If you’ve come to Siem Reap, you’ve already got architectural wonders on the mind. And though you’ll spend your days learning about a 1,000-year-old civilization, a stay at Viroth Villas (formerly known as Viroth’s) allows a more recent era of Khmer creativity to be contemplated: the 1960s. The decade saw the arts flourish in newly independent Cambodia, most notably in the modernist New Khmer Architecture style. Viroth Villa’s boxy, petite, two-story building is one of the Le Corbusier–inspired genre’s few remaining examples (there are others in Phnom Penh and Kep, on the coast), and its owners, Fabien Martial and Viroth Kol, went to great pains to honor its clean lines and honest aesthetic when renovating the dilapidated building in 2007. Rooms use local materials to modern effect, with dark gray tiled floors and polished terrazzo baths, woven water hyacinth mats, and teak doors. Decor is kept to a minimum—a single standing Buddha, a giant frond from an Elephant Ear palm in a vase—but expertly curated and placed, lending the property the feel of a Southeast Asian art gallery. The intimate, seductive style can also be found in the couple’s second, larger property, the Viroth, a newly constructed 1950s-inspired space that opened in January 2015.
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Viroth Villas is located down a quiet lane in the Wat Bo area, home to many other hotels and restaurants. It’s adjacent to the river and a quick walk to the center of town. Be sure to check out nearby Wat Bo, a working monastery complete with monks’ living quarters and several halls of worship.
Need to Know
Rooms: 7 rooms. From $80 to $120. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: There’s a café on the rooftop serving light bites and drinks, but the owners’ excellent eponymous restaurant delivers meals to the hotel. Spa and gym details:There’s an airy rooftop spa; try the massage with virgin coconut oil for supple, rejuvenated skin. No gym, but guests have access to the Viroth’s exercise room. The saltwater lap pool is surrounded by a lush garden; float on your back to appreciate the property’s modest-chic exterior.
Who's it for: Couples seeking an intimate retreat surrounded by minimalist luxury. Our favorite rooms: Room 1 has a small terrace and garden, while Room 7 offers the best view of the pool through large windows, and two balconies. Must-eat: Ask the staff to book a table at Viroth’s Restaurant, just a short walk away. It’s one of the town’s best spots for a Khmer feast. Try the prahoc grilled in banana leaf and minced pork in kaplou leaves.