MALAYSIAN resort company Ariston is planning to build a $100 million hotel,
conference and casino complex near the river in Phnom Penh.
which runs the Naga Floating Casino, has bought 1.4 hectares of land between the
Buddhist Institute and the Bassac squatter area and plans to begin construction
next month. The company hopes that the resort will be finished in 14 to 16
The massive complex, named Nexus Naga Hotel, will include 750
hotel rooms, conference facilities for 900 people, shops, restaurants, a
nightclub and a casino.
The resort has been designed by a US architect
group, Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo, which has previously designed renowned
venues such as Sun City in South Africa, the Venetian City in Las Vegas and
"Our intention is to build the biggest landmark in
Cambodia after Angkor Wat. As the temples become more and more famous, the
capital shouldn't be ignored," said Ariston chairman Tan Sri Chen Lip
Nexus Naga Hotel will target both Western and East Asian tourists,
who Keong believes will increasingly be attracted to Cambodia.
only landmark in the capital, we can position ourselves as a winner. We will
have a considerable chance of success," Keong said.
surrounded casino operations in Phnom Penh, with Prime Minister Hun Sen issuing
an order last year that all gambling facilities must be moved at least 200
kilometers away from the capital. The casino at the Holiday Hotel chose to move
to Sihanoukville, but Ariston took the matter to court and won the right for the
Naga floating casino to stay.
In 1994 the Government signed an agreement
with Ariston permitting the company to run the only casino operation in
Cambodia. However, other gambling permits were later handed out, so Ariston
chose to settle for an agreement that makes them the only casino operator within
200 kilometers of Phnom Penh.
"We are decent people. We want to honor
that agreement, and we want the Government to honor it too," Keong
According to plans, all casino operations on the Naga Floating
Casino will be moved into the new resort and the boat towed away.