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“Management must have attended Basil Fawlty school of hospitality”

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The Governors House Boutique Hotel Phnom Penh
Ranked #69 of 267 Hotels in Phnom Penh
Certificate of Excellence
Hong Kong
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Management must have attended Basil Fawlty school of hospitality”
Reviewed November 6, 2012

Firstly, before launching in to the many disappointments of our stay at The Governors' House, I would agree with many of the other reviews that this building is beautifully restored and exactly what we had hoped for from a 5 star rated French colonial style property. The owner (and interior designer) of this property clearly has a flair for design and has spared no expense in restoring this property. Unfortunately, he has clearly failed to move beyond phase 2 of the business plan - phase 1, create a stunning hotel, phase 2, attract customers and phase 3 KEEP CUSTOMERS HAPPY.

The first issue we encountered immediately upon arrival was that the incorrect room rate was charged on our pre-prepared bill. We were told that the anomaly was due to tax having not been charged on the advertised rate. This excuse later turned out to have been plucked out of thin air and the bill was later amended. Next up, the room we were given was not the room we had booked - no balcony, no stand up shower and yes, if you've read any other review on this site, no door to the bathroom - bizarre indeed. Immediately upon entering the room, we explained that the room (The Ben,on the second floor - the one with what looks like women of the night adorning the walls) was not the one we had booked. We knew this instantly as we specifically booked a room with a balcony. We were told that there was a balcony not too far from the room which we could use (?!) We asked to speak to the manager. She was nowehere to be found. Eventually (an hour later) we spoke to her (by phone as she was still away from the hotel) and she basically said that there was little that could be done since the hotel was full, however, she would ask the people in "our" room if they would mind switching rooms with us. The next day, we saw the owner in reception, and explained our displeasure at the service we had received. To say that he couldn't care less is putting it mildly. Excuse followed excuse, not once did we receive an apology. Following our conversation, our emotional state had progressed from mild annoyance at having been given the wrong room, to fury at the owner's complete disdain. Completely missing the point - that our main disappointment was at the handling of the issue by management, rather than the original issue itself, he blamed everything on the staff rather than accepting responsibility. To make it worse, his solution to the problem was that we should try to find accomodation elsewhere. At that point, we should have done.

It's such a shame to encounter such terrible customer service as this hotel has the potential to be a remarkable place to stay. After such a huge financial investment has been made, one would think that the management would be working hard to see the fruits of their labour, but keeping customers happy is clearly not as important as keeping the antiques dusted.

If there is one person in this hotel who has any idea of how to treat customers, it is the young restaurant manager, Sam. Address your complaint to him and you stand a much better chance of the problem being resolved (or at the very least, he will not make you feel like an irritant).

Other points of note:

1) The swimming pool is green. Understandibly, no-one is ever seen using it.
2) Napkins and tableclothes in the restaurant are stained.
3) Bottles in the minibar but no way of opening them.
4) Coffee in the restaurant is warm, rather than hot - drink it quickly!
4) Tuk tuk driver outside the hotel overcharges, negotiate heavily or just take one of the tuk tuks on the street (going rate seems to be $30/full day / $20 half/day).
5) If you stay at this hotel, confirm your room type ahead and check your bill carefully at the end of your stay.

Will we be staying here again? Not a cat in hell's chance.

Room Tip: Email ahead to ensure that the room you will be given is the room you booked! As there is no elevat...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank MRichardsonHongKong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AGarnier, Owner at The Governors House Boutique Hotel Phnom Penh, responded to this review, May 15, 2013
to all the readers of tripadvisor I want to explain my sadness if not anger about a review like this and the one of the day later ,7nov (who's from the same person, but reviewed under his wife's name). I always accept reviews and feedback from real customers who stays in the hotel but if it comes from reviewers whose objective is only to tried to sacked the fame off the hotel, then I'm very sorry for them.
In this 2 cases I tried many times to explain my point of view with mails to TA and to prove, with witnesses from guests staying at that time in the hotel, that these are black mails to tried to receive compensations and a free stay with us. It's hard to stay objective when you heard allegations like : "we know you are number 1 on TA with only 17 reviews, so if we write some bad reviews on TA it will change your position very badly..., so which compensation can you offer us?" And I stayed very calm and couldn't consider someone would do something like this...
So after all the efforts I did to tried to explain this to TA , but the only answer I received was that these 2 reviews are in the line of there review rules.
And if you consider the length of these 2 reviews (almost 4 A4 pages) and the time they spend to write it, and it's very well writhed, they must be professionals writing during several hours. All this to tried to sacked the Governors house for one reason : self-contentment and greedy to having a free stay.
About the content of these reviews I'll clarified some points : An elegant room is a Upgrade on a deluxe room (wonderful colonial decorated with all original wooden colonial floors), even if it has no balconies. The swimming pool is green, because it's illuminated with green LED lights. By the way the pool must have the purest water in town, as we're obliged to adjust the level by 10% aday caused by a leek. And the pool is regenerated with Mekong water, naturally salted with Kampot sea-salt.
We had some staff isues in the past, but nowadays we have a wonderful and smiling staff who'll do everything to put the guest as comfortable as possible. Our hotel is more as a private house where the guest has a feeling of "home abroad" and we are only open since October 2012. Our aim is to be the nicest and most comfortable boutique house in Phnom Phen and we hope to succeed very soon, even if some people don't want it happen like that. Look at the many last reviews and consider the improvement of the governor's house.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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Singapore, Singapore
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2012

Plus points:
- beautifully restored and nicely decorated;
- fine linen drapes and upholstery;
- very clean and well-maintained;
- cook-to-order breakfasts in a garden pool setting;
- chill-out bar with respectable range of wines;
- hotel room (The Sean) has nice bedlinen and excellent reading lights with touch control on both sides of the headboard; full toiletries; cotton bathrobes n in-room slippers; hair-dryer, coffee n tea making facilities n minibar;
- tv channel options are many and varied;
- free wifi
- room (The Sean) has a small verandah overlooking small pool: good if you are a smoker
- heavy linen drapes across window allows a late sleep-in if daylight is not welcome
- diffused lighting in room was very attractive
- standby tuktuk helpful but driver quotes double the prevailing rates; better to take a few more steps and flag down one outside


Minus points:
- there was no hot water on the first night we were there;
- room door has no latch or deadbolt nor peep hole;
- room door (of "The Sean" unit) opens with immediate line of sight of toilet bowl followed by jacuzzi bath-tub: yes it is perfect for drawing a bath but running the jacuzzi jets or shampooing without water splashing out onto the beautiful timber flooring is near impossible necessitating an immediate clean-up. This became a bit of a chore. Judging by the warped timber strips around the tub in the 3-4 month old hotel, this is already a problem. Jacuzzi bath is naturally not a low bath-tub so "The Sean" would not be an elderly-friendly room
- Bath n toilet area is separated from bed area partially by a thin curtain of cotton which gets wet if the jacuzzi jets are used. If privacy is important, using the open toilet n bath would be an issue
- Bed area has spotlights!?? Better to have them over the vanity area really
- Cupboard has shelves; no wardrobe whatsoever so impossible to hang clothes
- Room has no chairs or lounge: hallway outside all rooms have nice chairs and lounges which we did use. However, these common areas are not air-conditioned so the hot humid nights coupled with mosquitoes drove us back into our room;
- too many blinking lights made sleeping in complete darkness difficult: we duct-taped the red tv standby light; the jacuzzi LED blinking light and a red emergency light next to the safe in the room but we could not reach the 3 orange LED display settings on the air-conditioner
- hotel has no lift so on 2 of the 3 mornings, we were woken up early by loud noises as other guests brought their luggage up or down the stairs of the 4 storey building. Our room was on the 2nd floor/storey.

Taxi and tuk tuk drivers found the place hard to find even though we have the Governor's House address in Khmer. Those who had a smattering of English found it easily as it is next to Phnom Penh Passport Office.

Staff were friendly but not exactly warm so the ambience just wasn't there

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank MingHai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
essex, england
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
Reviewed November 3, 2012

We had read all the fantastic reviews and were excited on our way down from Siem Reap to have a few nights at this amazing property. On arrival, we were checked into room 12 which was a tiny room on the top floor. I re-checked my paperwork and confirmed my booking for a room with private sun deck. I returned to reception to be told 'sorry, hotel full '. On asking for a manager as luck would have it, the owner was downstairs and I have to say, did absolutely everything he possibly could to resolve the problem. There was no solution and we spent the first night in what is now billed a single room. However, he moved us to room 4 for the remainder of our stay which was much better - however note no shower and doors to bathroom as already reported! I would also say every room has double beds. We had requested a twin however there aren't any!

The property itself is absolutely faultless, and relaxing on the terrace, or in the house is a great way to spend time. The pool is lovely and refreshing after a day in the city. Don't be put off by the colour, that's the design and it's lovely, however nowhere to really lay out in the sun, although the seating area is quite pleasant.

As already mentioned on previous reviews, the service is terrible and the place is crying out for leadership. The breakfast service is chaotic at best, the food is slow, coffee was cold, fruit arrived twice and on the last day they had 'run out of toast'...!

Aware of the mishaps we had already experienced, I requested my bill the night before as I fully expected errors. I was told it was not possible and it would take 1 minute the following morning. Unfortunately the next morning it took over an hour and there was confusion all over the place. In the end I had to add it up and tell them how much to charge me..

Despite all this, oddly I would recommend this as I am sure in time it will be an outstanding guest house. I concur that really the owners should take a more active role. The best places I've stayed benefit from real care and attention. In its current state, it is surprising that the staff are left with checking guests out as the financial risks and PR risks are huge. Having the owners around at breakfast would make a huge difference.

Finally, note that the kitchens are only open for breakfast and evening meals. If you arrive back in the afternoon hungry you have limited options. One immediate improvement would be to offer guests a continuous food option as there isn't many options close by.

Despite this, the staff mean well and try their best although they simply don't know what they ate doing. I would give Song a mention though as he shone out!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank flyboylee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 2, 2012

Beautiful building with very tasteful interior decor but unfortunately that is all it has to offer! The service is very poor which is mainly due to untrained staff..they are trying to be helpful but don't have a clue what's going on! A set routine structure or simply some training would be helpful! Not knowing where the toilets are or if there is an outdoor shower at the pool area is a bit strange! We stayed on the 4th level and the room is the size of a shoe box without a door to the bathroom! But yes tasteful design but i prefer privacy when I go to the toilet! Reasonable prices for food and beverages would also be nice- charging 3 dollars for a small bottle of water is a bit rich especially for Cambodia! Overall the service has been very poor which could be easily fixed if the owners would shift their focus from the beautiful design of the building to making sure the guests have a great stay at their place and most importantly don't want to shut down shortly after it opened 2 months ago!

  • Stayed November 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Truechick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed October 31, 2012

Undeniably one of the most beautifully restored properties we have seen. A stunning building inside and out, filled with antiques, polished wood floors, delightful terraces and hidden gems in every corner. Loved the size of the place too, only 10 rooms, but large enough to lose yourself in, and certainly never felt stifled by other guests.

Unfortunately the service doesn't yet quite live up to the aspirations of the hotel, and whilst the staff are utterly charming, nobody really knows what's going on. Everything is a little confused, nothing really happens when it's supposed to. But if you can accept that you're in an emerging country, and charm sometimes wins over efficiency, then this could be just the place for you.

Unique in every way probably sums it up best.

Room Tip: Check the rooms types carefully as facilities do vary, if you like a good shower, some rooms only ha...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank MrBosLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AGarnier, Owner at The Governors House Boutique Hotel Phnom Penh, responded to this review, November 3, 2012
Dear Mr. Bros

It is lovely to read your comment. It just added a smile to our heart. Thank you.

We are happy to see that you apreciated our facility, despite the "chaotic" service.

We are working very hard in order to align the service to the beauty and quality of our hotel.

It was a pleasure welcoming you here, and we hope to have the chance to see you soon.

Best regards

Alain
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london
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed October 29, 2012

We stayed in room 4 of the Governors House. The plus point of the hotel is that it is aesthetically very pleasing.
The bad points were that our room had no proper shower nor door to the bathroom.
The staff had no training whatsoever, on asking for a beer at the bar I had to open the bottle myself. The pool was green (unlike the photos) - I would not have attempted a dip!
Breakfast as mentioned in previous posts was laboured, having to ask several times for some scrambled eggs. The Belgian owner appeared to be lighting incense candles around his fine decor while Rome burned is all I can say.
We were unable to get a bill for our stay as they had run out of paper.
The Cambodian staff I have to say were trying their very best to please. It is disappointing to be greeted at the front desk to hear all the things that have gone wrong and the blame being put on them by the Belgian owners.
It would also have been nice to ask how our stay was when leaving by the owners....despite them being on the desk not a word said as they dealt with problems.
This place needs a hotelier which it regrettably does not have and I would avoid until it gets one.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank londonbilly101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AGarnier, Owner at The Governors House Boutique Hotel Phnom Penh, responded to this review, November 3, 2012
Hello

Thank you for your constructive feedback.

We are newly opened and hitches along the way do happen unfortunately. We are working towards having a top notch service and team.

As we are in a soft opening period, our prices are extremely competitive, and below 50% of rack rate, hoping to train our staff on the job, and have our guests be clement towards our hickups.

Best regards

Alain
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Libourne, France
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed October 29, 2012

I use to travel a lot for bussiness in Cambodia!
I try this time the number one from Trip advisor and was really really Dissapointed. The location is close to nothing.
The room decoration are ok but the service was not ok for this price!
Prefere to stay elsewhere for the same price like the Plantation or the Pavillon.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Chris B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AGarnier, Owner at The Governors House Boutique Hotel Phnom Penh, responded to this review, November 3, 2012
Dear Truechick,

The Paris Attic room, is called as such, in order to let our customers know that it is a small room. Actually a very small room. It is on the 3d floor, (since we only have 3 floors up)
Please note that the 3$ for the bottle is for the Evian water (imported from France).
We will be installing soon a door to the toilet, as we have received few feedback from our guests that prefer to have this feature.
As we mentionned before, during our soft opening, our rates were extremely competitive, in order for us to improve our service, and hope for the clemency of the client.
Sorry that they were not up to par yet.
We are getting there.
Thank you for having stayed with us.

Best regards

Alain
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Governors House Boutique Hotel Phnom Penh

Property: The Governors House Boutique Hotel Phnom Penh
Address: Villa 3, Mao Tse Tung Blvd | Sangkat Boeung Keng Kong I, Khan Chamkarmorn, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Location: Cambodia > Phnom Penh
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #69 of 267 Hotels in Phnom Penh
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Governor's House boutique hotel in Phnom Penh - the most luxurious and exclusive place in Phnom Penh.The Governor’s House is an exclusive boutique hotel with 12 rooms in an elegant colonial-style mansion located in the heart of BoeungKeng Kang I (BKK I), an area which is known as the best residential area in downtown Phnom Penh, located just a 10 minute drive from the Riverfront. The hotel is only a short drive to the Independence Monument, the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda and the National Museum.The hotel was once home to a senator of Phnom Penh and is an old style architectural beauty; tastefully furnished with all original colonial antiques. The hotel shows the exquisite taste in the interior design as directed by the owner, an award winning and internationally recognised interior designer. This boutique hotel offers a perfect balance of colonial style elements combined with modern amenities. With three stories in a Victorian style building, the hotel is inspired by the Asian architectural treasures of ‘The Strand Hotel’ of Yangon, ‘The Raffles Grand d’Angkor Cambodia" of Phnom Penh and the ‘Oriental Hotel’ of Bangkok while still maintaining its originality. The owner recognises the needs of the 21st century business traveller and offers free wi-fi, daily newspapers and an excellent 24 hour concierge.The Governor's House offers an outdoor pool, a restaurant offering breakfast (a la carte menu), lunch and dinner with both outdoor and indoor seating, and balcony space to relax and enjoy the views. ... more   less 
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