The Amansara Hotel is nestled in a peaceful, private garden setting. The Hotel is an ideal haven during a visit to Cambodia. A short distance from the Angkor temples, it provides guests with countless opportunities to enjoy local culture and history, not limited to mouth-watering cuisine, organized tours to major attractions and must-try massage treatments.
Amansara is located 10 minutes from the gateway to the great temples of Angkor, UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most intriguing cultural and historical relics still accessible to the world traveler.
Situated in Siem Reap, the cultural capital of Cambodia, just 10 minutes from the entrance to Angkor, Amansara was once the guest villa of King Norodom Sihanouk. Today the walled garden compound serves as a tranquil 24-suite retreat with the ambience of a gracious home.
Amansara derives its name from the twinning of the words (Sanskrit for peace) and apsara the heavenly nymphs of ancient Hindu texts. The apsaras, it is said, emerged from the primordial churning of the oceans with the power not only to change their form at will, but also to bestow luck on those they favoured. So all-embracing was their influence on Cambodian mythology and its numerous expressions, that delicate apsara bas-reliefs decorate practically every Angkor temple.
Once known as Villa Prince or Villa Apsara, this former royal retreat was built by French architect, Laurent Mondet, in 1962 for King Sihanouk to accommodate visitors unable to stay at the royal residence nearby. Quintessentially 60s in character, it featured cool, low-slung chalets spaced around an irregular-shaped swimming pool and a shady lawn.
Dignitaries like former French President Charles de Gaulle, Jacqueline Kennedy, former Yugoslavian President Josep Broz Tito and actor Peter O Toole (who stayed here while filming Lord Jim) graced this architectural gem in its heyday. In 1965, Prince Sihanouk handed over Villa Prince to the Ministry of Tourism and it was turned into an exclusive, four-suite hotel. With the advent of the Khmer Rouge in 1975, the villa was officially closed as a hotel, although it continued to serve as a state guesthouse. Occupied by the military during the 1980s, it was later converted to a 12-suite layout and reopened as Villa Apsara in 1992. Amanresorts acquired the property in 2002 and meticulously reconstructed it drawing on old photographs and local knowledge. Amansara opened in December 2002. In 2006, 12 new pool suites, a lap pool and a spa were added.
The Dining Room, near the swimming pool, is a focal point of the property and unique in design. It is circular in shape with a soaring seven-metre ceiling and has an informal ambience for dining or all day lounging. The menu offers both traditional Khmer and Western cuisines and features the freshest of seasonal produce. The dining room also features a walk-in wine cellar where guests may make their selection. Guests may also dine and snack poolside, or enjoy their in-room complimentary mini bar that offers a range of healthy alternative herbal drinks as well as the usual favorites. 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.
The Library provides a range of coffee-table books, travel guides, novels, magazines, daily newspapers and complimentary Internet access via a Mac. Also on offer are a range of audio CDs, board games and a comprehensive collection of reference books on the Angkor temples and Khmer civilization.
Amansara works closely with knowledgeable sources in Siem Reap to invite visiting scholars for informal house talks and excursions to places of special interest. These sessions offer a close-up look at Angkor and Cambodia through the eyes of specialists in subjects as diverse as history, archaeology, architecture, satellite imagery, dance, culture and even puppetry.
The Gallery provides a variety of hand-woven silks, lacquer-ware, jewellery, local handicrafts, textiles and souvenirs.
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 natural products. All the treatment and relaxation rooms look out onto a reflection pond that is set against a 43.2m sandstone relief.
Most of Amansara's suites are set around a central, grassed courtyard. At one end of the lawn, adjacent to a shady pergola, is a 17.5m swimming pool with sundeck. A 25m by 5m lap pool is also available closer to the pool suites.
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.
The courtyards of 12 Pool Suites feature private plunge pools measuring 6 by 5 metres.
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