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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Featured property: Urban retreat

Featured property: Urban retreat

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Owner Eric Weisman describes the building that plays home to Scandinavia Hotel as a 1970s reproduction of a mid-century piece of architecture.

Whatever its origins, it certainly has a dramatic history. "When this building was completed in 1975, six weeks later the city sat empty for four years," he says.

While peace returned long ago to the capital, today there are still few places as peaceful as Scan, as it is known by those who love it.

It's easy for guests to forget while staying in one of the hotel's 16 immaculately furnished rooms that they are slap-bang in the middle of Phnom Penh's crowded Wat Langka area. The hustle and bustle of the city immediately retreats once safely tucked away inside this urban hideaway.

The rooms themselves are equipped with all the easily overlooked details needed to turn a pleasant stay into a luxurious one.

The saltwater pool is a perfect escape from the city's relentless heat and humidity, while the covered bar caters to those who wish to do their cooling from the inside courtesy of an ice-cold beer or refreshing cocktail.

Like all good boutique hotels, Scan is constantly evolving. In his quest to create the perfect experience, Eric is slowly but deliberately adding new features.

The check-in area has been shifted to improve the ambience in the bar area, while a games patio replete with seven shuffleboard tables is on schedule to be launched early in the new year. "I'm about to have more shuffleboard tables in one location than anyone else in the world," he says.

A portable bar is also in the works to enable the pool area's transformation on demand into one of the city's ultimate party spots.

The gallery, which has been in brief hiatus, is also set for relaunch in the new year. In its must-see first show, "Voyeurism", five of the hotel's rooms will be sacrificed at the altar of performance art.

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Photos by Heng Chivoan

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