As I was staying a day longer in Phnom Penh then my friends, I decided to treat myself and booked into Raffles Le Royal for my last night. Le Royal was first built in 1929 and played host to people like Charlie Chaplin and the former First Lady of the USA Jackie Kennedy when she visited in 1967. The beautiful Elephant bar even has a cocktail named in her honour – the “Femme Fatale” made with champagne, strawberries and cognac which was created in honour of the shade of lipstick she wore during her stay there (legend has it they found the very glass she used, lipstick stains and all when the hotel was being renovated)
It later served as a home from home for the foreign war correspondents covering the Cambodian civil war before they were expelled by the Khmer Rouge and even features in the film “The Killing Fields”.
Le Royal is located at the other end of town from where we had been staying previously and is just a few minutes walk from Wat Phnom and Sisowath Quay and gave me a great opportunity to explore new a new part of the City on my last day there.
The swimming pool was so tranquil and beautiful, the only occasional sound was guests ringing the small bell on their table for service. I admit to spending a few hours here on both days of my stay and felt incredibly relaxed, lying by the pool, glass of wine in hand and nibbling on some of the excellent hummus (on offer as part of a mini mezze plate they kindly prepared a small portion just of the hummus for me)
The Elephant bar has a great happy hour from 4-9pm daily and so I was also able to sample the “Femme Fatale” as well as a couple of other house specialties (at just $12 each regular price!) and the service could not be faulted.
My room was on the ground floor and whilst I wasn’t lucky enough to have a pool view I did like the fact that all the rooms seem to have small balconies for relaxing on (when I wasn’t by the pool or in the bar!)
Whilst a stay at Raffles is not the most economical way to spend your holiday it really can’t be bettered and I feel fortunate to have been able to use my work connections to stay here at a better than usual rate, it is certainly something I will not forget.