Amansara, the former guesthouse of King Sihanouk, is situated on the edge of Siem Reap just 10 minutes from the entrance to the Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site. It derives its name from the twinning of two Sanskrit words – aman (peace) and apsara (the heavenly nymphs of ancient Hindu mythology). Set in a garden compound, the 24-suite resort has the ambience of a private home and is the ideal base for travellers seeking to explore Khmer culture and the majestic ruins of Angkor. A variety of temple tours and cultural walks is available as part of the guest experience.
Amansara - Stay of Distinction
The very special Amansara was once an historical villa, now a unique luxury hotel with classic Indonesia décor in all its 24 rooms. Everything about this establishment speaks of quality. Amansara lies in the former guesthouse of King Sihanouk. This classic sixties structure has been converted into a calm oasis on the outskirts of bustling Siem Reap. King Sihanouk commissioned French architect, Laurent Mondet, in 1962, to build a guesthouse enabling visiting dignitaries to enjoy a cool and contemporary stay while allowing them to embrace the outstanding ancient ruins and temples within its jungle and rice paddy terrain. The ruins of nearby Angkor, clinging on in the clutches of forest and farmland are today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, ranging from a cluster of bricks to the world's largest single religious monument.
Amansara, previously known as Villa Apsara, has had a fretful and fascinating legacy, though this splendid architectural gem, now meticulously restored and nurtured by Amansara, has maintained its spirit of intent. It rests as the ideal portal for discovering the incredible culmination of five centuries of Khmer civilisation, between 802 and 1220 AD, representing one of humankind's most profound and long-lived architectural achievements.
This tranquil home offers a multitude of relaxing opportunities within its private garden enclave: a sultry curved slate swimming pool surrounded by bamboo and taupe cushioned loungers with a shaded pergola for alfresco delights; the Dining Room, previously the screening room of King Sihanouk, is both dramatic and outstanding with a cavernous seven-metre high ceiling and a well stocked walk-in wine cellar.
The 24 suites are decorated in a classic Indochinese palette of cool grey, pristine white, dark timber and ivory with private courtyards and soothing water features with 12 offering private swimming pools. The Roof Garden, surrounded and shaded by trees, with mushroom hued cushions on low seating, is the ideal venue for relaxing by candlelight with pre-prandial drinks or, invigorating yoga sessions with the rising sun. The Spa, which has four immaculate treatment rooms in dark wood and fresh white, focuses strongly on therapeutic Cambodian techniques using organic products and faces an exceptional Angkor-inspired 43m sandstone bas-relief set above a green hand tiled reflective pond. Every suite has access to its own custom fitted remork and driver, for personal expeditions into this rich and glorious land.
How To Get There:
Cambodia lies at the heart of Indochina and is bordered by Thailand in the west, Laos in the north, Vietnam in the east and the Gulf of Thailand in the south. It is a country that, despite its relatively small size and large, dominant neighbours, has managed to retain its unique Khmer identity. Its cultural traditions predate those of Thailand and, unlike Vietnam, which expresses a marked Chinese influence, Cambodia's cultural roots draw heavily from the Indian subcontinent. The airport at Siem Reap receives international flights and there are numerous ¾ hour flights each week from Bangkok which are operated by Bangkok Airways. From Singapore, Jet Star Asia flies to Siem Reap each Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. SilkAir also has regular services from Singapore. The flight takes approximately two hours and 10 minutes. The return flight takes a little longer as it may be routed via Phnom Penh, the capital. International air services are also scheduled from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang in Vietnam, Luang Prabang and Vientiane in Laos, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Seoul in South Korea. Domestic air travel is mostly to and from Phnom Penh. However, there are flights frequently scheduled to smaller Cambodian towns. Amansara is a ¼ hour drive from Siem Reap airport and complimentary transfers are offered to guests on arrival and departure.
Amansara Guest Rooms
Amansara has 24 suites, similar in design. Each enjoys an open-plan setting with finishes in terrazzo and timber, as well as outdoor courtyards.
Each suite offers a combined sleeping and living area that contains a large writing desk and a king-size bed. Adjacent is a dressing area with hanging cupboards and drawers, a large sofa and an informal dining table and chairs. Beyond, and leading down a few steps is the bathroom with floor-to-ceiling glass doors which open onto a light-filled garden featuring a cushioned banquette. The bathroom contains twin vanities with makeup mirrors, a large soaking tub and a separate shower and toilet. Each suite is air-conditioned and offers Internet connections, ceiling fans, a telephone, room safe and music system.
Pool suites Rooms
The courtyards of 12 Pool Suites feature private plunge pools measuring 6 by 5 metres.
Located near the main swimming pool, the circular Dining Room with its soaring seven-metre ceiling and shaded terrace is the focal point of the property. The menu offers both traditional Khmer and Western cuisines and features the freshest of seasonal produce. The dining area also includes a walk-in wine and cheese cellar where guests can make their selection, and a casual lounging area where they can help themselves to home-baked cakes on display. Guests can also dine poolside or in-suite. Every suite features a complimentary mini-bar with a range of alcoholic beverages as well as alternative herbal drinks and snacks.
The Library provides a range of coffee-table books, travel guides, novels, magazines, daily newspapers and complimentary Internet access through an in-house laptop. Also on offer are a range of audio CDs, board games and a comprehensive collection of reference books on the Angkor temples and Khmer civilisation.
The Gallery provides a variety of hand-woven silks, lacquer-ware, jewellery, local handicrafts, textiles and souvenirs available for purchase.
The Roof Terrace offers a seasonal alternative spot for early evening drinks or lunch, with cushioned seating and low tables shaded by trees. It is also an ideal place for yoga or quiet contemplation, especially at sunrise.
Four treatment rooms, each with an attached relaxation area and private steam bath and shower, are available to provide guests with a range of massage and beauty treatments using Cambodian techniques and Aman’s own natural spa product range. All the treatment and relaxation rooms look out onto a reflection pond that is set against a 43.2 metre sandstone relief. The reception area overlooks a garden featuring an ancient rain tree.
Swimming & lap pools
Twelve of Amansara’s suites are set around a central, grassed courtyard. At one end of the lawn, adjacent to a shady pergola and cushioned alcove is a 17.5-metre curved swimming pool with sundeck and loungers. Discreetly removed from view behind a 6-metre wall at the other end of the Pool Suites’ courtyard is a 25 by 5 metre lap pool.
Wireless broadband connections are available throughout the resort.
Visas: Tourist Visas are required and can be obtained in advance or upon arrival at the airport in Siem Reap. A doctor is on call at Amansara 24 hours a day.
Airport: Siem Reap (REP) - The daily flights are operated by Bangkok Airways or Vietnam Airlines. From Singapore, Silk Air flies thrice weekly. The flight takes approximately two hours and 10 minutes. The return flight takes a little longer as it travels via Phnom Penh, the capital. International flights are also scheduled to Laos and Vietnam. Domestic air travel is mostly to and from Phnom Penh, however there are flights frequently scheduled to the smaller towns throughout Cambodia.