Featured property: Transcending time

Featured property: Transcending time

Featured property

PHOTOS BY HENG CHIVOAN

Transcending time

The structure that is now Raffles Hotel Le Royal was constructed between 1923 and 1924. Designed by architect Ernest Hebard, the original building contained 54 rooms and was part of a larger civic plan designed to turn what was a small Cambodian-French colonial township into a bustling city. The plan was a success and the hotel known simply as Le Royal was officially opened  in 1929. Towering four stories, it was the tallest structure in the capital aside from Wat Phnom.

Hotel Le Royal flourished throughout the 1930s and into the 1960s, attracting such celebrities as Charlie Chaplin, actress Paulette Goddard and American first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The hotel remained essentially unchanged until architect Henri Chatel made extensions and improvements between 1957 and 1958. These included two-storey studio-bungalows, an outdoor restaurant and a swimming pool. He also transformed the entrance hall and revamped the furnishings.

In 1996 the hotel was completely renovated by architect Koh Say Wee, overseen by Raffles International Ltd out of Singapore. Three new wings replaced the bungalows and the main building was restored to its previous grandeur, after having survived the Pol Pot era. Today Raffles Hotel Le Royal is a remarkable display of new architecture emulating classic colonial beauty. Black-and-white floor tiles from inside the original building were faithfully copied and laid in the same configurations in the new wings, and great care was taken to update the rooms without diminishing their historic charm.

{gallery}news/national/081105/RealEs/double{/gallery}

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh authorities ban march for Human Rights Day

    Phnom Penh authorities have banned a planned march as local NGOs and workers’ unions gear up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Monday, with a youth group leader saying they would march nonetheless. The UN

  • Phnom Penh’s Jet’s Container Night Market shuts down

    The famous Jet’s Container Night Market in central Phnom Penh has shut down due to the high cost of the land rental, company representatives claim. Jet’s Container Night Market is the largest such market in Phnom Penh. It operated for just over two

  • Hun Sen rejects ‘rift’ rumours spread by ‘stupid gangsters’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday denied a “rift” among top leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), and rejected claims that Senate president Say Chhum and Interior Minister Sar Kheng were set to be removed from their positions as rumours spread by “gangsters”.

  • EU ambassador to Cambodia: Rights a ‘work in progress’

    The EU ambassador to Cambodia has called human rights “a work in progress” and said the 28-nation bloc has “carefully” noted last week’s statement by the government on taking further steps to strengthen democracy and the political sphere in the Kingdom. The EU marked