How often does a king’s car pick you up at the airport? Arrival at Heritage Suites begins with a vintage 1962 or 1968 Mercedes—one of which used to belong to King Norodom Sihanouk—before promptly whisking you off to a historic cream-colored building of soaring arches, mahogany columns, and wrought-iron balconies. With just 26 rooms (most of which are suites), the boutique hideaway is often so serene as to feel more like a royal’s private compound than a hotel—if a royal’s compound had its own high-end tour agency and one of the trendiest jazz bars in town, that is. Rooms are spacious and surprisingly modern in style—all suites have a lush private garden, and top-tier rooms also have a private hot tub—and welcome drinks and canapés help guests immediately acclimate to the villa’s languid and decadent atmosphere. The sprawling saltwater pool and its umbrella-shaded sunbeds beckon at all hours (including for romantic candlelit dining), while the intimate spa offers yet another way to unwind in between temple excursions.
Best of all, the hotel gives back: it works closely with the Sala Baï Hotel and Restaurant School, training and hiring students from this school that works with underprivileged Cambodians, especially women, and offers guests opportunities to participate in activities with the school.
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Hidden away in Siem Reap’s pagoda district, Heritage Suites is within walking (or short tuk-tuk) distance of this once-sleepy tourist town’s sights, restaurants, and lively nightlife, but also just a 10-minute drive from the temples at Angkor. Wat Polanka is just down the street, Wat Bo is within a short walk, and the Center for Khmer Studies (housed in the former royal palace) is just across the muddy Siem Reap River that bisects the town. Pub Street, a lively area popular with backpackers, is lined with tourist-friendly bars and eateries, while the more culturally interesting Old Market is just around the corner. Pop into the iconic Foreign Correspondents Club for a cocktail and a glance at the art deco architecture. Excursions and tours that are classic, adventurous, or off the beaten path can be arranged through the hotel’s Heritage Adventures outfit.
Need to Know
Rooms: 26 rooms, 20 suites. From $145. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The hotel’s airy, elegant lobby is home to the Heritage Restaurant, which serves modern Khmer cuisine and fusion dishes all day; nab one of the mezzanine balcony tables for the best people watching. The restaurant also hosts a weekly barbecue evening by the pool, accompanied by a dance performance. The pool bar itself serves snacks and light meals throughout the day, and is at its most scenic in the candlelit evenings. Decked out in mahogany and ivory, the lobby lounge, overlooked by the restaurant’s mezzanine, is a popular spot for locals, guests, and other out-of-towners for afternoon tea, a well-mixed cocktail, and live jazz. Room service is available when the restaurant is open. Spa and gym details:The hotel does not have a gym, but the small Heritage Spa by Bodia offers a range of treatments using organic products and traditional Khmer techniques, as well as steam baths and oversized soaking tubs; be sure to book in advance. The blue-tiled saltwater pool is large enough for a morning swim or refreshing post temple-excursion dip.
Who's it best for: Luxury-loving couples and independent travelers who appreciate vintage-meets-modern style. Our favorite rooms: The Bungalow Suites blend sleek style with both midcentury and art deco–inflected sensibilities. A wall of windows opens onto a lush private garden with an outdoor shower and hanging bamboo chairs. Artwork and all furniture was made by local craftsmen and artists. Explore the area:The hotel’s own Heritage Adventures offers a range of distinctive tours and excursions, including tours of Tonle Sap Lake on the hotel’s private yacht and excursions to the Angkor temples in a vintage car.