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Man about town

Man about town

$15,000 Valentine’s package
Travel and Leisure magazine is spruiking Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor’s Enchanting Escape Valentine’s Package which comes in at a mere $15,670 for three nights. This works out at $5223 a night – cheap at half the price, as they say.

For the 15 grand plus, guests get three nights’ accommodation in a private villa with butler service; a 30-minute balloon ride over the temples of Angkor Wat with champagne and canapés; a private guided sightseeing trip in a 1950s Jeep; a champagne breakfast for two in a jungle temple; a “nearly four-hour” Amrita Grand Indulgence couple spa treatment; private roundtrip airport transfers; Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose champagne and fresh fruit on arrival; and a candlelit dinner for two served poolside with a bottle of Chateau Petrus 1988. Plus, women get a gift of an Eric Raisina dress with custom fitting, and men receive a Panama hat.

Siem Reap on new cruise circuit
Award-winning river cruise operator AmaWaterways is launching a new state-of-the-art vessel this year on the company’s seven-night Mekong River cruise from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City.

The good ship MS AmaLotus will leave Siem Reap on September 13, with prices starting at $1920 per person according to the company’s website.

The AmaLotus is a “brand-new” vessel and, according to the press release, its décor “will combine colonial elegance with local artifacts and regional Mekong touches”.

The cruise boat features all-outside accommodations and deluxe 226 square feet staterooms “with all the amenities of a fine hotel”.  Almost all the staterooms have a private outside balcony.

A 15-night land-cruise itinerary is also available. This package is priced from $3920 per person and features two nights in Hanoi, an overnight cruise in Ha Long Bay, three nights in Siem Reap, the seven-night Mekong cruise, and a two-night stay in Ho Chi Minh City.

Gym chain ‘eyeing’ Siem Reap
Thai newspaper The Nation reported this week that “Clark Hatch, a professional gym and fitness centre chain, is eyeing Siem Reap in Cambodia as a target for expansion. The company already operates one centre in Phnom Penh”.

But John Sheppard, a senior partner at Clark Hatch, informed me by email that: “We have no firm plans as yet but see potential in these provincial towns and cities as Phnom Penh is pretty well served with fitness centres now. I’ll keep you informed if there is a development.”

Best Western comes East
It seems an odd coupling, but the world’s largest hotel chain, the Arizona-based Best Western has “signed on” Siem Reap’s oddly named boutique hotel, Suites and Sweet Resort Angkor.

The “rebranding” will take place some time soon, but the hotel’s marketing manager Joni is not quite sure exactly when, or exactly what the “rebranded” hotel will be called.

The hotel’s general manager is the non-English speaking Didier Foliguet, a former chef who has also worked on cruise boats.

The Suites and Sweet Resort opened in July 2009 and drew much attention through its architecture, designed to resemble a floating Cambodian village. Siem Reap architect Alain Hely drew up the plans, and the design work for the furniture and decor was rendered Khmer-style by Theam Leam.

The boutique hotel, with 18 poolside suites, is the brainchild of its founder, 53-year-old Christian Izard, a former human resources honcho who, in 1988, won Le Figaro and TMP/Hudson’s HR Manager of the Year award. Izard arrived in Cambodia intent on starting a “second life” in a new field.

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