So this is how the other half live, I get it now, The Bougainvillier Hotel – WOW! I raise my head from my big fluffy pillow and cast and ear out … nope, no bag rustlers here, just silence, and silence is bliss! Whilst I love the backpacker lifestyle, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to a bit of luxury every now and then whilst on the road … although to be fair this is like no luxury I’ve ever known before.
Check-in @ The Bougainvillier Hotel
Hot, tired and probably just a little smelly we touch down in Phnom Penh after 12 days in Laos and a subsequent flight from Luang Prabang. We check our booking reference more than once just to make sure we’re in the right place, we are. What stands before us is an immaculate 4* hostel the likes of which are rarely seen by backpackers. We try and sort our hair and clothes in an effort to look a little more presentable, but we’re kidding ourselves if we think its made any difference. A deep breath and we push through the front doors fully expecting to be asked to leave within a few strides.
The Bougainvillier Hotel is just minutes away from Phnom Penh’s royal palace and the perfect place for the girlfriend and I to base ourselves for a few days whilst in town. Truth be told however, it was a struggle to leave the hotel such was the quality of the room and of the staff too, who didn’t turn us away, but welcome us with much needed refreshment, a cool towel each, and huge smiles.
Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s capital city and whilst in town we were looking to explore as much of the city as possible, despite the searing heat. That plan went to pot though as we walked through the door of room 309 and saw this …
Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined I’d ever get to sleep in a four poster bed, but here it was, in all its glory, and the rest of the room was none too shabby either. Elegantly decorated with beautiful and interesting furnishings and aunaments, it took a while to adjust to the fact we’d be spending 3 nights in such a place.
After jumping on the bed, watching both TV’s simultaneously, sitting on every seat in the room (of which there were many) and taking a much needed shower each, Esther and I finally started to come to terms with the fact the the Bougainvillier Hotel was where we would be staying for the next few nights … and probably days. We were tempted to raid the mini bar in celebration or order room service, but refrained and did the typically British thing instead, we made a cup of tea and went and sat on the balcony.
The want to leave the hostel and explore the city had just become a whole lot less attractive.
On the odd occasion we could drag ourselves from the room, food was very much at the forefront of our minds. Fuel was needed to see Phnom Penh in the searing heat and the Bougainvillier Hotel had a brilliant restaurant which served of all things, a buffet breakfast.
Now these guys obviously didnt see me coming, because I can eat, and if I pay $7 for a breakfast, I’m eating at least $7 worth of food, if not more. I went to town on the buffet!
Each morning there was a 29 year old males dream spread. A chef was on hand to cook your eggs however you wanted them. There was an asortment of juices and flavoured teas. Cereal, breads, toast, jams, baked goods and the wholly grail of breakfast foods … sweet sweet BACON. I forgot how when backpacking you can develop certain cravings. Bacon is a Saturday morning tradition at my parents and despite only breaking this routine for a single week I was craving a bacon sandwhich. No it asnt local, athentic or something new, but it was one of those little luxuries I mentioned earlier. I piled my plate HIGH!
Another plus of dragging ourselves out of bed for a breakfast feast each morning was the view. The hotel restaurant looked out onto the Sisowath Quay and therefore right onto the banks of the Mekong River also. We could sit back and watch tuk tuk drivers hunt for passengers, locals work out at the public gym located on the river banks, backpackers stare aimlessly at maps wondering where they are, but mostly we watched the locals on their bikes and tried to spot the bike with the most number of people on. Our best was 7, made up of 3 adults and 4 kids.
Of an evening we were never more than 5 minutes from a $0.50 beer, which made me pretty happy. The hotel also has its own roof top bar which offered great views over the Sisowath Quay once all lit up.
Room for improvement?
OK so despite my love for this hotel, like most things there is always a little room for improvement no?
We couldn’t find a lot wrong with the hotel, but the lack of a lift to reach our room 4 stories up was not always pleasant. Admittedly a lift is currently under construction so we cant be too harsh, but until then your legs will need to get pumping if you want to get up those stairs.
An oasis in the city during hot season, the Bougainvillier Hotel quite literally saved us from cooking. Not a budget option but at the same time affordable both Esther and I agreed that if we ever found ourselves in Phnom Penh again we would seriously consider staying here again. From the little things (2 free bottles of water each day), to the blogger essentials (fast wifi), we had everything we could ever need and were made to feel very welcome in a place so far from home. Highly recommended if within you budget.
Rates at The Bougainvillier Hotel start from just £33 per night for a single room and £38 for a double room. Visit Asiarooms.com for more information and to book.