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The River Garden Siem Reap
Ranked #62 of 331 Specialty Lodging in Siem Reap
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 19, 2008

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.

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
3  Thank Mel_Yahoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 3, 2008

I stayed with my family in the River Garden last January.

Great support on arrival as they organized pick up from the Bus Station. On our departure , they organized a taxi for the airport also.

Reception staff very friendly all the time. Our room was extremely clean and has a nice and original decoration. Good overall control on the mosquitos, and the also had a mosquito net for the bed. Wireless internet in the room worked ok all the time.

Breakfast was basic, but good. The coffee was one of the best I tried on my trip !

We also had some laundry , which was done on time with no problem.

The swimming pool and gardens are lovely.

Location is not the best , but a tuk-tuk can take you to downtown in 10 minutes .

Overall a nice experience, and we recommend it !

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled with family
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2  Thank Willy2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 19, 2008

I don't normally write reviews but I feel compelled to in this case. As many of the other reviewers have noted, the River Garden is a physically lovely space with a wonderful garden, restaurant and pool. The hotel has many, many good things going for it (the main one undoubtedly being the lovely, lovely cambodian staff) but is really lacking in terms of professionalism and organization. I reserved online and corresponded with a representative about 3 or 4 times to make sure that everything was in order. We reserved a package tour but wanted to add on another day at the end, which I was assured was no problem.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we arrived later than expected at the hotel. Right away, we were told that we did not in fact have another night reserved. The website really gives the impression that the owners (or english speakers of some kind) would be on hand to give really personal service, provide advice and answer whatever questions you might have upon arrival. Now granted, we were late so it is understandable that we couldn't get that kind of personalized attention upon arrival. However, given our situation, and the likelihood that we didn't have another day booked (totally not our fault), we decided to opt out of our package and buy services at the hotel a la carte. We received price quotes on all the services we were interested in.

In terms of Cambodia, the River Garden is a boutique style, mid-range hotel. We were surprised, therefore, at the fact that our showers ran out of hot water within the first three minutes and that the water didn't drain properly leaving us to shower in about 4 inches of murky, cold water. We let the owner/manager know and she assured us she would take care of the problem. I was unimpressed with her attitude (it was kinda like, "deal with it, this is cambodia...") She was quite defensive throughout, actually. There were a series of other annoying snafus (asked for a wake-up "knock" and didn't get it on time - was then told that the hotel doesn't provide wake-up services and that we were misinformed about the fact that they do). There was no silverware included in our lunch packs which made eating them on the first day pretty near impossible.

Lastly, and this is perhaps the thing that I thought was most unprofessional, they were really misleading about prices for certain things. It was only after talking to some other guests (two of whom were on their honeymoon and also had their reservation messed up) that we found out that instead of being $12 dollars for an all-day tuk-tuk, it was actually more in the 35 dollar range. I completely understand that it should cost more if the tuk-tuks take you to the outlying temple areas. HOWEVER, 1, you shouldn't be quoted only one flat rate in advance and 2, there should be some kind of price list provided or mention of this extra cost BEFORE you take the trip. No one said a thing to us.

My fellow traveler and I are pretty understanding people which is why I rarely write these kinds of reviews. The attitude of the owner just rubbed us the wrong way. She made it seem like all this confusion was kinda our fault because we changed our package deal. Her response when we told her that we really should have been notified about the difference in tuk-tuk costs was "fair enough, but this is standard for this area". that's not the point. if they can work out these kinds of kinks I would heartily recommend the River Garden.. However, based on my experience there, I would definitely recommend to others that they find something else. Perhaps they just need to get more established. I think for the price you can find a place that you won't have quite as many problems...

  • Stayed: February 2008
    • Value
    • Check in / front desk
4  Thank kokogirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2008

I considered that definition of "reservation" is very special in this hotel. Before sent reservation form, you'd better confirm with the hotel that if you find rooms reserved are different as they cconfirmed, whether you could cancell it without charges or not.

Here is my lesson:

I comfirmed reservation package with 4 rooms for one night by email with the operator. Our group arrived there before 8am on Feb 15 and rooms are not ready as I reserved. They explained that the rooms were not checked out. So we put luggage there and set out for the tour as we arranged.

Untill we were back in that afternoon, one twin beds room in my package is occupide. They forced me to accept options which is different with package I reserved. We are one group, and I confirmed rooms' type with the hotel. If it is different, we cannot let two of us accept this unfair treatment. Therefore our group decided to cancell booking and left that place. However, the river garden charged me for other three rooms without my agreement.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled with friends
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1  Thank hongxiubaodaoxia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kulen, Marketing Director at The River Garden Siem Reap, responded to this reviewResponded March 25, 2008

This unfortunate review by one visitor was a made after she cancelled her booking on the afternoont he party arrived at the hotel and spent the day using the rooms with her friends and enjoying all of our facilities.

The group went to another cheaper hotel and complained bitterly when we insisted they pay for the use of the 4 rooms and facilities before they left, which they did not do.
(The party did provide a $50 deposit and paid for the tour that was arranged.)

Every effort was made to ensure the party were comfortable and staff accommodated their needs for transport pickup and tours on the day. This was a one night booking for 4 rooms a few days in advance.

Staff were very accommodating and in defense of their actions I beleive they were very tolerant in an abusive situation.
We don't want staff verbally abused and threatened and see the review as a malicious attempt at getting back at our staff which I feel is completely unfair.
Staff insisted on payment for the rooms under the cancellation policy signed by Madam who bitterly complained about this with many emails and many days of questions.

sincerely
Kulen
Marketing Director,
The RiverGarden, Siem Reap

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2008

From the moment we arrived at the River garden in Siem Reap we were absolutely charmed. Having spent 6 hours on a crowded bus from Phnom Penh it was a pleasure to find ourselves surrounded by twinkling candlelight and attentive staff.

The River Garden has recently been taken over by an Australian couple who have decided to undergo something of a sea change in their lives. Theproperty currently has 9 lovely, spacious rooms, but they are planning to add another 10 or so in the next few months.

Our room which cost $US66 per night, was just beautiful. It had a big, comfy bed and, best of all, a massive balcony which overlooked the tropical gardens.

The property has a nice pool and a really sweet restaurant. We liked the food and the ambience there so much we ate there all three nights! (Try the pineapple chilli margharita and the beef lok lak).

The new owners, Deb and Glenn, are doing a really god job of stamping their personal style onto the hotel whilst maintaining an authentic, Cambodian experience. They helped us with all manner of things - organising drivers for temple excursions, in-room massages and they'll even prepare a pre-packed temple lunch takeaway in a little eski.

It's not exactly a luxury resort but in our opinion it was much better - we had all thecomforts we needed on a holiday without feeling alienated from the town we were staying in.

The only downside was that we had to leave after 3 days!

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank schemeofjudes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2008

We were originally supposed to stay at The Villa in Siem Reap, which was highly recommended to us by friends. However, our reservation at The Villa got messed up, and we were transferred to The River Garden at no extra cost (the owners of the two places are related, though the guest houses are not officially affiliated with each other).

We loved the River Garden! It was so peaceful - a little oasis in a somewhat chaotic and dusty town. There are only nine rooms which are nicely if simply appointed. The garden and pool were so refreshing, especially after a long hot day at the temples.

The owner made sure that we were taken care of even though we were not technically her responsibility. We were greeted with a complimentary bottle of wine and some chocolates, and she provided us with a temple lunch pack on a day that The Villa was not able to send one over.

Breakfast (which was included) was delicious, as was dinner and dessert. The staff is adorable, very friendly, and helpful (since there wasn't a phone in the room, we got a wake up "knock" from the gardener at 5:30 a.m.!) even though their English can be a little rusty.

The only downside (which was not at all a negative for us, but might be for some) is that it is not located in downtown Siem Reap. If you want to eat or hang out on Pub Street or therabouts, you absolutely need a tuk-tuk.

We wholeheartedly recommend The River Garden, especially if you want a clean, quiet, peaceful atmosphere with very personal and friendly service.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank rfleming2175
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2008

Stayed here after it recently opened for a special price of $25 for a room. It was still under construction, so there was a little bit of construction noise. I think it will be nicer once they put in their pool and finish the landscaping. I think the normal prices are a little higher too.

The place was super clean and the restaurant was simple but quite nice. The place is run by an Australian couple and staffed by locals, who are all friendly and offer good service.

They arranged a great tuk tuk driver for me for the three days I spent there who was extremely friendly and courteous. They arranged for the driver to meet me at the airport with cold drinks and towels, which was a nice touch. They offered a number of other tour packages, which looked like pretty good deals.

The location is a little far from the central business district with restaurants and bars. However, it's only a ten minute ride for a dollar into town. Frankly, the town didn't seem to offer much other than noise and other tourists, so I found the quieter location farther out to be more pleasant.

Oh, and free wifi too.

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled solo
    • Value
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3  Thank seshunz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The River Garden Siem Reap

Address: Wayism Road | Treang Village, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Location: Cambodia > Siem Reap Province > Siem Reap
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #62 of 331 Specialty Lodging in Siem Reap
Price Range: $35 - $120 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The River Garden Siem Reap 3*
Number of rooms: 1
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