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The Place: An elegant oasis to see and be seen

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17-story-1.jpg

Rising above the chaos of Sihanouk Boulevard is a 10-storey building with tinted windows that offers an oasis of health, fitness and cuisine

HENG CHIVOAN

Members work out at The Place gym while taking in the view of the city.

Floor-by-floor guide to 'the place'

Floors 1, 2 and 3: Moon Carol Restaurant (floor 2 has free internet point for members); Floor 4: Beauty Salon; Floor 5: Chinese Restaurant; Floor 6 and 7: Fitness Centre (floor 6 features exercise class room); Floor 8: Reception, women’s and men’s sauna, lockers and showers; Floor 9: Paradise Club (sky bar); Floor 10: two private VIP rooms. Fitness centre membership costs $900 for six months and US$1,500 per year. Individual coupons for single sessions can also be purchased for US$15. The next 25 members to sign up for a gym membership can get a special promotion rate of $540 for six months and $750 for a year.

The Place, 92 Sihanouk Blvd, Tel: 023 726 999

ONE of the most recent additions to Phnom Penh's social scene, the Place, on 92 Sihanouk Boulevard, is a stylish 10-storey building housing a fitness centre, beauty salon as well as restaurants and bars.

Construction on The Place, which opened August 8, 2008, took eight months.

"The opening date [8/8/2008] was great from a feng shui point of view but an absolute nightmare from an organisational point of view," said Fredric Bession, general manager of the Place, adding that the Place is owned by the Khmer company Mngwuoy.

"We have 235 fitness centre members at the moment. About 70 percent of them are expats and 30 percent are Cambodians," said Bession. "The sky bar seems to be the other way around with 70 percent of customers being upper class Cambodians."

The Place has a lot of VIP clients, including ministers and royalty, to the point that Bession is considering setting up a security department.

"When we have more than three ministers at the bar, in terms of national security it becomes a high risk area. We need to coordinate the registration of gun holders because the ministers come with their own security," he said.

"Bodyguards may purchase a standby ticket allowing them to wait at the lobby on the first floor for US$15, including a complementary soft drink and one cold towel," states The Place rules and regulations sheet.

"We want to open the Place for special events, and we will have a few surprises in store in the future," said Bession. "First one involving fashion TV and second involving exhibitions, but we will start after the wet season is over."

"The gossip is that Fashion TV will soon open a station in Cambodia and the Place will be at the centre of that," said Bession, adding that all members will receive invitations to the events and others will be invited depending on the event.

The lowdown

Catering to the capital's upper class, the two-floor fitness centre overflows with a variety of brand-new top-of-the-range exercise equipment imported from the US. The cross-trainers, treadmills, stair-masters and rowing machines are guaranteed to provide the workout of a lifetime.

A number of exercise classes such as body step, Khmer dance and aerobics are included in the gym membership fee. For an additional fee you can also sample a range of more atypical classes including hip hop, Latin dance and American rhythm. 

The Moon Carol restaurant spans over three floors and serves Thai and Western cuisine. Some of the Thai specialties on offer include steamed sea bass in lemon sauce ($19.50) and dog fish Thai style ($9.50). Western dishes include black pepper steak and bacon ($34) and roasted duck breast with strawberry sauce ($7.20).

The restaurant has a non-smoking section for the health conscious and offers high quality wine and cigars for those who like to indulge in a drink and a smoke.

A Chinese restaurant on the fifth floor sports chandeliers fit for a queen and a 10-person VIP room. Minimum charge for the VIP room is $150 including food but beware you will be charged more if you eat your way through food worth more than the minimum price.

Paradise Club, an open-air sky bar on the ninth floor, is open to non-members from 6:30pm to 2am. It features a 360-degree view of Phnom Penh, an outdoor jacuzzi and a sun-baking area.

The beauty salon offers services including men's and women's haircuts, manicures and pedicures, oil massage and Thai massage. There is a private VIP room for the extra shy.

The 10th floor offers six-person and 18-person VIP rooms, with minimum charges of $250 and $400 respectively.

"I look forward to feedback from customers, so I can make proper decisions in terms of marketing and services," said Bession.

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