After more than six years of construction, the Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel and Residence officially opened its doors to the public yesterday, with Prime Minister Hun Sen on hand to inaugurate the city’s newest hotel.
Speaking at the launch, Hun Sen said the Sokha Hotel will boost the tourism sector in Cambodia and cater to luxury travellers. He added that the hotel, the fourth of the Sokha brand, will help Cambodia host regional and international meetings in the future, possibly the Asia-Europe Meeting.
“Soon, some diplomatic people may come to stay here. Some diplomatic people are likely to come to live, as it has a fresh atmosphere with no air pollution,” Hun Sen said.
The 18-storey Sokha Hotel is located on the Chroy Changvar peninsula, opposite the Royal Palace, and cost $120 million, not including land costs. Taking six years to build, the hotel is a subsidiary of the Sokimex Investment Group, and owned by tycoon Sok Kong.
Luu Meng, president of the Cambodia Hotel Association, welcomed the new establishment, saying that a new service focusing on luxury hospitality will provide more options for foreign travellers and should increase the quality of existing hotels in the Kingdom.
According to Meng, Cambodia currently has about 500 hotels, but only around 30 hotels have 100 or more rooms and six to seven of them follow international standards. He added that the Sokha should not have a negative effect on other hotels, but only fill in a gap for high-end accomadations.
“The demand of hight-class hotel services in Cambodia is on an increasing trend, so I don’t think it has any effect to the exist operators as they are serving to complement each other,” he said.
Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travels Agent, said once foreign tourists get to know about the service at the Sokha, the new hotel will help boost the number of luxury visitors to Cambodia.
“Once we have good products and service, we be able to sell it better as the demand is already in the market,” he said. “We have more and more options for foreign visitors so that we can serve them better in any market segment.”
According the company news release, the hotel has a total of 744 rooms, including 195 condos, manned by 800 staff. The hotel has a large meeting hall for 3,000 people and two spots for helicopters on the rooftop.
Following a tour of the site last March, Svey Vuthy, chief legal and corporate affairs officer of Sokimex, said the hotel may consider a casino licence in the future, if they can get it.
NagaWorld is currently Phnom Penh’s only casino, with a near monopoly status until 2035.
The hotel also planned to start a ferry service from behind the Cambodiana Hotel, Vuthy said last march, from the Daun Penh district riverside to the Chroy Changvar peninsula, to avoid traffic congestion.