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Reflect—The Spirit of Angkor Wat

by Rona Berg

When you arrive at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, Siem Reap, you are welcomed like an old friend. The 15-acre property, set across from the Royal Palace, hits three high notes: It is elegant, luxurious and extremely comfortable. The first hotel in Siem Reap, Raffles was built in 1932 to accommodate the wave of Western tourists visiting Angkor Wat, where now, the hotel will arrange a sumptuous Khmer feast for you and your friends—the Temple Dinner—on the grounds of the nearby temple. (Make sure to sample the delicious, authentic local dishes at the hotel restaurant, with poetic names like Beef Loc Loc and Fish Amok, served with steamed jasmine rice.)
The hotel features colonial-style architecture, two bars (including an offshoot of the renowned Elephant Bar at Raffles Phnom Penh), the largest swimming pool in Cambodia, and the jewel-like five-room Raffles Spa, where you can enjoy a Traditional Khmer Massage. An unexpected surprise: a courtyard populated with antique Buddhas (pictured) and an in-hotel art gallery, featuring the atmospheric work of ex-pat photographer John McDermott.
It is shocking to think that up until only recently, the Cambodian people suffered terribly at the hands of Pol Pot and his cadres, who took up residence, briefly, at the hotel, until Vietnamese troops liberated it. Head down the street to enjoy Phare, a traditional Cambodian acrobatic circus, where the talented young performers, many of whom lost so much in the war, are offered education, support and job training. raffles.com
 
 

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