A love for the lush Cambodian countryside and its charming rural architecture led four Swiss friends to open Sala Lodges, which celebrated its two-year anniversary this March. They amassed 11 stunning examples of the wooden homes on stilts that punctuate the Khmer landscape, hiring carpenters to carefully select, disassemble, transport and resurrect them on a two-acre plot of land in Siem Reap. Each house has its own unique style and story to tell—some dating to the 1940s.
Now, rather than falling into disrepair as they once were, the majestic structures are filled with antiques, canopied beds, soft lighting, and pastel-hued fabrics, updated with essential modern-day luxuries like air-conditioning and rain showers. Indigenous trees and plants like palm, papaya, and banana trees, and rice fields populated by little frogs and chirping crickets, are an ode to local village life. The generous layout of the rooms and verandas lends a languid atmosphere perfect for taking in the property’s enchanting sights and sounds while contemplating the splendor of Angkor.
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In keeping with the provincial atmosphere, Sala Lodges is located down a dusty road in the area known as Wat Damnak. The town center is a quick tuk-tuk ride away. Cuisine Wat Damnak, known for its French chef’s innovative tasting menu, is a three-minute drive.
Need to Know
Rooms: 13 rooms. From $230 for a two- to three-person house. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The tranquil alfresco restaurant offers flavors both Eastern and Western. Don’t miss the chef’s fish soup (spiced with herbs from the hotel’s vegetable gardens), Khmer crepes stuffed with meat and shrimp, and passion fruit crème brûlée. Private dining is available upon request at the Long Table, where barbecues, Lebanese tapas, or meals prepared by guest chefs are served amid the rice paddies. Butlers can serve private meals in the rooms. Spa and gym details:Partner Bodia Spa, which delivers some of the best massages in town, can be contacted for in-room services. Come sunset, head to the greenery-edged pool with a Cambodian Catapult (pandanus-leaf infused vodka) in hand to watch the sky turn orange and violet.
Who's it for: Families or groups seeking spacious indoor and outdoor areas to unwind, roam, and swim during downtime. Our favorite rooms: House 11 is set farther back from the path that connects the rooms, providing the most private experience, while House 5 has the largest interior and terrace (a good option for families). House 1’s triple roof is the property’s most memorable facade. Local culture:Sala Lodges books a number of atypical cultural excursions; try the monk’s blessing for a spiritual (and fun) experience.