Siem Reap is becoming a boutique holiday destination and there are a number of luxury accommodation options as a result. But these are often places that are so luxurious that they feel out of touch with their surroundings, especially when you are somewhere like Cambodia.
For us, RiverGarden was perfect in that regard because it is situated in a local neighbourhood along the river, but is still only 5 minutes by tuk-tuk into the town centre. It's like staying in a local neighbourhood, but living in the nicest house on the street.
The place used to be the residence of a French artist. The decor is tasteful, our room was extremely comfortable, with a ground-floor balcony looking out onto the pool, and the food at the restaurant was the best we had in Siem Reap.
RiverGarden is owned by an Australian couple and they have hired all local staff, which in itself is a meaningful contribution to the local economy. The owner is there to guide you when needed, but you are essentially looked after by the local staff. Don't expect them to speak perfect English - should you?! - but do expect to experience the warm and heartfelt hospitality of Cambodian people.
We really enjoyed walking into town and back every day, along the river past Cambodian houses, the local market, the Palace gardens, etc, but town is also just a 5-minute $2 tuk-tuk ride away and there is no shortage of tuk-tuks!
If you want a 5-star experience in a large Western hotel, this isn't it. If you want to feel like you are staying in a local neighbourhood for a few days, but with the familiar comforts of a soft bed, satellite TV, a pool etc, then this is the place. Lastly, this is one of the few places whose website photos live up to reality!
We would definitely stay here again.
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