I have written many hotel reviews for TripAdvisor which I consider fair assessments of my experiences as a paying guest; unfortunately I now submit my first ever 1* review (all my ratings of other reviewed hotels have ranged from 3* to 5*). We're your average mum, dad and child family who saved up and dropped a lot of coin on a trip from Aus to Asia and were really looking forward to our holiday. The Belmond La Residence D'Angkor is indisputably a beautiful hotel, an oasis in the still-developing and hectic city of Siem Reap. First impressions are fabulous and it is clear that the staff are well-trained in the hospitality industry. If you're staying for a couple of nights, you'll likely have a wonderful time and remember this place fondly (food is great; rooms are beautifully appointed and clean; turn-down service at night is a special treat; ambience is peaceful; staff are friendly and attentive; decadent spa on-site). The 5* reviews from many other travellers don't surprise me and I'm sure are reflective of their experience.
Stay for longer and you may start to notice some inconveniences that take the shine off a bit but probably won't affect a high review rating....(bed doesn't seem to be comfort zoned so a restless night for one means a restless night for two; nowhere to dry wet swimming gear or clothes that get soaked in the rain; no guest laundry and the hotel laundry service charges $30 per small bag (and that's apparently a special deal; commercial laundries on the street advertise $1 per kilo); exorbitant price for small soft drinks in the cocktail lounge (you can buy these cold at the local shops for 60c a can); a terrible and persistent smell in the lift after rainy weather; and for us, no porterage service at checkout. The prices are not unusual for high-end hotel chains and, as always, guests can choose to pay these if they wish or opt for cheaper off-site options for meals, drinks, laundry and spa services (also note that advertised prices at this hotel are subject to an additional 7.5% Service Charge and 10% Government Tax). As we had found an accounting discrepancy in our confirmation emails with the Belmond and our package supplier, we monitored our expenses carefully.
It all started well, but things went downhill fast for us when we were at the pool on our second day. A heavy potted plant that was partially submerged on the steps of the pool (but, as we now know, was not affixed or stabilized in any way....holy dooley!!) toppled in when our teenage son pushed off to swim underwater to the opposite side.....he was the only person in the pool at the time and immediately prior had been enjoying a quiet relax on the steps after having been asked by a pool attendant to take care around the pot (the staff member was right to be concerned about this pot!!). Despite doing everything possible to help rectify the situation (retrieving the pot and moving it to a safe area, collecting stones from the bottom of the pool, apologising to the pool attendants), we were subjected to being publicly berated by the General Manager and, in the same interaction. were falsely accused of causing a different pot to topple in the previous day. We did not know anything about a pot falling from the steps into the pool the day prior, which was the day we arrived, and told the manager this.....he seemed to find this incredulous (we didn't see any other children/teens in the complex during our stay.....perhaps he thought we were an easy target??) and persisted with his line of questioning before delivering a lecture about appropriate parental supervision (both parents were at the pool at the time; should we ever need parenting advice GM, we'll be sure to let you know!) Different countries no doubt have different standards of safety but clearly, heavy pots that are not affixed, top-heavy and tumble into pools are not a good or safe idea, regardless of how beautiful they may look. This was an accident waiting to happen and had it not happened to us, it would have happened to someone else (.....apparently it did, the day prior according to the GM.....so why was the known safety risk not proactively addressed and removed from the pool??) Suffice to say that the whole incident put a dampener on our holiday. Husband attended the cocktail event a couple of nights later and was greeted by the General Manager with, "I see you've brought the rain with you," before turning away and walking off (hmmmmmm.......exit stage left......I don't think I'm welcome here!) Also during our stay, a poolside tree uprooted and fell onto a deck chair (.....we were on the balcony of our room when this happened and no blame was apportioned our way for this one, but a safety audit of foliage in and around the pool area does sound like a great idea!!)
On our last morning, we sought to initiate contact with the General Manager to ensure that all was fine from his end and ours before we left, but were advised that he was absent due to a day off. We did, however, meet with the person in charge that day who organised, upon request, a printed copy of our invoice. We discovered then that we had been charged, without notification, a significant amount ($250 USD) for apparently breaking 2 pots, and cleaning fees (my husband would like his cut for the clean up thanks as he lead this!!) The person in charge tried his best to sort everything out for us, and did decrease the charge by 50% as we were not responsible for the first event. During our conversation we were told that the pots had only been placed on the pool step that week and that they were 'very special pots', hence the hefty price tag. He advised that the General Manager had been unable to be contacted by phone; we have since learned that the General Manager is also unresponsive to our email (.....looks like he's trying to dodge us.....we emailed our feedback survey over a week ago; there was provision in the survey for guests to request contact from the GM......haven't heard a peep.....). We are gobsmacked to have had these events unfold at a Belmond hotel.....a name synonymous with high standards and a price to match, but in this case, not high safety standards with regard to the pool (see attached verifying photos if you're similarly gobsmacked!).
Honourable people will do what they can to rectify and problem solve when unintentional incidents happen; it is inexcusable to make false accusations, publicly humiliate people and blatantly seek to capitalise beyond what is reasonable. It is also incumbent on hotels to provide safe environments.....consider the worst case scenario of a heavy pot toppling onto somebody in a pool.....not good. We now refer to our Cambodia holiday as our Scambodia holiday. So it's a resounding 1* from me, and unless guests can guarantee themselves an incident-free stay (which from my experience may be a risky exercise !!), I cannot recommend this hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Belmond La Residence d'Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia is an intimate retreat that beautifully captures the region's history while offering every modern luxury. Located close by Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Tonle Sap Lake, it's an ideal base to explore the wonders of the region. Siem Reap's lively markets, galleries and thriving restaurant and bar scene are just steps away. 59 Suites have been fully renovated in 2016 and exude local elegance and stylish luxury, furnished with traditional hardwoods and bamboo and exquisitely decorated in soft cottons and jewel-toned silks. At Circle restaurant, enjoy Khmer hawker-style cuisine or a more International menu at Ember. The Martini Lounge is a relaxed cocktail lounge with impressive views of the gardens. A tropical oasis-like large swimming pool is at the heart of the hotel and is complimented by the tranquil Kong Kea Spa. The hotel also benefits from a fitness centre, two boutiques, a tour desk and complimentary daily activities such as a monk blessing or shopping tour. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- La Residence d`Angkor By Orient-Express Hotel Siem Reap