Elephant Bar, Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor
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Soak up some history while sipping cocktails
The majestic Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor was Siem Reap's first hotel and it remains the city's grande dame. If you're not staying here, it's worth heading to the elegant Elephant Bar for a cocktail so you can snoop around this regal old hotel. (Don't miss the original antique elevator in the lobby; the stupendous swimming pool inspired by the man-made barays (dams) at Angkor Archaeological Park; and the stylish boutiques, including Galerie Cambodge and Khmer Attitude in the chic shopping arcade.) While the Elephant Bar primarily sees hotel guests here sipping cocktails before or after dinner, expats also drop in to take advantage of the happy hour (4-6 p.m.), when drinks are 50% off. The bar's signature cocktail, the Airavata, is pretty special. Named after the mythical white elephant that was supposedly ridden by Indra, the Hindu King of Gods, it's made with rum, crème de banana, and fresh lime, pineapple, and coconut juices, and is a heady taste of the tropics in a coconut shell. I personally prefer their modern martinis, above, such as the Chillitini, with chilli-infused vodka, ginger, and lime juice. There's a smart-casual dress code, so men need to wear a collared shirt and trousers and everyone needs to leave their flip flops at the hotel.
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