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Man About Town

New general manager on the scene in Siem Reap, and scourge of local golf courses, is Arthur H Holliger. Arthur checked in on January 16 as the gm of Hotel de la Paix, and he’s here as sort of advance guard for the new management deal with the 107-room hotel that’s been struck by the Park Hyatt group.

There’s been a lot of talk in Siem Reap about the hotel closing down in July for nine months under the new Hyatt management, but Holliger says the full and final details have not yet been bolted down. “We’re in discussion about what needs to be done in terms of improvement, and then we’ll decide,” he said

One thing that does seem a good bet about the refurbished hotel is that the local expat community won’t lose the services of what is in effect a street café at de la Paix – if anything, indications are that the street café-style dining area will be expanded.

The very experienced Holliger has been lured out of semi-retirement to sign on for the Siem Reap gig. His last posting was at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne Australia where he oversaw the Pacific region of the hotel company’s operations.

Since then he’s been commuting between Melbourne and Bali with his Indonesian-born wife, and no doubt the presence of first class golf courses in Siem Reap helped in his decision to call Siem Reap home for now.

For the last couple of weekends he’s been spotted blazing away at the Angkor Golf Resort in the company of Sokha Angkor Resort general manager, the newly-fit divot-driver Emmett McHenry.

A rare and endangered turtle of a species that was once treasured by Cambodian royalty made a special stopover in Siem Reap last month to be fitted out with a satellite transmitter to monitor its movements.

According to Scientific American the turtle, a female southern river terrapin, otherwise known as Batagur affinis edwardmolli, is one of about 200 surviving members of its species.

The species was named as one of the world’s most endangered turtle species in February 2011. The turtle was apparently accidentally caught by a fisherman in the Sre Ambel River who gave it to the good folk at Batagur Conservation
Project, who in turn gave it to the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity in Siem Reap.

The turtle, fitted out with its transmitter, was released back into the Sre Ambel River on January 16.



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