Phnom Penh Hotel Reviews: The Plantation

There’s only one problem with staying in the rooftop Jacuzzi suite at the Plantation (Phnom Penh’s newest urban retreat): It has spoiled me for travelling anywhere else for a while.

It’s like the first time I upgraded to Business Class. It ruined me for life as I now find myself glancing longingly at the huge reclining chairs and premier wine list in the front rows as I drag myself into my shoebox seat in steerage.

At the Plantation, there’s not much missing for my taste. It offers a place to check in and get pampered amid the dusty streets of the city. It’s a tranquil oasis from the outside turmoil of tuk tuks and pushcarts and there are surprises around every corner.

Firstly, it’s unobtrusive. Hidden behind white walls and a heavy wooden gate on Street 184, the resort is tucked between haircutting shops and hang bais where motodop drivers slurp noodle soup for breakfast and pushcarts announce the eagerly anticipated arrival of baguettes and duck eggs. The Plantation subtly whispers its presence with a pair of orange silk lanterns – hanging like a pair of miniature hot air balloons above the entrance – and a reception area fronted by a shallow pond filled with lotus blossoms.

The hotel was designed by Ivan Tizianel and Michel Verrot, architects and specialists who preserved the front building (the former Ministry of Labour in the 1930s) and tastefully added 70 rooms, all of which are miniature works of art. There’s lots of white everywhere with touches of vivid greens, yellows and oranges in the silk bedrunners, pillows, seating and artwork. Some rooms overlook the pool, some have private terraces and some are tucked away in the back with tiny gardens and outdoor seating.

But there’s no beating the lavish, enormous rooftop suite. More than 200 square meters of luxury with its own private entrance and two balconies – one with enough space to fit a small orchestra and the other with a Jacuzzi tub for two under the stars (or the sun, depending on your time of bathing).

There’s a huge living space with a flat-screen TV and two couches (which would work as single beds), a huge bedroom with a smaller balcony and two sleek bathrooms, one with a glass door opening onto the Jacuzzi balcony.

To paraphrase the words of “Hotel California”… You can check in anytime you want but you may never leave..

Then there’s the pool. If you ever needed an excuse to linger, this would be it. It’s a shimmering body of water, brimming over the edges of a hand-crafted natural slate pool, fringed by stark white individual cabanas, each with its own fan, mattress and light; and several with steps down to the water. It’s a spot made for lounging.

Palm trees stand to attention around the perimeter and a comfortable poolside restaurant offers a variety of dishes and cocktails, competitively priced to keep you at the resort.

At present, the pool and spa are only available for guests but the hotel plans to open a second pool and spa later this year which will be open to the public.

While the Plantation may be designed for luxury, it’s also designed to promote local culture and environmental practices by planting lush foliage, promoting local artists and using locally produced goods, such as the sugar-palm wood used in most of the furniture which protects against deforestation.

As far as I’m concerned, it leaves me feeling good about feeling good

Gabi Yetter

The Plantation
# 28, street 184 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

8 thoughts on “Phnom Penh Hotel Reviews: The Plantation

  • February 4, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Does promoting “local culture” include being girl friendly? And what’s this gonna set me back? Sounds like an advertisement.

    • February 5, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      Actually, Williagra, it’s a pretty special spot … not sure about your reference to girl friendly…Sorry you think it sounds like an ad, but I found it to be delightful and hard to find fault with.

      The enormous suite costs $250/night right now. The other rooms are $65 to $80, as you’ll see on their website.

  • February 6, 2012 at 10:43 am

    “It’s a spot made for lounging…Palm trees stand to attention around the perimeter and a comfortable poolside restaurant offers a variety of dishes and cocktails, competitively priced to keep you at the resort.”….Should read: “Very uncomfortable cabanas in which you are unable to prop up your head…Palm trees are strapped up by wooden posts and a comfortable restaurant offers a limited variety of small portioned dishes and cocktails expensively priced to make a profit for the resort and leaving you wanting more.”

  • February 8, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Personally I was a bit disappointed with the Plantation, so much so I checked out early.

    Much of my gripe can be put down to it being still being built / finished but the price was full price and I kind of expected a hotel not to be having major fit work done, lighting installed, etc etc at the price I was paying.

    Add in many many small issues Eg they had us wait over 30 mins at check in as they were simply clueless as to how their booking system and computers seemed to work. In the end I had to simply demand a room key and tell them to copy our passports and deal with in on their time, something the manager should have done 20 mins earlier not leave us tired and after a long travel sitting there in the heat for no good reason.

    Room itself was pleasant and bright but the shower drain couldnt cope with the shower flow flooding the bathroom which is ‘open’ to the room. Lastly (and I know to some this may be funny to many westerners) but they have no ‘bum gun’ in the toilet, an omission I absolutely hate.

    Quite simply at this price I just felt it missed the mark, and my preferred little boutique hotel at near half price offers far better accommodation and food but without a pool.

  • February 26, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    great article – i’ll be looking at staying at this place when i visit!

  • March 1, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    The potential is there….

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