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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New five-star hotel to rise on Phnom Penh riverfront

New five-star hotel to rise on Phnom Penh riverfront

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Shovels turn on a $100 million hotel and 1,500-seat conference facility to be situated across the Tonle Sap river from the capital

HENG CHIVOAN

Sokimex president Sok Kong (in foreground).

ROOM AT THE INN

Phnom Penh has 137 hotels with 6,407 rooms, according to city figures for 2007. “More hotels will mean tougher competition, but in a free market, competition will help improve services and bring more competitive prices,” said the tourism ministry’s So Mara.

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NEW US$100 million five-star hotel is in the works for Phnom Penh with construction set for completion in 2011.

The 799-room hotel, being built by the Sokimex conglomerate, will feature two conference rooms with seating capacity for 1,500 persons and parking spaces for 1,000 cars, said Sokimex president Sok Kong.

The hotel will be situated on the east side of the riverfront on Chhroy Changva peninsula in Phnom Penh's Russey Keo district.

"The 16-storey Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel will be built on six hectares of land which is under a 99-year land lease from city hall from 2007," Sok Kong  told the Post after the ground breaking ceremony last week.

The company acquired the land for $42 a square metre.

"The hotel will create 1,200 jobs for Cambodians," he said, noting that the hotel would be eco-friendly and up to international standards, with a liquid waste and sewage treatment system.

Sok Kong said the hotel was favourably located with river views and a good atmosphere but admitted, "There is a problem with traffic because there is only one bridge for access".

He said that Phnom Penh has seen a hotel boom but that the city has no conference facilities.

"The hotel's conference centre will seat up to 1,500 people, and will be the [country's] biggest conference hall. It will raise Cambodia's reputation internationally," he said .

"The Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel will be the hotel with the largest conference hall in the city, and it will be suitable for international conferences," So Mara, undersecretary of state in the tourism ministry, told the Post on Sunday.

"Foreign tourism has grown 19 percent year-on-year, so the hotel will satisfy high-class guests," So Mara said.

Cambodia Hotel Association president Loo Meng welcomed the new hotel.

"It is a good sign for the tourism sector. It shows that the tourism industry is getting better and better," he said.

"The hotel will be good for high-class guests, and it will be as high quality as those in neighbouring countries."

So Mara also said that  the hotel industry was booming in Phnom Penh as the influx of foreign tourists continues.

Sok Kong said that the Sokha Phnom Penh would be the third five-star hotel operated by Sokimex in Cambodia, joining existing Sokha hotels in Sihanoukville and Siem Reap.  Two more were on the drawing boards, he added.

Sokimex is also building two golf courses in a protected area on Bokor Mountain, Sok Kong said, adding that the company was also planning a resort at the site of old Bokor casino.

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