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“Fantastic, friendly, cosy boutique residence in central Phnom Penh.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Circa 51

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Circa 51
3.0 of 5 Boutique Hotel   |   #155, corner of Streets 51 and 222, Phnom Penh 0000, Cambodia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #23 of 233 Hotels in Phnom Penh
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Melbourne, Australia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“Fantastic, friendly, cosy boutique residence in central Phnom Penh.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2013

My partner and I stayed here while visiting from Australia. Small, family run business giving a very homely feel. Used to be a residence of some very important people, hence built up as a house with high walls and big main gate. Very friendly and helpful staff. Breakfast daily by the pool a great start to the day.

We stayed in the room upstairs facing the main road (St 51) and the pool. Unfortunately during our visit our bathroom had no hot water. We let the staff know and they were prompt to address it, but due to renovations happening during the day time we didn't have hot water our entire stay. Not a big issue for us though so did not press further.

Location was along the busy St 51 but noise level was bearable. Great central location for tourists in Phnom Penh. 5-10 minutes by tuktuk to Riverfront, Museum, Russian Market, Independence Monument and Naga World. Walkable to Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. Supermarket round the corner and plenty of street food within 5-10 minutes walk.

Even had a resident friendly dog (Maxie) and cat (Meow Meow) that added to the whole family residence feel. Great place to stay for a cosy warm friendly feel. If looking for a hotel or resort type of accommodation, this is not for you.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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305 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (60)
Date | Rating
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English first
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2013

I spent three lovely nights at Circa51. It is located in a trendy area of Phnom Penh close to good restaurants, cafes and bars. It is a family friendly hotel with a lovely swimming pool complete with food and drinks service. My room was immaculately clean and had a fan and air conditioning, which made it perfect for escaping the balmy city streets. While I was checking out today, I unfortunately witnessed a very rude male guest engage in verbally abusive behaviour towards a number of female staff. The owner asked him to leave the hotel, which I was very relieved about. As a female guest, I thought that the way in which the female staff were protected was very good and I wouldn't hesitate in recommending Circa 51 to my friends and family who visit Cambodia. The security very good here, as is the lovely tranquil atmosphere and great service. I'm looking forward to staying here again the next time I'm in Phnom Penh.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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New Jersey
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2013

Cambodia is a 3rd world country. If you want to travel from the USA and feel as if you're in Miami, by all means overpay and stay somewhere else. If you want a gorgeous guesthouse that is a 5 minute walk from Street 240 and another 3 minutes from the Royal Palace...an owner-run guesthouse where you feel safe 24/7, can swim in a stunning pool 24/7, and can personally get to know your tuk tuk driver (the same 4 are outside the gate from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.), and feel secure even as a young woman traveling alone, then stay at Circa 51. On my 3-week visit to Cambodia I stayed here 3 different times: up arrival & again on the way from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap with my husband; and 4 nights alone at the end of my trip. I have read the wide variety of reviews about Circa 51 here on TripAdvisor and agree that some of the rooms are more desirable than others (size, quality of aircon, quiet vs. noisy, paint freshening). But having stayed in 5 places in Cambodia I can tell you that this was a SUPERIOR experience to the 2 hotels for which we paid $100+. The POOL cannot be overrated, the BREAKFAST is incredible & made-to-order (omelette, local fruit, yogurt, hand-squeezed passion fruit juice, French-press coffee, fresh croissants, muesli and more -- choose them all & pay nothing extra), and the owners do run this place hands-on. They care about their customers' experience and they also care very much about sex tourism, which is strictly forbidden here. Special requests -- from room upgrade to extra cot for my daughter no-charge etc -- are always attended to asap.

Circa 51 is a welcome haven in a crowded and teaming city, with lots of lounging space around the pool. Have the poolside 1 hour head, neck & shoulder massage for $15. Order the chicken satay and a mango-yogurt smoothy for afternoon snack. The woman who runs the front desk even took me for a Cambodian hair pampering experience. I paid $4.50 and my hair never looked better!

Room Tip: I stayed in 3 different rooms here. By far the best room is the Terrace Studio. Deluxe Pool View is...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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CambodiaGina, Owner at Circa 51, responded to this review, March 11, 2013
Hello!
Thank you for your very kind words. It was so lovely to meet you and thanks for the excellent silk island information that you gave to us! I hope your writing is going well and you are enjoying all of those luscious silks.
best
Yvette
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Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

We stayed at Circa two times whilst in Phenom Penh and found it to be very relaxing. Large rooms and a great pool area. The staff were fantastic! They organised tuk tuk's, taxi to Sihanoukville and booked restaurants for us. Even traditional Khmer massage in our room. They also allowed us to leave bags at the hotel for a week whilst we travelled to the coast.
On our return my fiancé had picked up a stomach bug. The owner went above and beyond walking us to the medical centre early one morning and checking on us to see if anything else was needed.
Would happily stay here again!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

I stayed here for 2 nights with my boyfriend in Nov 2012.

This hotel was very disappointing, indeed of the 9 hotels I stayed in on my Vietnam/Cambodia trip it was the only one I would not recommend.

It's in the quiet part of town, where a lot of ex-pats and embassies are located so had quite a few issues getting the taxi driver to find it, even with the map. About 2/3km from town.

My first impressions were bad as I queued to check in directly behind a couple who were being turned away because the hotel had double booked them. Circa 51 had found them another hotel.

The room was very loud as the hotel is located on the corner of two busy streets, with no double glazing. It is a family run hotel with young children and the 'lounge' area was directly in front of our bedroom so it felt like walking into someone's home rather than a hotel. I guess this could be a plus if you are travelling with young children but we weren't and as it is a 'boutique hotel' it was not the vibe we expected.

The pool area and pool was dirty, given the trees that hang over it; it is fair to say that it will always have a full leaves in it but looked like it had not been used in months. We were certainly not getting in!!

The bedroom itself was nice, the decor was lovely. In the photos it looked very clean and fresh but in reality it is the kind of place that is old and a bit 'crumbily', a small makeover would do wonders. The bathroom smelt really badly of damp. The tiles were pretty grotty, not dirty just old and the type that always look like they need a good scrub. The 'safe' was a lock on a wooden drawer.

Breakfast was toast, juice, fruit and eggs. It is a la carte as it is usually just 1 or 2 people at breakfast. Simple but very nice. The Cambodian ladies that work there are very friendly and helpful.

On the first of our two nights, I arrived back to find the hotel cat playing with something outside my door. When I tried to get past I discovered it was eating a mouse, I screamed and the hotel owner who was watching tv nearby chased it away but of course I slpt with one eye open after that!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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CambodiaGina, Owner at Circa 51, responded to this review, February 15, 2013
Dear Lainey86
Thank you for your feedback. We take it seriously and feel sad that you did not enjoy your stay - perhaps if you had spoken to us at the time we may have had an opportunity to improve your experience. Unfortunately we can't please everyone all of the time, but we do try our best if we are made aware of a problem! I hope to answer some of your suggestions/complaints. Very occasionally we have a double booking - human error i guess, but I think you cannot show me a single hotel in existence who occasionally does not have this issue. Regarding the pool - I cannot begin to imagine where you get the idea the pool is not clean. Of course, being under a beautiful, old bodhi tree, some leaves fall in the pool - leaves are cleaned out at least times a day and we have not had any complaint. The pool is used every single day by our guests and is extremely well maintained. There are 4 people swimming happily in it as i write this. It's true our property can be a little loud at times - we are in the middle of the city (less than 1km from Independence Monument) and especially during peak traffic times the motorbikes can be noisy. If you request a room away from the street, it is not a problem. It can also get a little noisy, because as we advise on our website, we are a family friendly hotel. If you look for an intimate hotel, i would advise to try and book a hotel that does not accept children - there are specific hotels that cater for this in Phnom Penh. Also as our name clearly states, we are a boutique RESIDENCE - we actually aim to provide a feeling of a residence or home, that you complain of. We never use the phrase 'boutique hotel' and i'm not sure where you get it from. I do apologize that you saw the cat catch a mouse - but this is a developing country where there are mice and rats at EVERY property due to poor city infrastructure and rubbish collection - even if you can't see them. For us, we would prefer to have a cat that can get rid of the mice than have rodents roaming freely. Although, of course, unpleasant to see, i'd rather see a mouse that has been caught than one running in the room! Actually we are very lucky that we live in a relatively clean residential area, so there are not so many around.
Finally, we will definitely analyze the room you stayed in to see which ways it can be improved upon. Again, i'm sorry that our property did not suit your needs and I hope we can improve upon some of the areas that you have pointed out. I would strongly recommend visiting the webpage of the property you are booking rather than simply rely on the description in an online booking page which are often poorly written by the booking agency.
Circa 51 Team
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Singapore, Singapore
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

We had a similar experience to reviewer "wealthyone". Our room was not on the ground floor but wealthyone's description of his/her ground floor bathroom fits ours, except that our bathroom also had a bad smell that permeated into the bedroom. So the ground floor bathroom is definitely not the only one that has not yet been refurbished. The airconditioning in our room was inadequate so it was terribly stuffy. When we asked for a room change because of the inadequate air-conditioning, we were told that the lighting in the room was generating too much heat so we should switch off some of the lights. We thought the lighting in the room was wanting to begin with. Fortunately, and to their credit, the hotel management allowed us to leave the next day even though we had booked a 3 night stay.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CambodiaGina, General Manager at Circa 51, responded to this review, May 7, 2013
Dear NomPen
At Circa 51 we try hard to please, and if we simply cannot then we try to find the best option for our guests, which on the odd occasion can be to allow them to cancel their booking. We could see that you did not like Circa 51 as soon as you walked in the gate as your attitude was pretty negative toward everything before you even checked into your room. We understand that you were really feeling the heat and probably not at your best, but if that is the case, it would have been best to book into a business hotel that is completely air conditioned from the beginning, rather than our residence which has a lot of open air spaces and most likely does not suit those looking for a business-type experience. I checked the air-conditioning in your suite - since the room is very big and has high ceilings it does take about 20-30 minutes to reach an agreeable temperature, i measured this at 22 degrees after 25 minutes. And indeed, the manager did mention that it would not be a good idea to sit under the bright desk lamp if you are feeling very hot and bothered. As the bathroom in that room is not as pretty as others, the price of the room had been reduced to reflect this. As a side-note, this bathroom has now been completely renovated as part of our efforts to continually improve our facilities.
Our staff made a special request to allow you to vacate the next day, which we allowed you to do even though it is clearly against our policy, which you agreed to when you booked via a third party website. As you had booked two rooms for 3 nights (the other couple did not have any complaint i believe) we lost substantially by doing this. I really believed that we had made a show of good faith to you by not charging you any cancellation fee - I'm just sorry that you could not do the same.
Circa 51 Management
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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

Myself and my partner stayed at Circa in December 2011....it has taken forever to write this review, apologies!
Our stay at Circa was fantastic, the staff were so welcoming and so willing to help us with anything we needed. The rooms were large and comfortable and spotless.
My boyfriend unfortunately fell ill during our time there and the staff were so helpful in letting me use the reception phone to call the hospital / arranging transport etc.
Once recovered we headed to the to the coast for Christmas, when trying to book the same room for our return to Phnom Penh, we found out that it was already booked out. We were offered a much larger room at a reduced rate which we gratefully accepted.
We were made to feel so welcome at Circa, nothing was an issue and every member of staff was so willing to help. There's a lovely atmosphere about the place and should I return to Phnom Pehn I'll definitely be back here.
Thanks for looking after us so well, Sara and Greg. x

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Circa 51

Address: #155, corner of Streets 51 and 222, Phnom Penh 0000, Cambodia
Location: Cambodia > Phnom Penh
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#14 Family Hotel in Phnom Penh
#17 Romantic Hotel in Phnom Penh
#22 Business Hotel in Phnom Penh
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Circa 51 3*
Number of rooms: 10
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Also Known As:
Circa 51 Hotel Phnom Penh

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