A new, luxury boutique hotel has opened two kilometres from Angkor Wat. Billing itself as “the closest five star hotel” to the temples, the 16-room Nita by Vo is located in Charming City.
Australian owner Darryl J. Rowe, who has worked in the hotel industry for 50 years, brought in architect Hok Kang to design the interiors. US-trained Hok is co-owner of the highly successful Brown coffee chain in Phnom Penh, and there are certain similarities in the hotel’s design to the urban chic coffee shops. The bedrooms are reminiscent of New York-style lofts, all exposed brick, sleek wooden finishings and comfortable yet stylish furniture. The Angkor Suite Deluxe, the largest of the four room types, is almost like a mini studio apartment.
Nita by Vo, Rowe says, is also the first Cambodian hotel to boast Smart TV – “you can do your Facebook, your Twitter, all your emails from your TV,” he notes.
“We’ve positioned the hotel as boutique, five-star. We’re the closest hotel to Angkor Wat. So the market we’re aiming at is the top-end of FIT (free independent traveler) sector, and we’re looking at the corporate market as well, from Phnom Penh and overseas. “At night it’s so quiet here, yet we’re only eight minutes from town by tuk tuk.”
Rowe feels that the location is very much an up-and-coming area. Charming City is certainly thriving, particularly with the recent addition of Eric Raisina’s store, and several of Eric’s visiting friends have already stayed at Nita by Vo.
“You’ve got Wat Thmei opposite, you’ve got the Apsara Spice Garden which is very interesting,” says Rowe. “You’ve got a very nice little local Khmer centre in Charming City with the wet and dry markets, so it gives the international guests an opportunity to see how the Cambodians really live. And then you’ve got all the really nice shops and cafes opening up now.”
Nita by Vo also boasts a rooftop pool and spa (non-guests can use the pool for a small fee), and on the ground floor guests can dine at Oz Café, which specialises in Australian pies with fillings including Australian minced beef, steak, kidney and mushroom, and beef steak with red wine and Kampot black pepper.
In the four months it’s been open, Nita by Vo has already garnered glowing reviews, something that Rowe attributes not only to the hotel’s amenities but to its staff.
“We got rated on booking.com: 9.5 out of 10, ten, ‘exceptional,’” he says. “But it’s not just about the product; it’s also about the staff, the attitude and the service. We pride ourselves on very personalised touches.”