Imagine a row of traditional wooden bungalows sitting next to paddy fields in a serene environment at the heart of the ancient Khmer Empire where poetry and history collide.
This might just be your dream holiday destination, especially if you are a nature lover or history enthusiast.
Mane Hariharalaya, a village-style resort with 34 luxurious traditional Khmer bungalows is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of modern day Phnom Penh.
The 7ha grounds are located in Roulos town, some 13km east of Siem Reap town, where Hariharalaya, the fabled capital of the Khmer empire during the reign of King Jayavarman II, once stood.
Mane Hariharalaya founder Key Mane told The Post: “Some city people get tired of the tall buildings, noise and pollution. When planning a holiday, they look for a tranquil environment surrounded by lush greenery.”
Ciro Izarra and Yoraima Petter, a husband and wife from Venezuela, are no different.
Petter, an aesthetic dermatologist, told The Post that Mane Hariharalaya was the ideal place to bring her husband to celebrate his birthday.
“I feel wonderful. I wanted to give my husband the best holiday destination as a birthday gift,” Petter said as the pair settled in for breakfast.
“We came here to stay for four nights in this beautiful place and celebrate my birthday. I love the surrounding landscape,” Izarra said.
They both said that they loved the resort and admired the eco-friendly concept that honours Cambodia’s heritage.
Born in 1982 to a family of entrepreneurs, Mane embarked on her entrepreneurial journey after walking away from the microfinance sector.
She started her first hospitality business, Mane Boutique Hotel and Spa, in 2015 and since then has confirmed that you don’t need experience to succeed in the hospitality industry.
Mane Hariharalaya officially became the sixth hotel established under the Mane brand in August
“Mane was registered as our company name and was used initially for the brand’s first hotel when it began operating in 2015,” the celebrated female entrepreneur said.
“We want to build a Khmer brand not only in Cambodia but also abroad. Over the past five years, we have built a business with seven hotels and resorts, and we plan to expand our brand to France and Japan.”
Dressed in traditional Khmer dress, Mane explains that visitors love to learn that Hariharalaya’s significance pre-dates the Angkorian era.
“King Jayavarman II built three temples in Roluos Archaeological Park – Bakong, Lolei and Preah Ko, which are located around 2km from our resort. We want to honour the ancient empire which had temples surrounded by water.
“That is why we hired a landscape artist to make mini-islands in the pond and planted a tree on each island.
“When locals and visitors from abroad first enter the resort, it’s as though they’ve stepped back into a blissful age of natural wonder before the advent of modern technology.
“They also get to experience a classical Khmer lifestyle by staying in our wooden bungalows, which were design according to traditional Khmer architecture,” the mother of four said.
They will also experience a lifestyle of Khmer culture by staying in our wooden huts built according to traditional Khmer architectural design.”
Since Mane Hariharalaya embraces an environmentally friendly lifestyle, only bicycles and electric cars are allowed on its grounds.
The menu, like the decor, heralds backs to a time before microwaves, fast food and pesticides.
“We focus on Khmer delicacies cooked with local ingredients sourced directly from a nearby village. The ingredients are organic since we plant them without using any chemical fertiliser,” Mane said.
The hotels employs high school graduates who cannot afford tuition fees to continue with their tertiary education, Mane explains that it is her way of empowering young people.
“I am proud of my Khmer heritage, and I am happy to provide jobs for Cambodians and help them earn a living. We have an experienced team capable of leading and training the younger generation,” she said.
“They can work to earn money to continue their studies. Some of them can be promoted into management roles if they work well.”
Mane Hariharalaya also offers regular bus shuttles to and from Siem Reap International Airport and the must-see Phsar Chas market, with various other stops.
The resort is located 2km from Bakong temple, around 14km from Angkor Wat temple and 10km from Pub Street.
To make a reservation or for more information, visit Mane Hariharalaya’s Facebook page (@manehariharalaya) or call 063 211 777.