WARNING - long review - because I felt it was really worth it!
I was very hesitant to book this hotel, as the reviews here on tripadvisor range from absolutely perfect to incredibly appalling. But I took the plunge, risked paying more for a river-view suite and I have not looked back (I just gazed down and out across the river!). I had a fabulous stay of 4 nights (supported with my own photos) and I can’t understand whether people who wrote nasty reviews here just had a bad day, wanted river views (but wouldn’t pay the extra), had far too high an expectation, were too lazy to climb some stairs or just had a run of bad luck.
The hotel location is unbeatable, my room (309A) was decorated elegantly with lots of Cambodian silk, beautiful wood carvings and artwork. The room was huge, decorative cornices, comfortable 4-poster bed, great pillows, everything worked (air con, hot water, fan, toilets, cable TV, super fast internet) I was given 4 bottles of free drinking water daily (yes FOUR bottles – never had that anywhere), and of course fresh linen and towels. The room was setup by the housekeeping team perfectly every day, with scattered throw pillows arranged and all the small table lamps around the room switched on, so when I came “home” each day and inserted my key, the room’s appearance gave me that “as new” feeling again, illuminated in the lamps’ soft tones. The cleaning time varied from 11am to 3pm, that’s standard, but if you have a preference, I am sure the reception will organise the staff to clean at a convenient time.
Smiles? Heaps of them. On arrival I got a smile and my cold towel and welcome drink. The door boy/security would leap up to open the hotel’s front door for me (flashing a big toothy grin), the lady/girls at reception always said Hi, Good Morning, How was your day? etc when I passed by. At breakfast the waitress always took my buffet coupon with a smile, the egg boys (I met two of them) both smiled and were extremely polite. And the buffet had a choice of cornflakes, muesli, breads, pastries, pancakes, chicken curry, pasta, fried rice, stir fried vegetables, sausages, baked beans, bacon, eggs (however you like it), fruit, juice, tea and coffee. Menu was very thorough. Some claimed it was just "Ok". Strange. And the downstairs restaurant is beautiful with more carvings, dark wicker chairs, white table cloths, etc.
I was very happy throughout my stay at a bit less than a $100 a night (mid 2013 prices) and would absolutely recommend Bouganvillier Hotel to my friends and even my 79 year old mother who has loved all the pics I’ve sent through on Whatsapp. Don’t expect a “Raffles Hotel” standard of everything, as found in Singapore (as this is Cambodia) but this hotel has a similar historical, quaint charm about it (but without the silly Raffles prices).
In Phnom Penh, there are lots of narrow buildings and they can be up to 7 storeys tall (without lifts) so be warned. Some people have complained Bouganvillier has no lift. My room was on the third floor, I am 50, not really that fit and I survived just fine (even my mother would be ok). The building has a square (spiral type) terrazzo staircase, with 7 or 8 stairs on each of the three sides between each floor. There is a good size landing at each turn and a super strong handrail to hold onto, should you need it. Steps are a good size and not silly or differing heights (as can be found in a lot of Asia) so it’s really not that much of a drama. Some reviewers claim you must be an Olympian. Crap! Request a lower floor room then. An older lady who I met on my flight (who lives in Phnom Penh) said she goes there for sunset cocktails and pizza with her friends – so it can’t be that much of a killer staircase if even the locals go there.
One negative (for some) will be that the room safety box was very small, enough for only really a camera, wallet and travel documents. Nowadays many people travel with a tablet or small laptop, so that could be looked at in the future by management. But the rooms are extremely secure and I am confident they are safe, even without a safety box; it’s more just for peace of mind.
And yes the pool is just around the corner at a neighbouring hotel. Not a big drama is it?
I feel my review is fair and honest – perhaps if future reviewers have a bad experience at this hotel, ask if it was you? Did you smile and have a pleasant attitude? Did you go down to breakfast on time? Did you pay for a river view room? If something didn’t work, did U request to change rooms or ask to have it attended to promptly? I found all the staff friendly and most agreeable, but I guess there are things that go wrong sometimes and the local young men and women working here can only do what they can to help. Remember this is also a small boutique hotel – so be reasonable of your expectations and most importantly in Asia, never lose your temper (it’s not cool at all – and far too hot in Cambodia anyway, to get all hot under the collar).
River view rooms are the best (you pay more). And cool (my room had 2 aircon units). Great to watc...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.