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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man about town: 26 April 2013

Man about town: 26 April 2013

Thai-based Khiri Travel has kicked off a minor flap with a press release about creating a “Cambodia immersion trip for millionaires.”

The press release claims that Khiri Travel Cambodia “has created a flexible 10-day luxury trip for millionaire travellers seeking immersion in Khmer culture. Highlights include helicopter visits to spectacular 11th century mountain temples away from the crowds, a personal dinner with a view of Angkor, and a private jet to an exclusive island retreat on the Cambodian Riviera.”

This has got up the nose of the website Property Report, where an unnamed hack writes, “I don’t have a problem with comfort and high end travel – I work on a luxury property magazine – but I have a problem with the destination management company in question selling this trip as the ultimate immersion into Khmer culture. As far as my modest studies of Khmer culture go, private jets and helicopters is not part of Khmer culture, unless, of course, you were part of the elite.”

The hack ends the piece by saying, “So what destination management firms like Khiri Travel should do is stop pretending that private helicopters and jets will immerse anyone in anything other than self-indulgence. Being honest and real about what is taking place in Cambodia right now will go a long way in making sure the progress will be for the better.”

The press release also got up Man About’s nose due to his intense aversion to jargon. Hence the press release’s claim that the lucky millionaires will mix engagements with “dining at privately-run local restaurants that Khiri knows produce nuanced high quality dining in evocative Khmer settings” was puke-inducing.

Indeed, “nuanced high quality dining” is almost up there, but not quite, with the wankerism employed by over-enthusiastic wine writers who produce such incomprehensible gibberish as

“profound, mellow and opulent in character” and “dense yet harmonious herbal character of medium body, smooth yet grippy.”

More details have emerged about the ambitious and upscale retail project called Kings Road Angkor which is emerging near the Old Market. Much has been made of the fact that this approximately 5,000 square-metre, open-air shopping centre will house a Hard Rock Café. This will of course be the feature business in the complex, but wait, there’s more. Alain Dupuis, director of Meas Development, which together along with Phnom Penh-based Worldwide Investment Group signed the Hard Rock Deal, this week revealed some of the other businesses that will open in the complex.

He listed the Blue Pumpkin, Terrazza, Yoshinoya, Emperor of China, Pho 24, California Grill and an Indian restaurant.

He added, “There will be six other restaurants not run by us – two Japanese, three Cambodian and a Costa Coffee.”

Meanwhile, the unconfirmed buzz around town is that retail sites at the complex have been going for a minimum of $2,500 – and the complex is fully sold out.

This will be a vibrant fillip to downtown business and there’s much speculation as to how it will affect the slightly down-at-heel Pub Street.

The opening date for the classy new Park Hyatt has not yet been confirmed. But general manager Franz Mascarenhas says, “Good progress has been made on site and I expect we will open around end June, early July 2013.”

The town’s cafe au laiters and espressonites are eagerly awaiting the opening of the Park Hyatt’s café, hoping that the glass-walled magnificence will be the new centre of the café culture universe which has sadly been displaced since the close of the Hotel de la Paix café. Former la Paix adherents have been shuffling around town with their laptop cords in tow, trying to find a fitting place to plug into.



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