Raffles Hotels are well known for their legendary service and hospitality and the Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia is no exception.
Raffles’ iconic doorman greeted us with the gracious opening of the car door. He was dressed in a uniform inspired by the Royal Palace Guards, in which the silk pantaloons change color according to the day of the week. It was from this first greeting that we arrived as guests and will leave as friends.
We were seated in the lobby and handed a cold beverage of lemon grass tea, garnished with a sugar cane stalk and a hibiscus flower. The concierge excitedly told the kids about a surprise waiting for them in our room. When we arrived at our room, two plush Raffles teddy bears with a trademark Cambodian scarf were waiting on the kids’ beds, each with a hand written note welcoming them to the hotel. We were surprised with a small signature bottle of Raffles gin, a dish of fresh local fruit and small delicacies. A personal note that began with, “Dear Family Palmer” was left on the bed next to the oversized pillows, welcoming us all to the hotel and wishing us an enchanting stay.
The Raffles Hotel Le Royal has been welcoming visitors since 1929 and although the hotel stands up to its own with its imposing blend of Khmer and French Colonial style, it’s these little touches and attention to detail that truly make guests feel welcome as a family.
The Raffles Hotel Le Royal doesn’t talk about being family friendly, it shows you from your very first step onto the Raffles red carpet!
Accommodation includes state rooms and suites, and the famed Le Royal Suite, where many global leaders and celebrities have stayed. Interconnecting rooms are available and some feature a deep claw foot bath tub. The rooms are built around a central private courtyard featuring Frangipani-lined tropical gardens and two swimming pools. One of the swimming pools reaches depths of no more than 3 ft., making it ideal for kids who aren’t confident swimmers yet. The trees at each end of the pools are nearly 100 years old and preserving them is a priority.
The Raffles Hotel Le Royal has two restaurants plus three bars and lounges. The Restaurant Le Royal is an elegant dining room featuring dramatic chandeliers and hand-painted ceilings created by royal artist Assasax. It’s one of the few restaurants in the world that serves both Royal Khmer and modern western cuisine. They also have a fantastic kids menu!
A highlight for the kids was when a staff member cheekily challenged the chef to surprise them with something special for their requested desert of strawberry ice-cream. The “something special” arrived less than 10 minutes later in the form of two bowls made completely from ice.
Dining is also available poolside, and during the months of November through to March also in the tropical gardens where a buffet style dinner can be enjoyed while the family is enthralled by a performance of Cambodian dance.
The Raffles Hotel Le Royal offers everything you’d expect from a luxury hotel, and a few things you might not. They also welcome special requests. You can expect an airport limousine service, hotel boutique, concierge service including local tours and guides, babysitting service, an on-call doctor, cooking classes, swimming pools, fitness center and a Raffles history gallery.
My favorite? The Raffles Spa where authentic treatments are offered in a range of traditional Khmer and modern styles.
Although it’s hard to drag yourself away from the hotel, Phnom Penh is an amazing cultural destination for families and we took advantage of the hotels in-house tour guide.
Must see attractions in Phnom Penh include the Royal Palace, the National Museum, Wat Phnom Temple and the confluence of the legendary Mekong River and Tonle Sap. The hotel puts you within easy reach of the Central Market and Riverside Promenade.
For more information, visit raffles.com/phnom-penh.
Recommend magazine has partnered with the Family Travel Association to bring you monthly columns to help travel advisors sell family travel. This column was written by Jessica Palmer, a freelance travel writer and photographer, and Family Travel Association Media Center member.