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Siem Reap's beach of promise

He's Bangkok’s King of Kitsch, captain of the new regional cool, owner of the label Global Trash Chic, and proprietor of funky designer hotels in Thailand.

Now he’s making a splash in Siem Reap with a new restaurant called Beaches. He’s also about to open new boutique hotel called Reflections Rooms, the same name as his much-publicised hotel in Bangkok where he commissioned artists to individually design the rooms.

He’s the Thai design entrepreneur Anusorn Ngernyuang, more commonly known as Nong, and his Beaches restaurant on Wat Bo Road is already a talking point.

It has layers of sand as the flooring, giving a relaxing and beach-like vibe. There are couches to sit on with a table to hold your drinks, funky chairs with cushions or normal tables, if that’s your cup of tea. Or possibly you could sit on the sand.

At night, the area is dimly lit, so it actually feels like you are at the beach and the menu boasts a wide range of affordable seafood delights.

There is also a small shop at the back of the restaurant, where customers can purchase beach-related items. “We are getting bikinis soon to sell,” Nong laughs.

Construction is now also well under way for a new Reflections Rooms hotel in Siem Reap based on his Thai masterpiece and Nong says he expects work to be completed next month.

Nong has asked several local artists to design some rooms, but has also imported talent from Thailand.

Popular Thai artist Kongpat Sakdapitak has already created an art studio as “his room” for the Siem Reap hotel. “It’s something that anyone can use,” he says.

“I wanted to make it fun and let people enjoy the room.”

The thought behind the art studio room is for guests to be able to draw on the walls or anywhere in the room. Sakdapitak has layered the room with paint brushes, crayons, books and other creative implements, most of which hang from the walls.

In another room, Bangkok artist Kathy Mcleod has painted her contribution, which she had two days to complete. “The concept is what a cat thinks about,” she explained. “I was thinking about what I’d like to draw, and I like to draw cats, so I thought ‘Why not?’”

On one wall, a cat is sitting on a chair reading a book with no title, with its thoughts floating above, including thoughts of fish, milk, bunnies and presents.

Kathy found out about the project through a mutual friend, and went to Nong’s other designer hotels in Bangkok for inspiration. She says a friend of hers turned one room into a movie theatre, complete with chairs.

In another room at the Siem Reap hotel, a group of five people painted a forest which they call “Peace of Cambodia”. The room’s designer, Heng Sreylen, is from the Handicraft Group of Cambodian Disabled Women in Phnom Penh.

Nong says he wanted to support the NGO because it is a new group and it gave them an opportunity to showcase what they can do. Their Facebook page is posted on the wall for any guest that is interested.

Currently the hotel is still under construction, as two older buildings are being joined together to create the hotel, and some of the décor is still to be finished.

But judging by some of Nong’s other hotels in Thailand, the Reflections Rooms should bring a vibrant, exciting touch to Siem Reap.

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