We are a Canadian family. We’ve lived overseas for 15 years and we currently live in SE China. (2 children ages 9 and 15 & 2 adults). We spent 8 days in Siem Reap, Cambodia from Dec 23 to Dec 30th.
Below is a general overview of our experience including a pro/con list of the Golden Banana Superior Hotel. Bear in mind that the information in based on our experiences, tastes, likes and dislikes and things change; staff come and go, a great hotel can be a poor experience for some but a poorly reviewed hotel could be the best thing that happens; one visit could be terrible and a second visit may very well be the dream you paid for.
***If you want the type of review that is like this: Two Thumbs Up or Great Stay, you should stop reading. If you want a detailed, informative and personal review, read on.
Golden Banana Superior Hotel
The Golden Banana (GB) hotel is four small-complexes rolled into one, at the end of an alleyway. There is a B&B, a Boutique Style hotel - some rooms with bathtubs on the balcony, a Superior Hotel and a 2-story Villa Style accommodation. There are four lovely pools but the pools in the villas and the boutique are exclusively for those patrons. Guests can eat lunch and dinner at any of the cafes or restaurants but breakfast is exclusive to where one stays. Each location is within a 1-minute walk of each other and for a small inn type of accommodation, it’s quite a lovely and intimate set-up.
We stayed in the GB Superior Hotel because the price was right and we wanted 2 rooms close together (kids). We used 2 pools, one in our hotel and the one down the laneway. Both pools were super clean, of a tropical atmosphere with plenty of natural shade, lounge chairs but limited seating, cool pool water was quite refreshing after a hot long day of adventures etc. The other pools looked wonderfully clean and inviting. Good food and drinks are served poolside or in the cafes. All of the food is prepared to order and delicious so I will not comment on it, we were satisfied with the food we ate – the exception being the coffee and the breakfast – more on this later. Frankly, the pools are a wonderful place to relax and were never “crowded.”
Sent a booking request using the hotel web page. Was sent a nice reply and further communication was immediate and helpful. No issues. Booked 2 rooms with breakfast included. Emails were always promptly replied to and helpful. No deposit required.
Excellent. There were plenty of other families, with kids, of varying ages etc. in and out over the week. The diversity of guests is aligned with the hotels mandate/mission, as is their staff. See their homepage.
Staff Friendliness and helpfulness?
Spot on. No issues. Service was great and timely. Although most spoke good English, a couple staff barely understood me. However, I do not speak Khmer – my bad.
Easy, accessible and within a 10-15 minute walk to the “scene.” Quiet, safe streets in a local neighborhood with local shops for supplies/pharmacy/laundry/Khmer BBQ/Restaurants etc. and very close is the New Night Market. All tuk-tuk drivers know the GB very well. It’s $2.00 USD one-way from the GB to the “scene” i.e. pub street and the market areas.
TV/AC/ ceiling fans, Free Wi-Fi in hotel/rooms, air dryers, in-room safe are all included. Mini bar. Public free-use PC’s are located in the hotel lobby and the GB Café.
Hotel Airport Transfer
We were met by the diver and transferred to the Hotel with out issue. Cost $10. They messed up our return transfer but the issue was dealt with promptly. Make sure you have small bills to pay the driver going back to the airport – he did not have change for a $20.
We were greeted warmly by the staff and served a fresh cold juice cocktail. Yum! We needed to keep one room to 5pm, was charged 50% room rate.
Terrific. Tranquil environment, easy pace - accessible rooms for us as our rooms were on the 2nd floor. Access to other rooms may be an issue for some because there are a lot of narrow & steep stairs. One room, number 14 is on the main level but it is right beside the pool. Lovely plants, flowers, sculptures, ceiling fans, historical photographs, etc. peppered around the main lobby and the rooms, added to the aesthetic we feel comfortable in. The rooms are of an old pseudo-colonial style with window shutters, ceramic tiled floors, wooden doors - it all added to the feeling your not in a modern 4-star – we like them too, but not for this trip. The whole place is tastefully designed and decorated with purpose.
Not an issue here for SE Asia. Room cleaners spray Raid killer around the room before they leave, they spray it like air freshener, on the bed too. See con list about this.
We took rooms 11 & 12 on 2nd floor at the GB Superior Hotel.
I peeked at rooms in the GB Villas and the GB Boutique. Both were of a high quality, clean and appeared to be cozy, yet spacious and as they were mostly 2-story types that clearly afforded a bit more luxury for the discerning patron than our “hotel” rooms. The beds were definitely wider and felt softer. The breakfast menu at the Villas and Boutique were considerably better (saw the menu only) because it had some “nicer” options but of course the price for the room and breakfast is about $20 to $30 higher per night. I did not look at the B&B rooms.
Our Beds (hard beds is the norm in Asia - may not suit most western folk for more than a night or two. Hard beds means: imagine a box spring filled with a 3-inches layer of straw/cotton and then sleep on it).
Room 12 (kids room) they loved it: Two hard double beds, good-sized bathroom w/ shower/plenty of hot water, balcony - a great room for the 2 of them. It was clean. AC and ceiling fan helped to keep things cooled down. The kids had no issues with the beds or the puffy pillows. All towels and linens were clean and fresh. The room design is spacious.
Room 11 (parents room) we did not like it and would not recommend this for couples/singles. Remember that this is our experience and our tastes. The hard dbl bed is quite small for 2 people and the pillows were puffed up. We need a larger softer bed and shallow pillows. We used the chair cushions as pillows. The room itself is of a similar aesthetic and cleanliness as the kids so not much to say there. The bathroom is a nightmare, too unnecessarily tiny. The room has a massive space between the end of the bed and the bathroom so it makes no sense why the bathroom is as small as it is. I had to sit on the toilet at an angle. We both had a hard time getting a good night’s sleep, this is okay for a night 2 or 3 but for 7 nights, it can wear one out. This is not a compliant because everything else in the hotel/room is lovely, but room 11 is not a room that we’d stay in again. We may even try other rooms in a different part of the hotel.
The food served is well prepared: made to order (M.T.O) eggs are cooked to perfection and the tiny fruit bowl and juice is a nice fresh start to the day. However, unless you like MTO eggs every day the breakfast is not for you. You can order non-egg items off the menu at cost but even then the variety is quite limited. Asian breakfast is an option at a cost. The crispy bread roll is fresh and very nice. Jam is not homemade. As I said, the other parts of the hotel serve a better nicer breakfast so I cannot understand why the Superior cannot do the same. I am sure it’s all about price point and offering the “fancy” guests more bang for their buck.
Coffee? Now this is a personal matter. We love coffee and we make the search for good coffee a holiday mission. The coffee at Golden Banana is sludge. Although it’s served in a wonderful small stainless steel French press it came hot to warm to cold. It’s more of an espresso than a “regular” cup of coffee. We love different types of coffee i.e. Turkish, Arabian/Cardamom, espresso, etc. but the coffee here was, in our opinion, the worst morning java jolt we’re ever had. Sorry GB. The breakfast too needs a little variety. Eggs everyday is not sustainable for 7 days. Great for 2–3 days only! Not a compliant, but more of a spoilt expat moan on this point. I wish to reiterate that all of the other food we tried at the hotel was fine. We found good coffee at the VIVA Mexican restaurant – odd but true.
Massage service. My wife decided that I was too grumpy to bear it anymore so she reserved me an in-room massage. It was fine, nothing too great but nothing to complain about either. It was relaxing and it did push off my grumpy mood that night. Cost: $11. She booked one for herself the next day, would say same thing as me.
This hotel did not blink an eye once at any of the kids at the hotel. Despite the small inn type and even though there were many young single/or by themselves folks hanging about, everyone, the staff included seemed unfazed by the kids raucous. That’s a huge golden banana for families with kids. Our kids loved the hotel and had nothing negative to report.
Would not return because the beds are too small and too hard.
Pros & Cons List
1. Atmosphere is fabulous
2. Location is ideal
3. Price is fair and square
4. Food and service is good
5. Cleanliness is good
6. Staff are good
7. Family Friendliness is superior
8. Quite retreat potential, romantic, calm.
9. Pools are wonderful – clean water & towels. Our 9 year old loved the pools.
10. Safe and secure
1. Small bathroom in room 11.
2. Small closets in both rooms. Okay for a day or 3 but 7 days isn’t quite working.
3. Spraying RAID killer around the room, on the bed, yuck. Know why it’s done but it seems excessive to use it like air-freshener not to mention the fact that the staff are breathing the RAID in too.
4. Way too many tuk-tuk drivers hounding you the second you step out of the hotel. I have no issue with people trying to scratch out a living but this became annoying. The hotel should monitor this more closely.
5. The lobby furnishing in the Superior Hotel does not match the ones from the hotel images web site. The lobby is a bit run down and not all that cozy – furniture needs updating and the rattan and red cushions are quite dirty, torn, ratty; same goes for several of the GB Café seat cushions and rattan furniture.
6. Slurping bad coffee and M.T.O eggs for breakfast after 7 days. Oh hum.
7. Did not know about the Boutique or the Villas until after we arrived. We may have chosen those instead of the Superior Hotel. No info about the Boutique or the Villas on the GB web site either. A bit odd for sure because there’s a different web site (trip advisor reviews too) for those. We weren’t even told about the Villas or the Boutique options at booking.
8. Staff carries the non-breakfast food from the GB Café down the laneway to the hotel on a tray (about 100 feet plus) but the food is not covered. This is a problem. Flies/bugs, exhaust fumes and road dust etc. settle on the food. This is easily fixed by covering the food.
9. Showers in both rooms are in need of a good hardy scrub; it needs to be done to the bathroom in the GB Café as well.
10. No historical/information notes adjacent to the photographs so the patrons don’t know dates and information. Same goes for the gorgeous images on the GB café - love to know who the artist is.
The Golden Banana Superior Hotel is a great place for families. A few things bugged us but that is normal. The complex in general is a beautiful small set-up to stay and it offers enough variety to cater to diverse travelers. We loved that about it. The Superior Hotel needs a little updating and some cleaning on a daily basis. I would return just to experience a different part of the Golden Banana to gain more perspective. We loved Siem Reap. We had great family holiday. Will return to GB but not to Superior Hotel – likely try the Boutique or the Villas.
$700 for the rooms w/ breakfast & $188 for food and drinks. $888.00 USD, not bad for 4 people for 8 days at a nice place. Sure, we could've booked a much cheaper place or a more expensive but we didn’t. We went in the middle.
Our Siem Reap experience
We booked about 50% of our outings with an agent. We saw the temples, Angkor Thom city complex, Ta Prohm etc., did a pottery class at Khmer Ceramic Centre, Apsara Dance show, 2 Cycling tours - through the scenic countryside and friendly villages, (40K at 3 hours, 50K at 4 hours), floating village of Kompong Phluk plus a canoe ride through the flooded forest on the Tonle Sap lake/Buddhist Pagoda and monastery, traditional dinner with a Cambodian family and a trek through their village, cooking class at the Le Tigre, War Museum, markets, markets and more markets and an array of amazing food – every meal we had in town was simply fantastic – western Asian, Khmer, everything was great – and the ice cold beer always went down well! We visited several massage centers in town and had positive experiences. Even the kids loved having their feet treated. It’s embarrassingly inexpensive SR – so, try to relax and enjoy them.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Private,free-standing, pagoda-like, authentically Khmer stylish ENSUITE rooms with A/C in room, some room has high ceiling fan, hot water, garden & courtyard. Laundry service, friendly & capable staff. TV, no telephone, fridge or telephone inside the room for B&B rooms. Breakfast is included in the room rate. Swimming Pool for Superior Hotel and B&B guests. Swimming pool opens to all guests staying at Golden Banana. Gay friendly, owned & operated, but friendly and open to all guests from all walks of life.This hotel is centrally located in the old colonial area of Siem Reap Down Town,built in the tranquil secluded Khmer Village, few minutes stroll to the Old Market, shops, Pub Street, restaurants & nightlife. Only 10 minutes drive to the world-famous temple of Angkor Wat, & Siem Reap International Airport & Tonle Sap Port. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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