got his name from me. He’s a young guy in his late 20’s. One of the things we really liked about him is his sense of social responsibility. He won’t volunteer the info, but we found out that he supports quite a few people beyond his immediate family and has worked with one particular village to try to bring in some tourism. A really good guy and a flexible and very helpful guide. If you want to cover the main sites, as we did the first time, he’s a mine of information on them and the best times to see them. Or if you want to go off the beaten track, he can arrange for you to have a meal in a home in a village, for example – quite memorable. Just tell him what you’d like and he can work up a program. He has an air-conditioned car and there is a price for his services and for the car. I’m afraid I forget what we paid on a daily basis but it wasn’t more than $100 for him and the car, and may have been less, for very long days.

  10. Seth said,

    Nice looking hotel, but I don’t care. If there are hotels in the area that are nearly as nice at less than 1/3 the price there is no way I am staying there. I’d rather patronize a local business or at least a smaller business than some multinational corporation when in such an economically depressed area. Plus who wants the generic chain hotel experience in such a culturally rich place!

  11. Gary said,

    @Seth it really wasn’t generic at all, the people were genuine, it was a fantastic hotel. But as I say in the post there are plenty of other options.

  12. Peter said,

    Gary was this your first trip to Siem Reap? The Sofitel if it is still there was always a great spot, The Raffles as you say as well and then there is the FCC Angkor – wonderful with a sister hotel in PP.

  13. Gary said,

    @Peter – yes my first time in Siem Reap

  14. Nick said,

    @Gary– was just doing essentially the same trip as you last month, but found the PH Siem Reap — and Siem Reap in general — to be a bit of a letdown. Something about the hotel felt “off” – like it might have been better branded as a Regency or a one-off Hyatt. The toiletries were Grand Hyatt standard, after all. I found the PH Saigon to be maybe less cosmetically up to date, but absolutely professional in every other regard. The PH Siem Reap seemed to be lacking somehow.

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  20. Chris S. said,

    Just stayed there last weekend, and took a taxi from the airport to the hotel for $8. We also spent the entire trip declining a tour from the driver. He said something like, “You stay at the nicest hotel in town and you don’t want to give me a job?” Little did he know that our cost out of pocket was $0.

    I do feel a bit weird about the fact that there’s a Park Hyatt going for at least $200 per night when less than 1km down the main road there’s incredible poverty — houses sitting adjacent to a river of trash, with 10 people laying on the dirt floors attempting to stay cool. $200 could probably feed them for a year.

  21. Gary said,

    @Chris S well for what it’s worth there are other more expensive hotels than the Park Hyatt there. And your cash is employing a bunch of people. You’re a tourist, but hotels catering to aid workers in the poorest parts of the world are often even more expensive.

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  24. TLV Guy said,

    I was in Siem Reap in 2005.
    I remember I paid exactly $3 per night for my room which had an en-suite bathroom and was in an excellent location.
    I admit however that your room looks much nicer :-)

  25. Craig said,

    Hi Gary,

    For some reason I missed this post until now. We stayed in the exact same room in February.

    We had the exact same picture frame with no picture in it. It wasn’t prominently displayed and we assumed another guest left it, so we took it. It seems the hotel replaced it with another!

    Overall, we were very happy with the Park Hyatt but if I wasn’t a Diamond member and I did it again, or I was recommending a hotel to a friend, I would probably consider a different hotel that is less expensive.

    I thought the room was a little too dark at night — it was almost impossible to read. The breakfast and tables for eating outside were delightful. In addition the buffet, we had omelettes to order. The lighting controls in the room were a little confusing.

    Both pools were nice for a quick dip, but in the afternoon, it was hard to get sun in many spots.

    It was exceptionally easy to get a tuk-tuk and very inexpensive. It was also super easy to walk to a variety of restaurants and shops.

    You don’t have to convert your U.S. Dollars to local currency in Siem Reap. I think the exchange rate was even (slightly) better when paying with U.S.Dollars. If anyone goes to Siem Reap, U.S. Dollars are accepted everywhere and even preferred.

    We rented bicycles nearby and kept them for 24 hours. The hotel stored them for us overnight. I would highly recommend this.

    We also went to the local circus, which was very good for an evening of light entertainment.

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