Your home In Cambodia’s capital city is a place that transformed the local hotel scene when it opened last year—the Rosewood Phnom Penh
. Located on the top 14 floors of Cambodia’s tallest building, the Vattanac Capital Tower, the hotel’s rooms and suites feature 360-degree views of the Pearl of Asia, a nickname bestowed on Phnom Penh thanks to its many temples and grand French colonial buildings. Both French colonial and Khmer touches are incorporated into the design of this elegant contemporary hotel that includes four restaurants and a spa, resulting in an inviting sanctuary.
Begin your exploration of this compact, unique city by sampling the food. Cambodian cuisine may be overshadowed by that of its neighbors, Thailand and Vietnam, but it’s worthy in its own right. In fact, it incorporates some of the best elements from those neighboring countries: the chilis and coconut typical of Thai cooking; and the French influences that mark Vietnamese cuisine. A lunch of dishes from some of the city’s street carts will provide a savory introduction. Try lort cha
rice noodles, num pang
sandwiches, and a dessert of fried bananas.
In the afternoon, visit the Tuol Seng Genocide Museum
, also known as S-21, after the name given to this former high school when it was converted into an interrogation center by the Khmer Rouge, which ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. This repressive regime would be responsible for the deaths of roughly a quarter of the country’s population. The Tuol Seng Genocide Museum’s displays, including thousands of photographs of political prisoners, give voice to the regime’s victims.
Then tour the Royal Palace, built in 1866 and still used by the current king. Its many buildings and temples are lavishly adorned with Italian marble, Baccarat crystal, and solid gold, making for a gorgeous as well as fascinating glimpse into Cambodian royalty.
Return to the Rosewood Phnom Penh for a sunset drink followed by small-plate Japanese dishes at Sora
. The open-air bar is located on the 37th floor, with views in every direction of Phnom Penh below.