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Man about town: 08 November 2013

Man about town: 08 November 2013

KINGS ROAD OPENING DATE
The King’s Road Angkor complex near the Old Market in Siem Reap is now set to open on December 14. The $10 million, 7,000-square-metre development will house 15 restaurants and cafés – eight of which have shares held by Alain Dupuis, director of Meas Development – and a dozen upscale souvenir shops. It’s estimated that 400 people will be permanently employed at King’s Road.
King’s Road is described in a press release as, “An enclosed courtyard style village of exclusive boutiques, world class restaurants and cafés. All the outlets are accommodated in individually designed Khmer traditional wooden houses. Some are on the ground, some stand on stilts, just like the floating villages of the nearby Tonle Sap lake.”
It’s said to be, “An oasis from the gritty streets nearby,” and “An elegant alternative to the cluttered and popular Pub Street.”
Lim Nam, King’s Road concept developer and managing director says, “In 2007 when I launched The Angkor Night Market, Siem Reap was still a quiet city. Since then, tourism has grown fast and supply has had to go upscale. Indeed tourists are looking for something different than what they can typically find in town, but nobody has given them that yet.”
Of course one of the big draw cards will be Cambodia’s first Hard Rock, due to open in the Kings Road complex in “early 2014.” February seems to be the favoured date at the moment. This will feature two bars, international and local memorabilia, live music and enough room to seat more than 300 people. Alain Dupuis, director of Meas Development, comments on the connection between the name of the complex and the King’s Road name. He says, “Siem Reap is where Cambodian kings once lived in their palaces and temples, but the name is also a pop-culture reference to the famous King's Road of London in the 60s and 70s.”

ANANTARA COMES TO TOWN
The upscale Sothea boutique hotel officially became the Anantara Angkor Resort and Spa on November 1, and a grand opening party is slated for Monday November 18.
A subsidiary of Thailand-listed Minor International Public Company Ltd, Minor Hotel Group Ltd, which operates hotels under brand names including Anantara, Marriott and Four Season, announced in September that it had bought an 80 per cent stake in Sothea, with the remaining 20 per cent retained by the Cambodian owner, who also owns the Angkor Century hotel. The majority ownership of Sothea was flogged off in a juicy $6.4 million deal.
The new deal marks Minor Hotel Group’s first foray into Siem Reap, indeed even into Cambodia. In November 1995 local media said that the company’s Four Season chain would be one of many hotel outfits to enter the Siem Reap market place, but that never eventuated.

DIRECT FLIGHTS TO BEIJING
Air China kicks off its Beijing-Siem Reap nonstop service on December 1, sparing travelers the trouble of having to transfer in Phnom Penh or Bangkok. Flights will take off twice weekly on Wednesdays and Sundays until December 31. Next year, flights will increase to four times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

SHORTS
New Leaf: The New Leaf Book Café is celebrating its first three months in business by noting that it has already achieved profitability and made its first donation to the Cambodian Children’s House of Peace. Plus a quite impressive range of other projects was also achieved by the café, its staff, and supporters. See the What’s On section on page 4 for the café’s latest entertainment provision.
Vital correction: Bill Morse points out that CNN’s 60-second public service announcement which has just finished a two week run was about Aki Ra and NOT about the Landmine Relief Fund.

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